Jim & Amy Crews
Oak Grove, Minnesota
'27 Ford Track T
Jim took his hand-me-down Model T frame, boxed the 'rails, and Z'd the rear to give the roadster the right stance. A Speedway Motors dropped tubular front axle lowers the car further. Other Speedway suspension parts include the hairpins, front and rear friction shocks, and rear airbags. Jim also added '35 Ford spindles, a suicide spring perch, and Vega steering box to the front, with Tin Man Fabrication (TNF) hairpins in the rear and '40 Ford juice brakes all around.
He knew the old T 'rails were originally built to carry a four-banger and, even boxed, would groan under the weight of an eight-cylinder, so he followed suit with an updated version of the original mill: a 2.3-liter OHC Ford taken from an '84 Mustang. Kalbo Racing Engines in Oak Grove, Minnesota, machined the block and modified the stock manifold, topped with a Holley two-barrel and K&N air cleaner. The modified cast-iron headers were ceramic coated, and tied to 30-inch glasspacks. Jim hooked the engine to his T5 transmission and custom built an open driveshaft to the '40 rear with 3.78:1 gears, which came from a friend's '35 Ford rod.
Wheels & Tires
Nothing looks better on a track T than a set of wires. These are 18x4 '32 Ford front rims and rear 16x6s from a '35, painted to match the scallops. The tires came from Coker. The front skinnies are Indian motorcycle blackwalls, pushed along by Firestone dirt-track grooved rears.
Body & Paint
There's not a lot of body to a track T. The sheetmetal had taken a few gunshot wounds, but was in pretty good shape otherwise. Jim repaired most (but not all) of the bullet holes, widened and stretched the body slightly, and channeled it over the frame 2 1/2 inches. The rear corner panels and steel floors were added at TNF. The original windshield was shortened and the stanchions leaned back. In between the Dietz-style headlights, a '28-29 Model A grille was shortened 4 inches and dressed up with a custom aluminum insert. Jim honored wife Amy's request for green paint by shooting this olive green DuPont color, complemented and tempered by orange scallops. When the painting was done, Mike Hovland broke out his brushes to add some pinstriping and finished the job with airbrushed graphics around the remaining bullet holes.
A lot of work went into this bare bones interior. Jim filled the steel '27 dash with an Auto Meter carbon graphite speedo, installed a LimeWorks steering column and four-spoke wheel, and formed aluminum inside door panels. Limited floor space didn't leave much room for the clutch and brake pedal assembly, so Jim came up with a stacked pedal assembly using a remote Mopar master cylinder and cable-operated clutch. When it came to seating, Jim let himself deviate from his original planned bomber seats, which wasn't the look he was going after. Instead, he built his own seats from foam and plywood. The idea was to simulate the look of vintage leather, so Jordan at Old Skool Kustoms in Monticello, Minnesota, upholstered Jim's seats in English Toffee-colored Symphony Vintage vinyl, with a hand-tied baseball stitch at the seams. A matching shifter boot and door straps are on Jim's list of future improvements.