This project started when I was in Oakland, California, on business and found a white porcelain draft beer handle from The Black Diamond Brewing Company. It was perfect for a hot rod shifter knob and upon returning to Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, I went over to my friend's shop, Bob Hindman Roadsters, and set the beer handle down in front of him. "What kind of hot rod will do this justice?" I asked. He didn't hesitate: A long and low '27 roadster running a Y-block Ford with Holley 94s and suicide frontend. OK, so let's do it!
We sketched out what the late-'50s traditional hot rod should look like, and Bob started designing the chassis, starting from the suicide frontend and working back while making sure to keep the driver sitting down low in the car and inches off the ground. We decided that, whenever possible, the parts should reflect what was available in the late '50s, such as running a generator, period gauges, etc. So I started the gathering of parts while Bob fabricated the chassis.
The remanufactured 292ci Y-block came from S&S Engine, while Charlie Price's Vintage Speed supplied the Holley 94 three-deuce setup on an Edelbrock 553 intake manifold. Charlie also provided the Fenton Aluminum valve covers and Edelbrock fuel block. The stock distributor was recurved and converted to mechanical advance by Creitz Automotive. Vacuum and fuel pressure gauges were mounted on the firewall for tuning. The fuel pressure is regulated via a Holley regulator to no more than 1.5 psig. The NASCAR Y-block exhaust manifolds took six months to locate (and could have taken much longer if it wasn't for eBay).
Another 292 Y-block and a Fordomatic transmission combination was located and taken from a 1960 Edsel to supply the needed miscellaneous engine parts and transmission. The Fordomatic was rebuilt by Bob Cruse.
The frame uses 2x4x.125 tubing and is Z'd at the front and rear to achieve the low ride height without having to channel the body over the frame, keeping the driver riding low in the body. The 8-inch Ford rearend was pulled out of a rack of rearends in a junkyard. Lester's Gear installed new wheel bearings on the 28-spline axles and a set of 4.11 Posi-traction gears. Driveshaft Specialist supplied the driveshaft.
A Super Bell drilled and chromed front axle is used up front along with a set of chromed covered shocks angled over at 60-degrees. The '38 Ford front spindles are painted Apple Green with '59 Buick backing plates attached using spacers to center the Buick front brake assemblies. 1963 Buick Rivera front drums and '48 Ford hubs were re-drilled to match the OEM Ford wheel bolt circle.
Once the chassis was well underway, I made a phone call to Speedway Motors, and the '27 fiberglass body, 10-gallon aluminum gas tank, '32 chopped radiator shell with a Walker radiator, reversed Corvair steering box, bomber seats, and stock windshield supports (sectioned to keep the low-profile look) were soon in our hands.
The body and chassis were painted John Deere Blitz black with suspension parts GM Apple Green. The floor consists of Apple Green-painted birch wood strips and pickup bed stainless runners.
Stewart Warner gauges are used and mounted in a '32 dash with the starter switch located in the stock '48 Ford column mount. An aftermarket turn signal switch is installed on the column, but under the dash out of sight. The transmission floor shifter is from Speedway. A wiring diagram was drawn and a harness was made from leftover wiring. The Black Diamond Brewing Co. draft beer handle was the last item to be added to the little hot rod. Yes, I believe we nailed it.