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.
Rod & Custom Feature CarSteve ZaringBroken Arrow, Oklahoma1927 Ford roadster lowboy
DrivetrainSteve went outside the box, avoiding the small-block Chevy and Flathead, and dropped a '62 Ford 292ci Y-block between the 'rails. S&S Engine Remanufacturing rebuilt the engine, which was then dressed up with Fenton valve covers, an Edelbrock 3x2 intake with a trio of Holley 94s, and a rare pair of '57 Ford NASCAR exhaust manifolds. A '60 Fordomatic auto trans does the shifting duties.
ChassisBob Hindman Roadsters designed and built the Z'd chassis from scratch, adding a suicide frontend consisting of a Super Bell dropped and drilled I-beam (with Speedway spindle kit and '59 Buick backing plates with '63 Buick finned drums), POSIES Super Slide spring, Pete & Jake's chromed shocks, split '48 Ford wishbones, and a reversed Corvair steering box. In the rear, a Ford 8-inch is held in place by a Panhard bar, and ladder bars are designed by Hindman and suspended by a swap meet Hollywood transverse spring and chrome P&J's shocks.
Wheels & TiresThe rolling stock can make or break such a simple hot rod. Steve got it right with a set of Wheel Vintique chromed reverse OEM Ford wheels (15x8s and 15x5s), and then mounted up a pair of 8.20 Radir 8.5-inch-wide whitewall drag slicks and BFGoodrich 5.90 whitewalls.
Body & PaintThe 'glass '27 roadster body from Speedway Motors was the perfect start for a bare-bones hot rod. The car is so low there's no need for opening doors, so Steve just sanded the body and shot it with John Deere Blitz Black. For a little something extra, Steve had Ron Myers add a bit of bomber-style nose art and pinstriping to the decklid. Lighting comes from a pair of swap meet headlights and '50 Pontiac taillights. An Airstream tag light glows on the rear license plate.
InteriorThe bare-basics interior consists of a pair of bomber seats from Speedway Motors mounted on a painted birch wood floor accented with stainless steel pickup bed strips. A '48 Ford column and wheel were recycled and put to use to keep the lowboy pointed in the right direction. The fiberglass '32-style dash houses a quintet of Stewart Warner gauges.