Rod & Custom Feature Car
Mark & Heather Murray
1932 Ford Roadster Pickup
ChassisAs the company's name implies, Pyramid Automotive Engineering goes a few steps beyond merely tacking together chassis. Proprietor John Barbero started with a set of 3-inch-longer 'rails, and by stretching the wheelbase 6 inches he didn't have to sacrifice any precious cockpit space to accommodate the big Olds. At the front, there are Magnum spindles and a drilled axle, Deuce Factory stainless batwings, Pete & Jake's shocks, and a Vega-style cross-steer setup. The nose is extra low on account of the Model A-style crossmember. Bringing up the rear is a Winters quick-change center assembled with plug-in axles by Hot Rod Works in Nampa, Idaho. It's pinned to the chassis by a pair of Pete & Jake's ladder bars and Aldan Eagle coilovers. John scratch-built the tubular middle and rear crossmembers. The front brakes are Deuce Manufacturing discs shrouded in false shells; the rears are late Ford 11-inch drums.
DrivetrainPainted gold to reflect its Golden Rocket status, this Olds started as a vaunted 371ci J-2, but an eighth-inch overbore by Seattle's Action Auto Machine Shop means it measures more like 390 inches nowadays. The manifold is a light-metal Offy, and the 2G Rochesters came from Automotion, but that doesn't mean this engine's a fraud; it's a real J-2, the factory-delivered mill that wore triple induction for 1957 and 1958, exclusively. This one's dimpled rocker covers bear testament to adjustable rockers, requirements for GM-delivered solid-tappet cams. O'Brien Truckers reproduced the Edmunds filter housings; Powermaster supplied the alternator in generator clothes. As it would've had in the day, this engine sports a Wilcap adapter; however, the transmission is a modern five-speed Tremec TKO. Sprouting from this one is a LimeWorks stalk and a Norm Grabowski skull shift knob. Mark's initial plan included hood sides, but the particular clutch linkage Pyramid used precluded conventional headers. Instead, So-Cal Speed Engineering's Rick Carlyle pieced together lakes-style pipes out of Circle City Hot Rods flanges, mandrel bends, and megaphones. Short baffles in the megaphone ends go a long way to prevent headaches.
Wheels & TiresThough they're reminiscent of Ted Halibrand's cast alloys, the 15x6 and 16x7 Wheel Vintiques Lakester wheels are in fact billet. Vowing to never run a conventional radial ("I just don't like the way those things look," Mark told us), the wheels wear Coker Excelsior Comp V 5.60-15 and 7.50-16 tires, hides originally intended for the vintage racing market. They're bias-ply, but they're nothing like garden-variety maypops meant for grandpa's Lincoln.
Body & PaintKenny Gilmour shaved the door handles and eliminated the cowl bump and vent to accommodate one of Cam Grant's Du Vall windshields. He also removed the feet from the flat-style Brookville firewall, and he eliminated the secondary lip from the firewall's leading edge, since the aluminum hood top doesn't require as substantial a footing as a full hood. The bed started as a Brookville-supplied reproduction, but Kenny massaged it considerably to fit this highboy application. He's also responsible for relocating the wheel reveals in the bedsides. Wilson Johnson and Earl Heyrend straightened and shot the car in the PPG-mixed British Racing Green. Leading the car is a pair of ultra-rare non-marker Electroline headlights made famous on LaFrance fire trucks for a period. These headlights became incredibly popular for their handsome Deco design. Trailing them are '37 passenger-car taillights sunk into the bed-to-frame garnish. Seattle's Show Quality Metal Finishing plated all the brightwork.
InteriorDue to the unique engine/transmission shape, Kenny dispensed of the stock floors and replaced them with hand-fabricated panels. Steve Skuhra removed the stock dash and cowl lip to integrate the '33-34 passenger-car dash. MoMa Manufacturing restored the '38 gauges and recalibrated them to more contemporary specs. The temperature reads up to 250 Fahrenheit, the oil pressure to 80 psi, and the speedo to an ambitious 150 mph, and there's a voltmeter in place of the old (and risky) ammeter. The company also refaced a Sunpro tachometer to match the other gauges. Frank Wallic's reproduction bomber seats are based on buckets made for WWII-era Fairchild trainers that have been proportioned to fit better in cars. They are perfectly comfortable with the simplest base inserts, and uncannily comfortable with the padded seat backs and thigh-supporting seat bases Paul Reichlin (Cedardale Auto Upholstery) made for them. Following the historic theme, Paul created extra-wide pleats and gave the beaded door panels useful pockets. The steering column is an interpretation of a '37-39 unit by LimeWorks Speed Shop, and the Bell-style steering wheel is a reproduction made by Specialty Ford Parts and sold by LimeWorks. Paul trimmed the seats, panels, and steering wheel rim in distressed leather and the floors in oatmeal-colored German square-weave carpet. The drilled and chromed Pete & Jake's pedals are pure hot rod, but the dimpled-aluminum pedal pads, on the other hand, go way back in road racing. The waffle-pattern panels Paul incorporated into the carpet, door panels, and kick panels to protect the materials at wear points are similarly grounded in sports-car practice.
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