Rod & Custom Feature Car
1927 Ford "Navarro" Roadster
Barney and Tom Beatty built the car on a Willys Overland frame, cut up sufficiently and fortified with tubular crossmembers. The chassis loops over the driver by way of a four-point rollbar and the steering box mounts in a similar loop inside the cowl. Eric Sanders restored the chassis.
It appears that Navarro and Beatty used a '33-34 front axle, spring, Houdaille dampers, and a split wishbone. The spring fastens behind the axle to the bottom of the wishbone. A Franklin steering box mounts to the loop in the cowl. Navarro's car still has '46 Ford spindles.
Like the front, the rear axle is '33-34 vintage, only it sports a Halibrand quick-change centersection, a 4.11:1 ring-and-pinion, and a Model A or T spring. They had to shorten the radius rods to make their pivot points align with the driveshaft pivot.
Scott said he has all the parts to de-stroke an engine to 176 cubes, including the Moldex 180-degree, 3-inch-stroke billet crankshaft, Cunningham connecting rods, Jahns Racing pistons, and a billet camshaft ground to Winfield SU1A specs, however, for the time being the engine in the car has close-to-stock displacement. The present engine wears Navarro Marine finned aluminum heads, a Navarro blower manifold with a GMC 3-71 supercharger, a Navarro V-belt blower drive, and a Harman-Collins magneto. Bob Coutts replicated the 4x2 intake manifold. It wears Holley 94s.
Though it's non-synchromesh, the '37 Ford gearbox Navarro used has the same improved case as the '39 passenger car's.
Wheels & Tires
According to Scott, Navarro preferred 6.00-16 tires. "He said he could buy 'em all day for $5 apiece." The current ones are Goodyear street treads and JC Penny-brand block-tread and they mount to '40-48 Ford 16x4.5 wheels. They in turn bolt to '46 Ford drums and their attendant hydraulic-actuated backing plates.
Body & Paint
Typical for most circle-track cars, this body's cowl has been trimmed back all the way to the dash lip. Navarro welded the doors shut and enlarged the turtle deck opening for greater access. He replaced the cockpit lip with rigid conduit and extended the opening into the tulip panel to accommodate the single seat (Navarro was tall and the engine setback is significant). Art Ingels crafted the aluminum turtle-deck lid, belly pan, hood, and nose. Naturally the hood extends rearward to cover the removed cowl section. Eric Sanders, from Eugene, Oregon, replaced the lower-most 2 inches of the car's body and a fair bit of its conduit interior structure. Portland's Dale Withers sprayed the car a single-stage, acrylic-enamel version of '40-48 Ford Monsoon Maroon.
The centerpiece to the car's interior is the real B-17 bomber seat. Mounted to the Franklin steering box ahead of it is a reproduction Bell Auto Parts steering wheel made by Antique Auto Parts in Rosemead. The big aluminum firewall is a by-product of the engine setback. It mounts a 3 3/8-inch Stewart-Warner 8,000-rpm tachometer, an aircraft manifold-pressure gauge, and Industrial-series 2 5/8-inch water temperature and oil-pressure gauges. The hand pump to pressurize the fuel tank features its own Stewart-Warner Industrial-series low-pressure gauge.
A '39 Tudor, The Way It "Would'a ... Should'a" Looked
Long forgotten are many of the vehicles "behind" the various race cars that became famous in the early days out on the dry lakes, the asphalt/cement quarter-miles, and of course, the salt. The push cars, without which, many of the well-known wouldn't be as, well, known. While the act of push starting doesn't necessarily require what it takes for a competitive vehicle to set records, that act is but just a part of what is required from them-more often than not, they also towed the race car to and fro, not to mention all the around-town miles racked up chasing parts before, after, and occasionally during the races. Suffice it to say, the venerable pusher was a viable member of most any race team.
That's exactly what Mike Herman wanted to achieve with his '39 Ford Tudor-except that this particular standard sedan never was such a vehicle to begin with. Not a problem, really, as Herman is not only an engine builder by trade, but a re-builder of "vintage" mills at that-the very same ones that could'a been and would'a been found in the very same race cars that his '39 might've pushed to glory. Flathead Ford V-8s, obviously, but more precisely, Navarro-equipped Flatheads, no less-as if the preceding piece on Barney Navarro's T-lakester wasn't already an indication of where this was headed.
Mike is indeed part of the Herman family lineage that has been a vital component in keeping the "roots" of early landspeed racing alive and well for the last three-plus decades. Along with Jeff Twitchell's Hot Rod Service Company (Campbell, California), H&H Flatheads not only breathed new life into this once dilapidated Tudor, as with the Navarro T, they did so with blower-type force ... of course the kind only a S.Co.T. centrifugal supercharger could generate.
Rod & Custom Feature Car
LA Crescenta, California
1939 Ford Standard Tudor
Hot Rod Service Company in Campbell, California, updated the '39 with juice brakes (including '39 Lincoln backing plates), split front wishbone locating a 4-inch dropped axle with a Posies spring, and a 9-inch rearend with a parallel leaf conversion. Stock X-member has been modified to accept a Borg-Warner T-5.
H&H's specialty is, of course, hi-po Flatheads, which is just what the engine builder's personal car received. The mill in the '39 is circa 1948, but the current displacement of 284 ci is not of stock specs-neither are the Navarro heads and cam, S.Co.T. blower (with a pair of Demon 98s atop), nor the MSD R-T-R electronic ignition. As mentioned, transmission of choice is of the T-5 variety; rearend is a narrowed Ford 9 inch.
Wheels & Tires
Replacing the previous 16-inch rolling stock are Coker radial whitewall-clad 15-inch Gennie steel wheels and caps from Wheel Vintiques.
Body & Paint
The body was left "as-was". And with the exception of a wood-plank pusher replacing the stock front bumper, cut-out hood sides, and custom exhaust tip protrusions, the exterior is all stock as well.
On the inside, all sheetmetal panels were updated with new paint, gauges converted to electronic by Classic Instruments, and San Jose's Finish Line redid the upholstery in stock form using Taupe-colored mohair. The '39 was rewired by Hot Rod Service Company using an E-Z Wiring harness.