Evidence suggests that the only engine that ever worked properly in Rico's old car was a Ford V-8-60, which isn't necessarily out of line considering the engine's popularity among midget racers of the time. Custom headers and Eddie Meyer heads withstanding, this one's stone stock and sufficient means for motivation, Carter says. He also fudged the rules a bit with the alternator, but that's just fine so long as he drives it.

Wheels & Tires
There really weren't many wheels to choose from when Rico built his car, so it's a good thing that 16x4 1/2 Ford wheels were works of art. These wear a set of 6.00-16 and 7.00-16 Firestone Deluxe Champions, '41 Ford caps, smooth trim rings, and pinstriping not much different from what was on the wheels later on in '51.

Body & Paint
Famed panel beater Harry Westergard crafted the nose, hood, and bellypan. He also shaved the driver-side door bead, welded the passenger-side door shut and eliminated its bead too, and molded the cowl top to the body, eliminating its bead in the process. When Carter restored the car he had to pretty much reconstruct the bellypan from a dozen or so cracked pieces. He also repaired the damage the car endured over the years in the hands of feckless teenagers-including him. He repainted the body Matador Red, although early photos of the car suggest it was probably a proto-metallic poly color.

About the only thing Carter didn't do was the interior. He built the forms and seat parts then farmed out the trim work to Dante's Modern Auto Top Shop. Carter gleaned some ideas from a barely legible photo of the car, which Dante's rendered in plain black vinyl. Though the car originally wore a set of Stewart-Warner gauges-likely Industrial Series-an impending deadline and shrinking budget dictated that Carter use later VDO dials. No worries, though: Carter still has the old gauges and says he intends to reunite them with the car after having them restored.