"When the article about the car appeared in the September 1951 Hot Rod magazine, the article shows a picture of an engine," Carter says. "It's definitely after the show. [The car] has muddy wheels and the hood is completely off of it. It looks like an 85-horse engine, but when I picked up [the car], it came with a 60. Seeing how that one fit the best of anything-I don't know how they managed to work around an 85-that's the one I used." Just as he had to do with the grille bars, Carter had to reproduce the car's distinctive side pipes. As he pointed out, "The original pipes were rotten, but these are exactly like the originals."

And those aren't the only things just like the originals. Just as Rico built the car in a very compressed time line, Carter had very little time to bring it back from the brink. He bought the car in 1985, but it wasn't until 1998 when he got a call from Show Promotions, the promoter of the Grand National Roadster Show at the time. "They asked if it could be ready for the 50th anniversary," he says.

"Well in my mind, 1950 to 2000 is 50 years, so I said I could get it done. Well they told me that I had my math wrong." The event that we know as the Grand National Roadster Show began in 1950, but the 50th celebration was slated for early 1999, "...and that was only nine months away," Carter says. "I said, 'Yeah, I'll have it ready, but I won't have any more time to talk to you if you want it!"

As if reproducing the time itself, Carter thrashed on the car right up to the moment attendees poured through the doors. "We put the last piece on that car at the show," Carter says. "It was that goofy V-8 hood emblem on the front. Do you know how many different V-8 emblems there are?" he says. "I own a million of 'em and none of 'em fit; all of them are a little bit different shape. I found one at the Turlock swap meet just before the show; I don't know what it is, but it's the right one."

"I guess I'm a bad boy because it still gets driven around locally," he says. "My son-in-law joked that he should take it to the local A&W Show 'n' Shine. I told him 'Just take it.' Yeah right, he thought, but I saw him two weeks ago. He'd taken it and he was in seventh heaven. If something got bent on it, well I straightened it out once so I could do it again. I told him that he'd never be forgiven, but it still wouldn't be the end of the world."

Rod & Custom Feature Car
Carter Fisher
Walnut Grove, California
1923 Ford Model T Roadster

Chassis
We don't know everyone who helped Rico build his roadster's chassis from a pair of stock Model T framerails. They kick up heavily at the rear to mount a highly modified Model T or A rear spring crossmember. When Carter restored the car, he grounded down nubs from several long-lost modifications, including one that unsuccessfully mounted an 85-horse Flathead in the car. The nerf bars are the same ones Rico crafted in 1950.

The front axle under Westergard's car is an ordinary, stock-height '33-36 Ford piece. Between it and the chassis is a pair of hairpins that Rico made from sticks of round tubing and bits and pieces of Ford tie-rod tubing. The hairpins mount to the chassis by Ford tie-rod ends and to the axle by flame-cut bat wings that Westergard welded to the axle. Since he forewent the wishbone and its mounting lugs, Rico welded the spring perches directly to the axle. A pair of very rare Kinmont Safety disc brakes mount to '42-48 spindles.

Rico chose a '37-40 Ford axle to move his car. It still articulates on a torque-tube-a shortened one, at least-but Rico elected to eliminate the radius rods. Instead, he chose to stabilize the axle à la track roadsters: with hairpins that terminate on the same plane as the torque-tube pivot point. He also forewent the flatter rear spring in favor of a high-arched (later) Model T or A leaf pack. Like the front, the rear mounts a set of very rare Kinmont brakes.