Randy Graham writes that we might get a kick out of seeing a World War II–era hot rod. You bet we did! Seems a friend of his father enlisted in the Army Air Force in 1943, and at the time owned a Model A roadster with no front fenders, and a milled head on the souped-up four-banger. So, while at aviation mechanics training in California in 1944 he was impressed enough with this ’32 that he took a picture of it and recorded the information on the back.
It may be a ’32 Ford roadster body, but with the exception of a ’36 front axle and spring, there’s nothing else from the Blue Oval on this car. Seems it had a ’38 Buick Century engine, trans, and rearend, all mounted in a ’34 Chevy Master frame, with Buick front hubs and wheels. It ran hydraulic brakes all round, and coil springs in the rear, and apparently had been “clocked” at 118 mph. Anyone know any more about this unusual roadster?
This Shoebox was Ralph Barret’s first car, bought for $775 in 1960. The ’51 needed a lot of help, but three years later it looked pretty good, with a rebuilt engine from Sears, dual exhausts, traction bars, and a floor shift. Ralph added a rolled pan to the rear with nerf bars, and a custom grille with a ’49 Plymouth bumper in front. He had it painted ’63 Chevy Monaco Blue, then after a couple of years on the road, traded it for a Chrysler Hemi engine to put in his first Model A coupe. He still likes those Model A’s, now driving a chopped-and-raked ’29 sedan.
Jim Bishop bought this Willys pickup in 1998, having to remove a small tree that was growing through the frame before he could load it onto his trailer. It was completely disassembled, but he placed all the body parts in their correct places for the trip home and roped it all down. The “before” picture shows how it looked when unloaded back at Jim’s place.
Working on it between other projects, it is now done except for final bodywork, paint, and the interior, though that hasn’t stopped him from taking it to shows for the past two years in flat black. It’s certainly not a high-priced catalog car, using the frame and drivetrain from a ’70 Galaxie. Jim shortened and narrowed the frame, and used the stock front suspension, complete with disc brakes and power steering, though Currie Enterprises narrowed the 9-inch rearend.
The engine is an old race motor Jim built in 1985, a 462 big-block Chevy from a 427 truck. It uses 0.400 long Carrillo rods, 13:1 Speed Pro pistons, GM rectangular-port aluminum heads, and an old TR2 Edelbrock tunnel ram with 660 Holley center squirters. Apparently he does drive it on the street, but it only gets 1 or 2 mpg!
The body was cut in half and extended 15 inches, with a new cab-side window added. Mercedes-Benz E-Class headlights and honeycomb grille halves out of an ’02 F-150 grille now complete the front end, while the bed is home-fabricated from 10-gauge with the original stake pockets. The ’99 Corvette taillights and two 4-inch center exhausts, a la Corvette, now adorn the rear. The home-fabricated ceramic-coated fenderwell headers can be uncorked with cutouts in the front fenders just in front of the suicide cab doors. Jim says he will never do that again, as the doors took too long to get to work correctly. Halibrand wheels front and rear wear Mickey Thompsom 29x18.5 and BFGoodrich rubber, respectively. Jim reports, “It’s a fun truck to drive, though I’ve never been past half throttle with this combination. It’s too much motor for this chassis.”
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