There can't be many hot rodders who won't instantly recognize Norm Grabowski's famous Kookie Kar T-bucket, made famous in the TV series 77 Sunset Strip. It set the standard for many T-buckets built since, and has even been replicated in 1:1 scale. When Danbury Mint wanted to produce a precision die-cast metal replica of the car, they went directly to Norm himself, who approved the prototype, personally authenticating the replica.
Authentic down to every detail, topside and underneath, the detail is incredible for a model less than six inches long. Even the skull shifter has been reproduced! The limited-edition replica will only be produced this year, then there'll be no more. For more details contact Danbury Mint at (800) 822-6133 or at www.danburymint.com.
Fast and Wide
With today's increasing trend for getting out there and actually driving our types of cars, it may not have crossed the minds of some who want a nostalgic-looking tire with a wide whitewall that the rubber they choose may not be speed-rated for the speed their car is capable of sustaining for extended periods. Diamond Back Classics is known for their ability to convert radial tires to classic-style tires with many sidewall treatments, and their latest offering is a range of extra-wide whitewall radials based on their AS4 series, which carries the company's highest speed rating.
If a standard 2- or 2-inch whitewall isn't wide enough for your taste or style of car, this could be your answer, as the 235/75R15 for instance, has a sidewall that can take a 3-inch whitewall. With a total of ten 15-inch sizes and some 14-inch (some of which have a 3-inch whitewall) most nostalgia applications are covered. For more information contact Diamond Back Classics at (888) 922-1642 or at www.dbtires.com.
You can paint the doors of those old kitchen cabinets that now adorn your garage all you like, but they're never going to match the metal cabinets you see in race shops and professional rod shops. CTECH Aluminum Cabinets and Carts can help you though, with their new Ultra Line Garage Cabinets. Available in nine standard colors, not only do these cabinets look good, but make for a very efficient garage storage system.
With tool carts integrated in some packages, the cabinets are versatile, and feature CTECH's Motionlatch drawer and door handles, an integrated toe kick base, and radiused edging on closets and the lower part of the wall cabinets. Anyone who's smacked their head on one of these will appreciate this! For more information contact CTECH at (715) 355-8842 or at www.racecabinet.com.
Sport Coupe. Or Sedan. Or Hardtop...
Oh boy, do we wish this had been available when we started our Project '49 Chevy! Art Morrison Enterprises has expanded the availability of its GT-Sport chassis line to include a new design for 1949-54 Chevrolets, encouraged by the success of their GT-Sport frames for Tri-5 Chevys and first generation 'Vettes. Engineered from scratch to provide vastly improved handling, ride and acceleration over a stock chassis, the Morrison GT Sport employs a computer designed IFS with tubular steel control arms and a triangulated 4-bar rear suspension. Adjustable coil-over springs are used, as well as anti-sway bars, front and rear. The exhaust can also be routed through the frame.
As with the previous GT-Sport chassis, it is engineered to be a bolt-on installation and designed to minimize any floor modifications. The OEM body can literally be lifted off the stock frame and attached to the Morrison chassis, which was digitally plotted from an original using a Faro Arm to ensure precise location of all mounting points. The chassis can be configured to accommodate both small- and big-block Chevrolet V-8 engines, as well as LS-series powerplants. A unique transmission mount setup allows use of all popular automatic and stick-shift trannys. For more information contact Art Morrison Enterprises at (800) 929-7188 or at www.artmorrison.com.
Ws for Ys
When Ford Motor Company introduced the Y-block engine in trucks in the mid-Fifties, Ford engineers designed W-style exhaust manifolds to help improve breathing, and hence power and torque. With a distinctive appearance that looks cool in nostalgic rods and customs running Y-blocks, they produce horsepower gains over passenger car manifolds.
Speedway Motors has reproduced Ford's original design using new tooling, employing high nickel-content cast iron, eliminating the chore of sourcing original truck manifolds. Sold in pairs, complete with gaskets and flanges to connect to the exhaust system, you can get 'em by asking for Y-block Tru-Ram Performance Exhaust Manifolds. For more information contact Speedway Motors at (800) 979-0122 or at www.speedwaymotors.com.
An established name in the street rod marketplace, Lokar also has a drag race division that you may not know about, but here's a nifty piece of equipment that also offers some safety advantages; a battery cutout switch that enables electrical power to be turned on or off from the driver's seat. The Direct-Mount kit fits B&M Pro Bandit, Quarter Pro, and Precision Performance Products shifters, while the Vari-Mount kit fits B&M Pro Ratchet, TCI Thunder Stick, TCI Outlaw, TCI Lighting and Hurst Quarter Stick shifters or can be mounted to the floor.
With a red anodized aluminum lever, the kit can work in conjunction with a fire system kill switch, comes with an 8-foot push pull cable as standard, though 6- and 7-foot cables are options, as is a 125 or 300amp Master Power Switch. For more information contact Lokar Performance Products at (877) 469-7440 or at www.lokar.com.
Seen the light?
One of the most popular hot rod headlights has to be the Guide 682-C from the Forties, with the parking lamp mounted on top. While they don't claim it to be a replica, or even mention the Guide light, Juliano's new turn signal lights, which can be added to many early headlights though they are actually designed to fit stock 1935-36 Ford lights, offer a very similar appearance.
The lens is white glass for a vintage look, but when the LED is powered up it illuminates amber, and while the housings are supplied in polished stainless steel, and accent a polished stainless headlight ring, they can also be painted to match your headlights. For more information contact Juliano's at (800) 300-1932 or at www.julianos.com.
Braking technology has improved greatly in the past half-century and we're seeing many of what we still think of as late-models retrofitted with disc brakes these days. Impala Bob's new Force 10 four piston front disc brake kits for 1959-64 full-size Chevys and 1965-68 models--yes these `late-models' are 40 to 50 years old now--offer vast improvements over the old drum brakes.
The four piston caliper distributes the clamping force more evenly over the rotor, increasing braking power, and the vented and slotted rotors improve brake cooling. The Force 10 brake kits feature aluminum calipers which are about half the weight of comparable cast iron calipers, reducing unsprung weight for a better ride quality. Supplied with a clear anodized finish, the calipers can be powder-coated or polished. Also included in the kit are 13x1.125-inch rotors, a 9-inch booster, high performance pads, hoses and hardware. For more information contact Impala Bob's at (800) 467-2527 or at www.impalas.com.
Just Needs Welding...
Whether you're after lakester-style headers, or there simply isn't a specific fit header available to fit your application, Patriot Exhaust Products has introduced a weld-up kit for big- and small-block Chevys. Using 16-gauge mild steel tubing and specially designed tapered collector cones, primary tube applications are available in 1 5/8-inch for the small-block and 1 7/8-inch for the big-block, with a choice of 3- or 4-inch cone diameters.
The kits are designed to utilize under-chassis exhaust systems, and include precision-cut header flanges, pre-bent primary tubes, collector and block-off plates, hook-up flanges, gaskets and hardware. For more information contact Patriot Exhaust Products at (909) 599-5955 or at www.pertronix.com.
On the Bump
There's always a certain amount of creativity, shall we say, that goes on while messing with old cars, especially if you're dealing with a rarity, or simply when there's no replacement part available. Necessity being the mother of invention and all that, adapting parts from other cars can get commonplace, and sometimes can provide immense satisfaction. If that sounds like you, you won't want to hear about Rare Parts Steering and Suspension, as they sell hard-to-find parts for any make and model from 1930 to the present, with over two million parts in stock.
Take these lower control arm bump stops for 1958-60 Lincoln full-size vehicles for instance. Never offered in the aftermarket, or even from Lincoln as spare parts, Rare Parts not only makes them, but improved on the original design to increase the durability by injection molding the rubber around the metal parts, rather than sticking the metal to the surface as per the original. For more information contact Rare Parts at (800) 621-2005 or at www.rareparts.com.
Egge Machine Company has long been the savior for many enthusiasts looking for hard-to-find engine parts and components, casting their own pistons here in the USA from high silicon A-332 aluminum alloy, available for applications from the early 1900s to 1980. Owners of 1964-67 Buick Special, Special Deluxe, LeSabre, Skylark, Special Sport Wagon or Skylark Custom models using the 300 or 340ci V-8 will be pleased to learn Egge offers pistons for these motors with a 9:1 compression ratio.
It may also interest owners of these engines that the Egge pistons for the 1964-67 Buick 225ci V-6 can be substituted in the 300 and 340 to raise the compression to 11:1. Egge also offers 9.5:1 pistons for the V-6, which will also fit a 1965-71 Jeep with a 225ci V-6. Hey, we're full of useful tidbits this month huh? For more information contact Egge Machine Company at (866) 534-3443 or at www.egge.com.
How many times have you guesstimated backspacing and tire height when ordering new wheels and tires for a project, only to find they didn't fit or fouled the fender on full steering lock? If it hasn't happened to you you're lucky, or you spent an hour or so with straight edges and a tape measure working it out! With the trend for ever bigger wheels crammed into increasingly low fenders, it's definitely a problem. Or at least it was, until we found out about the Wheelrite from Percy's High Performance.
The Wheelrite is a measuring tool that allows you to find the correct offset, backspacing, diameter, width and tire profile that will fit your car in a matter of minutes. It'll measure wheels from 6 to more than 11 inches wide, diameters from 15 to 30 inches, and identify 98mm to 130mm or 4-inch to 5-inch stud patterns on four- or five-lug hubs. We removed a front wheel from one of our cars and bolted the Wheelrite on, adjusting it to find the optimum size wheel, then attached the supplied wire to find out what profile tire would fit without fouling the bodywork or chassis or suspension components. The wheel could be turned and the Wheelrite rotated on the hub to check all possible positions. Also supplied are extensions for larger diameters and wider rims. The Wheelrite is available from dealers nationwide, including Summit Racing. For more information contact Percy's High Performance at (888) 737-2970.