You know what they say about not changing direction halfway through a project? Well, we’ve heard it too, but, as usual, decided to ignore that sage advice. This time, however, we’ve gone off at a significantly greater tangent than usual. My Modified project started as a simple, fun, occasional build of a little hot rod for street use. Strap an oval steel gas tank behind the front half of a phaeton body, add early Ford brakes and simple running gear, and so on. All that remains of that plan now is the fun part.

Ever since I went to Bonneville in 2008 I’d had a half-cocked idea in the back of my head to one day build a dual-purpose street/race car. Sure it’s been done before, no groundbreaking idea, but I couldn’t shake it. Plus I have two small-block Chevy-powered cars already, so why not do something a little different? The result was a total change of direction for the Modified, which now isn’t … a Modified that is. The SCTA (Southern California Timing Association, the governing body for Bonneville as well as California dry lakes meetings) rules state that any body used on a race car has to be complete—meaning no phaeton front halves.

So, … it’ll now be a Model A roadster pickup with a full-length bed, as required by the rules. It will retain the stretched wheelbase chassis I’ve built up to this point, but the other big change will be forward of the body. No longer is a small-block destined to live there, but the firewall has moved back to its stock position, and a Ford 2.0L Zetec DOHC four-banger will call it home. Presently it still has the factory injection in place, though this may change down the road. Maybe carburetors, or maybe the injection will be accompanied by a turbo. We’ll see.

Gone are the plans to keep it totally traditional, too. No longer will early Ford brakes mount at each corner, rather, by Wilwood discs. I had a hard time talking myself into this decision, but ultimately realized modern discs were the sensible option at the speeds I’d like to eventually reach. Besides, a permanent rollcage isn’t exactly traditional now is it? It seems everyone who sets out to build a Bonneville car says they’re not doing it to set any records, but in my case, with the engine I’ve chosen, that isn’t likely anyway, at least not immediately. But I’m determined it’s going to be fun.

We’re going to bring you this project buildup in a slightly different manner than usual. Rather than, say, a brake install one month, or axle install the next, we’ll sometimes be jumping around and showing you what we’ve accomplished between publishing deadlines, because things have to be done in a certain order. No longer is this an occasional project; I want this one up and running in short order. So let’s get started, shall we?

First though, and I can’t stress this enough, if you’re tempted to do something similar, obtain and read—several times—the SCTA rule book. Even seemingly small items, such as the thickness of the firewall, have specifications, and if your car doesn’t pass its tech inspection, you ain’t racing. Simple as that. If you want to race, build it within the rules. I’d personally bob the pickup bed, but I can’t. Them’s the rules.

SOURCE
Kugel Komponents
La Habra
CA
562-691-7006
http://www.kugelkomponents.com
Nostalgia Speed & Cycle
714-744-4597
www.nostalgiaspeedandcycle.com
Speedway Motors
340 Victory Lane
Lincoln
ME  68528
800-979-0122
http://www.speedwaymotors.com
Wilwood Brakes
4700 Calle Bolero
Camarillo
CA  93012
805-388-1188
www.wilwood.com
Borgeson Universal
91 Technology Park Drive
Torrington
CT  06790
860-482-8283
https://www.borgeson.com