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Hand-made hotrod

January 10, 2011
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I spotted this little car in Palo Alto last summer.  The front grill and headlights looked like a 1937 Ford, but the rest of the car looked more like some type of kit car based on a VW chassis.  But it is no kit car!  This whole thing was hand built over the last several years by a gentleman who is in his ninth decade on the planet.  The motor is a Ford V8-60 flathead with a blower, Ford transmission, fed by modern fuel injection and computer controls, wiring, etc.  There is a tube frame chassis, with the motor mounted just behind the driver, and the fuel tank up front under the bonnet.  The body is hand-hammered aluminum, with lines that resemble a fat fendered Ford, but with distinct styling of its own.  Cockpit is spartan, as it should be. 

 

There is a lot of engineering that went into this car, notice that the motor and gearbox are suspended with the rear wheels.  When driving over a bump, they all move as a unit.  Cables link the transmission to the shifter linkage, and there is a quickchange in the transaxle.  Total weight was something less than 2000 pounds, with about a 50/50% front/rear bias.  The builder said that the handling was pretty neutral, but tire grip was an issue.  He hadn’t pushed the car to its limits, and said that at his age he didn’t intend to.

 

(Sorry for the poor quality of the photos, I only had my phone with me that day)

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2011 3:10 pm

    Took me a second to fully appreciate what’s going on. Would like to see it with all trunk and hood closed.

    • January 10, 2011 3:26 pm

      yeah, it looked a bit funky with the lids open, but I couldn’t ask the old man to get out of his lawn chair to close them just for a photo. Cool guy, and old engineer. He had adapted a modern wiring harness, ignition system, computer, everything. After cutting and welding all the stuff on the motor and the frame.

  2. Jim Abbott permalink
    January 10, 2011 4:03 pm

    Pete:
    What a treat!
    Thanks, Jim A., Tucson, AZ

  3. Richard McKenney permalink
    January 14, 2011 3:28 pm

    I don’t suppose the guy wants a 53 year old apprentice does he?
    Where do you go to get a life time of skills like that?
    Awesome!

    Richard

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