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September 11, 2017

FOR SALE: 1939 Ford Convertible — Price Reduced, Owner Motivated

by Dave

“They’re only original once…” It’s that timeworn observation you often hear about an old car, just before someone takes a hacksaw to its roof. In the case of Mark Kaplan’s ’39, you’re gonna want to pay attention.

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September 6, 2017

FOR SALE: 1930 Ford Tudor

by Dave

SOLD!!!

Hot rod guys, upon hearing the word customized, will conjure up images of tail fins, canted headlights, and frenched antennas. But custom work, even when ambitious, can be very subtle. “What’s going on here? Why’s that look so good?” Bob Achterberg’s Model A tudor falls into this second category.

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November 30, 2016

FOR SALE: 1932 Ford Roadster

by Dave

Gary_at speed

When Gary decided to put his roadster up for sale, I started buying lottery tickets. Seriously. This car’s special. It’s one of those remarkable hot rods that an experienced fabricator built for himself. Simple and traditional, it employs original Ford parts throughout. But Gary’s a machinist, so the tolerances in this roadster are more akin to NASA than pre-WWII Detroit. It’s obvious in the fit and finish. But it’s even more evident in the things you can’t see, like the absence of shimmies, shakes or rattles in the suspension, the buttery smooth transmission, the head-jerking performance of the big flathead, and the wonderful road manners.

Gary_03a Gary_02a Gary_04a

The car pulls from idle to over 5000 rpm smoothly and quickly, with no stumble or hesitation. With its 26 tooth Lincoln Zephyr trans and 3.54 ring and pinion you can easily hit 60 in first gear, 80 in second, and outlaw status in third.
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November 1, 2016

Personal Projects – A louvered hood for Gary’s roadster

by Dave

GARY_MAGAZINE
Many of you saw Michael Dobrin’s article on Gary’s roadster in Hot Rod Deluxe magazine. We spent the day with photographer Tim Sutton who snapped this at-speed photo spread laying in the bed of my truck as I raced along next to Gary on the street in front of the shop.
At the time, Gary wasn’t running a hood. He had a full hood for the car, but felt it would be a shame to cover up that handsome flathead. Maybe a hood top would be in order. Louvers were already an element in the car’s traditional character – there are a hundred in the deck lid – so they’d be a factor in the design of this project, too.
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October 4, 2016

Flatheads Liven Up Palo Alto Concours d’Elegance

by Dave

Old hot rods, especially if they have any notoriety, are the trendy new marque on the lawns of concours d’elegance events. We know they’re bitchen, but does recognition from the blue-blazer crowd add to anything to their cool factor? It really doesn’t matter. In the end, we’re all just car guys and an event like Palo Alto provides us an opportunity to ogle machinery we don’t often get to see. (We were also treated to a free lunch and beer).

While many concours cars travel in trailers, our crew opted to meet at oh-dawn-thirty and drive to the show. That’s Gary’s roadster, Jesse Nichol’s Clay Slaughter-built pick-up, and Dave Wilkerson’s ’39 woodie.
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September 5, 2016

Installing a Pines Winterfront Grille on a 1932 Ford Vicky

by Dave

From fuzzy dice and dummy spots to license plate toppers and laminated dash knobs, accessories have always helped define a car. Unfortunately, some don’t know when to stop. It can turn an otherwise cool car into a rolling curio cabinet.

Then there are guys like Don Triolo. His cars are so subtle that it’s easy to walk right by ‘em. The exquisite craftsmanship, the perfect stance, the flawless finishes; they’re all lost on the unwashed masses. But we know, don’t we? His cars stop us dead in our tracks.

Don’s ’32 Vicky was no exception, and when it rolled into our shop it was sporting just two accessories: a vintage rearview mirror-clock, and a set of original Lions wire wheel covers. When Ford introduced its steel disk wheel in 1936, millions of ’35 and older Ford wire wheels instantly became old hat. For a few bucks, a fellow could walk into Western Auto, buy a set of Lions caps, mount ‘em over his spokes, and be totally current. If they look familiar, it’s because you’ve seen them on the Roy Brizio-restored Vic Edelbrock deuce roadster. They’re ultra-rare, and they’re really handsome.
            Don had a third accessory he wanted us to install on his Vicky: a Pines Winterfront grille insert. These inserts feature vertical vanes that can be opened and closed with a control knob mounted under the dash. In cold weather they’re closed to keep your flathead warm and comfortable. When it’s hot, they’re opened to allow free air flow to the radiator. Also extremely rare, they’re the holy grail of Deuce accessories — and they’re priced accordingly.

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April 5, 2016

Top Chop: Model A Ford Coupe

by Dave

Adam Barton is a Santa Cruz-based tattoo artist. Extremely talented, he travels the world in pursuit of his craft. He’s also a hot rodder who has owned an impressive succession of traditionally-styled cars. His latest is this full-fendered, flathead-powered ’31 Ford coupe. Adam, screen name xadamx, is a regular contributor to the HAMB. When he first posted photos of his new coupe, he also posed the question “should I chop it?” An overwhelming majority of the respondents cried “leave it alone!” Conformity and herd mentality are obviously not part of his character, so Adam, true to his hot rod roots, launched plans for a haircut.

In our humble opinion, four inches is the ideal chop for these coupes. Any more and the car gets cartoony: the corners of the quarter windows loose their graceful flow, and the proportions begin to look squashed. Any less just isn’t worth all the work. Read more…

April 1, 2016

Top Chop II: Model A Ford Coupe

by Dave

In our last post, we’d finished the cuts to Adam’s  coupe, freed the top, then temporarily set it back on for a sneak peek at its new profile. We’d put some effort into the layout of our cuts, so the sheet metal came down square and required very little trimming.

Hot rod folklore says Model A chops are easy: just cut ‘em, set the top back down, and weld it all together. Right. Read more…

March 5, 2016

1932 Ford Roadster: Engine Swap

by Dave

Quint Meland likes big motors. While his high school peers in Southern California were still messing around with flatheads, Quint dropped a 303 inch Olds V8 in his Model A roadster and went racing. Extremely successful, even as a young gun, his drag racing strategy was brilliantly simple: find out where the big name guys were running — and go somewhere else.

Quint_5.19_1As a pilot in Viet Nam and later with TWA, Quint went on to run bigger engines, but his love of hot rods never let up. Several years ago he acquired the Phil Cool 1978 AMBR roadster. Running a blown L-88,  this landmark car was famous for putting the “hot” back in hot rod. It ended a run of silly, over-the-top show cars that had dominated the Grand National Roadster Show for a decade.
PhilCool
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March 1, 2016

1932 Ford Roadster Engine Swap Part 2

by Dave

Quint Meland’s new Deuce roadster is a tribute, although somewhat more civilized, to the Model A he raced in high school. The car arrived at our shop with a 351 Cleveland motor and a C4 trans. Our first task was to swap in a big 400 inch Oldsmobile and Turbo 400 Quint had built at Mondello Performance. It took a lot of shoehorning, you can see photos here

When we left off, Gary had started to build the headers. A key part of the tribute, Gary was able to capture the look of the original roadster’s headers, but at a level of craftsmanship appropriate to the new build.
Quint2_2 Quint2_3 Read more…

February 13, 2016

1932 Ford Roadster: New hot rod in the shop

by Dave

For months we’ve been looking forward to the arrival of Todd Anderson’s roadster. The chassis was built and the body assembled by Erik Hansson in Huntington Beach, using an impressive collection of original Deuce parts Todd has patiently gathered over the years. Our job will be to finish the car.

Obviously, the work is just getting underway – the first punch list is already three pages long — but we’ve got a full head of steam and we’ve completed work on the exhaust, fuel system and steering. Click here, we’ve posted a bunch of recent photos: Read more…

February 11, 2016

1932 Ford Roadster Part II: Headlights and more

by Dave

Occasionally we get up off the concrete and out from underneath these cars. A man needs a little perspective, something more worldly than the weekly car-guy caffine-fest at our local Starbucks. Gary spent a few weeks in Amsterdam and Paris, and I took off for Hawaii for some wetsuit-free recreation. The warm, balmy water worked wonders on the kinks I’d accumulated climbing under these hot rods and woodies.

In spite of the time away, we’ve made progress on Todd Anderson’s Deuce roadster. Before heading off to the GoodGuys West Coast Nationals this weekend, I thought I’d share some photos.

In our last post, we’d started on the exhaust and steering. We’ve also added an under-floor box for the fuse panel, mounted the battery, and built a set of floorboards.


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February 9, 2016

1932 Ford Roadster Part III: Progess Continues

by Dave

In our last post we’d tacked together the headlight bar, then left for a couple days to attend the GoodGuy’s West Coast Nationals. Upon returning to the shop, we still liked the headlight placement, so with Todd’s blessing, Gary welded it up and ground it smooth.

We made another little change at the same time, and it made a big difference.  When Todd’s roadster first arrived, we just weren’t feeling the front-wheel-and-brake-drum set-up. We felt there was too much drum exposed, so we swapped the 4 inch wide Coker wheels for a pair of 4 ½ inch wide OEM Ford truck wheels. Check the new wheel and brake combo in the photo below versus the earlier photo below that. An extra half inch of cover made all the difference.

When the car arrived there were also issues with the front suspension. Read more…

February 7, 2016

1932 Ford Roadster Part IV: Off to the Paint Shop

by Dave

Most hot rod guys have the “vision thing.” Before ever picking up a wrench they’ve built their car in their heads. Proportion, stance, wheels and tires, engine and trans, suspension, brakes, color; it’s all been sorted out, over and over, in their daydreams.

For some, there’s an additional component to these fantasies: windshield time. We imagine being in the pilot’s seat, blasting down the road. We imagine how the car will handle, how it will sound, how we’ll feel peering out that chopped windshield.

For me, this woolgathering always seems to take place on Highway 101 through the southern end of the Salinas Valley. The wind is at my back, the road is free of traffic, the vistas are big, the sky is bigger. Our customer Todd Anderson has the same dream, but his takes place on the road to Bonneville. He’s mentioned it several times. We now have him well on his way.

Todd’s roadster went onto a trailer and off to paint a few days ago, but not before a number of details were wrapped up. We thought you might like to see photos. Read more…

February 5, 2016

1932 Ford Roadster: Back from the Paint Shop, Final Assembly

by Dave

Todd Anderson’s chassis is back from the painter. It’s a bitchen shade of dark blue, one of those cools colors that somehow looks vintage and hip at the same time. The axle, bones, backing plates, banjo, etc are all an off-gloss black. The black-and-blue theme led Gary to dub it The Bruiser. An apt name considering the number of times I’ve busted my shins on the frame horns and spindles as I stumble around the shop.
'32 Chassis Front
'32 Chassis Rear

While vintage in appearance and style, the roadster’s traditional components are modern in manufacture. The flathead motor is French, built of new materials with modern tooling in the early 90’s. The heads, intake, carbs and headers are all traditional parts, but also brand new. Read more…