Last month’s Spokes & Solids run included a visit to Don Orosco’s Monterey Speed & Sport, home of one of the most celebrated hot rods ever, the Dick Flint Roadster. By serendipity, we may have been the last group of homegrown hot rodders to get up close to it. In November the little red Model A will be crossing the block at an auction to be held in that notorious bad boy barrio: New York City’s Upper Eastside. Hopefully the car won’t disappear into some mega-collector’s underground bunker somewhere; or worse, roll into a shipping container and vanish overseas.
Flint’s roadster appeared on multiple 1950’s magazine covers, ran at El Mirage, and after a no-holds-barred restoration by Olle Eriksson and Jesse Cruz at Orosco’s shop, won its class at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
A WWII Navy veteran and member of the Glendale Sidewinders, Flint returned after the war and went to work at Alex Xydias’s So-Cal Speed Shop. He soon began assembling the parts and pieces for a hot rod he’d been building in his imagination throughout the long war years. He started by buying three junk Model A roadster bodies. From these he assembled one good one, channeled it over a Z’d frame, and took it to Neil Emory at Valley Custom in Burbank where together they worked out plans for the build. The body was shaved, the seams filled, the quarters smoothed, and the signature track roadster nose, grille and nerf bars were fabricated. Later, Dean Batchelor fit a full, five-piece bellypan.
Flint assembled a robust 286 inch ‘40 Mercury flathead for the car. It ran a Winfield Super 1A cam, Johnson lifters, a Fleischmann ignition, block-letter Edelbrock heads, and three 97s on an Edelbrock manifold — all backed by a ’39 box with Zephyr gears. At El Mirage, in the summer of 1950, Flint was clocked at 143.54 MPH.
The car went through a number of hands over the years before winding up at Don Orsco’s. Flint sold the car in 1961 for $2500. The folks at RM/Sotheby’s set a pre-auction estimate at $700,000 to $900,000. Not bad for an old Ford hot rod. You can find a comprehensive history in the summer 2001 issue of The Rodder’s Journal. The photos here were poached from a cool little website for fans of traditional cars called Hot Rod Disorder.