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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…

February 3, 2016

1932 Ford Roadster: Body Drop

by Dave

It was a banner day for Todd Anderson’s blue Deuce. In our last post, we’d just brought his freshly-painted chassis back to the shop for final assembly. Today we hauled the completed chassis back to the painter to be reunited it with its deep blue body.Deuce Chassis 1
Onto the Trailer

In our last update we posted photos of the taller rear spring we had made. The original spring that came with the rolling chassis had the roadster sitting too low in the rear. Instead of a hot rod stance, the car was a bit of a tail dragger. Here’s the banjo and new spring pack installed, along with the fuel and brake lines. We’re looking forward to seeing a big improvement in the stance, once the body is bolted back in place.
Banjo Brake Lines

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February 1, 2016

1932 Ford Roadster: Buttoned Up and Running

by Dave

Todd Anderson drops by the shop almost daily now. As we wrap up the build on his roadster he’s begun to share with us his plans for the car: A trip north to Fort Bragg in memory of his wife. A visit to Jerry Helwig’s family — Todd’s motor was the last Jerry built before his passing. Plus a long anticipated pilgrimage to Bonneville with a posse of old friends. It’s all very soulful stuff, this little roadster will be in good hands.
Deuce Front 3:4

If you’ve been following the car’s progress, you know the parts and pieces Todd brought us were pretty soulful, too. A Deuce heavy axle with an inch and a half “Gentleman’s Drop,” an original grille shell and headlights, a beefy 3.54 banjo built by the Smith brothers out in Nampa, Idaho, and the aforementioned Helwig-built French flathead. Todd likes that traditional early postwar styling, and we do, too.
Deuce Side ViewDeuce Rear 3:4

We’ve covered the flathead in previous posts but here’s another peek. The 25 louver hood, even when closed, gives you a pretty good view of the polished and detailed engine. Side pipes are stainless, straight-thru, and feature just enough baffling to keep the neighbors at bay. Read more…

January 17, 2016

International Visitors; plus Todd’s Deuce Get An Interior

by Dave


This hot rod affliction has turned into a worldwide plague. In the last couple of years we’ve been fortunate enough to work with customers from Australia, New Zealand and France – and they’re all building cars that are as cool and traditional as anything you see here. Yesterday we were honored to have a visitor from Japan. Masanori Kimura is a talented fabricator and photographer. His quarterly publication, Frontend Magazine, has been on the newsstands for six years. Loaded with eye candy, it chronicles the traditional hot rod, chopper, and custom culture worlds. Masa dropped by with his “interpreter” Yuri, an absolutely delightful Japanese student from Santa Monica.

Yuri apologized profusely for her inability to translate car-guy and fabricator lingo for us, but it was no problem. Those were the words and phrases Masa fully understood.

We hung around the shop, Masa took a bunch of photos, and we took them to lunch down at the beach in our own cars. By coincidence, Todd Anderson showed up with his newly upholstered roadster just as we arrived back at the shop.
Roadster Line Up

Sid Chavers did the work on Todd’s car. Sid fully insulated the body, then stitched the interior and trunk and capped it off with one of his Bop Tops. The interior is simple and traditional, and like everything that comes out of Sid’s shop, the craftsmanship was flawless. Needless to say, Todd is stoked.
Read more…

January 15, 2016

Burger Run

by Dave

Todd Anderson’s roadster was in the shop today for some post delivery dial-in. We torqued the heads, changed the oil – and raised the tail end up another inch. While seemingly insignificant, this inch was what Todd’s car needed to sit just right. To do it, Gary had to mill out a new pair of spring plates. You can see that inch in the second photo; the original plate is on top, the new one just below it.

Todd has a friend named Tony Vida who hadn’t seen Todd’s finished car, so Todd asked if he could bring him by the shop. They’d be coming over in Tony’s Deuce roadster; “a car,” Todd hinted, “that we might like to check out.” Mr. Understatement.

Todd and Tony arrived, we BS’d in the shop for a bit, then went out to the curb to see Tony’s car. Here’s what we found:
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May 23, 2015

FOR SALE: ’28 Roadster Pick-up

by Dave

1928 RPU_1

I’ve been working on my dad’s ’29 roadster — which means when its done I’ll have two open cars in the stable; that’s two open cars and no coupes. In spite of the incredible winters we’ve been enjoying, it still makes sense to have a closed car in Northern California. So something has to go….  For family reasons, it can’t be my dad’s. It’s got to be my roadster pick-up.


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May 20, 2015

FOR SALE: 600 HP ’65 Cobra

by Dave

1Quint_Front 3-4

Quint Meland is a friend of ours, we put a 400 inch Olds in his roadster awhile back. When he decided to put his Cobra up for sale, we offered to post some pics.

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May 15, 2015

1941 Ford Pickup: Wiring and More

by Dave


Our good friend Marc Kaplan has three pick-ups underway. They’re all totally different and all totally bitchen — but I’m not sure whether to envy him or write him off as certifiably nuts. To take some of the load off his plate, he decided to bring his ’41 Ford into us for wiring.

It’s a cool truck, and well on its way to completion. The paint, a darkened shade of Ford’s Cloud Mist Grey, is brand new and beautiful — but would present a challenge on a number of levels. It would have to be protected, and it would keep us from welding or mounting anything to the firewall. For this reason we opted to mount the fuse panel and accompanying relays and electrical components under the seat. We began by drawing up a wiring diagram specifically for the project.
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May 10, 2015

FOR SALE: Original 1964-Built All Steel Hot Rod Roadster Pick-up

by Dave


Our friend Marc (’41 Ford Pick-up) uncovered this little gem a couple of years back and instantly fell in love. It comes from a time before the widespread availability of low cost fiberglass-bodied T-bucket “kits.” Originally built in 1964 by Kurt Neilsen of Campbell, CA, it features an original ‘27 Model T roadster pick-up body and cut down Model A bed channeled over a modified Model A chassis. Kurt chose the ’27 body because it offered a little more room than the earlier T’s often used in these builds. A ’57 Ford donated its running gear – a 292 inch V8, three speed trans, and positraction rear end. The beefy nine inch is still in the car.


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May 7, 2015

FOR SALE: Flathead Intake Package — Tattersfield, Thickstun and Stromberg 97’s

by Dave

Intake_1I know a handful of you old guys are into traditional flathead motivation so here’s a bit of real-deal jewelry that may be of interest. This is a complete intake/carb/air cleaner package that came off Gary’s Deuce roadster. Tattersfield + Thickstun + Stromberg. These are all original hard-to-find pieces, not re-pops, and they’re in excellent condition. Here are the details: Read more…

May 5, 2015

FOR SALE: Evans Super Dual Flathead Intake Manifold

by Dave


If you’re the kind of guy that found your way to our website, you probably don’t need to be told who Earl Evans was. Evans was the compete hot rodder. He designed his own speed equipment. He made his own patterns, did his own castings and then machined them himself. Using his own products, Evans assembled his own engines, then dropped them into cars which he drove to record-breaking speeds. Read more…

May 3, 2015

’42 Mercury Woodie: Driveline Rebuild

by Dave

Woodie in the house! Carl Bigg’s ’42 Mercury has loads of character. It’s also extremely rare. Just over six hundred were built before production was cut short by World War II.

Longer and a little more luxurious than their Ford siblings, these Merc woodies were among the flagships of all of Henry’s cars. Carl’s car probably enjoyed a great life, but eventually it was literally put out to pasture. At some point in the 70’s it was rescued from its resting place in an orchard by a young surfer from Santa Clara. He treated it to an amateur restoration, then drove its wheels off; Early Ford V8 Club event tags from throughout the western U.S. decorate the maple header above the windshield.

Wabi Sabi is a Japanese idiom that describes the kind of rough, natural, imperfect beauty that only comes with age. We call it patina, and this woodie is loaded with it. Carl has done much to fix things on the car without disturbing its natural state of grace, but recently its driveline began to complain. The engine ran rough, it wouldn’t hold oil pressure, the transmission was popping out of gear. It was time for some attention. Read more…

May 2, 2015

’42 Mercury Woodie Part II: The Big Score

by Dave

A couple of weeks ago Carl Bigg’s Mercury woodie came into the shop for a major transplant. If you read our last post, you’ll remember that both the engine and transmission had issues: near-terminal cracks in the block, missing teeth throughout the transmission, etc. While the woodie had lived a long and hearty life, a revitalization was overdue. We set out to hunt down a rebuildable block, and tore into the transmission:

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