Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cadillac in a Ford?

One of the earliest parts of the Gow Cart project was the mill. In this case it's a Cadillac motor, in a Ford. A lot of folks out there ask me why I would choose the engine for an early ford car.

"Why not a Flathead?"
"Did you think about a Y block?"
"What about a 302 Small Block?"

All valid questions, sure. For the Flathead, I've already got one in the '49 Ford. It's been a great engine for the size, but the price for doing another one, I'd rather have something with a lot more power in a Hot Rod. Y-Blocks are pretty cool, but I don't think they are any cheaper to build up than an early OHV Cadillac motor, not to mention finding vintage speed parts for these beasts. And to the the small block 302 fans, well, I just can't do it in a model A with the focus on the mill. I can't argue with the readily available parts and the cost associated with them, but I think there is a lack of style that comes along with just a plain old 302. I just always associate that engine with a Mustang, which conjures a completely different era of cars.

The Cadillac 390 was introduced in 1959 which was essentially a stroked and bored version of it's original first OHV Cadillac motor, the 331, in 1949. Much like the Flathead it shared the center exhaust ports so you only have three exhaust manifold tubes coming out. I don't know what it is I like about seeing that in old Hemis, Desotos, Olds Rockets and Flatheads, but it gets my blood pumping and screams vintage mill!

The thing I love about the Cadillacs of that time period, outside of the loud American styling was the fact that people were in love with cars and many music artists sang songs about Cadillacs owning the road. Folks like Chuck Berry, Doc Starkes & the Nite Riders, Tex Rubinowitz, The Howlin' Wolf, Hugo Peretti, The Spaniels and more contemporary: Brian Stetzer and many more all have songs about Cadillacs.

It's hard to imagine that a 20+ foot long car was a race car to the folks of yesteryear. In todays terms these cars weren't that fast, but when you are comparing a Flathead that is generating 90 HP, stock in 1949 vs a Cadillac 331 spinning out a torquey 325 HP, stock you can see why it would be the natural choice for a kid building a Hotrod, if he could get his hands on a fresh junkyard crash (or a stolen car!) It takes a lot of HP to push around that kind of steel and chrome on a Cadillac!

Besides the fact I was able to pick and pull a Cadillac 390 for the Gow Cart, it's got some history and some advantages that an early rodder would want pushing their roadster down the road.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Frame Progress

Well, you have to start somewhere, and the frame is probably the best place to get things going. The search is always on for parts, but it was time to get things rolling on the frame work of this project.
This frame was picked up in Illinois, just a few miles from the border of Iowa. It's an orginal straight model A 28-29 frame.
Step one was to knock out all the old rivets on the cross members for the front and center. Then begin filling those old holes.
A wire wheel and a sanding disk or two revealed the metal under 80 years of rust.
A big task on these old frames is filling up the old holes. There are a ton of them on the top, sides and bottom. I didn't even bother to count, just got down to business. The small holes can be filled by welding with a copper piece to back it, while the larger holes need some sort of filler. A fender washer works well for this.
Here is a larger hole filled with a fender washer and ground flat
Never Never knew there was an 1 1/2" hole here!
Here is the side of the frame with the holes filled.
The old front cross member that was cracked was replaced with a new Model A styled cross member courtesy of Ionia Hot Rods
After as much clean up on the frame that could be done by hand I had the frame blasted to get all the nooks and crannies. After a fresh coat of weld through primer, I started boxing the frame back to front.
The boxing plates are welded in here with clean up left to do.
Heres where two plates came together. It was v'ed on the edges to sink the weld in better. More clean up grinding left to do.
Made some quick gussets for the rear member to the boxing plate. I dunno that it helps all that much but it can't hurt. Passenger side.
Here's a better look at the boxed frame from the inside.
Wanted to finish the box to the other side of the front cross member, but not the whole horn so I did a little looking around to come up with this idea which mimics the curve of the horn tip.
Had to do a bunch of relief cuts to get the curve correct. Here it's roughed out. I sandwiched both sides together then cut away for symmetry.
Here it is all welded in place.
Cut up a small part of my old center cross member to get a nice radius piece to fit at the end of the boxing plate and the front cross member.
the piece worked well with some finessing and grinding.
A quick shot of primer shows the front horn grinding. I may not need much body filler!
Here is the grafted in radius piece ground and primed.

-Up next, Engine mounts and center member.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dash inspiration!

Not that I have any components to make an IP like this, but look and marvel at the beauty of the mid thirties automobiles! The upper from a 1936 Ford Roadster brings the dash to the floor and the lower photo shows a star burst pattern on a panel which is a great showcase for some nice instrumentation. I'm planning a more simple 1935 Ford dash for the Gow Cart and while looking at ideas I came across these and just had to make mention of it. Plans still coming together in my head.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Devils in the details :: Brass Horn button

A good friend of mine is an incredible artist in his own right. Eric is a clockmaker who makes astounding hand made clocks in his work shop. One day while visiting he mentioned that anytime I wanted to spin something on the lathe that I should drop by and we'll make it together.

'nuff said, I was there. So my first experience working with metal on a lathe was to make a new horn button for my 1936 banjo steering wheel which will be going on the Gow Cart. The aluminum piece is made to fit a '37 -'39 style steering wheel, so there is still some work to be done to make this all come together.

It's domed and has lines in it much like the plastic original did. I just wanted something a little snazzier! There is still another retaining ring that I'm planning on spinning out down the road out of brass too which should really be an eye catcher on the hot rod. Maybe a little too nice...

Man, I've got the itch. The weather has been so nice I want to be outside all the time to be building on this car.

More updates soon. In the meanwhile, show some support!


Friday, February 12, 2010

Miniature Photos

Michael Paul Smith shoots some great old time photos but modern. How can you find the perfect unscathed '50s town? Ya build it! Check out these beautiful models!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Frozen Lakes vs. Dry Lakes

As the Winter takes hold on your sole outside in Detroit I can't help but think what kept people warm back in the day. I get bitter cold just reading that it's 10 degrees outside right now. Awhile back I did a shoot at the Ford Piquette plant and came across a photo of the famous "999" Racer aka The Red Devil. This was actually one of two cars built by Ford, the other one was dubbed "The Arrow" and was painted yellow instead of Red as above. Logic only says that if you wanna race that you'll need two cars right?

The Arrow crashed and killed the driver Frank Day during a race in 1903. What remained of the Arrow was brought back to Henry Ford for repair where its yellow paint scheme was retired and became known as the new 999 as the original 999 was retired.

The new 999 was personally driven by Henry Ford in a "land" speed race in January 1904 after the repairs were made. It achieved a speed of 91.37 on the frozen Lake St Clair. While out on the other side of the country folks were racing the dry lakes like Muroc, El Mirage and the Salt Flats of Bonneville, we had Henry Ford throwing the throttle down on frozen lakes!

I think if I could pull off speed trials on frozen lakes in the winter, I wouldn't mind it only being 10 degrees outside. Something to make plans for next winter....

Saturday, January 23, 2010


With all the craze and nostalgia of the two barreled carbs being on every hot rod again, I guess the market is here to help you keep it looking old with something new. Speedway Motors did their version of the two barrel modeled after the Stromberg called the "9-Super-7" after no one seemed to be able to afford the genuine new remanufacture/reengineered Stromberg 97. Speedway made them more affordable then their competition, so I'm curious about these Edelbrock 94's.

Hopefully it's true about the 94's being made in the USA. That would be great... but I wonder about the affordability of them! I'm sitting on 6 originals that I have plans for.. Mooohooohaha!

Press Release:
Edelbrock 94 Carburetor In 1938, when Henry Ford needed a more efficient carburetor for his new 24-stud V8 engine, he contracted development to the Chandler-Groves Company and the 94 two-barrel carburetor was
born, fueling Ford Flathead engines until production ceased in 1957. Flash-forward to 2010 and the
94 is once again available, by none other than Edelbrock! Adding to Edelbrock‘s reputation of bolton
and perform carburetors, the Edelbrock 94 two barrel carburetor is intended for nostalgic and
period correct hot rods and restorations, providing the most accurate and best performing solution on
the market. The Edelbrock 94 features die-cast bowl and air horn with a cast iron 3-bolt flange. It‘s
throttle shaft has been extended to make it easier to set-up dual and triple carburetor combinations,
especially when used with Edelbrock‘s exclusive progressive linkage. Extensive testing, both on the
road and in our state-of-the-art engine dynamometer facility has
allowed Edelbrock to fine tune power valve and jetting
combinations to deliver smooth and strong performance.
It is finished off with a zinc-dichromate coating for
durability and classic looks.
• 3-bolt flange and cast iron base
• Designed and calibrated for use
in small cubic inch engines
• Match with an Edelbrock intake
manifold, cylinder heads, linkage
and fuel blocks for the complete
classic look of the hot rod era
• Will fit Edelbrock Ford Flathead
intake manifolds #1100, #1103, #1108, #1109 and Small-Block
Chevy #5414 and #5418
• Coming in Spring of 2010…
Triple-Deuce manifold for Ford 289/302
Edelbrock 94 Carburetor (Primary)...........................................................................#1151
Edelbrock 94 Carburetor (Secondary).......................................................................#1152

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bid on it!

For sale by Road Devil Rob. Get yer bid on and own a piece of Road Devil History.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


They are on they're way! Send me pics of what they end up on will ya?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside!

Basically since the body made it back from Texas, there's been a slow in the whole process of moving forward. I could blame it on a few things: Jobs, Lack of money, Holidays, baby, the autorama display, personal promotional projects, and the list goes on. I think the major contributor is the lack of space to work on it. The speed barn is very small when it's all said and done and if I had a place to store the '49 Ford in the meanwhile, I probably could at least start mocking up part of it.

What I really need to get further along is are tires and much of the front end. I have an axle and a wishbone to split, but no spindles or brakes or backing plates. Those would help me much MUCH more. So, if you have a lead on anyone ditching a '37-'41 Ford front end, give me a holla!

In the meanwhile, bask in the joy of a '51 GMC chopped truck by fellow Detroit Road Devil Dave. It's in primer now, but I'm kinda fond of the banana cream color that it is! But don't get too attached to it, it will be flat black again soon.