Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Did Not Win The Raybestos RPU

I just want the world to know I am not the winner for the Hollywood Hot Rods built roadster-pick-up for the Raybestos company.

Despite my three entries submitted into the contest --somehow this guy in Virginia won it.  Good for him!  Besides, I have too many other cars anyway.

So this may be old news to some of you, but I just found this out in my latest issue of Street Rodder Magazine.

Trust me, that's the car.

I've seen the car may places.  First time was at Troy Ladd's shop being built way over a year ago.  It was bare metal frame.  Then later as a complete car, less paint.

Now painted, it was at the Long Beach Motorama in October.  There it is, in front of Chris Casny's coupe.

The last time was in January at the Petersen Museum with a cardboard cut out of Troy standing next to it.  At what point do you get famous enough to have a life-size cut-out of yourself?

Here it is in the Petersen Gift Shop, next to a Troy Ladd cut-out.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Springtime For Hot Rods

Probably my favorite day of the year, the day we spring-forward, it is Daylight-Savings Time.  It signifies Spring is here and Summer is on it's way!


Just in case you've never seen a picture of the roadster... I got Daytons out for a couple of photos of it outside with the big-fat tires on before I took them off again.  I really shouldn't drive on them.  One; because they are irreplaceable.  Two; they are somewhat brittle in there old age.  And Three; they are literally like steam rollers --adding over a foot of width to the car!

I also made a significant discovery on the car this weekend, it's a part hidden from plain view.  Turns out, the car has a somewhat rare item at the heart of the engine, a Winfield SU-1R camshaft.  The 'R' stands for full-race, according to Jim Gordon of Specialty Ford Parts in Rosemead, CA.  He says, "If it were a SU-1A, that's the street version". ('R' is street, 'A' was the race version, new source tells me.)
Now that may not be a big deal to some people, but when you are like me, it's a big deal.

Winfield SU-1R V8 camshaft, as seen under the distributor.
Here a little Winfield history, whether you like it or not:

Ed Winfield was has been labeled as "...the father of hot rodding and its first prodigy." 

Born north of Los Angeles in 1901, Edward and his younger brother, William (better known as Bud, developer of the famed Novi racing engine), began hot rodding early. At age 11, Winfield had stripped down a Model T--on the market for less than four years at that point--in search of higher speeds. A year later, he began grinding his own camshafts for motorcycle engines. 
At age 14 he Ed was working for Offenhauser, building carburetors for racing engines. By 18, he had already built his own camshaft grinder and was in business regrinding his own go-fast cam designs for Model Ts.
In 1924 Winfield Carburetor Company was formed to build, market, and sell the carburetor designs, and Winfield carburetors soon dominated Indianapolis 500 racing. Pete DePaolo's Duesenberg won the race in 1925 using two of the carburetors, and by 1930, all but one entry in the race used a Winfield carburetor. 
Winfield continued to experiment with fuel systems and engines, developing what's widely regarded as the first harmonic balancer, new carburetor designs, a continuous-flow fuel injection unit in 1934, along with overhead-valve heads and high-compression heads for Model T four-cylinders. He also continued to grind camshafts, mostly for race engines, until not long before he died in 1982. 
Portions taken from the an article that originally appeared in the December, 2008 issue of Hemmings Muscle Machines.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sam Hanks' Midget Racer on Display

Sam Hanks racing, circa 1940's

Sam Hanks, legendary racer and Indy Hall of Fame member, started racing midget cars as a teenager in the early 1930's. Moving on to Indy cars in 1949, he eventually won The Indianapolis 500, a dream fulfilled in 1957.

Hanks, one of our first hot rodders, built his very own Offenhauser powered midget in 1935 and started winning soon after.

Why my interest in this car?  Well, it's got a lot of great looking parts right on the outside.  Still on my suspension kick, I had to take some shots of hairpins & chrome.

Left hand actuated clutch rod on the outside of the body.  Also a the fuel pressure hand pump.

I recognize the center water temp gauge as 1940's Stewart Warner, the other two gauges look older.  The steering box is a Franklin. The steering wheel, a racing type which may have been made custom made and wrapped in rubber & tape.

A common practice before racing wheels were marketed, was to make wheel out of a large circular saw blade. Cut spokes from the center & a rim.  Then slit a hose to make a something to grip on to, and secure it with tape.

Sam Hanks fought in WWII, before returned to racing and winning the AAA National Midget Championship in 1949.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bill Niekamp Roadster at the Petersen

First in the series of posting of cars I find interesting at on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum.  The museum is located in on 'Museum Row' in Los Angeles. Which happen to be only blocks away from my workplace also on Wilshire Boulevard.  So I thought it would be a good idea to I'd spend a few lunch hours there studying car details... for research.

The car is located outside the Petersen speed-shop display.

One of my most favorite hot rods of the 50's is the Bill Niekamp built, 1929 Model A roadster.  The car is a mix of street, dirt-track, and dry-lakes racer.  Obviously the car would appeal to me, my Model T build-up is a similar mix; built for the street, but looks like a race car. 

I am finalizing the suspension of my '27 roadster called "Terminator", for lack of a better name.  So most of my curiosity is directed at suspensions for the moment.  In particular steering & shocks.

The steering arm is one or a kind, and the shock tower double as the attachment for the front Nerf bumper --nice touch.

There are a lot of custom made parts like the hairpins & batwings.  This was 1949 after all. And so no 300 page, speed catalogs like there are today.

I really love all that chrome & polish.  It's going to take a lot to do this to my roadster, but what a impact it makes!

Looks to me like the steering box may be the same at Daytons, a late 30's Ford box turned sideways. I have to get under that hood to be sure. So I'll have to ask a museum docent at a later date to let me take a look at the engine compartment.

Another thing my T will have is a canvas snap-on top.  All real race cars of the time had snaps holding on a cover or keeping the interior in.

A simple thing, like a snap-on cover, can make a big statement about a car.