View Full Version : Tech Request: Reversing V8-60 Front Axle

Jon Dunchack
12-26-2007, 11:43 AM
I’m a beginner, so this is probably a pretty basic question here. I want to build a t-bucket along the lines of Grabowski’s Kookie Car or Tommy Ivo’s T. Although I know I’m in for a steep learning curve, I don’t want to go the kit route for a lot of reasons but mostly because I want to learn these things and the kits don’t have the look I want anyway.
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Both Grabowski's and Ivo's cars use a ’37 Ford V8-60 front tube axle, but they reversed the front spring hangers and mounted a ’40 Ford transverse spring. I searched the HAMB and found this link about Ivo’s front axle ( The link has some great close-ups but nothing in the way of a tech how to.
Issue number thirty-six of The Rodder’s Journal has a spread on Von Franco’s recreation of Grabowski’s “Kookie” car and “Lightnin’ Bug”. The article notes that Grabowski “located the front spring behind the axle with specially-machined brackets”. Yikes!
Anyone done this and written a tech?

12-26-2007, 11:54 AM
I've never seen a great pic of that front end myself but, what it looks like to me is this.

they took the later 37-ish ford spring-in-front wishbone and cut the forged spring perch off of the wishbone. they then bolted it on backwards and welded it to the axle so it wouldn't pivot. they then welded on a set of batwings for hairpins about 3-4 inches inboard of the spring perch.

12-26-2007, 12:10 PM
That was my post, Jon. I think it looks like they cut the ends off a '37-up wishbone, as revkev6 says, but I think they just turned them round and upside down to use the original spring hangers. They must have done something to stop them being pulled round - added material to the bracket to wedge against the axle to prevent it rotating maybe? I assume the shock mount part of it is completely fabricated, and welded on.

12-26-2007, 12:30 PM
Looking at the photo below (a HAMBer's photo, I think) of Von Franco's Lightnin' Bug it looks like these brackets were used the right way up, as opposed to Ivo's which look upside down in my original post. I guess that would have made Ivo's T lower at the front?

Perhaps if Von Franco sees this thread he can give us the definitive answer?

12-26-2007, 02:35 PM
Send a PM to royalshifter, he should be able to help you out.

12-26-2007, 03:38 PM
I thought about Royalshifter's T, but in my photos of it (actually his photos, I think), it looks like it has normal spring perches and batwings?

12-26-2007, 05:08 PM
Here's a pic of that front "revkev6" described it.

After you turn the axle around, swap the spindles side-for-side so the tie rod ends up behind the axle as Henry designed it. Also, it's a 4-bar, not a hairpin deal.

12-26-2007, 07:30 PM
I thought about Royalshifter's T, but in my photos of it (actually his photos, I think), it looks like it has normal spring perches and batwings?

A good portion of Franco's Lightnin' Bug was built in his garage.

12-26-2007, 07:43 PM
Jon, besides the front axle both Norm and Tommy used the front half of a 15-25 T Touring car body, and shortened A pickup bed. It gives the car a different look than using a roadster bucket.

Jon Dunchack
12-26-2007, 10:24 PM
Many thanks to all who've taken the time to respond thus far - it's really appreciated. Several important points have been made and I agree that the more rigid tube axle will take a four-bar set up to work right and that Norm and Tommy used a different body than the typical '23 t-bucket out and I'm guessing theirs might be a bit longer.

I'm hoping here someone might have some detailed fabrication pics or at least some close up "before and after shots"