Ardun-Powered Super Sedan
Longtime readers know I love homegrown hot rods—cars that came together in garages, service stations and clubhouses from coast to coast and everywhere in between. These machines were dreamed up by resourceful folks who wanted to do something differently: go faster, look cooler, or drive better. These cars have soul. They’re visually interesting and, above all, they have plenty of stories to tell.
Earlier this week, I sat down for lunch with Best Hot Rods Number 3. The first book, now weathered and worn, is practically a member of the family at this point, but I can’t say I’ve ever looked into this one of Griffith Borgeson’s titles.
Published in New York in 1957, BHR3 dives right into hot rodding’s highlights from the previous year. With drag racing and Bonneville mixed in with street-going fare, it makes for a great read. As I was working my way through the pages, a 1934 Ford sedan caught my eye.
Chopped, full-fendered and loaded with louvers, I learned that the Tudor belonged to Dave Deichman and his dad. From the outside, it looks like it’s built for show. Wide whites, full wheelcovers, upholstered grille and roof inserts add plenty of class, as does the purple paint and tasteful lettering.
The closer you look, the more you see. This thing is special. See those eight pipes exiting ahead of the rear wheels? They’re bolted to a 284 cubic inch Mercury flathead outfitted with Ardun heads and Hilborn injection. It’s set back 25%, giving the sedan more bite off the line.
Ardun? Check. Heavy setback? Check. As you can see, things got radical pretty quickly. To finish things off, the driver was positioned over the rear axle to help with weight distribution. The original article’s author, Dan Roulston, said it best:
“As the car goes smoking down the chute in a flash of purple, white and chrome it looks as though it’s being driven by an invisible man. Dave sits smack against the car’s back body panel in order to concentrate weight on the driving wheels, not out of any strange desire for privacy.”
This car was—in some ways—an early version of a slingshot in disguise. It was a creative combination was good for 119mph in the quarter. A standout then and a standout now. In short, it’s one super sedan.
Photos by Don Nickles of Drag News, George Klass & the H.A.M.B.