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Projects 1950's Tube Frame Sports Car

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by jebbesen, Oct 5, 2015.

  1. jebbesen
    Joined: Aug 18, 2015
    Posts: 383

    jebbesen
    Member
    from Winona, MN

    20151003_103243.jpg
    I bought an old hot rod/sports car this weekend. This is what I know about it so far: It was built around 1950 in Arcadia, WI by a guy who was a buddy of the man I bought it from. I guess his name was Wes Borgen and he was a body man and car racer. The original engine was a 303 Olds Rocket. He owned it for a couple years before moving to Los Angeles to work at a large GM dealer there. After that a kid owned it for a short period of time before leaving it outside when he joined the military. During this time the block froze and the car generally deteriorated. Sometime after 1956, the guy I bought it from purchased it and installed the 1956 324 Olds Rocket Super 88 engine currently in the car. The rest of the running gear appears to be 1930's Ford and there is a plate adapting the Olds bellhousing and the Ford 3spd. I plan to eventually fix it up in kind of the original theme preserving as much of the original theme as possible. It would be nice to make it street legal. Over the past year I've done a lot of looking at what little information there is on the Manning Special sports cars that were built and raced in Californial during this time. This could be done up in much the same way. You guys probably know much more about the running gear of the car than I do so feel free to identify parts and tell me exactly what I'm working with.
    He says he has another spare transmission somewhere if he can find it. The engine has the factory 4bl carb. What is the front axle? I feel like most of the Ford axles I've seen are I'beam shaped forgings. Is this some aftermarket early tubular one?
    2015-10-05_094701.jpg 20151003_104645.jpg 20151003_103509.jpg 20151003_103500.jpg 20151003_103255.jpg 20151003_103250.jpg 20151003_103243.jpg 20151003_103226.jpg 20151003_094431.jpg 00g0g_6ahGMjllP9h_600x450.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
  2. mike bowling
    Joined: Jan 1, 2013
    Posts: 3,424

    mike bowling
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Not sure what the axle is from the pics, but that shot of the side profile is cool as hell. Lots of potential for sure.
    I've read that in the early 50's ( 1952 ?) when cars like the Jaguar XK-120 were imported, a lot of serious hot rod/ custom builders tried to copy the low-slung, flowing lines of the European sports cars.
    That looks like it'll be a lot of fun to work on- congratulations and good luck with it.
     
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  3. Very cool score, did it ever have a body? Axle looks to be a V8-60 tube axle from a '37 Ford.
     
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  4. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 12,407

    DDDenny
    Member
    from oregon

    What Mike said^^^^^^^

     
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  5. Please post some close up pictures of the various bits of running gear. I am sure the folks on here can pin down the origin of such items as the steering gear, the transmission, brakes, rear end, etc. It looks like a great project.
     
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  6. Terry Buffum
    Joined: Mar 20, 2008
    Posts: 263

    Terry Buffum
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Oregon

    The sports car rules in the early 1950s were pretty open on body configuration, just a provision for spare, two seats, two doors which open. You can go metal or fiberglass and be correct. You might want to look at the Forgottenfiberglass web site for some of the production bodies of the era.

    The four cars in my avatar are all from that period and still vintage raced hard: left to right Baldwin flathead, Manning flathead, Tatum GMC, Parkinson Jaguar.
     
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  7. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 10,353

    AHotRod
    Member

    It's way cool.
    Take some up close detail pictures and post them.
     
  8. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 23,452

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    very interesting - did you get a body, or description/pics of what it looked like?
     
  9. jebbesen
    Joined: Aug 18, 2015
    Posts: 383

    jebbesen
    Member
    from Winona, MN

    Thanks guys. He said it never had a body. I will probably do something on the order of the Chuck Manning Special. Here are a bunch more pics of various details. I ran it thru the car wash so it's a little easier to see stuff. 20151005_174849.jpg 20151005_174841.jpg 20151005_174836.jpg 20151005_174723.jpg 20151005_174716.jpg 20151005_174700.jpg 20151005_174654.jpg 20151005_174541.jpg 20151005_174537.jpg 20151005_174531.jpg 20151005_174525.jpg 20151005_174505.jpg 20151005_174448.jpg 20151005_174356.jpg 20151005_174345.jpg 20151005_174330.jpg 20151005_174318.jpg 20151005_174308.jpg 20151005_174255.jpg 20151005_174250.jpg 20151005_174243.jpg 20151005_174235.jpg 20151005_174225.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
  10. jebbesen
    Joined: Aug 18, 2015
    Posts: 383

    jebbesen
    Member
    from Winona, MN

    I see there must have been another hardwood shim in the rear suspension underneath the spring. The ubolts are sloppy and there is a piece of wood above the leaves. Probably not the best setup. I'll have to get some shorter bolts.
     
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  11. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,508

    gnichols
    Member
    from Tampa, FL

    Thanx for the detail pix. You need to spend some time on the Forgotten Fiberglass site and ask Goeff if he knows of a body in need of a chassis! Gary
    http://www.forgottenfiberglass.com/
     
  12. volvobrynk
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,588

    volvobrynk
    Member
    from Denmark

    That's a very nice racer! And I like it very much.
    There is some thing rough and solid about the looks.

    I like how they used what they had, and still took the time make it look good! That frame also look wel engineered.

    Hopefully there will be a restauration/build thread for it.

    A nice boattail body will make it look good.
     

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  13. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 10,353

    AHotRod
    Member

    The front axle is a '37 Ford 60 H.P. model only
     
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  14. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 41,143

    porknbeaner
    Member

    Looks like most of the running gear is '37 or newer Ford. A real conscientious rodder in the '50s would have been using a '39 Transmission with Zephyr gears. But I am not good at judging the transmission by site and there is only one way to tell what's in it.

    Its not my car but if it were I would lean toward building a Caballo de Heiro clone. I have always had a soft spot for that car and while it would not be exact it would be a good foundation for that type of car..
     
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  15. Kerrynzl
    Joined: Jun 20, 2010
    Posts: 2,284

    Kerrynzl
    Member

    Nah!!
    Get some long sweeping fenders and running boards on it [ eg 33-44 ford style ] and shorten down a grill shell
    Then build a new centre section body from aluminium over a furniture tubing skeleton to resemble the silhouette of a Morgan sports car .
    The centre body would have no compound curves so it would be easy to make , but the secret is getting the profile correct
     
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  16. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,378

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    wow. that's really cool. I could see that tooling around at a Goodguys show and turning every head in the place.
     
  17. jebbesen
    Joined: Aug 18, 2015
    Posts: 383

    jebbesen
    Member
    from Winona, MN

    As of right now I'm still leaning towards a primitive body in the vein of Manning's. I'm thinking some sort of curved gas tank behind the seats along with a roll bar. If I did some sort of fiberglass body I've always thought the Austin Bantam body would be an interesting basis if you reworked it to an open wheeler. It's nice and narrow with good rear lines. Some sort of nose to cover the radiator but I'm not sure yet. I don't want to lose the hot rod feel by civilizing it too much.
     
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  18. jebbesen
    Joined: Aug 18, 2015
    Posts: 383

    jebbesen
    Member
    from Winona, MN

    Is the V8-60 front axle of any particular benefit or maybe something they just had sitting around?

    Does anyone have any more info as to how to ID the transmission? I haven't had much chance to research that yet.
     
  19. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 41,143

    porknbeaner
    Member

    They were lighter then the forged steel axle. very popular with racers and hot rodders when you could still find them.

    @Kerrynzl now your talkin. Morgans were sleek and if you ever crashed one you needed to be friends with a cabinet maker. ;)
     
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  20. As it was built for two people, I'd put a Glasspar G2, Victress S1-A, La Dawri, Bangert or similar body on it. These were very common bodies used in the fifties by backyard builders.
     
  21. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 10,353

    AHotRod
    Member

    The Transmission looks to be '35 - '40 Ford
     
  22. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 2,409

    Budget36
    Member

    You can nail down the year of the case by looking at the s/n on the flat pad, above the inspection cover...go to www.vanpeltsales.com for s/n listings, but as said before, no telling whats inside of it.
     
  23. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 9,802

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Actually, from the shape of the tower, it's a '38 or '39 case; earlier towers were lower, and slanted back 10 degrees; '40 was a side shift, unless it was in a pickup...which used the '39 type case up to 1941.
     
  24. making your project street legal will depend upon how the vehicle will be titled. If, it has a title, how is it titled? If, does not have a title and you are planning on titling the vehicle in Wisconsin, the vehicle could be titled in Wisconsin after following the required DMV procedures. You started this thread about the vehicle, your interest in its history, your build ideas and looking for info or ideas. Any furthur discussion on this thread about titling and licensing would distract from your purpose for posting. You can contact me thru the HAMB conversation thread for more info about titling and licensing. It is a very unique project and so represents some construction methods of its era. Good luck with the project and contact me if I can help.
    Curt R
     
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  25. jebbesen
    Joined: Aug 18, 2015
    Posts: 383

    jebbesen
    Member
    from Winona, MN

    Tranny number is *18-5081753* just checked it out. Gotta run right now. I'll check that website later this evening. Thanks.
     
  26. jebbesen
    Joined: Aug 18, 2015
    Posts: 383

    jebbesen
    Member
    from Winona, MN

    Thanks Curt. I'll be in touch.
     
  27. jebbesen
    Joined: Aug 18, 2015
    Posts: 383

    jebbesen
    Member
    from Winona, MN

    Just a few measurements.
    Wheelbase 94"
    Frame width at seat 38"
    Tubing 1.5" ID .093 wall
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2015
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  28. av8
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 1,716

    av8
    Member

    Home-made sportsracers were very big back in the day, not so much on the streets as they were on SCCA road-race tracks all across the country, attracting hot rodders not content to just go fast in a quick quarter-mile sprint. I grew up in SoCal in the '50s and '60s and spent countless hours at the many road-race venues that were anywhere from 1-2 hours from home -- Paramount Ranch, Goleta (Santa Barbara), Hansen Dam, Palm Springs, Riverside, Rosamond, Torrey Pines . . . It was a wonderland for a young gearhead.

    It was also a great forum for slightly older gearheads to roll out their best ideas for coping with the "tea-baggers," which was how the import sportscar crowd were referred to, invariably with good humor intended. Truth to tell, they were all of the same mindset -- do and build your best to beat the other guy.

    I have a few images of the cars of that time to share, but none are more direct and appropriate to the old dear you just acquired. The Baldwin Special, restored and at rest at the Sonoma Historics two years ago . . .
    [​IMG]

    . . . and at speed.
    [​IMG]

    These old road-racing hot rods were dead simple and very effective. They often just needed a bit of different driving style however, like one of the Ol' Yallers at Paramount Ranch in 1957.
    [​IMG]

    The really smart tea-baggers, of course, knew what it was about. Super Brit Ken Miles hot rodded an MG-TD into a simple rascal that went toe-to-toe with spendy Brit and Euro cars and bested them more times than not. The only compound body part on his handsome little sportsracer was the nose; all other pieces of 'skin' were simple bends. In the day . . .
    [​IMG]

    . . . lovingly restored.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2015
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  29. The transmission serial number makes it from a '39 Ford, about mid-way through the year. Being later in the year it is likely to have the good synchro's and the larger shifting fork. (These are the "good" 39 boxes). It is likely that much of the other running gear came from the same car. Most of it looks to be that vintage.
     
  30. Can anyone identify the brake MC? I do not recall seeing one which looks like that.
     

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