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Projects '29 Roadster Authentic Prewar Hot Rod

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by jadz928, Jan 11, 2020.

  1. jadz928
    Joined: Dec 15, 2019
    Posts: 44

    jadz928
    Member
    from Michigan

    I'm with you, FritzJr.

    There doesn't seem be many 50's elements.
    The Guide foglights are ca. '52, and they were never wired. Sealed beam headlights of similar vintage. I think those were the last things done. They will be removed.

    We plan to keep the mech brakes and get them working top-notch. For the kind of driving we plan to do, they will be just fine.
    Thanks for the recommend on the floaters.

    Yes, we're thinking similar to stock interior.
    Period naughahyde. May do a tuck & roll for the seats.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
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  2. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 15,855

    alchemy
    Member

    I don't mean disrespect, but I can't come up with a single reason to think your modern interpretation of a hot rod is better than the original builder's. He did the whole thing over his many decades of ownership. He was really there, and really saw the trends and fashion as they were happening.

    Sure, you might want to do some changes, but don't think they will be more "traditional" than what is really there. Not that a car has the same importance, but I bet Picasso had some "improvements" he'd have done to the Mona Lisa.

    As said before, use and enjoy your car, modify as you see fit, but keep all the parts in case you or the next owner want to put it back.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
  3. I agree with alchemy. You found a survivor that was owned by the same owner for years. He new what worked or didn't for him or he changed it. I see he kept the stock dist. so he must have enjoyed playing with the timing. Same with the carb. I really doubt a different carb or dist is going to wake up or change the performance of your motor. Same with the exhaust, unless you go to tuned headers that stock exhaust is just fine. Now if you find screwing with the timing is a hassle then maybe change dist. but stick along the lines of the time period like a Mallory Ya or Yl centrifical advanced dist. Same with the carb. a single stromberg 97 downdraft will make things easier but will it make it better. I doubt it. With what you already have that car should do 60-65 easy. Enjoy it.
     
  4. jadz928
    Joined: Dec 15, 2019
    Posts: 44

    jadz928
    Member
    from Michigan

    Oil drained, pan & pump cleaned, fresh oil.
    0114201051.jpg 0114201052.jpg

    Bottom end looks good to me.
    0114201057a.jpg
     
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  5. jadz928
    Joined: Dec 15, 2019
    Posts: 44

    jadz928
    Member
    from Michigan

    No disrespect taken, Alchemy. This is great dialogue.

    If I'm reading you both correctly, what you're suggesting is a more of a purist approach.
    I can relate to that with Porsche 928s, as it's what I do and know really well. I would say I err on the side of purist in that world, but never absolutely.

    Within, there are many improvements, some generally accepted, others are open for interpretation.
    Upgrading from aluminum to steel lower ball joints for safety is accepted. The change is visually different, but a judge at a show won't ding you for it.
    Changing roached-out carpet for best-available German Sliverknit might be open for interpretation because it's not exactly the same as original (very close).
    In preservation class, judging allows no less than 75% original, which is subjective and interpretative.

    With the roadster, I'm still learning. Like I said before, I don't know what I don't know.
    Certainly, I can get behind the purist sentiment, and I feel like I already am. However, nothing is absolute, even for a purist. Please help me understand the naunces.

    How do I deal with things like safety and driveability on modern roads?

    Improved lighting for instance. When Daniel built this car it was less an issue, but it's more important now. Seems to me that a 12 volt system is bare minimum. I'm not talking about quartz lights, relays and alternators here, just 12V. Is this acceptable, or would the purist say 'don't drive at night'?

    Back to the fundamental for a moment. I'm trying to understand the importance of this roadster. I'd like to think I have a idea, but maybe I'm truly 'not getting it'.
    I know it's a special car, but is it more historically significant than what I know?
    I only have a loose sense of it's value. Should I have it appraised?
    Having a better sense of all this may help guide my purism and sympathy to this roadster.

    Thank you for your excellent input!
     
  6. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 15,855

    alchemy
    Member

    Since the car isn't a "famous" car, and the builder isn't famous either, the value isn't going to be much more than any other really nice A roadster hot rod. The world of traditional purists isn't big. But I don't think that should give a free pass to change up the car willy-nilly.

    This is just my opinion: Yes, go ahead and convert to 12 volt (converting the generator to 12, no alternators). There's nothing other than the label on the battery that will look different from the outside or engine compartment. I can't count the volts coursing through the wires. That doesn't mean I'd change the lights. Just the bulbs inside them. Maybe now's the time to wire up the fog lights?

    No, don't replace the carpet. The aged carpet could be cleaned, but unless the whole car is getting a complete repaint, there's no reason to make one area shine without others. I LOVE aged patina, and think that old paint jobs and interiors are more valuable than new. If there is much of the carpet left, just give it a good shampoo and vacuum.

    The only mechanical item I might even think about changing is adding hydraulic brakes. I would only use 39-48 Ford brakes on the original axles and spindles. There are good bolt on kits for the master cylinder. Once you have all the parts it's an easy change in probably a weekend. No repro "Lincoln" or disk brakes.
     
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  7. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 15,855

    alchemy
    Member

    One more thing. I think the magazines like Hop Up and Rodder's Journal would love to feature a car like this. Unadulterated original hot rod, and they can still contact the family of the original builder. What would make a better magazine article than that?
     
  8. To me this car shows that they were built without all the bells and whistles that people think they need. Looking at your photo of the crank it shows a stock early 32 crank and splash oiling for the rods. No countered balanced crank, no insert bearings, no full oil pressure that by todays standards everyone thinks they need to have. As for the brakes I run mechanical so if it was mine I wouldn't change them. As far as safety goes use common sense. You wouldn't expect a VW beetle to handle the same as a Porsche so don't expect this car to handle like a modern one.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
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  9. I don't know anything about Millers, but what they are and that Serr knows them really well. Ask him what period enhancements the head needs as far as intake carb. and spark. A single burns with an 81? dual carbs? the part to me about improvement is not everyone in the day knew what they were doing. Serr Dynos combinations so he knows what works.
     
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  10. jadz928
    Joined: Dec 15, 2019
    Posts: 44

    jadz928
    Member
    from Michigan

    Certainly not, no worries there!
    25199.jpeg
     
  11. Lil'Alb
    Joined: Sep 22, 2013
    Posts: 210

    Lil'Alb
    Member
    from brier, wa

    This roadster is super cool and I'd be proud to own it as is BUT I agree with the users that say drop the front end and switch over to juice brakes. I would pull the front axle and have it dropped (search Okie Joe) next time you need to refresh the front bushings. As far as combining a reversed eye front spring with the dropped axle be careful because fender clearance may be an issue with those wheels and tires.

    My preference at that time would be to get a reversed eye main leaf for the rear axle, and maybe even lose a leaf or two if you have any to spare. Someday maybe you'll have the body off the frame and want to ad a kick up in the rear of the frame too.

    I would install a Burns dual intake with 81s and a Mallory YA-11a. I would chrome plate the stock header and use it because that screams 1930s hot banger to me.

    All of these things could have been and were done in the 1930s, you're just picking up where the last guy left off.

    I would also ditch the fogs and front bumper too...Have fun!!!
     
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  12. jadz928
    Joined: Dec 15, 2019
    Posts: 44

    jadz928
    Member
    from Michigan

    Right, not famous, not in any magazines. So I understand it's not in that highly-regarded value spectrum. I just can't seem to find any comparables for what it is. I find newer recreations, but not much out there in the original category.

    Also, no free passes or willy-nilly going to happen here. Neither is in my vocabulary.

    Quick correction, the roadster doesn't have carpet... just a mat. I was using a carpet example from a Porsche 928 that I did.

    I think that would be badass. Count me in!
     
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  13. winduptoy
    Joined: Feb 19, 2013
    Posts: 2,112

    winduptoy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    So,
    I just found this thread. You have a bitchin' ride. Congratulations!!! I would keep it as is until you drive it awhile.
    I have two 'Miller' OHV conversions on B blocks, One in a '29 Roadster and the other in a late '31 Victoria.
    They are fun. The '29 had a Schofield and the '31 has a Cragar
    Harry A. Miller (he was broke and at the end of his career) sold the manufacturing rights to Schofield who manufactured and marketed them as bolt on speed equipment. Miller, Schofield, Cragar are all used interchangeably but Harry never manufactured any and Bell sold Cragar manufactured heads after Schofield went out of business.
    In the late '70's early 80's a company, Van Steenburgh Engineering Laboratories, in Denver, CO reproduced a cast iron version marketed as the Miller Hi-Speed head. It is often referred to as a 'Denver head'.
    Steve Serr and Dan Price make modern aluminum heads...which work really well
    If you want to drive your car, there are some things you need to look at and modify in the engine to make it driveable and give it some longevity.
    Since you have the oil pan off, you need to do some work on the oil pump. You need oil to the overhead rocker assembly, It will starve with a stock pump and all of the stock shaft assemblies I've come across are prematurely worn as a result. The stock pump can be modified and we can talk thru that,
    There is also things you can do to send more oil to the mains
    Dippers are good to 4000 RPM
    Your carburetor is going to limit the potential the engine has but is a speed limiter for the brakes.
    Brakes, both my cars have mechanical brakes with cast iron drums and they will slide the tires...your braking is only as good as the contact area of the tire on the road surface, mechanical brakes set up properly are better than hydraulics as they don't leak fluid, ever
    So my approach, if I were you, one to address safety with items that are hidden and then internal to make things reliable
    Oh, and a V-8 clutch is a must for drive ability

    Larry
     
  14. winduptoy
    Joined: Feb 19, 2013
    Posts: 2,112

    winduptoy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Oh, I would also build the water pump with a pack-less seal, The water pump is specific to that head and you want to take care of it. I've been putting stainless shafts and modern seals in them.
    I want to get a closer look at your valve cover hold down, They are different than the wing nut versions that are out there. A shot of the valve cover would be cool too, they polish up nice...
    If you decide to pull the rocker shaft, there are 'tappet caps' that set on top of the lifters,,,set....so if they stick to the push rod they will fall off and then the side cover comes off to retrieve. So you have to be really careful and turn, rotate the push rod as you lift it..
    Serr and Price (dan4banger) have valve cover gaskets

    Larry
     
  15. jadz928
    Joined: Dec 15, 2019
    Posts: 44

    jadz928
    Member
    from Michigan

    Pan is back up temporarily. We're going to get her runnjng first, and get some fresh oil moving around and cleaning. Then will take pan down again for an inspect and pump mod. Also head/valvetrain will come out for a rebuild.

    Also, I like your approach. Thanks for that.

    Can you use the standard Model A packless water pump rebuild kit, or is there something unique to the OHV pump internals?

    Yes, we picked up a gasket set from Steve. Great guy!
    He suggested closing-off the 2 vent holes on top of the rocker cover.

    I totally dig the brass & knurled rocker cover bolts. Great patina! I don't think I would have the heart to polish them up... or the cover for that matter.

    Here's a couple pics you requested. If you need more detail, let me know.

    1223191147b.jpg
    0110201413.jpg

    @winduptoy Thanks Larry! I'll catch up with you on the back-channel as well.
     
  16. winduptoy
    Joined: Feb 19, 2013
    Posts: 2,112

    winduptoy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Jim,
    Model A packless cartridge should fit. The impeller is different than the A. Shaft is the same but a little shorter (A stainless shaft can be cut down) as I recall
    Thanks for the photos....someone ground off the Schofield on the one cover I have, thanks for the photo of what it should look like.
    I'd leave the cover vents open but put some felt behind them. I''ll take a photo of the cover I have with the vents open. It doesn't throw that much oil and it needs the crankcase ventilation in my opinion
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
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  17. winduptoy
    Joined: Feb 19, 2013
    Posts: 2,112

    winduptoy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Jim,
    Cover that has open vents after some considerable miles IMG_20200121_175500436.jpeg

    Sent from my XT1585 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
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  18. jadz928
    Joined: Dec 15, 2019
    Posts: 44

    jadz928
    Member
    from Michigan

    After 35 years, sleeping beauty awakes...


    What impressed me the most was how smooth the OHV banger revs.

    It's always a great day when you get an old car running again!
    25573~2.jpeg

    0121201722a.jpg 0121201722.jpg

    Leak at head gasket, so next up is head removal and rebuild. Planned on it anyway. Stay tuned...
     
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  19. I've glanced at what everyone has said but if I had the great fortune of owning that car I would leave it as is and just enjoy it. I truly understand that times are different but that car has a certain history and driving her in that form would make me more aware of what early hot rods were all about. You can do what you want but that old girl will only be in that time frame if you allow it... Mitch.
     
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  20. Gotgas
    Joined: Jul 22, 2004
    Posts: 6,865

    Gotgas
    Member
    from DFW USA

    My .02. A lot of the modifications you've mentioned aren't going to add performance or value to the car. All the fancy carbs, exhaust, and ignition will gain 5mph, tops, and mechanical brakes will stop that just fine. Converting it to 12v might make the lights a little brighter, but it's not a car you'll drive fast at night anyhow. IMO the draw of this car is its authenticity as a prewar hop up, and there aren't many left like it. Bolting on a bunch of catalog parts and changing stuff just for the sake of change kinda diminishes that. I would probably be a minimalist; just clean it up, service what needs attention, and drive it. But don't let me stop you, it's your ride and you should be the one that gets to enjoy it! Great little roadster btw, congratulations to you and your dad.
     
  21. jadz928
    Joined: Dec 15, 2019
    Posts: 44

    jadz928
    Member
    from Michigan

    Thanks Mitch @mitch 36! I appreciate where you are coming from. As a father & son project, our roles have been defined where my Dad is the 'project manager' and I'm 'authenticity control'. So as he moves through the project, he looks to me to keep things honest and right for the car. Our underlying principles are to have fun, make lasting memories, and honor the roadster's history. I believe we can accomplish all.
    Thanks @Gotgas! I like your phrasing 'prewar hop up'. While it has some postwar hot rod characteristics, it certainly doesn't fit the definition of a traditional hot rod. I'm aware of this.
    We call it a hot rod, because that is how my Dad and I think of it. To us, it is. But I really like hop up too, because that is what it truly is. The original owner, Daniel, set this car up for the street to be driven. He 'hopped it up' because he loved his roadster, wanted it to look good and be relevant.

    As far as mods go, nothing is set in stone. We're just letting the old girl speak to us, and that she is!
    And as I do more research to gain a better understanding of everything, I'm finding a lean towards a minimalist approach. For instance, we're set on keeping the 'A' distributor. Once I found that all options from the 'B' on were centrifugal advance, that was a deal-breaker. One of our favorite things is working the advance/retard level. For us, it is a must have. Similar with the 6V vs 12V... the more we toss it around, the more we want to keep it simple.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
  22. jadz928
    Joined: Dec 15, 2019
    Posts: 44

    jadz928
    Member
    from Michigan

    OHV head came off about as easy ask one could ask for.
    0122201227.jpg

    Cylinders and deck looked good, just needed a good cleaning.
    Before:
    0122201356a.jpg 0122201356.jpg
    After:
    0122201745.jpg

    Head and valvetrain is going to Detroit tomorrow for pressure test, magnaflux, and rebuild.
    0122201733~2.jpg
     
  23. 1low52
    Joined: Oct 26, 2007
    Posts: 295

    1low52
    Member

    It makes me smile when I think about the experience you are having with your dad. Awesome!
    Some of my best times are spent with my boys in the shop.
    Don't take the car or your dad for granted.
    This car was once a big part of someone's life that now is in your hands.
    You were a big part of your dads life as he raised you to the man you are today.
    Now you are the caretaker of them both entrusted to keep and build a legacy for all.
    I'll be watching and remembering my dad and boys along the way. Thanks, Tim
     
  24. jadz928
    Joined: Dec 15, 2019
    Posts: 44

    jadz928
    Member
    from Michigan

    Tim @1low52, Dad and I really appreciate your sentiment and kind words, thank you.
    Even Mom is into it too. When we all first looked at the Roadster, she said 'I don't want to like it'...
    She was probably thinking what kind of project are those boys getting into!? :)

    That was a great day with my parents and girlfriend! We all instantly fell in love with the old girl.
    1220191130b~2(1).jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
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  25. redoxide
    Joined: Jul 7, 2002
    Posts: 564

    redoxide
    Member
    from Scotland

    Best thing I can add having read through the entire post is this, respect the old girl.
    That doesnt mean you cant "improve" it, but improvements would be sympathetic and in keeping with the style and original thinking.

    So, fitting new tyres on the original wheels isn't a problem, its what would have been required back in the day, when the old boots wore out.

    Give it a good clean, as you have done already, service the running gear, make required adjustments, and get the motor running sweet, do whatever is required to achieve that. If the original builder had the cash back in the day, that is probably something he would have done.

    So, for sure, fit a downdraft, that is not detracting from the original, its enhancing it .. You might not net any increase in HP but you might smooth out the running. Likewise on the ignition side.

    Upgrade to 12v , they start easier, and it doesn't detract from the original look.

    Consider fitting a stock style replacement interior. Its probably something the old fella would have done if he had the cash when the original got ragged. Its the way it is because it was an old car at one time, and with any old car, you just do what you need to keep it looking decent. It doesn't have to be new, a good used one with the odd scab and age related wear, perhaps discarded by a restorer , would do the job..

    Everything else is just fine.

    Use it and add to its history.

    Relegating it to a museum piece is a sin.. Consider this, in the present climate how long will it be before the great and the good tell us we cant use these old cars... set yourself a goal to wear out the new tyres .. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
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  26. Bib Overalls
    Joined: Aug 3, 2001
    Posts: 4,071

    Bib Overalls
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Hydraulic brakes for sure. I'm going to get clobbered for this but I suggest you consider a T5 transmission update. There are several ways to do the job, some are more evasive than others. Lots of information available with a simple web search. You will be rewarded with a Model A that is a tad faster and you won't feel like every other car on the highway is going to run you down.
     
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  27. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,604

    Gearhead Graphics
    Member
    from Denver Co

    I'm not a preservationist, Im all for chopping shit up and changing it. That car, i'd leave it alone!
     
  28. ROADSTER1927
    Joined: Feb 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,790

    ROADSTER1927
    Member

    Please make it just work great and drive it! You are luckier than almost all of us to have that time machine! Gary:):):):):):):):):):):):)
     
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  29. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 9,872

    flatheadpete
    Member
    from Burton, MI

    I may have missed this info but in what part of our great state are you? I lived walking distance from the Flint Fisher Body for 15 years...Killer car.
     
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  30. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,717

    joel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I'd do hydraulic brakes, but your choice. I would also suggest calling and speaking with Mitchel Overdrive. Do a search on the model A section of the Fordbarn also. This could keep a Pruis out of your rumble seat. I have a 6volt generator system on my 41 pu with halogen headlights and they are more than adequate. I also use high output 6V taillight bulbs and they are substantially brighter than standard bulbs. Sweet little Model A.
     
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