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Projects Building My First Roadster in San Francisco

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by J.Ukrop, Sep 7, 2020.

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  1. wuga
    Joined: Sep 21, 2008
    Posts: 391

    wuga
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    This car is absolutely awesome. Please don't put anything 32 on it. As far as linkages go, nobody beats Charlie Price for anything from full linkage setups to the smallest piece. http://vintagespeed.com/

    Warren
     
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  2. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,726

    denis4x4
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Colorado

    Years ago, I bought a bunch of linkage parts from Speedway and some 5/16" mild steel rods. You will find yourself changing intake setups and those extra linkage parts will come in handy. The Zipper has had an EFI, single 97, dual 97's and currently running a Weber 32/36. A spare stock harp that bolts on to the back of the block for the linkage is good to have too.
     
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  3. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,749

    J.Ukrop
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    Thank you! I'm keeping as much Model A with it as possible, although we'll see how it goes when we make the A-V8 conversion. I actually got my fuel pump from Charlie, so I'll have to look into his linkages as well.

    Great advice. It's always fun to find the right combination!
     
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  4. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,749

    J.Ukrop
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    Hey everyone, I know that I haven't posted much progress yet this year. But don't worry, we're kicking off 2021 with a bang-er? Ooh. Anyways, moving right along...
    IMG_2413.jpg

    Sidebar #2: Digging Up the Gopher Motor


    Saturday was one of those days that I'll never forget. Over Christmas break, I spotted an old ad on Facebook Marketplace for a crate full of Houdaille shocks. I reached out to the owner and, after he didn't reply to my original inquiry, I sent him a picture of my roadster. That opened up the dialogue. (On New Year's Eve he sent me a selfie, so I knew I was heading in the right direction.) We chatted and eventually set up a time for me to head to his property.

    The seller lives about an hour and a half away from San Francisco, which some may argue is a long way to drive for some shocks that needed to be rebuilt. But I didn't care. I was looking to (safely) get back out in the world and pick up a few more pieces of the hot rod puzzle. I called up Yama who was happy to come with.

    Stepping out of the truck at our destination, we didn't quite know what to expect. The seller—who asked that I didn't share his name at this time—greeted us wearing a wide brimmed hat and a mask with horses printed on it. He introduced himself and let us know that he is 80 years old and admittedly a packrat. We spent the afternoon checking out his incredible vintage machines that range from a Model A with a hopped-up 'banger to a 1930 Cletrac tractor. ("With the treads like that, you feel like you're driving a tank in one of those World War II movies," he told us with a grin.)
    IMG_2396.jpg
    He has owned his Model A for 57 years. Power comes from a "C" motor with counterbalanced crank, Winfield head and Winfield carb. The engine sounds healthy through true duals.
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    My favorite machine on the property can be seen below.
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    As fascinating as everything was, the seller was perhaps best known for his pocket gopher trap collection. He's the foremost expert on the subject, having penned a detailed book about their history dating back to the early 1800s. There are numerous strands to this story, which I plan to unravel in a future Jalopy Journal column or Rodder's Journal article.

    So, how did the buying go? I got my shocks. I'm pretty sure all of them are frozen, but I'm excited to break into them and see if I can get them going again. Note the can of original fluid. IMG_2422.jpg
    Beyond that, I picked up a piece that was simply too damn good to pass up. The ad stated that there were two Model A four cylinders for sale. One was a runner and the other was a mystery. We fired up the runner with no issues, but it was out of my price range—especially for a spare. Then there was the other engine.

    On the Facebook ad, I saw that engine number two had a small metal tag on the block. The story goes that the seller got it from someone somewhat locally and never used it. He did, however, turn it over and reported that it had a hell of a lot of compression. I examined the tag and immediately knew that this was something good.
    Screen Shot 2021-01-05 at 12.48.13 AM.png
    It's hard to see, but it was rebuilt at Berkeley Automotive Center. I pulled the spark plugs and it appears as if it has never been fired. That did it for me. I made an offer, and got a great deal! We loaded it up in the truck and were on our way.
    IMG_2405.jpg
    Fits perfectly beneath the bench.

    As of now, I don't intend to run this new engine. I do feel good having it. My roadster's 'banger had some degree of a rebuild in the past 90 years judging by the adjustable lifters, but I don't know if the previous owner went with bearings in the place of the original babbits or not. It runs nicely and doesn't make odd noises, so that's good. It's nice to know the Gopher Motor has bearings along with an 0.080 overbore, per the tag. It seems like a pretty solid candidate for a high-compression head. Maybe I'll swap it in when I race at T.R.O.G. in New Jersey later this year...

    I mainly bought this because it was affordable insurance—and because I love the history. The night after I brought it home, I stayed up until 2 a.m. poring through Berkeley City directories looking for information on Berkeley Automotive Center. For a minute I thought this may be an industrial stand engine, but I checked the VIN and discovered that it was a production engine that rolled off the line on November 19, 1930.

    Bay Area people, have you heard of Berkeley Automotive Center? It's not in the directory from the '40s-'60s, and I may contact the library system next. Also, does anyone have any idea what the 301 date code means? I figured if it were March 2001, the business would be easily searchable. Anyways, this is a thrilling treasure hunt that once again reminds me how fun building one of these cars can be.
    IMG_2417.jpg
    I love all this. (Don't worry, it's still getting a V8.)
     
  5. A great build Joey - keep it up the banger is a fun deal

    Got mine going two days ago
    [​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
    Woogeroo, cactus1, FORDY 6 and 21 others like this.
  6. Mikko_
    Joined: Aug 3, 2018
    Posts: 339

    Mikko_
    Member
    from Sweden

    @J.Ukrop Nice find on the engine, the header looks awesome.

    @Greg Stokes I follow you on Instagram and your T is just so perfect.
     
  7. 97
    Joined: May 18, 2005
    Posts: 1,808

    97
    Member


    Yeah right! have you been visiting on the Banger Meet yet?
    https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/december-2020-banger-meet-thread-lil-saint-nick.1213373/

    https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum...ead-good-riddance-2020.1216273/#post-13886923

    save that V8 for the next , (channelled) build ! :eek::D you will need another chassis., everything will be different:cool:! and anyway, the banger will still outrun the flathead!

     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2021
  8. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 19,477

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Double Garage Comin' Up!!!...great part sourcing...visit that fella often...one of these days you'll own that banger Roadster...did he have any vintage Hotrod pics?
     
  9. sloppy jalopies
    Joined: Jun 29, 2015
    Posts: 4,713

    sloppy jalopies
    Member

    cool '31 cabbie with a '30 grill, i much prefer the '31 cabbies...
    go man go !
     
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  10. Joey, you are a lucky man. You just witnessed
    the possible next 50 years of your life!
    This hot rod stuff is deep in your DNA already.
    Every day can be an adventure!
     
  11. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,961

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    I just can't believe you used the roadster for leverage, such a snake. If you had a pretty wife instead of Yama you would have ended up with both engines along with the big hat and the horse mask! Of course she'd have to be a great camera person to be fully functional. :rolleyes:
     
  12. I love the Cletrac. We have a Cletrac that we use to plow the road with. Great machine. Been driving it since I was 10 or so.
     
  13. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,749

    J.Ukrop
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    I have some updates that I'll be posting later, but you can click here for my Jalopy Journal article about picking up the new/old 'banger. Just to keep the ball rolling, here's a picture from my first successful trip to the hardware store. IMG_2485.jpg
     
  14. jim snow
    Joined: Feb 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,239

    jim snow
    Member

    Cool looking jalopy.jmho. Snowman
     
  15. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 12,436

    Tim
    Member
    from KCMO

    Looking good.

    a very romantic story of a car coming together.

    At least it feels that way locked in my house in the middle of winter with a hot rod that won’t start in my garage. Lol
     
  16. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 12,436

    Tim
    Member
    from KCMO

  17. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,961

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    "...here's a picture from my first successful trip to the hardware store."
    Did I miss the posts of the unsuccessful trips?
     
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  18. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,749

    51504bat
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Wheels aren't turned in to the curb. Must not be in San Francisco..:cool: But the grade does look like less than 3% so maybe you'll get a pass.
     
  19. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,092

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    That is Standard Plumbing Ace Hardware on Clement. It has no grade to speak of.
     
  20. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,749

    J.Ukrop
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    Thank you! It's coming together!

    Haha I had to double/triple take to see what's changed. Now that I see it, it does look a lot better. We'll get there soon!

    If you look verrrry closely, you'll see that they are clocked to the right. I probably could have turned them more haha. And yes, I've gotten that ticked at least once in the past five years.

    I'm a big Cole Hardware fan (especially the Cole Valley one. I even have the shirt!), but ever since moving to the Richmond in 2016 I've gravitated to this Ace. It's a nice walk, chopper ride or roadster ride away. IMHO Clement is one of San Francisco's best streets.
     
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  21. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,749

    J.Ukrop
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    It's been pretty busy here as of late, but I've managed to spend some nights working on little pieces of the car. Last week, I finally was able to bring down my seat height to match the chopped windshield frame. This was a hybrid of ideas that I had seen online, but the goal was to make it shorter while still remaining comfortable. Seeing that the seat frame was made out of 1x1 steel tubing, I decided to take advantage of that space—lawn chair style. This is how it went... IMG_2475.jpg
    IMG_2471.jpg
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    IMG_2473.jpg
    IMG_2488.jpg
    63169369834__09DD0C52-6513-4FF2-A72A-901AB47821C1.jpg
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    Aaand once I put it mostly back together, I asked upholstery master Lindsey to try it out for size. From what I can tell, she was a fan! IMG_2512.jpg
     
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  22. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,749

    J.Ukrop
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    Well, yes and no. There was the unsuccessful grocery store trip, the unsuccessful lunch trip...for whatever reason, the car would run great for about 15 minutes and then cut out as if it were fuel starvation while either going up or down a hill. Like this.



    There are lots of hills where I live, so that won't cut it. Thanks to my good friend David, I've been able to read up on the carb. 63150574828__D758F709-F2F8-40AC-A160-AB067CDA4C0D.jpg
    What's strange is that nine times out of 10, allowing the car to sit and cool down usually fixes the issue. That is why I am thinking that the problem is fuel evaporating in the carb. Nonetheless, yesterday I was not able to get it home under its own power. Luckily, my roommate Michael was able to tow me home up the hill. He wins the "Friend of the Year" award, big time. IMG_2593.jpg
     
  23. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,749

    J.Ukrop
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    That brings us up to speed—almost. As much as I would like to say I have mastered the stock Zenith 2 carb before I swapped it out, that's just not in the cards. Instead, I'm using this breakdown as a catalyst to get the downdraft intake/Stromberg/fuel pump/header/dual exhaust on there. This is a hot rod after all! (I'll see how it goes, but I can save the Zenith fun for another day).

    It's important to note that this weekend is a line of demarkation. Our landlords have to do some work on the garage that they've been planning for months. Once it's completed, I can dig back into the car and finally do some more involved tasks. First in line? The brakes. That'll be my task for Saturday and probably Sunday. I also ordered a ton of stuff for version 1.5, so stay tuned.

    Okay, okay. How about some more pictures? I drove the car over to Clement street the other day for lunch. While I was there, I was able to catch up with my friend Andy Zangrilli. Andy loves all things with wheels, and he runs a very cool Instagram dedicated to cars spotted on the streets of San Francisco. You can check it out here. IMG_2621.png
     
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  24. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,749

    J.Ukrop
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    The landlords required for us to clean out the garage so that the contractors can work in there tomorrow. In my cleaning (read: procrastination), I hauled the car's top out of the back storage area. The top came with the body, and the story goes that the previous owner had it since he was 14 years old.

    I knew it was from a DeLuxe due to the chrome pieces on the bows, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was more of a wrap-around style than stock. Maybe it was a custom piece from back in the day? Either way I love how it looks. Once the car is running/stopping how I want it to, I can't wait to clean the canvas, chop it and get everything fitting right.

    IMG_2614-1.jpg
    IMG_2607-1.jpg
    IMG_2604.jpg
    Since I had to move the car to the neighbors' for the rest of the week, I couldn't help but break out the camera and do a mini photo shoot. I'm sure this happens to you guys all the time, but do you ever get that feeling that your car can't really be yours? That's how I know that the project is on the right track.
    Roadster 2.jpg
    Roadster Profile.jpg
    Roadster Interior.jpg If anyone out there has a '30/'31 horn button or front top irons, let me know and let's see if we can work out a deal. I'm also on the lookout for a front spreader bar. I might just make one, but I figured I'd ask here first. That's all for tonight!
     
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  25. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,961

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    That is a cool top. I want to build one for my roadster if I ever build the roadster. Here is my favorite hot rod top, well one of them.

    image 2.png
     
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  26. Jeff34
    Joined: Jun 2, 2015
    Posts: 470

    Jeff34
    Member

    Joey, Roadster is looking awesome! Great work! Interesting that it cuts out so quickly. There's not much to go wrong here. It's either fuel or spark. I had some of the same problems on mine. Coil got hot...no spark. Hot restart...no fuel. For the coil, I had it rebuilt by Skip Haney and now it's got good spark, cold or hot. For the hot restart, I added a fuel pump back by the tank, no more problems...
     
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  27. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,726

    denis4x4
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Colorado

    8EE64FA1-3434-42FF-96A6-F606BA34CEA7.jpeg

    Made this new base a couple of years ago. As an old fart, I appreciate the built in lumbar support on the seat back. Something to consider.
     
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  28. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 12,436

    Tim
    Member
    from KCMO

    Good progress! Even if you did stop to call me in the middle of your day haha.

    seat looks great, @Aaron D. posted a video on “chopping” his seat to go along with his chopped top on his A coupe recently. Great ideas.

    the amount I dropped your roadster could be done with springs pretty easy. But dang man it does look pretty good as is. I’d leave it alone til the 8 comes along maybe? Top looks fantastic as well. Needs minor tweaking and you’re set.

    dang this thing just keeps getting cooler
     
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  29. Awesome ! Is the landlord doing an earthquake retrofit ? Lot of that going on in the Bay Area. Love the project, and I really like that old Buck knife !
     
  30. milosmith
    Joined: Aug 27, 2020
    Posts: 79

    milosmith
    Member

    I had a similar problem with an old MG of mine that turned out to be fuel starvation. I had like symptoms that I was scratching my head at. The car would run fine for a while then die off under load.

    My mechanic took a look and suggested there was a restriction in the fuel line.

    I ran a flexible wire through the gas line, and sure enough there was a blob of sediment and crap in the line. Removing the restriction solved the fuel starvation issue. What was happening was that the car would run fine on the fuel in the float chamber until that supply was gone. It would then shut off. Once the float chamber refilled after 5-10 minutes, all was good.

    Do you possibly have a restriction in your fuel line or the fuel strainer where the gas line meets the carb? Maybe some crap was in the old gas tank that got pulled into your new line, even with the sediment bowl. Not sure if you're running one, but is your fuel shutoff valve opening fully?

    Love the look of the car with the top on, btw...
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2021
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