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Featured Technical Columbia 2 Speed for Bonneville?

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Haven Hills Auto Club, Sep 13, 2021.

  1. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,448

    Tman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    This thread has become absurd
     
    48fordnut and silent rick like this.
  2. That all sounds fun. But I'm already 32K into this roadster just in parts. Can't turn back now. My goal is Autorama to present a pure all Ford hot rod with NO west coast or east coast speed equipment. Only parts sourced from Ford or the Great Lakes region. I've never seen a true Detroit/Michigan hot rod from that era. Even the heads and intake were designed by one of Henry Ford's top engineers, Don Sullivan. My dream car is not to go fast, but to represent all the best Detroit had to offer, "that I can afford" to make a great hot rod that could have road tripped to Bonneville in 1949 and ran on the salt. I just want to see such a car exist, even if the story is made up.
     
  3. It funny how a simple question can spiral out of control and lead to different topics. Not the intent. I do appreciate all the info though.
     
  4. Well, that's why I'm here talking to the experts.. What dry lakes could you run what you brung in 1949? I didn't realize Bonneville was so restrictive even then.
     
  5. Even if you never race it at Bonneville (and you can't under SCTA and similar rules. Maybe the USFRA 130 club), the basic problem is that a Columbia rearend is just not that strong. So treat it gently. It is good for the long distance freeway cruising to reduce rpm. That won't be used when towing a trailer, your engine, even built up flathead V8, will need the extra rpm power for towing.

    I applaud your idea, but I think you should just forget any racing. Unless you like being stranded with a busted Columbia rearend.
     
  6. BigJim394
    Joined: Jan 21, 2002
    Posts: 762

    BigJim394
    Member

    I remember reading an interview with Don Garlits in some maybe 1980s era Rod magazine where he talked about Columbias. He had a hot rodded coupe in the late 50s with a built hemi and a Columbia rear. He said he had figured out how to build a Columbia to handle a hot hemi and had amassed a lot of parts to do it. I wonder if anyone ever got him to reveal his secrets for Columbias?
     
    Haven Hills Auto Club likes this.
  7. I like it. I figured someone out there would have some history involving Columbia's and racing. With the bullet proofing parts available today, and a couple other mods, I'm sure a Columbia could be made to survive.
     
  8. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,448

    Tman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

  9. Someday I may end up on the dry lakes or a beach with an early Ford, but not this car. If I'm gonna beat on a car for real I would use very different hardware. Same reason I don't take my dune truck to the mud bog. This roadster being built to capture a time period. The next roadster will be built to drive. Nothing wrong with building a period tribute car. After all, this is why the HAMB exists.
     
    JNKYARDDOG_1 likes this.
  10. SCTA rules question | The H.A.M.B. (jalopyjournal.com)
    Added this because it is somewhat related to the topic. Seems no real rules existed in 1949. Engine and body seemed to be the main concern. Chime in and give your comment. How loose were the rules for 1949 Bonneville concerning driving your car there and racing and do you know of a car that ran a Columbia on the salt?
     
  11. solidaxle
    Joined: Jan 6, 2011
    Posts: 554

    solidaxle
    Member
    from Upstate,NY

    I thought about your dream. The expense to purchase and effort to install a Columbia for just a once in a blue moon event to me doesn't sound very feasible. But it's not up to me how you spend your money. The hot setup would be a Columbia with a quick change.
     
    Haven Hills Auto Club likes this.
  12. :eek:
     
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  13. studebakerjoe
    Joined: Jul 7, 2015
    Posts: 791

    studebakerjoe
    Member

    @BigJim394 I'm sure he'd be happy to talk about what he did with the Columbias. We've had some good conversations about his old flatheads he ran back in the day.
     
    Haven Hills Auto Club likes this.
  14. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,563

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Meaning you are building a parking lot poser for the casino parking lot and not actually going to race.

    All cars that run SCTA events have to have all the current required safety equipment to pass tech and they would send you running and then shake their heads and laugh if you showed up with what you plan.
     
    Tman likes this.
  15. 6sally6
    Joined: Feb 16, 2014
    Posts: 1,583

    6sally6
    Member

    Keep in mind.....there's more to it than running a really tall gear. Considering the aero of your vehicle will have a lot to do with your top speed. Mainly.....IF you wanna go fast you still need HP to do it. (I'm sure there's a formula but the faster you go the more power you need to increase speed)
    Jus say'in
    6sally6
     
    Haven Hills Auto Club likes this.
  16. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 6,739

    Budget36
    Member

    Well, he may not be building a Salt Flat car, but geesh, to call it a poser? Isn’t the HAMB about wanting to make it period correct?
    Dang, I guess everyone who built a FED, has to race it? I could go on but the OP was asking “what was done”. Then gets shit on.
    Should every “traditional build” be a daily driver? I mean that’s what a lot of them were when built.
    Mercy.
     
  17. Ok..First off, my car wouldn't be caught stalled in a casino parking lot. Second, did you just call out everyone on this site that builds traditional cars a poser? Damn. The HAMB is all about keeping the history and tech of traditional hot rodding alive and passing that passion down to the younger generation. Third, the whole point of this thread is too assess if people ran Columbias at the salt flats in 1949 when, from my research, the rules were pretty lax. The answer I have found is yes, people even to this day run overdrives at Bonneville. I could care less what current rules are at Bonneville. I'm only concerned with 1949.
     
    wandi harry and Irish Mike like this.
  18. So, I have a very nice Columbia. I also have a really nice 36 banjo and a decent 33/34 banjo. I realize quick-changes are the norm for this, but my goal is to only use Ford or Ford related equipment from 1949 or earlier. Lots of neat hot rods out there, but very few seem to portray a true Detroit home brewed hot rod without the use of California parts. I don't want everybody else's car. I want the mythical unicorn that probably never existed. Cost is important, but not a deal breaker. The dream is more important.
     
  19. Do it! Fuck the naysayers, build it!
     
  20. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,448

    Tman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    No, he just called you a poser.
     
  21. Many great hot rods built here on the HAMB were inspired by dry lakes cars. That doesn't make us posers. We are merely keeping the history and tradition of hot rodding alive. Calling a hot rodder a poser is like calling someone the N word. Completely inexcusable, especially here on the HAMB.
     
    Budget36 and 6inarow like this.
  22. Its really too bad that 50% of this thread is based on hateful opinion, when its intention was a fact finding mission. Opinions are fine, but insults have no place in a tech article.
     
    lurker mick, 6inarow and 57 Fargo like this.
  23. 6inarow
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,322

    6inarow
    Member

    Not so fast with the criticism. He said it will never see the salt to race. He knows that. It is akin to having a really well restored 34 Ford in the parking lot of the drags or Bonneville. That guy isnt a poser either. He is just taking a restored car somewhere. Dont bust a noobs balls - be nice
     
  24. Bump for the weekend crowd. Any other info or examples of Columbia 2 speeds used at Bonneville or other dry lakes in the late 40's? Pics are cool. Info is great!
     
  25. Stan Back
    Joined: Mar 9, 2007
    Posts: 1,075

    Stan Back
    Member
    from California

    "The hot setup would be a Columbia with a quick change."
    Running in top gear through 2 extra gear sets would definitely eat up a lot of horsepower.

    When folks talk about running at "Bonneville" they're usually referring to the SCTA's yearly SpeedWeek in August. The SCTA also has a fall World Finals. All 4-wheel (or more) vehicles must be prepared safety-wise for the speed of the appropriate class they fall into. This is not practical for a street-driven vehicle -- and -- would not look appropriate for the period-look you're searching for. But, you may want to look at the USFRA's meet that includes street-driven cars.

    I was lucky enuf to be a crew member for my friend Phil Stevenson's 55 Chevy wagon in 1972. It had a 390-inch Cadillac with 4 97s and a PowerGlide kinda Jet-Away trans in it. He drove it to SpeedWeek where it ran in the B/Gas class. As I remember, it had a single-hoop roll bar and we put 18" Halibrand wheels on the back when we got there. One had an "Indy" tire, the other had a "Bonneville" tire -- they differed in diameter by about an inch (no, the car didn't go left or right). Both tires had plies showing thru and were marked "Good for 175". (The wheels are on my avatar to the left.) He ran in the high 140s. But that was then and this is now. Good luck with your clone -- it sounds very interesting. But do us 2-Club members a favor -- please do some research on appropriate numbers and class designations before they're affixed to your roadster.
    Phil's Wagon.jpg
     
  26. Love the history. For my build, the only letters on the car will be "Powered By Sullivan" on the custom aluminum hood. In honor of one of Fords top special programs engineeres. He did design the speed equipment and portions of the flathead v8. This car is more about celebrating the technology of Ford equipment and the mind set the average hot rodder would have had in 1949 living in the motor city. Only seen black and white photos of such cars, none of which survive today. West coast and east coast is cool, but there is only one motor city. So if I run a Columbia, it will be in the mind set of an experimental idea. Not necessarily because of an actual example. As far as I'm concerned, it's 1949, and how do I go faster with Ford parts from the local wrecking yard or dealer.
     
  27. Columbia's came with 4.11 ring and pinion gear ratios originally, if you put 3.54's in one you'd have some tall gearing in Columbia Overdrive
     
    Haven Hills Auto Club likes this.
  28. This talk of 3.54 gears in Columbia's seems to be a common choice. I recently found a local shop, Mike at Gas Axe Garage, that said he can help with narrowing the Columbia and getting it functional again. Body is getting taillight mods as we speak and then to get some black primer. Next will be the chassis setup, so the Columbia may come out of hibernation soon. Thanks for the info.
     
  29. solidaxle
    Joined: Jan 6, 2011
    Posts: 554

    solidaxle
    Member
    from Upstate,NY

    Do you have the controls?
     

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