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Hot Rods New and Confused

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ballistic, Apr 25, 2020.

  1. Ballistic
    Joined: Apr 25, 2020
    Posts: 3


    Hey there, folks! I hope everyone is surviving quarantine and staying healthy. Apologies in advance if this is the wrong place to post.

    Years ago, I wrote something and was fortunate enough to have it published on Jalopnik - . Someone in the comments mentioned I should come post on H.A.M.B. if I ever wanted some guidance. Well, a few years have passed, and I'm finally here.

    Long story short, my Grandfather was a hotrodder back in the 50s and 60s. He went through a lot of cars and would tell me all kinds of stories about them when I was a kid. We would spend time at car shows and garages - it was great. Unfortunately, he passed away about five years ago, not too long after Jalopnik published that article.

    My brother and I now own his 1936 Ford Humpback (photos below, I'm away from the car right now or I'd get something better). We haven't done anything with it since his passing. My brother has been raising his family and starting a business. I have been finishing up law school and figuring out my career as an attorney.

    My life has leveled out a bit, and I might have a garage to work on it. Here comes the hard part - I have no idea what to do or where to start! I love cars and I'm not afraid of getting my hands dirty or using tools - I change my own oil and am fairly handy around the house. I've got some advice from my Father-in-Law, an aircraft mechanic, but I've managed to forget everything my grandfather taught me about working on cars.

    Here are my goals:
    1. I want it to run well enough not to be terrifying (I'd like to be able to drive the Missouri I-70 Corridor between Kansas City, Columbia, and Saint Louis without needing a tow truck on speed dial).
    2. I want it to be fast enough on the highway not to be terrifying.
    3. I want it to stop well enough not to be terrifying.
    4. I want it to run.

    Here's what I know:

    1. It has a 24-bolt Flathead V8 (I think my grandfather called it 100 hp).
    2. It has hydraulic drum brakes.
    3. Nothing is original. Grandpa swapped the front end with an early 40s Ford Super Deluxe to get the shifter on the column, added a parking brake from a scrapyard, swapped the engine, I think it has at least two different heating systems, and a former restoration left it with a 12-volt electric system and an electric fuel pump.
    4. The engine does run (at least five years ago, it did).

    Here's my list of things to do, so far:
    1. Check the fuel tank for rust.
    2. Drain the brake lines and put in new fluid.
    3. I'll need to fix some of the body damage on the car (grandfather ran into it with his Grand Marquis towards the end of his life, unfortunately).

    Am I on the right track here? What sort of budget should I be looking at? Is this a good project for someone new like me?

    I'm open to any advice - other than LS swap. I know that's probably the easiest way to add speed and reliability, but I can't put a GM engine in this car. I would be very open to a Ford swap but, again, I have no idea what I'm doing!

    pwschuh, slim38, kiwijeff and 11 others like this.
  2. Go read Ryans Journal posts about daily driving a flathead. And Velkommen!
  3. So, I'm probably close to your Grandfathers age. Learned a long time ago not to give advice but maybe some suggestions. Reason being my Yard stick is different than yours. Looks and sounds like you have something that already works so were it me I would not jump into the deep end with changes. Drive it some first and only make changes that need to be done. I really don't think sitting 5 years makes the fuel system need service, maybe just drain and fresh Gas. I'd make sure it has a good filter somewhere. If the filter plugs up twice then go after the tank. Brakes, your already where most of us Hot Rod guys are trying to get. Just take a little time to get used to them. It isn't going to Stop like a new BMW. No matter what speed you make it capable of or how you drive it people are going to run up on you and pass. That's because they want to see what it is, get used to it. Drive defensively, watch your rear view mirror and enjoy it for what it is. If you turn it into a Street Rod your Grampa is going to send ya lightning bolts.
  4. jetnow1
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,593

    from CT
    1. A-D Truckers

    What are your goals for the car? Weekend toy or daily use? With a good tune up, going thru the brakes,
    making sure the lights etc are good little more would be needed for a Weekend toy. To really use it as a daily would probably entail more updates to be comfortable, I am not familiar with your local traffic
    so I will not hazard a guess on what you would find to be needed. Here (CT) I would want disc brakes,
    12 volts electric wipers, lights, seatbelts, and probably at least a small block swap, as well as radial tires. Your needs may vary.

  5. Start a build thread, here. The HAMB is a good place to ask questions. Decide early on what you want from the car. Be prepared to learn and then change your vision for the car, as you learn. Looks like a good start. Good luck.
  6. Also, this is more of a restoration site, than a pure hot rod group. So, be prepared to be told that certain modifications are verboten. Panties can get all wadded up over things like choice of tires. Individuality is encouraged, as long as it fits a narrow criteria. Lurk a while and you'll come to understand how it works.
    Thor1, mgtstumpy, BamaMav and 2 others like this.
  7. KenC
    Joined: Sep 14, 2006
    Posts: 472


    I'd not describe it that way. It is a pure HR site, with year boundries. from very early in HR history 'til 64. Emphasis on maintaining traditional values. IMO, we are expected to build it the way we would have in the 30s-60s. Any way you want using parts from those years, just like a pure hot rodder. BTW, that cutoff exclude MII front ends if that's what you are referring to.
    loudbang, LM14 and squirrel like this.
  8. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,862


    this is the big thing, right here.

    Since you've waited 5 years just to get started, I suggest you continue using your fantastic patience, and start by getting it all working right, with the equipment it has now. Then go for an occasional weekend drive, and get used to the car.

    The idea of turning it into a commuter on a major artery, sounds a bit optimistic, to me. And I've driven some cars in places that you really shouldn't be driving old cars.
    Stooge, R A Wrench, kiwijeff and 13 others like this.
  9. Yep, baby steps. Small piece of the time. Get it running. Drive around the block. Driving around a couple more blocks. So far so good? Take it for drive out in the country. Start making a list of things that you want to change to make it more reliable or more to your liking for your driving Style.
    kiwijeff, Thor1, grumpy65 and 3 others like this.
  10. Ballistic
    Joined: Apr 25, 2020
    Posts: 3


    I apologize if I gave anyone the idea I want it for a commuter. I'm looking at a weekend car, at least for now. Maybe drive it to work if the weather is nice. The highway portion comes from the fact that my Brother and I live on different sides of the state and it will, inevitably, need to go back and forth occasionally (it's an unusual arrangement, I'm aware). I'd rather be able to do that under its own power than have to tow it once a year, or something similar.

    So many great responses here! I'm still making my way through everything - especially interested in reading through Ryan's Journal.
  11. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,862


    If you plan to drive the car across Missouri every now and then, you have the opportunity to travel on a whole bunch of different small highways, to do so. There's no need to make the car interstate-ready.

    Thanks for the clarification :)
    osage orange, SR100, Thor1 and 7 others like this.
  12. A good cooling system, I suggest a good cooling system....and maybe a 5 speed conversion, and speed rated tires so you can go really fast
    osage orange and Thor1 like this.
  13. Not necessarily Mustang II front ends. Look at Stogy's "tired of homogenized hot rods" thread, and you'll see anything you could imagine. Hot rods are about innovation and improving performance. When the parameters stop innovation to stay in a specific time period, that's the definition of restoration. There's nothing wrong with restoration. I support the idea of restoring old hot rods. But, once that is the goal, I don't think it is still hot rodding. As far as traditional values go, I'm 74 and have driven modified cars since I was 16. The HAMB has embraced 4 doors, early sixties International big farmer style pickups and rusty crapped out paint as "traditional". I love the HAMB, but sometimes it's just silly.
  14. 40FORDPU
    Joined: Mar 15, 2009
    Posts: 2,879

    from Yelm, Wa
    1. Northwest HAMBers

    Good advice already given.
    Personally I would have to buy out my brothers half, or sell my half to him.
    I can't see how dual ownership can possibly turn out good for either of you.
    I know you didn't ask about that, but that would be my utmost important issue to deal with first.
  15. The Hamb moderaters sometime cast a blind eye towards some things.
    But,,,they also have their limits,,,,,,some things are taboo and will not be tolerated .
    They are only doing their job,,,,,just remember,,,traditional !

    osage orange likes this.
  16. studebaker46
    Joined: Nov 14, 2007
    Posts: 657


    pist-n-broke both gave good advice find out what the car wants get it reliable and then drive it to get familiar with it. that being said, I don't know if you are on the St. Louis side or the kc side but there is a wealth of knowledge in both communities so reach out to local clubs. and if you are still here 40fordpu probably gave you the best advice Tom
    osage orange likes this.
  17. KenC
    Joined: Sep 14, 2006
    Posts: 472


    You're just a kid! So am I at 3 yrs your senior. See what you mean now. Difference in my understanding of restoration. To me, that means returning it to its' original, as built condition. Not my cup of tea (or mug of whatever) either.
    upspirate and Chili Phil like this.
  18. KenC
    Joined: Sep 14, 2006
    Posts: 472


    Much more enjoyable too. Not just fitting the car to the experience, but seeing MO as it was meant to be seen, one small town at a time. True for mine (OK), AR and KS too.
  19. grumpy65
    Joined: Dec 19, 2017
    Posts: 391


    Ultimately, it is your and your brothers car now. If you can both agree on a build direction to proceed with, then that is what the direction should be. Two things to seriously consider at this point........

    1) It is a journey you both should travel as one. An opportunity to bond and make the relationship between you both stronger and more positive. No matter how well you get on, it can always get better. Your Grandfather has handed you both an opportunity here. Sounds like he was a very wise man to me. ;)

    2) Your Grandfather has also trusted you both with a part of his memory and legacy. Keep this in mind when deciding on the direction the build will take. The word "tribute" comes to mind. Did I mention how wise this man sounds like he was? :)

    You both need to be happy with the result you acheive, so the final plan is your's to decide, but how cool would it be that every time you drive her, your Grandfather is right there with you.
  20. scrap metal 48
    Joined: Sep 6, 2009
    Posts: 6,072

    scrap metal 48

    My advice since you asked.. I would either buy out your brother or let him buy you out then get a car just for you....
  21. 6-bangertim
    Joined: Oct 3, 2011
    Posts: 385

    from California

    It might be worth your while to open-up the carb for a look-see for varnish, give it a 'aerosal overhaul' with Berryman's or CRC carb spray. Order a new fuel pump - if only to have a spare to carry along, as today's gas is hard on old rubber parts and hoses. Install a good glass-bowl fuel filter - like the repop AC filters.

    Pull the drums off, and have a helper press the brake pedal while you watch the brakes on each corner. The driveway is the place to discover if you have a wheel cylinder hang-up, or the master is bad! Also check the rubber flex lines.

    When the libraries open back up, see how far back their reference books go for vintage Motor's or other manuals, or vintage how-to books. Same for used book stores. The troops here might provide some suggestions for manuals, or offer up a book they no longer need, to get you started. Until things open back up, there might be some Youtube vids you can bookmark for later.

    After you get it running and rolling down the street, a AAA card might be the handiest thing you have with you, if ya break-down!

    Most of all, GO HAVE FUN, under the hood and behind the wheel!
  22. Jokester
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 440


    Here are my goals:
    1. I want it to run well enough not to be terrifying (I'd like to be able to drive the Missouri I-70 Corridor between Kansas City, Columbia, and Saint Louis without needing a tow truck on speed dial).

    Cool car! But I've been on I-35 from St. Louis to KC. It's the most overtraveled road I've been on. That't the last place I'd want to drive any car, let alone a car that is questionably roadworthy. Of course, you could just put it in neutral and get carried along by the traffic.

    I'd take it for many, many short hops until I had all the bugs worked out. Even then I'd prefer to go up to MO 36 and across. It's 4 lane from Cameron to Hannibal and in my mind much safer for a classic car to be on.

    my 2 cents.
    Thor1, mgtstumpy and das858 like this.
  23. nochop
    Joined: Nov 13, 2005
    Posts: 1,721

    from norcal

    Ha ha ha ha ha.....he said “budget”.....
    Blue One, bobss396, Thor1 and 6 others like this.
  24. sliceddeuce
    Joined: Aug 15, 2017
    Posts: 2,982


    And find a way to post pics of everything you own in as many threads as humanly possible. Over and over.
  25. grumpy65
    Joined: Dec 19, 2017
    Posts: 391


    Just some clarification on the process as I see it. The most important thing to keep in mind is that she is now "your" car. As such, the path chosen from here comes down to you and your brother, no-one else. My comment about your Grandfather riding along with you was not meant in any way to be an indication as to the direction you should take. I am sure he will be beside you no matter what you choose. See 6-bangertim's comment above.

    Some things that most on the H.A.M.B will agree with, although begrudgingly.
    *** Your car, your choice. Not our's here, or anyone elses.
    *** Build it to make you smile. The "smile" is the most important part of any project.
    *** If the ideals and mantras of this forum are not in line with your vision, that does not make your opinion wrong.
    It simply means you have not chosen the most benificial place to extract the information you seek.
    *** Don't be intimidated by the blustering and posturing of some here. Most of us hold not only our own opinions as important, but are capable of understanding that opinions of others are just as important. The right to have an opinion must over-ride all.

    So, while we all hope you can see the H.A.M.B way, we all wish you well on whichever journey you undertake. I am sure your Grandfather will be riding beside you, smiling, if you follow your dream. :D:D:D
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2020
  26. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,364

    from New York

    Nice car, Welcome and congrats!

    If my grandpa built it I would get everything working properly as built with an eye towards safety. It would be “his” car until I made big changes.

    Do what is right for you and most importantly enjoy it safely. Better that if you change it and enjoy it than it is not what you want and sits and rots somewhere. I hope my old car is driven and enjoyed when I am gone.

    Good luck!
    Thor1, 427 sleeper and grumpy65 like this.
  27. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,021


    MO36 is a great way to go across the State of MO. Very nice road (most of the way). My wife and I have traveled it a few times in our 48 Plymouth coupe, and I don't even live in MO. Gene
  28. brigrat
    Joined: Nov 9, 2007
    Posts: 5,272

    from Wa.St.

    Remember budget & Flathead can't be used in the same paragraph.
    For your intended use, get it running as is, that will buy you time to find another frame, 289 or 302 Ford, Ford Y block w/tripower, auto or manual & and 8" or 9" Ford rear. Build another chassis while enjoying the old crap than sell the running old crap to a guy that is only going go use it on weekends. JMO
    Thor1 likes this.
  29. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 4,237


    I wonder how many trips a '36 Ford could have done across Missouri back in the day, ya know, before it was an old car (upgraded to boot)?
    squirrel likes this.
  30. mickeyc
    Joined: Jul 8, 2008
    Posts: 1,075



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