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Projects **One Month, 5k Mile "Malcolm" Roadster Report**

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Malcolm, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,688

    from Nebraska

    This thread is meant to answer some of the questions that I've been asked (numerous times) about my Roadster. Whether it's via PM, on a build or road trip thread, on Facebook, via email, or in person, many of the same questions have come up.

    (Edit: here is the most recent build thread: )

    The past month has been a bit of a whirlwind and I'm still working on catching up with things....

    Quick timeline:
    July 22nd - we got it running
    July 27th-29th - drove down to KKOA Salina, KS
    August 4th - day long road trip to the Sioux City, IA area (where I'm from originally)
    August 9th-14th - Bonneville Speed Week trip
    August 17th-19th - drove down to HAMB Drags, Joplin, MO

    I've also been driving it (almost) daily around the Omaha area. It's been a blast!

    I'll start off with the tires. Probably the number one question.
    The first 1000 or so miles I had Firestone 5.50 and 7.50 bias plies on the car (from Coker). The front wheels are 16x4 Ford, rears are 16x4.5 Ford. All have been trued/straightened.

    They rode and drove like bias plies do - rather rough and they 'chased' the grooves in the roads. The fronts would start a bit of a 'bounce' over 70mph. Not horrible or unsafe feeling, but noticeable.

    I decided to switch to the Excelsior Radials right before the Bonneville trip.
    Ordered them from Coker and had them mounted the evening before leaving. Same sizes as before; 5.50x16 and 7.50x16. Fronts balanced great. The rears, not so great. One of the rears was noticeably out-of-round. You could feel that side of the car moving up and down even at 25-30 mph (the bias plies did not do that). After returning home from Bonneville and the HAMB Drags, I called Coker and they sent a replacement - no problem. They are covering shipping and I will have the new one mounted tomorrow.

    Besides the out-of-round problem with one rear, they made a HUGE difference in the ride and drive quality. I don't feel every bump, like the bias plies. I have the front toe-in set to 1/8" and it still wanders a little. After looking at MANY other early Ford straight axle front ends, it looks like my axle has too much camber - tops of the tires appear to be out too far.
    I need to measure the degree of camber, look up what it should be, and go from there. I have the caster set at 7-8 degrees.

    Took a quick video just to document the visibly out-of-round brand new $300 tire.

    <iframe width="640" height="480" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    (please be patient - adding more posts/info after this)

    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  2. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,688

    from Nebraska

    Headlights - many questions about who makes them and how well they work.
    They are made by Kirk Brown -
    Cast aluminum, machined to the shape of a small-scale E&J headlight. They have a 55-watt halogen bulb and work great (no high/low beam, just single). Plenty of light at night. Much better than headlights on the other old cars I've driven.

    Some guys have commented on how they think the headlights don't look good on the car and they're too small. That's ok, you don't have to like them.
    Just because it's not something you've seen before doesn't mean it's a bad thing.
    When the car and headlights are painted, it'll make more sense.

    I'll also share some photos taken by Craig from
    He just did this blog post with some GREAT photos:

    Headlights show up in this one:
    Myself and my Uncle John that rode along on the Bonneville trip
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2012
  3. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,688

    from Nebraska

    Windshield Frame - Hallock style by Steve Sellers.
    It appears as though he has closed up shop again, so I'm not sure if there are still more frames available, or if they will be in the future.

    It was an early casting that needed a little work (and still does) to fit the cowl nicely. I made patterns and had the glass cut here in Omaha.

    Being rather low profile and at an angle, the wind hits me mid-forehead and I'm only 5'-7". That doesn't surprise me, though. Good sunglasses and a ball cap help alot. For me, it's worth dealing with the wind, to have the look.

  4. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,688

    from Nebraska

    Rear suspension - Posies (heavy) quarter-elliptical springs installed as the lower 'links' of a triangulated 4-link. Posies sells both a 'heavy' and 'light' -duty version of these springs. The 'heavy' ones used on a car this light (not sure of exact weight) result in a stiff ride. I'm planning on removing one or two leaves from the packs to try to improve the ride. With two of us, luggage, tools, etc. in the car, it did ride pretty good. The car corners rather flat and solid. Besides the rough ride, I'm happy with the results of this unusual rear suspension.

    Also, they are adjustable - here's a good photo to show the arrangement


  5. Bad ass car. I looked it over at the HAMB Drags.
  6. [​IMG]


    These two pics are worth every minute you worked on the roadster! Unbelievable!!
    Congrats dude!!!!!!
  7. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,688

    from Nebraska

    Engine, trans, clutch, rear axle, gears

    Stock 302 and T5 out of an '86 Mustang. I got lucky and this used engine seems like it should last for a while. Has used a little oil, but two quarts in 5k miles isn't much at all. Running a Weiand Stealth intake and Edelbrock #1405 600cfm carb. Shorty headers. Duraspark distributor wired to a GM HEI ignition module. It runs great!
    The T5 makes a little noise and will need rebuilt at some point.

    I used a RAM hydraulic throwout bearing. I know many people have had problems with them. While figuring it out / installing I did alot of reading and research. I measured three or four times and shimmed it accordingly. Had to bleed it a couple times, and after that it has worked great!

    Rear axle is out of a '57 Ford Ranchero. Had the center-section rebuilt and added new 4.11 gears from Summit. Many question using the 4.11 ratio, but with 31" tall tires and .68 overdrive, it turns 2000rpm at 70mph.

    Last pass at the HAMB Drags. Thanks to "Nick79" for the use of his GoPro camera and uploading the video.

    <iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  8. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,688

    from Nebraska

    I think that answers most of the common questions, but I know more will come to mind.
    If you have any, please post them here, and I'll answer to the best of my ability.

  9. Yep my favorite A roadster currently
  10. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    Really a very neat little roadster. Glad to see you are driving the wheels off of it. Makes all those lonely nights in the garage worth it, doesn't it ? :D

  11. ratman
    Joined: Jun 15, 2006
    Posts: 423


    Nice roadster, I like the headlights
  12. Nick-it's neat as all get out. Love your smile when you are behind the wheel.
  13. LabRat
    Joined: Jan 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,551


    Rad roadster !

    What was your ET ?
  14. 6t5frlane
    Joined: Dec 8, 2004
    Posts: 2,381

    from New York

    How can a tire company sell a tire like that. There must be NO Quality checks at all
  15. brady1929
    Joined: Sep 30, 2006
    Posts: 8,520


    I love it, wish it were mine
  16. ryno
    Joined: Oct 6, 2005
    Posts: 3,471


    the little car came out awesome buddy.
    whats the plans for the paint?
  17. CAL
    Joined: May 5, 2005
    Posts: 390

    from Neosho Mo.

    Very cool. Looked it over in Joplin.
  18. JRussell
    Joined: Nov 21, 2003
    Posts: 491


    Killer car man, nice write up . so no tire dribble on the excl? Kev had some at 70. Also on the firestones

    Posted from the TJJ App for iPhone & iPad
  19. ThrottleJockey
    Joined: Sep 18, 2007
    Posts: 812


    Very nice ride............keep it going
  20. 3wLarry
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 12,804

    Member Emeritus
    from Owasso, Ok

    Thanks for the info bubba...
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  21. jhutch713
    Joined: Apr 18, 2011
    Posts: 207


    Very nice ride, diggin it.
  22. thewildturkey46
    Joined: Dec 4, 2005
    Posts: 746

    from Rice, MN

    Nick, as I told you in Salina........nice car, I like it,....... glad to see it on the highway, as you know I believe they should be driven!! I am debating on the Excelisors for mine, I have new Firestones but am concerned on the handling, guess I will jusy try them and see. Dale
  23. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 10,093

    from Burton, MI

    One of my favorites! Great to learn more about it.
  24. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,688

    from Nebraska

    Thanks alot, Don! You are 100% correct - all of that time in the garage has finally paid off. Still a ways to go, but at least I can drive it!

    My best run was 14.35 @ 97.8 mph.
    I think the video pass was 14.66 @ 97.8 mph - tire spin off the line.

    That's another common question I didn't cover!...
    It will probably end up '40 Ford Washington Blue, although I've also considered that light greenish-tan color that they also used on '40 Fords. I can never remember the name!

    The front Excelsior 5.50x16s seem great, no 'bouncing' or 'dribble' over 70 mph. Once I get that new back tire mounted I'll report back.
  25. corpsewheelie
    Joined: Jun 15, 2011
    Posts: 95


    looks great to me, the build quality looks amazing also.
  26. 1950heavymetal
    Joined: Sep 9, 2008
    Posts: 323


    Awesome car, thanks for the info!
  27. Thanks for the follow-up info Nick. I wanted to ask you about the Hallock at Mokan, but just forgot...I was just so impressed with the car, the trip, and your overall attitude about the whole deal. :cool:
  28. Thanks for the latest Nick,,Hope I can see it and you at the Roundup next April...
  29. Awesome report! Saw the car and you at the HAMB Drags, I think it is so cool that you drive it!
  30. sophisto79
    Joined: Apr 21, 2010
    Posts: 189


    Great to see you having good shakedown runs with the roadster. It was good to meet you and Uncle John at Bonneville. Watching with envy lol. Phil

    Posted from the TJJ App for iPhone & iPad

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