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RPU Project Thoughts and Opinions

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by HotRodTractor, Oct 14, 2011.

  1. I have been working out some ideas for a '28 RPU that I am looking to start construction on as soon as I get a few more parts rounded up and I need some thoughts and opinions - who knows if I will use them - LOL

    The ultimate goal of this vehicle will be to be a cross country cruiser - I've had the dream of building a vehicle and driving Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Barbara for quite a while - I figure that is the ultimate reliability run. So the build goals include being reliable and comfortable enough to travel 5000 miles in about a 3 week time period. I need to plan for comfort, break downs, good MPG and range, simplicity, etc....

    I've picked up a steel '28 RPU "kit" second hand from someone that ordered from Last Refuge - I know the history there - I don't care and honestly I wouldn't own this if someone didn't already go through the headache of getting all the parts from them for me. I think its a pretty decent quality body that had some features that I felt were beneficial to me and meeting my goals - like a stretched cab for comfort and roll up windows allowing some excellent protection from the elements. The kit should be in shipment from the previous owner to me and when I get everything home I can lay it out and show what I have in more detail - but I have the cab, bed, split windshield (that I am kind of up in the air on....), top kit, and a new model A style frame.

    I really like the look and style that a '32 frame adds to a build - so its definitely on my hit list - building a high boy on deuce rails also gives me some room in the cab that I would not have if I were to channel it and gives me more room to hide essentials under the cab between the frame - for instance an in floor tool box comes to mind as a solid potential idea that could assist me in my journey - but that is a minute detail that can come after the big picture is pieced together.

    I am currently planning on using a flathead Chrysler inline 6 motor. I've been playing with Mopar flatheads mostly in stock form since the mid 90s so I am very comfortable with them - I like how smooth the power is and how broad the power curve is. I picked up an entire Oliver combine with a low hour 265 c.i. Chrysler industrial engine for $100 back in 2004 - the motor runs like a top and has great compression - so it will be a great motor to get the project up and running with and an even better base to build a solid engine from to make the journey. I am strongly considering complicating the build here a bit for a bit of power and for long term simplicity and reliability by installing a fuel injection setup with injectors hidden in three Holley 94 carbs - that way I can have "the look" with a bit of a modern concession that I feel will ultimately make the build a better more reliable runner than trying to drive across country and keeping multiple carbs in tune. If I go the fuel injection route - it will definately be getting a Mccullouch supercharger hanging off the side of the motor for even more pep and giving it a real hot rod race kind of feel to it. I think a well built and dressed flathead inline would also be a real nice change of pace as the power plant just to be different and also something that could have been done back in the day (except for the fuel injection - so shoot me).

    I think every hot rod should have a manual trans and a bit more modern overdrive T5 will fit my bill of goods well - so that is my plan (and I have most of the parts already).

    I'm strongly considering a quick change rear axle - then I can gear it for the open road - and switch it up quickly for say a race, or local driving relatively quickly - I do plan on driving this thing A LOT - and being able to utilize a quick change how it was intended would be a great benefit - plus it looks great sticking out under the rear of one of these trucks.

    I like the looks of a suicide front axle - and think I will be doing it with quarter eliptical front springs because I think it can be built very cleanly and provide all the function I need - I plan on building a set of split front bones mostly from scratch to be able to achieve the look and feel I am after. - I'm planning on mounting them to the side of the '32 frame in the middle just ahead of the reveal - I need to work out all the details there, but that is my thoughts anyway. Add in a cowl steering setup (once again for a bit more foot room for long distance comfort).

    And now for my real question/ stumbling point - I'm leaning toward a set of tall and skinny black wall tires - possibly on some repop wires like you find at Coker - this is where I am starting to let my mind wander a bit - I like the long and low look, but as a high boy I think the proportions are a bit off - but if I were to run a set of big wires with say a set of Excelsior tires (say 20" wires with 600R20s and 650/700R20s) - I think I can "hide" the fact that its as tall and as long as it is. The cab is stretched since it is a Last Refuge body, I need to stretch the engine compartment some to fit the Chrysler, add in a suicide front and a full length bed out back and its plenty long, by throwing it on duece rails and putting these tall tires on it (35" tall out back and 33" tall up front) - I think I can balance it all and bring it all together. At least I think it can, and am looking for some thoughts on this.

    I do plan on sketching everything out to scale and seeing how it looks, but until I actually get the body here - I'm just day dreaming and looking for ideas and opinions. LOL

    OK - let me have it.

  2. Dreddybear
    Joined: Mar 31, 2007
    Posts: 5,912


    You asked for opinions so I'll speak my piece, but it doesn't mean shit. I think sketching it out is a good idea. The #1 thing that kills a car for me is proportions. The 32 wheelbase (106.5")+long frontend+long engine+long body is something I would be careful with. Nice tight wheelbases just look good. The wheel and tire setup can cover it a bit but I dunno if all the way. I think that alot of folks want to be in the "way they did it back in the day" club but also want to be in the "do what nobody else is doing" or "my take on what could have been done" club too. Sometimes the two can mix well, most of the time I find it wasn't quite pulled off the way someone intended (even worse is the "they would have used it if they had it" club). I admit I really don't like quarter elliptical setups, I think they're ugly, but really I do think with a tranverse spring you'll get a nicer riding and easier to build setup (plus a way to tighten up that WB). Quickchanges are cool but for a period looking setup you're talking $$. Speedway has a vintage looking one for 3 grand or so that looks pretty good and I've seen them, they're nice. The blown mopar motor sounds neat. Besides all that shit sometimes people just come out and pull something off and defy the odds. So here's an example. I'm a cynical punk so if you were to explain this car to me without a visual I would hate it, but this dude pulled off proportions and kept the old feel of the car. I think it rules:

    In any case good luck and make sure you take a bunch of pictures and make a build thread on here.
  3. I most certainly did ask for opinions - and I appreciate it. Your reservations about the 32 frame and proportions are exactly my concerns and a fair amount of driving force behind that thought for me is room - perhaps once I start mocking things up on wooden blocks in the shop and start sketching things out I will see that I can sacrifice a bit of room here and there and be OK with it for the sake of looks as long as I maintain the comfort factor I am looking for. After all who wants a car that looks like hell?

    I almost agree with you on the quarter elliptical springs - but my plan is to more or less mount the springs inside the frame rails - hiding most of the spring and the ugly mounting hardware from view - I just need to figure out what to do at the front of the frame where the spring comes out so I have plenty of motion out of the springs and to make it so the frame tube just doesn't abruptly end. I do like the the ability to tune in ride height with the quarter elliptical setup by just adjusting the mounting angle of the spring with a wrench. Tuning them for ride is just as simple as getting the spring rate right. Maybe I am oversimplifying it too much - I tend to do that. LOL

    I've been drooling over pictures and videos of that supercharged Packard for a while actually - it was the one thing that solidified my decision to try and run the 265 Chrysler setup the same way. I agree that car is tits.
  4. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 6,105


    Opinions? An exotic engine/tranny is the last thing i would choose for a reliable cruiser to take on a long distance trip. The extralong 6cyl engine will mess the proportions up of the RPU, just won't work as a traditional hot rod - it is true that there are things you can do to minimize the long engine but whenever you get overly involved in 'packaging' something else will suffer.
    You want reliable and comfort go with a crate sbc & 700r4, all the engineering has been done for you and everything you need is store-bought parts. Gussy the motor with a set of 3 dueces and finned valve covers and you'll have about as traditional and reliable as money can get.
    Do the front end with ford stuff, to do the split bones as you described takes some subtle work/modification on the '32 rails, i'd do it on a set of model 'a' rails in a heartbeat - i just don't know about doing it on '32 rails as they'll loose some of the elegance. Ask around to see if anybody has 'swept' the '32 rails.
    1/4elips are interesting, i just don't see them working with the graceful curves of the ford front horns, esp on a suicide front end where all is exposed to the eye.
    I love the QC, just remember it is going to talk to you on that long trip - they are not quiet and some people cannot abide the constant drone of the gears. I like them myself, just giving you headsup.
    You asked for my opinion and a very conservative one at that. Remember, these hot rods are not a new idea and some very talented people worked out most of the problems long ago. The only problem they didn't solve for us is the current belief that we are smarter, better and know more about mechanics than they did.
    Good luck, oj
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  5. Yes I did ask for opinions - and I appreciate them even if I don't agree with them. I don't exactly think a flathead Chrysler is exotic considering they were built for over 30 years and installed in cars, trucks, farm equipment, industrial equipment, etc... The only thing exotic about it would be the injection setup - and that would be common parts installed into an exotic package. I just don't see it being any more of an issue than any motor that might have issues along side the road. And T5 transmissions - that was installed in various vehicles for 15 years or more - not hard to find or get parts for. I definitely don't want something as common as an SBC - that's part of the fun.

    I agree on the look with the 32 frame with the quarter ellipticals. It took me a bit but take a look at the front end on this car:

    I've been thinking about the quick change - I know they are a bit noisy - but can't say that I have been around them enough to say if I would be annoyed. Call me a noob - it happens. It is something that I am considering.

    I think I am going to mock up everything using the "standard" big and littles with 550R16s in the front and 700R16s in the rear and see how things flow.

    I definately hear you about remembering that hot rods have been around for a long time and pretty much anything you can think of has been done in some form before. I don't want to claim that I am smarter, better, or know more about the components than the guys that have done it for years - but I also recognize a vision in my head and my desire to be the "same yet different" because to me that is what this is all about in the end - the desire to express creativity in metal and take pleasure in using that piece of metal to travel and meet new people and see new things.

  6. Rags To Richs
    Joined: Dec 19, 2007
    Posts: 390

    Rags To Richs

    Looks great so far..... I would really like to see you post some additional photos.... I have been considering the Last Refuge for my next build.......

  7. Its been a long while - and I keep accumulating parts. I finally sat down and started sketching out the project just to make sure that I get all the proportions just right. This is pretty close to what I had envisioned for the combo I tried to describe in the first post - but as they say, pictures are worth a thousand words. How about a little constructive criticism on this sketch showing the LR Cabrio cab, Chrysler 265 6 cylinder flathead, duece rails, suicide front, etc.. Keep in mind its just a quickly colored sketch at this point, but it is to scale.

  8. Lytles Garage
    Joined: May 6, 2011
    Posts: 613

    Lytles Garage

    That 265 Chrysler is one hell of a COOL motor !! Supercharged, it will fly!! COOL project!! Chris
  9. Thanks! I really like those old Mopars - I know its not common, but I think it will make a nice little mill for this RPU.
  10. Lytles Garage
    Joined: May 6, 2011
    Posts: 613

    Lytles Garage

    I have a 251 and a Turbocharger for a future project. Chris
  11. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    As for your thoughts on a quarter eliptic suspension, my Son is running that setup on the back of his rpu. It rides and handles like a new car. With the bed on you don't even see it from the side.




    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
    HotRodTractor likes this.
  12. Thanks for the pics Don! I have admired that ride for sometime - its on my list of watched threads. I hope that my eventual ride will be of that same caliber when completed..... its just going to take me a while to get there.

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