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Projects The Miller Roadster

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Ardent Motors, Mar 8, 2020.

  1. Nicholas Coe
    Joined: Jul 5, 2017
    Posts: 1,661

    Nicholas Coe
    from Tontitown

    I think the tires look fantastic! Love the patina on the wheels too.

    Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  2. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 8,368


    Awesome story and you are doing an awesome job, just exactly right! The car looks great. You are the right guy to own it.
    I highly recommend the modern Bendix for the starter. Snyders sells them
    The original drive WILL come apart. It WILL happen at a bad time. The bolt might get into the teeth of the flywheel and you dont want that. It will rattle around in there until it is chewed up.
    The valve springs have been compressed for so long they will NOT expand to full length and while it may run, it will run gently and you need that power.
    The rings may be stuck into the pistons and will not expand, more power down the drain. Check the compression. At that point, new pistons and rings, hone the cylinders and thats ok if the cylinders are not worn too much. The valve faces and seats really really need to be freshened too. You want a good seal there. Since you doing things right add new valve guides. Babbit is serious. Will it last any time at all after you drive it? If not a new bore and babbit is needed. I see you are very knowledgeable and probably know this stuff. I have learned it from more than 20 years driving my avatar. I added Lincoln, Bendix brakes with self adjusters to my car too. Wilson Welding is good for this. He told me he cuts 2 1/4" shoes down to 2" but you can get 2" shoes at the parts store. I used the reproduction 1940 brake drums. The 42-48 rubbed. The brake cross shaft always shows enormous wear so I added grease fittings for the bushings
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
  3. carbking
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 2,871


    "After different baths of carb cleaner and ultrasonic cleaner the carb was all laid out for re-assembly. One interesting item of this carb is the split choke. It is hinged with a spring so only one side can opened or closed."

    You might wish to recheck this.

    The spring-loaded choke was one of Carter's early attempts at a choke unloader circuit. When everthing is correctly adjusted, the divided choke operates just like a one-piece choke. If the operator pulls the choke full on, the articulation in the choke plate prevents the choke from completely closing. Other companies allowed the solid choke plate to completely close; however used a small spring-loaded valve in one hemisphere of the choke plate, which would open allowing some air once the engine started.

    Carter found the articulated choke plate to be less than reliable (if the air cleaner is overtightened, the air horn will warp, and one side of the choke plate will jam against the air horn, and not open as it should), and only used it a very few years. I have found that even with new choke components, it is often necessary to remove up to 0.025 from the edge of the new plate to prevent binding, due to the warpage of the air horn. It seems some mechanics MUST use an 18 foot cheater bar to tighten the air cleaner clamp. :rolleyes:

    Thor1, kidcampbell71, waxhead and 2 others like this.
  4. Ardent Motors
    Joined: Mar 8, 2020
    Posts: 70

    Ardent Motors

    Thanks Nicholas! I appreciate the comments. I love the patina as well. It matches the rest of the car so perfectly. As one would hope since they've been on the car for 60+ years...! haha
    Thor1 and kidcampbell71 like this.
  5. Ardent Motors
    Joined: Mar 8, 2020
    Posts: 70

    Ardent Motors

    Thanks @manyolcars I appreciate the positive reinforcement of taking the car in this direction. Some folks that stopped by the shop sort of scratched their heads when I said I was going to leave it chicken coop fresh. And thank for the recommendation of the Bendix unit. As you correctly point out there are many potential negatives and drawbacks of allowing a motor to sit for this long and the effects it has on the many components. My hope is to just get it running and driving on this motor with as little larger repairs and expense as possible. The driver of that is really two fold:

    The 1st is to cut down on the time the car will be apart. I know I have, and we all probably have had projects that the mushroom effect takes over and before you know it the entire car is apart and for some reason you're forced to move on to something more immediate... My goal is to avoid that and reduce the time it takes to getting it into a driving state. Having something that's self propelled and enjoyable will, at least in my mind, make it easier to do those upgrades in a stepped manner rather than all at once. And I do have a spare motor in good condition I can throw in it if for some reason this one doesn't come to life and limp along for a short while.

    The 2nd is that I have been thinking that at some point there will be a 2nd phase of the car. Where I continue on where the original builder left off in the 1950's adding appropriate period correct upgrades to make the car more drive-able. Adding '40 Ford juice brakes (which I already have) and a built banger, based on a Model B block. However, I'm not thinking too far ahead since I want to get the car driving to really understand and firm up what to do next. But overall I plan on making no cosmetic changes to the cars apprentice just the running gear. There is a local guy who I think has an engine, and once things get back to whatever future normal will be, I'll pursue that.

    Thanks again for your input and opinions. It is always appreciated!
    Okie Pete, Thor1 and kidcampbell71 like this.
  6. Ardent Motors
    Joined: Mar 8, 2020
    Posts: 70

    Ardent Motors

    Thanks @carbking . Based on the detail you provided (and your user handle) I'd say you know your stuff! I had never seen a choke like this prior to this carb. myself, and based on what you've said, it's probably the reason this design never took off and was adopted. I'll make sure to reference your recommendation once we get to the point of getting it back on the car and dialing it in. That is after I use my cheater bar... ;) For many reason's it's not really a Hot Rod carb. and if/when a built banger is in the future that would be one item to look at upgrading to a more appropriate carb. option.

    Thanks again Jon I appreciate you sharing your input and knowledge.
  7. rpm56
    Joined: Nov 29, 2013
    Posts: 64


    Outstanding project, work accomplished, and story. How many barn finds are found on your own property where you grew up?
    Ardent Motors, Thor1 and loudbang like this.
  8. carbking
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 2,871


    If you wish to keep a Carter W-1 on the engine, the early (1932~1936) were problematic, the 1937~1938 were better, and by 1939 were really good carbs. We have installed dozens, possibly hundreds, as aftermarket. They really DO make good hot rod carbs.

    The 1939 was part number 420s, and had a 7/8 inch main venturi; the 1941 was 483s which had a slightly larger 15/16 inch venturi. The 483s was superseded by the 574s which is the most common. The last in the line, the 684s is the best, but suffers from parts availability. Virtually all parts are readily available for the 420s, 483s, and 574s.

    Here is an article I did years ago that might be of interest:

    Last edited: Apr 14, 2020
  9. ChuckleHead_Al
    Joined: Mar 29, 2004
    Posts: 1,827


    Awesome, thank you for the post, it's great to read during this quarantine.
  10. Greg Rogers
    Joined: Oct 11, 2016
    Posts: 266

    Greg Rogers

    Wow, I love this. This thread and others is why I lurk around here... Anyway I will be following, for what it's worth I would do the same things you are- to preserve the feel of the car, you can always step up a notch or two after you get to enjoy it some, or leave it as is. Carry on! Great job!!
  11. Chopp'd49
    Joined: Feb 20, 2011
    Posts: 152


    Any updates? I have really enjoyed reading your thread as I work on my own Roadster project.
  12. studebaker46
    Joined: Nov 14, 2007
    Posts: 657


    great story and great job on restoration. you keep mentioning the fifties and I know the prev owner bought it in 1956,but it seems like it was an earlier build. Do you know the history Prior to the gentleman you bought it from Keep u the good work Tom

    You probably did not know that the original “Heath Kit” was not a radio – it was an airplane! In 1926, Ed Heath produced the first Heath Parasol – using a modified Henderson DeLuxe four cylinder motorcycle engine.

    Henderson Airplanes
    What do motorcycles have in common with airplanes? The answer is easy - Henderson engines. There have been a number of wackos who decided to adapt Henderson engines to power their airplanes - primarily the DeLuxe engine. There were only a few major modifications required. First was to cut off the useless transmission, and provide a propellor drive. The exhaust system, carburation, and other goodies then needed to be modified since the back of the engine was now the front. A larger oil pan was needed, since an airplane assumes angles that a motorcycle never could. Each builder did these in their own unique way, as well as many other smaller modifications.

    There were a number of builders who modified Henderson engines for aircraft work.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2020
    Ardent Motors, brEad, Thor1 and 3 others like this.
  14. Royalshifter
    Joined: May 29, 2005
    Posts: 15,809

    from California

    Such an awesome find and story.
  15. waxhead
    Joined: May 11, 2013
    Posts: 1,156

    from West Oz

    Cool story, love the car, and thanks for posting. I like the direction that you are heading and have enjoyed the read so far. Please keep posting updates. Thanks.
  16. vonpahrkur
    Joined: Apr 21, 2005
    Posts: 912


    Cool story and clearly you are the right guy to have ended up with this car. You are doing exactly the right things to preserve and get this neat survivor back on the road. Keep up the good work!
    Ardent Motors, loudbang and Thor1 like this.
  17. Beautiful! Great execution and great write up. I'm really curious as to which part of the country the car is from? What state are you in? It has a very unique style.
    Ardent Motors, loudbang and Thor1 like this.
  18. silverdome
    Joined: Aug 23, 2007
    Posts: 547


    Lookin' Good, Keep up the good work.
    Ardent Motors, loudbang and Thor1 like this.
  19. NoSurf
    Joined: Jul 26, 2002
    Posts: 4,131


  20. vtx1800
    Joined: Oct 4, 2009
    Posts: 1,085


    I'm just a little envious:) I appreciate your desire to keep it as it was built, it would be nice if you could find information regarding the original owner, I doubt that he is alive but maybe the next generation will have stories or memories to share.
  21. Hot Damn! you boys is having the time of your lives!

    great car. great thread. I'll be watching
  22. In the words of the late great @3wLarry ... C:cool::cool:L BEANS !!!
  23. 282doorUK
    Joined: Mar 6, 2015
    Posts: 66


    Nice work and writeup, keep it coming please.

    I took the same course with my as found '28 Chevy, I haven't touched the body, just used wax on it.
    Made a new head lining and re-covered the interior myself.
    Then got got all the mechanicals in order and called it good.

    It gets a lot of attention, sometimes more so than the shiny ones, but the best bit is it's been so cheap, good paint costs too much and gets scratched too easily for my liking!
    Ardent Motors and Thor1 like this.
  24. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,679

    dirty old man

    Thoroughly enjoyed this thread, and it made my day for sure! I've owned 3 "A"s in my life. One was a full fendered '30 roadster that I drove from Odessa, TX to Griffin, GA in Nov. '55. Bone stock, except 16" wheels and tires and de-arched springs to lower it. No top and no heater, and I froze my ass off!
    Next was a stock '31 coupe, bone stock, I bought in Sacramento, CA and used for daily driving out there.
    Now I have a '30-31 Brookville fenderless Hiboy on Deuce rails with 355 SBC and 4spd. A fast, loud, and "in your face" pure hot rod.
    They have all been fun in their own way over the years.
  25. Thor1
    Joined: Jun 6, 2005
    Posts: 1,489



    Where are you located in Wisconsin? I am in New Richmond, on the west side of the state about 60 miles north and west of Eau Claire.

    Thanks for sharing your find with us! An awesome find and an even better back story.
    Ardent Motors and loudbang like this.
  26. Okie Pete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2008
    Posts: 3,252

    Okie Pete

    Amazing story and thank you for sharing it with us.
    I'm going to give the BLO a try on a 42 Chevy truck I pulled out of a time capsule shed last fall.
    Ardent Motors, Thor1 and loudbang like this.
  27. You didn't find this found you. God bless you and your OCD habits, as it is EXACTLY what this car needed. Can only imagine, if some jerk would have got ahold of this and immediately torn the whole thing apart, throwing most of it away. Looks like we are part of a common brotherhood, that are preservationists. Thought about the BLO with my .64 98, but not worth it. She needs a proper elegant pain job.
  28. Lil'Alb
    Joined: Sep 22, 2013
    Posts: 210

    from brier, wa

    That model A is a great survivor! I like how your going about preserving the history. I bet the previous owner wouldn't have turned down a dropped axle if one came his way. I wonder if that was going to be part of the original plan?
  29. Ardent Motors
    Joined: Mar 8, 2020
    Posts: 70

    Ardent Motors

    At Work – not that work

    Well it’s been a while – and I mean that for me too! Like life usually goes, it’s a balancing act of priorities and the last almost 3 months have just been bonkers at my job. Add the family on top of that and its resulted in an amount of shop hours I could count on one hand… Up until today, finally got back out there for some over-due shop therapy. Thanks for all the comments in the mean-time. To be honest my time on the HAMB is pretty correlated to my amount of shop hours….
    brEad and Thor1 like this.

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