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Featured Hot Rods The "Whatever" project

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Dave G in Gansevoort, Sep 28, 2020.

  1. Dave G in Gansevoort
    Joined: Mar 28, 2019
    Posts: 163

    Dave G in Gansevoort
    Member
    from Upstate NY

    Being relatively new to this web site (signed up at the beginning of working from home...) and now retired, I have been inspired to finally start on building something using all of my old dirt modified and other collected parts that Ihave dragged around the country for the last 45 years.

    1st I have to say, you people have some tremendous skills. I have seen some amazing work on projects of all kinds on this site. I only hope the "Whatever" project turns out 1% as good.

    My first car was a CJ5 Jeep, that I killed the engine within 2 months of getting at age 17. Well really my first car was a 57 Chevy limited sportsman car I bought to race at Lebanon Valley Speedway while in high school. It had a 327 that I rebuilt, and kept after getting dissillusioned with the 57. Keep that engine in mind.

    So I was working for a small machine company after high school that built finishing room paper machinery, sheeters, winders, and other neat stuff, when I killed the f-head 4 banger in the Jeep. So having a 327 in the corner of the garage, of course I knew I could pull off an engine swap,never having done one before.

    I bought the adapters from JC Whitney, and got the thing done with help from a good friend who owned a garage in my home town.Sam and my brother went to high school together (4 years older than me) and taught me a lot about cars and turning wrenches. He taught me to weld when I was 14 as well.

    We repaired all the rust and repainted the body, smoothing out the back and making a new firewall to fit around the big hole I cut to get the 327 to fit. Long story short 3 months later, it ran,for 1 day.

    Driving to work the first day, I managed to blow up the 327. Never saw that coming...

    It seems a short track enginegoes from 3000 rpm to 7000 rpm and back each lap, but doesn't stay at 4500 give or take for any length of time. Jeeps have 5.38:1 gearing. 50 mph with short tires... well all the oil stays upstairs and doesn't get backto the pan fast enough. Bang!

    Buy a 2nd 327 from the local junk yard, It lasted a week. Got a third 327 same place, same results after 3 or so weeks. Man this seemed like a good idea...

    Running out of cash, I get a 62-283, swap some parts from the 327s to make a decent runner, and get it back together. That engine lasted 13 months. I still have the crank (yeah 1 of the parts moved for nogood reason...).

    I sold the Jeep, and got into a 67 SS 396 in late 73. Hated the pig block (yes I spelled that right), built a 327 from a factory fitted block, 327-365 horse, used 492 angle plug heads, 754 short track cam (a bit much for the street, but WOW), 750 double pumper, Hooker headers, 1st generation Tarantula manifold, Mallory dual point ignition, and too many other race car parts that shouldn't have been used on the street. Backed up to a M22 rock crusher, 12 bolt rear, 4.10 gears. Why I never lost my license is beyond me.

    Started hanging around other modified racers garages after selling the 57, learning the ropes, you know, "clean the floor kid", but I paid attention and learned some stuff. 17 and knew better...

    Met 1 older racer, Jim Langenback. He was like a big brother to me, and he and his girl friend helped me grow up. I won't go into details, lets just say losing your father at 14 is no fun.

    Jim knew I wanted to build a car, and saw something in me so he encouraged me to give it a go. He designed and built me a tube chassis modified chassis similar to, but not a copy of, a Tobias chassis. I was 19, andknew better...

    Well I did get it built in about 7 months, using limited tools in my shop. A 3/8 drill, a 9-inch B&D angle grinder, an ac buzz box welder, and a set of torches. I had the usual Craftsman starter tool set (still got most of them too as well as the drill and grinder). When I find the pictures I digitized of building the 1st car I'll share them. Worked in a wood-framed 16x18 barn on my mother's land. Oh and the shop I worked at let us use the equipment after hours so I could make stuff once the machinists taught me how to operate lathes, mills, etc safely.

    I was 20 by the time I finished #54. And knowing better of course I ran a 350 with Hilborns on methanol, instead of the unlimited big blocks in vogue at the time. I could afford a used set of Hilborns (still on the bench downstairs) and was given the 350 by my 1st sponsor, John Turner, Turner Truck Repair in Pittsfield, MA.

    Needless to say, we were outclassed but we did good occasionally. Raced the Valley and some of the other dirt tracks in upstate NY and western VT for 10 or so years, mostly with Jim driving, although there was a partnership in another car for 2 years with the driver. It was also a good time. In fact I had a good timeall those years, met lots of great people, and had some interesting experiences. Ask me sometime about Syracuse and Lavern Nance.

    Ah but life moved on, I met a wondeful young lady, and we were married in February 1980. We're still together these 40 odd years. Maggie influenced me to pursue another dream, getting an engineering degree. Boy don't start at 27, go after high school...

    This led to my first position, as a research scientist, at Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, OH. The position was in the field of applied mechanics, where as I always say, we broke things for a living. Fun work, organizational changes and other aspects of the company made me look elswhere.

    Whichled me to Ann Arbor, MI, and the US EPA NVFEL. Look that one up... This is the national lab for automotive emissions research and regulations. Hey a gear head working for EPA? I knew better and thought I could help make a difference. Well, I did, but it took moving to upstate NY and going to work for NYS DEC, also an environmental agency, doing...wait for it...automotive emissions research as a research scientist! 22 years later and here we are.

    So now to the "Whatever" project. here's a teaser until next time. 20200926_131748.jpg
     
    dana barlow, chop job, enloe and 21 others like this.
  2. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 522

    jaracer
    Member

    Great story and that chassis looks real good.
     
    loudbang likes this.
  3. VANDENPLAS
    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,696

    VANDENPLAS
    Member

    Well now ....... THATS a proper intro , only thing your missing is your shoe size and inseam measurements !:D



    nice frame , can’t wait for the next instalment
     
  4. VANDENPLAS
    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,696

    VANDENPLAS
    Member

    Oh and fill out your profile !!!
     

  5. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 13,813

    DDDenny
    Member
    from oregon

    You had me at 327!
     
    enloe, -Brent- and scotty t like this.
  6. Dave G in Gansevoort
    Joined: Mar 28, 2019
    Posts: 163

    Dave G in Gansevoort
    Member
    from Upstate NY

    Forgive my ignorance, but how do I fill out a profile? Yeah, scientist but missed my era by the width of a slide rule. Undergrad years were just before PC, and grad school was when I was in my 40's, and I was good at coopting my 22 year old classmates into running those new fangled computer thingies. U of M 95, go Wolverines!
     
  7. RMONTY
    Joined: Jan 7, 2016
    Posts: 2,038

    RMONTY
    Member

    Click on the little person silhouette at the top of the page, just to the right of the middle of the page, and go from there....pretty easy really. Screenshot_20200928-194130_Samsung Internet.jpg
     
  8. krusty40
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 831

    krusty40
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I knew John Turner when I was in my early and mid teens when he worked at Dickson's at the corner of Elm ST and Holmes Rd. Went to the drags with him a few times when he had a nice 56 Chevy ragtop with dual quads. He was known as a really good mechanic even when he was young. Favorite Valley car was the Yellow X, although Dan Dudley was my and my Dad's body and paint guy. Are you a Pittsfield native? Also, did you know racer Frank Hager?

    Looking forard to following your build.

    vic
     
  9. Dave G in Gansevoort
    Joined: Mar 28, 2019
    Posts: 163

    Dave G in Gansevoort
    Member
    from Upstate NY

    Stockbridge. I met John through Jim Langenback. Mom was/is from Bennington, so Yellow X to me is Butch Jelley. Did you know Jim Ogle? A lot of my parts came from him including the 350 John supplied. He was the owner of the engine, and when Ogle stopped racing John got it back. It needed a new home, so Langenback and I gave it a good one.

    Yes I remember Dans' Dudley, sr and jr. Sr. helped straighten a few crash bent things for us. I wish I could remember the 2 brothers from Pittsfieldthat I got the Hilborns from. They drag raced a killer 55 chevy 2-door for years, morphing it from close to stock to really rad. They tried the Hilborns as they were running it as a gasser, but never got them figured out. Made about 10 passes, and took them off. Sat on their shelf for years, roughly 68 to 75, when I got them. I set them up for methanol and learned how to adjust them from John Penning an enginebuilder in the Catskills, and one hell of an engine man.

    Hager doesn't ring a bell, but then again I am getting a bit long in the tooth myself. Wait a minute, raced at Middletown a lot? Its starting to comeback to me... There were so many. Eddie Delmolino from Great Barrington, I was in HS with Dickie Larkin, Haywire Harry Huges supplied my 1st body, a 37 Chevy sedan, I almost killed Tommy Gage in his 05 coupe, forgot to tighten the engine mount bolts. Not good... I had just reassembled his engine that am and got rushing to get it together and to the Valley.

    Russ Blake sr, and Northeast Racing supply, Russ jr was a year behind me in college (he too was mechanical engineering). Bruce Burger, crusty but a good guy, Gary Virgillio, drag racer to oval, a real character. And on and on. We should start a thread to see who else from the old days in Berkshire County reads this site.

    Well next to see if I can fill out a profile...
     
    chryslerfan55 and loudbang like this.
  10. Enjoyed the story and welcome - that frame is looking real good !
     
  11. Dave G in Gansevoort
    Joined: Mar 28, 2019
    Posts: 163

    Dave G in Gansevoort
    Member
    from Upstate NY

    Well on to what has been done so far, some pictures others nonexistent. I never intended to post this thing when I started on it. But why not...

    I started making odds and ends over 10 years ago, more on a whim, to see if I could still make things. The 1st thing was the tube axle.Anyone who has been around NE dirt modifieds from the 70s on knows the style; straight tube with old Ford spindles. I have an antique Sunnen bushing grinder in my shop, that came out of a garage in my home town. The old man was young when he bought it in 1928 to work on king pins and other bushings on model A Fords. I got it in 1975 just as it was heading for the town dump. What a save.

    Using the mill at work I set the pin inclination I wanted and milled the miter for the pin bosses. I turned the pin bosses frombar stock on the lathe we had in our lab. After the usual weld prep, I tig welded the bosses into the dom tube (1/4 wall x 2 od). If I can find pictures from that time I'll post them later...

    Now I had an axle, it was time to do something with it. So I made hairpins! Yeah I know, but I had a plan, because all these years later I knew better. The hairpins are made from 7/8 od x 0.188 wall dom, bent at work on a Greenlee conduit bender, a big powerfull machine that fit the 7/8 od perfectly. Weld prep thread for heims and/or clevises, and tig them in a fixture made for the job. But how to connect the hairpins to the axle?

    Well, not wanting a bind, I machined up someimpressive swing sleeves ala Frank Kurtis Indy roadsters of the 50s. They are really nice, but heavy (pictures later also). You will notice in the 1st picture no evidence of these engineering marvels. Way too heavy, they're on the shelf, in case anyone wants to try them. Its a good way to unbind a tube axle with hairpins, assuming you don't 1- mind the weight, and 2- build the hairpins out of heavy wall tubing like I did, as only 1 will resist all the brake torque.

    But then I came across pictures of a sprint car raced by Bobby Unser up Pikes Peak many times for lots of years. Hairpin on one side, straight radius rod on the other. No bind, same effect, and lots simpler. Look it up in the Henry Ford Museum. The rear suspension is the same. AHA, simple. KISS. I loved it and plaigerised it.

    That was much later, about 2 years ago, but still no total picture in my head of what I was going to build. By the way the frame rails are left over material froma trailer Ibuilt 24 years ago to tow a racing Mini ( the original, not the BMW abortion) I built back in Michigan for auto-x andtrack use. I wanted to vintage race it but moved back east before that happened. 20200926_131945.jpg 20200926_131945.jpg 20200926_131945.jpg
     
  12. Dave G in Gansevoort
    Joined: Mar 28, 2019
    Posts: 163

    Dave G in Gansevoort
    Member
    from Upstate NY

    Mybad, Istill don't have the hang of this posting stuff...

    So in the previous picture you can see the front end as it sits today. Buggy spring on a wedgable height adjustable suicide mount, with tube over bars for the shocks to mount to. Also a good safety feature, as the front canonly fall 4 inches if the suspension lives up to its name...

    When done there will be 2 ski like tubes under the axle and a front bumper slotted into those upper bars. Think Kurtis sports car frame front bars for the shape, peakedin the middle to protect the grill/nose/whatever the front ends up looking like.

    20200926_131959.jpg Now to the rear...
     
  13. Dave G in Gansevoort
    Joined: Mar 28, 2019
    Posts: 163

    Dave G in Gansevoort
    Member
    from Upstate NY

    Give me pointers on how to make this cohesive. I need lots of help, being a 66 year old beginner with posting. No really I have only been at this for a short while.

    Looking at that picture again, see what I mean about simple? I have pictures somewhere of the axle brackets, I'll post them later when I find them. God I hate these computer things, I like books and paper, old school. Like I said I would have been a great engineer in the slide rule days.

    20200926_131959.jpg ee s
     
  14. Dave G in Gansevoort
    Joined: Mar 28, 2019
    Posts: 163

    Dave G in Gansevoort
    Member
    from Upstate NY

    That QC is an old Winters GN short track rear, rebuilt with new tubes, axles and other stuff to like new inside. Getting the old tubes out was a trick. The side bells were all bunged up from years of abuse and other's attempts to upgrade/change axles etc. I had to bore the bells out and shrink in some aluminum sleeves to resize the bores back to 3 inches, still have to take it back apart and drill, tap, counterbore and screww the tubes to the bells.

    Even the watts link was made 6 or so years ago before the picture started to jel as to whatever it was becoming. Its just some scrap 6061 T6 and bronze bushings anda fabricated mount for the front of the QC.

    Believe it or not getting it to the stage you see in the 1st picture only took 10 or 12 years, with most of the frame and mounts being done since June.

    Next time I'll get pictures of the details posted and go into things like steering engine mounts, shortened T-10 4-speed, and what I picture for a body.
     
  15. Dave G in Gansevoort
    Joined: Mar 28, 2019
    Posts: 163

    Dave G in Gansevoort
    Member
    from Upstate NY

    I am so bad at this. I have a draft somewhere, but...

    Today was set ride height day. Made spacers from electrical pvc conduit to simulate the shocks at ride height with weight on them. 20200930_160730.jpg I have to do the same for the front before I can tack the front shock brackets on.

    Here's what I am going to use for a transmission 20200930_160658.jpg Yes its a bit mangy outside, but inside is nice and clean. It's a T-10 close ratio from a late 50s Vette, by the numbers. 2.20 low. Shortened. No reverse, oh well, I don't need no stinkin reverse. 20200930_160713.jpg The output is odd, 1 3/8-6 spline. Matches a tractor pto. I'll machine something up... 20200930_162246.jpg Heres the potential steering setup. It's a Schroeder 9:1 champ box. Notice the casting is much larger than what all the hot rodders have been using. I don't know when they stopped making this box, I got it direct from Gordon Schroeder in 1977. Paid a little over $300 including shipping. He called it his Tobias box, as Dick Tobias used them in his modified cars throughout the 70s before power steering became the rage. This box has 10 laps of the Valley on it, and shop grime. Jim hated it so we took it out and made our own version of power steering. 20200930_165721.jpg Last thing tonight. The old Hilborns. Still tight, K&N filters kept them clean. The front cover is a Cragar cast 2 piece. Really nice, unused... maybe someday, if I figure out how to cool the engine without a standard pump.
     
    jaracer, enloe, chryslerfan55 and 6 others like this.
  16. harpo1313
    Joined: Jan 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,978

    harpo1313
    Member
    from wareham,ma

    Well , I guess your a good edition to the talent pool here ,Welcome.
     
    enloe, ratrodrodder and loudbang like this.
  17. Love the details and write ups! You’re doing great. Looking forward to more.
     
    loudbang likes this.
  18. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 5,211

    41rodderz
    Member
    from Oregon

    Yes sir , your a hot rodder .;)
     
    enloe likes this.
  19. RJP
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,662

    RJP
    Member
    from PNW

    I used a remote electric water pump on one of my builds. Might help with that timing cover issue.
     
    loudbang likes this.
  20. Dave G in Gansevoort
    Joined: Mar 28, 2019
    Posts: 163

    Dave G in Gansevoort
    Member
    from Upstate NY

    I've thought about that. I also just found that Scarab??? is reproducing the old lehman front crossdrive that drives the mag AND the water pump off the nose of the cam. I also have an 80s vintage KSE frontcover, 3 gear cam drive, dry sump, water pump system. It's off of a 400 Gaerte built engine we used in a hill climb car, until it was just plain worn out. I had freshened it once, and was in the process of doing it again, when my buddy, Jim, died in 2010. We needed a new block, as the old Rodec 350+ block had had 1 or 2 too many heat cycles on it and head stud hole threads kept pulling out. Not needing it anymore I gave it to my nephew around 2015. He bought a block and is building it for a rad street engine. So I suppose I could ressurect that front drive...hmmmm.

    Btw, a thread I found on here by Pete Eastwood, discusses cowl steering and bump steer. He's spot on. We had it with the dirt cars, but only turning left, well we never gave it much thought. One car I was involved with we built a bell crank pivoted in line with the left side 4 bars. This gave us a 2 piece drag link, with the forward link the same length and in the same plane as the 4 bars. This eliminated bump steer, but wouldn't really look good on a roadster or "whatever" this thing becomes.

    I'm thinking a cross steer setup is where I'll end up, I just may get there uniquely. More on that as it develops...
     
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  21. thintin
    Joined: Mar 24, 2006
    Posts: 223

    thintin
    Member

    Hey Dave G, being a valley runner in the good times do you remember the Stromberg well drillers car out of Putney, Vt. ? Built all their own shit (like it was still done,back then) and none of it was cookie cutter.......Those were the best times in dirt mod racing for sure.
     
  22. Dave G in Gansevoort
    Joined: Mar 28, 2019
    Posts: 163

    Dave G in Gansevoort
    Member
    from Upstate NY

    Was that Art Stromberg and the 45? I remember a neat coupe if that's him. Until the mid to later 70s most people built their own, until the "proffesionally built" cars made it easy for the bucks up guys to come in and spend big and win. Sadly thos days are gone. From my perspective, even the lower classes like prostock need pro-built equipment, not so much to be competetive, but to be consistent and get back week to week. After all if your competition is able to buy replacement parts on Monday and get together by Friday, while you are still fabricating on Saturday morning... well the message is clear.

    Oh well, proves I'm an old f@&t...
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  23. thintin
    Joined: Mar 24, 2006
    Posts: 223

    thintin
    Member

    that was the car.......That was a good time to be involved in circle track, wide open rule book and great cars from creative minds.
     
  24. Dave G in Gansevoort
    Joined: Mar 28, 2019
    Posts: 163

    Dave G in Gansevoort
    Member
    from Upstate NY

    So you can see the 70's dirt track influence in the "Whatever"project. The only thing I'm not including are the wide five hubs with Buick drums. If I only knew, when my mom finally sold the homestead in Stockbridge in 83, I cleaned out the race car barn, the small attached garage on the end of the house, and the 24 x 60 garage ( used in warm weather, impossible to heat in the winter, hence the old 16 x 20 post and beam barn). I threw away about 2 dozen (yes you read that right 24 give or take) Buick drums. I collected them back in the 70's from whomever and wherever I could.

    350 cranks, rods, blocks, 3 speed transmissions, you name it if it was in storage it had to go. I was married by then and in between sophmore and junior years in engineering school, which meant I was moving too. I stored a few parts, the Schroeder box, the Hilborns, a pair of 37-40 Ford spindles, and many tools, but had no room for all the stuff. Oh well...

    Today I moved old mangy into position to start on motor mounts. Now to set the height and setback. As it all sets, the bottom of the pan clears the road by 6 1/4 inches. So with 3+ inches down travel before the bump stops hit, it would work as is. Maybe an inch lower. 20201001_170319.jpg 20201001_170336.jpg That's all for today. Maybe more tomorrow, we'll see...
     
  25. 4 pedals
    Joined: Oct 8, 2009
    Posts: 723

    4 pedals
    Member
    from Nor Cal

    Very interesting. I'm in.

    Devin
     
  26. Do you have a body to use? Or are you going to just make a body? That's a lot of engine setback it seems. Like all the old parts you did save.
     
  27. Dave G in Gansevoort
    Joined: Mar 28, 2019
    Posts: 163

    Dave G in Gansevoort
    Member
    from Upstate NY

    I saw pictures of an unique rod by a Greg Lazzerini, made from a 50's race rod chassis and according to the article in one of the magazines a while ago (I still have it, don't remember the name...) he used deuce quarter panels, and made a really short European styled roadster. As you may remember my motto is plaigerize whenever possible. I'm thinking about 30-31 A-bone quarters, as new ones are relatively affordable, and it won't be exactly like Lazzerini's.

    Also today I retrieved a 327-300 hp block. Long story short it came from Columbus OH thru Ann Arbor MI to upstate NY. Gave it away, but got it back, mainly touse as a setup block. It will clean up at 10 over, there'sa283 forged crank under my workbench, and the 462 heads are under one of my drill presses. Maybe a 302 is in my future??? 20201002_164359.jpg
     
  28. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 2,235

    goldmountain

    This is a great looking car---whatever it is.
     
  29. Dave G in Gansevoort
    Joined: Mar 28, 2019
    Posts: 163

    Dave G in Gansevoort
    Member
    from Upstate NY

    You know, I have lots of options at this stage. I've got just enough room for a T-bucket body, and have already mentioned theA based build up. From the dimensions of the frame and from Speedway's dimensions of their Bantam body, that could fit. I used a Pinto body on one version of dirt car, and being I don't build cars for a living, I suppose I could build something similar, but use 1st generation Mustang quarters w/o a roof. But 1st I plan on making a roller out of the whatever, whenmy back allows work in the garage.

    The wheelbase is 99 inches, so if someone has an artistic bent and wants to doodle some ideas, I am open to suggestions, and we can see what the community has in mind. I'm even open to really offbeat ideas, maybe pickups, Willys, whatever but its got to be thrifty. I'm living on a fixed income these days...
     
  30. drtrcrV-8
    Joined: Jan 6, 2013
    Posts: 1,329

    drtrcrV-8
    Member

    I know it's different, but with your racecar background, what about an Edmunds non-wing modified(or similar) body that's been widened into a 2-seater? Possibly sourced from one of your old racing buddies?
     

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