Hollywood Hub Caps…or, do these caps make me look fat??

It is amazing what a difference wheels and tires can do on a vehicle.

1937 Ford Cabriolet with stock caps

This 1937 Ford Cabriolet was found with black wall tires and cheesy (technical term, really!) reproduction 1937 one piece hub caps. The original caps were actually a two piece cap.

They should be called wheel covers as the hub cap is really just the little cap covering the bearing in the center. But we will go with the popular description.

1937 Ford Cabriolet with 1939 caps

OK, moving along…Here is 2.0: These are 1939 caps and trim rings. They look great and the ripple design adds to the art deco look on this car.

 

16 inch Hollywood hubcaps

I found these on that auction site. These are rare 16 inch “Hollywoods” one bar caps and it looks like they have never been installed. They do have some shelf rash but I can live with it for now and it actually adds to the authenticity. They don’t reproduce 16 inch Hollywoods so I am thrilled to get my hand on these.

1937 Ford Cabriolet with Hollywood caps up close

3.0: Up close and personal…I like!

1937 Ford Cabriolet with Hollywood caps rear

It changes the whole look and feel of the car. I really like it.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet with Hollywood caps front

It went from grandpa’s stocker to cool custom in three minutes flat. I am thinking a tasteful lowering job and maybe a spot light would really add to the looks. Some other project is due first but we will continue to work on this. In the mean time, I will drive the wheels off it!

Now get in the shop and build something!

Crusing Linköping, Sweden

So you think America is the only place where motor heads cruise?

Well, that would be…incorrect. Check out these pictures fresh from Sweden. This is a Thursday night cruise that goes on all summer long in Linköping, Sweden.  All cars American are popular as well as some European classics.

As you can see, the quality of these cars rivals any car in the US.

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How about a 1970 Camaro Z-28 muscle car?

 

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This is a little too much ZZ Top for your Humble Editor but as they say in Sweden: Taste is like the rump: divided.

 

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1970 El Camino next to a late forties Ford.

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Cars like these could be seen in the US in the 50’s but this is 2013 and in Sweden. Traditional hot rods are a big thing in Sweden.

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All the right stuff and the right look. Don’t know about the pimp mobile besides it but it looks like the all get along.

 

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I was told that a lot of rubber is laid down once these folks decide to call it an evening.

There you have it. Now get out and cruise!

Photo: Lars Åström

Rolf Coupe, 2.0 hits the road: “The Roller Nailer”

I got several e-mails and messages about this car so I best give it a proper intro.

I was asked to build a model A hot rod similar to the old red “Rolf Coupe” as you guys call it. The cool thing with this is that I could improve on areas where I learned from the first build.

The customer is a Buick enthusiast so a Nailhead was a given. The 425 Nailhead is built to the hilt including a high lift roller cam. That gave the car it’s name: The “Roller Nailer”

It has taken WAY too long to build this car. I have gone through two back surgeries, sold a home, bought another, sold a business, bought another…my customer has been incredible patient but I think he is pretty happy with it.

The plan was to build a similar car but this time with shiny paint and high detailing. I’m am the first to say that the car is not an era correct car but it’s built in a certain style that qualify as sort of old timey.

We opted for the best solutions like Lincoln brakes, radial tires (yup, the slicks are built on radial cores) and the Cooker Classics bias-ply-look-alike tyres upfront do not offend most traditionalists. The interior is European leather and the carpets is Euro square weave material. It smells like a new Mercedes inside.

Well, we made it to the NSRA meet last weekend. I still have a few things to finish before GoodGuys in Puyallup but it is manageable. I have some issues with the carburetors that I have to dig in to it.

Sorry for crappy overexposed photos, I was in a hurry.

1930 Model A Hot Rod top

 

1930 Model A Hot Rod interior

The red leather looks great against the black paint. Instruments are 1956 Chrysler.

A Muncie four speed hides under the swan shifter.

1930 Model A Hot Rod rear

Ford 9 inch with limited slip keeps the slippage limited.

1930 Model A Hot Rod front

1930 Model A Hot Rod 425 nailhead engine

The reason we opted for the Rochesters as they will feed this thirsty monster better than a set of Strombergs.

There you have it, see some of you at GoodGuys in late July.

Rolf Coupe 2.0 to be at the NSRA meet in Ridgefield, WA Jun 28-29th

June 28 – 30, 2013, at Clark County Event Center in Ridgefield, Washington.

Very subtle car with 500 horse roller-cam nailhead, Tri-power, Muncie M-22 four speed, Ford nine inch limited slip rear axle, cheater slicks, pro leather interior, 1956 Chrysler instruments, Lincoln brakes, Buick brake drums and shiny paint.

How ’bout some teaser shots:

1930 Ford model A hot rod glass

 

1930 Ford model A hot rod radiator clamps

 

1930 Ford model A hot rod rear slicks

Rolf Coupe hits German soil!

So I built this model A hot rod back in 2007.

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I was fortunate to have the car land on the cover of Rod & Custom Magazine. Chris Shelton shot the car and made it look great. I was very proud.

Well, one reader of Rod & Custom in Germany, Marco Wenzel read about that hot rod. He contacted me and asked if it would be for sale. I told him that I already sold it but I will get him in touch with the current owner. The current owner had the hots for my current 1932 Ford Five Window. So the current owner bought my ’32, Marco bought the model A hot rod and I bought Project ’37 Ford Cabriolet. Everybody happy!

A few months later the car arrived in Germany:

1931 Ford Hot Rod in Germany 2

Marco is showing off his all wrapped up hot rod. In order to protect the car during transport it was all wrapped up in shipping wrap. Marco and his family are true car guys, his wife Silvia drives a 1968 Impala. Not bad in a country where gasoline is close to $8.00 / gallon !! Here is some statistic for you:

Per capita daily income in Germany is $113. The share of a day’s wages needed to
buy a gallon of gas is 7 percent. Think about that!!

1931 Ford Hot Rod in Germany

They seemed excited to un-wrap the new present.

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Here it is at the first outing. In Germany you have to display a front license plate so Marco has no choice but hanging that big plate on the front spreader bar.

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The German hot rod gang on it’s way to an event.

1931 Ford Hot rod

As you can see, as soon as the car hits the meeting spot, the ugly huge license plate goes in the trunk.

1931 Ford Hot rod in Germany

Marco and Silvia has plenty of like minded folks to hang with.

Marco, thanks for sharing, it is great to see the car getting a good home.

Photo: Marco Wenzel

 

Tech: Vintage Heat for your Vintage Car

This is for our new category: Tech Archives. If you want to read just tech articles you can go to the right side column and click on desired category.

I like to fix, repair and refurbish old things when possible as opposed to buy new stuff.
Old American products are usually of very high quality and all they may need is a cosmetic restoration and some inside updates. Some items look great with original patina and some lend themselves to refurbishing. Only YOU decide what direction to go…not your buddies, not the current trend, just use common sense.

This article is about how to stay warm in your vintage car or truck while still looking old-timey.

Washington state offer some great summers for vintage car cruising but we do get a fair amount of lousy and wet weather as well. While some hardy folks can drive an open roadster in the middle of the winter…I am NOT one of them. I like to be comfortable so a heater is high on the list. You can hide a modern heater unit under the dash or seat but I think a good looking vintage heater is the coolest. (No pun there…) I find these at swap meet and sometimes at garage sales. Up to the late fifties new cars and trucks did not come with heaters but there were many manufacturers that stepped up to produce add-on heathers. Allstate, Firestone, Southwind, HaDees and others made aftermarket heaters and many of them had beautiful designs.

1937 Ford HaDees Heater

This Hadees Junior is sporting some serious art-deco design and it will look great restored.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet heater grille installed This one is part of a larger assembly out of a Ford and I like the crest and simple design. I just kept this rectangle box and it will contain the element and fan. I am debating what color it will be. In the 40’s brown or black wrinkle finish was used. Another favorite coating is the hammer paint. I found the stainless grid at an elevator interior company of all places. It looks like an old radio cloth. Love it! There will be a tech article on this unit down the road.

Today we are going to restore a Tropic-Aire heater:

1930 Ford Model A heater 1

 

Let’s go to work: 1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 2 First order of business: Dissasemble.  Most firewall heaters are rather deep because they have the fan assembly behind it and also the tubing usually designed to go straight thru the firewall. I usually eliminate that by installing a compact brushless fan or small cooling fan similar to the ones you see on small transmission coolers.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 3 This heater contains a round element with the fan motor in the center. This makes for a compact unit and I will duplicate this set up.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 4 I want the heater core as deep as possible in to the unit so I removed this ridge.

 

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 5 I also flattened out the louvers on the side and welded them up.

 

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 7

I welded a stud to the outside louver to keep it in place..

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 8

Test fit…looks good.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 6

After some bodywork and hammer coat paint we got ourselves a nice looking heater body.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 9

A good coat of a maroon color and some polishing yielded a nice looking louver.
1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater Tropic-Aire

I polished the stainless trim piece and painted the letters in gloss black.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater Tropic-Aire 2

Hubba-Hubba !! (technical term) That looks pretty snazzy. Let’s attend to the inside components now.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater Tropic-Aire 10

This is a 12V clip on fan from that big box store. It set me back a whopping ten bucks.

 

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater Tropic-Aire fan

I removed anything that did not look like a fan from the clip-on fan and I made a back shroud based on the diameter of the fan blade.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater Tropic-Aire11

This is the mesh from the fan I bough. I welded it to the back shroud to protect any toes that may find themselves behind the heater.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater Tropic-Aire 12 Here it is, all ready to go together. The fan motor squeezed in very nicely inside the core. I used some silicone glue to keep it in place.

1937 Ford Cabriolet heather valve

I use a stand alone heater valve from any parts house. I like this kind with the cable bracket in the same unit. That way you can attach a remote cable without having to secure the heater valve to anything. It can just be in line with the hoses and cable operated without tugging on anything.

 

1930 Ford hot rod heater

…and here it is. Installed in our latest project build, a 1930 Ford Model A Hot Rod.

Note 1956 Chrysler gauges, custom sub dash and vintage style Euro square weave carpeting. Look for this car at the NSRA event in Ridgefield, Washington, June 28-29th.

 

Project 1937 Ford Cabriolet on the road!

After building the dual exhaust and adding white walls it was a pleasure to back it out of the garage. The old exhaust was hitting the frame resulting in some vibrations. All that is gone and a smooth running flathead with some heavenly tunes emanating from the shiny stainless tips greeted me this morning.

Some folks opted against whitewalls but…hey, this is MY car and I do whatever I want. The radial tires makes the car ride very smooth and ruts in the road are no longer a challenge.

All in all, the car is very tight and a joy to drive. While driving through town I saw the car in the reflection in the shop windows and damn…I look good driving it.

1937 Ford Convertible Cabriolet with white walls2

The steering box can use some work or maybe I need to upgrade to a later model box? I could use some advice on this. The box is rather notchy and not very smooth. What have you done?

1937 Ford Convertible Cabriolet with white walls 3

The 1939 caps looks great with the ripple design.

 

1937 Ford Convertible Cabriolet with white walls

It is a little tall in the nose, I have to bring it down about two inches.

 

1937 Ford Convertible Cabriolet with white walls3

The office: Not only does it look good, it is very comfortable. What a difference from my ’32 five window. A great start to the summer.

 

Vintage Brochures: 1937 Ford Cars

I enjoy reading the original sales brochures for vintage cars and motorcycles, especially for the cars that I own. It is fun to see how there were marketed back then.

1937 Ford Cabriolet brochure cover.jpeg

I got this one from that auction site and it arrived in a soft envelope stamped “Do Not Bend”.
So what does my fine post office professional do? Yup, you guessed it: They bend it.

I managed to “unbend” the brochure and all is good. However,  the astute eBay peddler stated in his description that “they could be a reproduction but could also be original” Yeah, right! Looks like it was printed yesterday, it looks BRAND NEW, smells BRAND NEW, it probably IS brand new. It absolutely does NOT look like a document printed 74 (SEVENTYFOUR!) years ago. There is a huge difference. I think it is an insult but I pretty much knew what I was getting based on the above “keep-my-ass-covered-description” but I wanted a nice copy basically for the content. So…moving on.

1937 Ford Cabriolet brochure

Because of our Project 1937 Ford Cabriolet I had to immediately flip to the Cabriolet page! …and look at that: I learned something right away:

Can you see what it is? Well, Ford calls it a “Cabriolet Convertible”, not just one or the other. So I guess that would not be a double negative? Or in this case double positive!

New for the year was “Modern appearance, new streamline design”

1937 Ford Cabriolet lid type hood

Another new feature was the lid style hood for easy servicing and under hood mounted battery also made life easier for the Ford mechanic.

1937 Ford Cabriolet brochure flathead v8

Ford also bragged about a modern compact V-type engine, and “Center-Poise Ride increased by smoother action of long tapering springs” and a new worm and roller steering gear with 18.2 :1 ratio that makes the 1937 Ford easier to handle. Man, I feel like I am in heaven already.

Further features includes “Chromium Plated radiator grille and rustless steel running board mouldings and Genuine Leather seats”

How can anyone go wrong? Trade in your old 1932 Ford and pick one up today! Oh, that’s right, I just did.

Well, I will be cruising in style firmly planted on the Genuine Leather seating, barely feeling the road thanks to Center-Poise Ride springs while the Chromium plated radiator grille points the way!

Now that’s STYLING!

Vintage heaters

“I like to be comfortable”

That includes not being cold! Cars did not get heaters installed from the factory until the late fifties in most cases. They showed up even later in trucks. Our Project 1937 Ford Cabriolet did not come with a heater and while top down cruising in eighty degree weather is…FABOULUS…but…it is NOT fun to be cold in a car. What’s the point if you are not comfortable in your favorite ride?

I really wanted a roadster next but here in Washington state you have few days when you can be comfortable without side windows. The 1937 Ford Cabriolet with roll up windows changes all that. Go with top down when you feel like it but top and windows up when it is nippy or wet out there. The best of both worlds. So how are we going to heat the cabin on those cold days?

With a cool (actually warm) vintage heater of course. These can be found on swap meets starting around ten dollars. They usually comes with a 6 volt fan motor and thru the firewall plumbing.

1937 Ford Cabriolet heater Corvette core

This is the actual heater box from a mid fifties Ford truck. I cut off everything that did not look like a heater and ended up with just the box. The heater core I also found at a swap met and is supposed to come from a Corvette. I paid fifteen dollars for it and it appears to be new and never installed.

After trimming off the tubes the core fits nicely in the old Ford box. My initial though was to install a flat brushless fan in the back but I think I need more capacity knowing this is a convertible. I will probably use an external “turbo” fan. More on that later…and when I find one.

This heater and many others needs a nice grille of some kind. I was looking on-line for some sorts of expanded metal or grid that could be polished. Nothing…so let’s put the thinking cap on. Where do we see cool materials used? Mmmm. Elevator interiors have always fascinated my as they have such cool material and a lot of it is stainless, that may be something to pursue?

I found a company close to work that makes elevator interiors. How about that?

1937 Ford Cabriolet heater grill

A quick drive and a box of doughnuts later I had this in my hand. It is a stainless wowen grid. How perfect! It reminds me of the cloth used on the front of old radios.

Let’s give it a try:

1937 Ford Cabriolet heater grille installed

Oh Yeah, Baby! That works! Looks like the material was made for this project.

Now I have to figure out what color to paint the box and front trim. I am thinking a mix of hammer paint and wrinkle. Stay tuned and you will find out.

More on this later…