Not exactly a build, but a rebuild .

Rat Rods Rule

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Well-known member
May 11, 2007
fort myers florida
It dawned on me the other day I was approaching the upcoming Billetproof drags all wrong. I was trying to put a totally brand new car together in the next 3 months, and there was a chance I wouldn't make it in time. However, I do have my old 27 roadster sitting that I tore down 9 years ago to freshen up a little, and I just never got back on it again. It would be much easier to get this one running because there is no fabrication work to be done, just repainting everything and replacing a few worn out parts.

As a little history, I started to build the car about 20 years ago and it took about 6 years to finish it. I drove it pretty much daily for 6 or 7 years, and it got a little tired. So after I got back from Daytona one year the flaws were starting to bug me (overheating in traffic, losing power, etc) I tore it down to redo some things and finally paint it. That was 8 years ago!! :eek: Life got in the way, and I did other projects in the meantime, so it just sat, collecting dust. Luckily, I stored all the pieces except for the Buick drums I stole for my 23.

This car never left me down. I ran a 78 Ford truck 302 with some minor work.......heads, cam, two fours, etc. The transmission is a top loader 3 speed Ford with Hurst shifter, and the rear end is a 9 inch Ford with 3:70 gears. When originally built I did get the frame and suspension finished in paint, but the body was always in purple tinted primer. Now, the purple paint on the frame looks very dated to me and I want to lose the red suspension this time around.

Yesterday I spent the day sanding down the frame (Glad to see the purple go) and I am probably going to paint it satin black, the same as what I plan for the body. The suspension is going to be off white this time. Biggest change is planned for the motor.........I have a 90 Mustang roller engine that I am going to take to the machine shop for the usual hot tank, bore 30 over, line bore, decking, etc. I want to use the same X cam my Son Don is running in his T, has a super nasty idle and comes on like gangbusters. I will still use the 2 x 4 setup, but with new carbs, and probably some aluminum or good cast iron heads.

The 3 speed will stay because it is a tough unit and I like the "oldtimeyness" of 3 gears. I am going to go much deeper on the rear gearing this time, maybe 4:30's or maybe even 4:88's. I know these are not highway gears, but that is not what I am shooting for this time, I want a hard launch. My 68 Mustang ran 4:88's and it was fine on the street even though the tires were not as tall as my 27's will be. This time around I think I am going to go with 8 inch Hurst slicks and front tires.

Here is a picture of the 27 when I was driving it years ago......


And here is the frame after DA-ing it yesterday.


Here is how it sat for years, after stripping the purple primer off the body.....


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Uh...I'm glad to see the purple go too. Glad to see your getting back on it. Always a shame for a project like that to be left forgotten.

Ditto what DMW said.
Yeah, at one time the purple was ok. It was actually a pretty popular hot rod color in the 50's, and I saw a 32 coupe in this exact color on the cover of American Rodder, I think, and that is why I did it. But it is time for a change. Depending on how time is I may go a little more glossy, but satin is fine with me for now.

I like the 3-speed as well. I assume that came out of an old pickup with a column shift?

Looking forward to seeing this one take shape too.
No, it actually came out of a 65 Galaxy that was three on the column. It's a cousin to the 4 speed top loader, just one less gear. Years ago there was a swap you could do where a Jeep three speed floorshifter would adapt to the top of this transmission and it looked like an old 39 Ford floor shift when you were done. I never could find the parts to make that swap, so I just used a Hurst shifter instead. This is the 3 speed transmission that was used in the bigger, heavier cars, generally with the bigger block motors, so it is pretty stout. I know I banged it around for a long time and it took the abuse pretty well.

I spent today bent over the sandblast cabinet, cleaning up various parts so I can prime and paint them. Also found some pieces to the car that I was worried I had lost in the past 8 years, but being the pack rat I am, they were still hidden away in lots of boxes. :D:D

Plan is to get my primer and paint this week so I can wheel the frame outside next weekend and get it shot. I have to corral Dan to help me modify my motor mounts. The engine always sat an inch or so higher in the nose than I liked, so I am going to section the front mount and have Dan weld it back together for me. I could do it, but my welds are, how do we put this?.......UGLY. They hold, but man do they take some grinding to get them presentable when I'm done.:eek:

Just a little update. The past few weeks have been spent peering into the window of our blast cabinet, getting all the little bits and pieces cleaned down to bare metal. Amazing how many parts make up a car. The Dupont Centari I applied about 20 years ago really held up well and took some doing to blast it off of the parts. Finally got them done and took a lot of them to the powder coater to have them done in gloss black.

The frame is simply too rough to have it powder coated. Being 80 years old it took some body filler years ago to get it straight enough for paint, and surprisingly that filler was still holding up very well. After hand sanding it I shot a couple of coats of epoxy primer on it, then added some flattening agent to the gloss black paint and shot it. I was really happy to see the purple was really not my favorite any more. :rolleyes:

The next day I went to the shop to see how the paint dried, and wasn't real thrilled. It came out a little shinier than I wanted and the surface was not real straight. So I hand sanded it all with 320 grit and some scotchbrite pads and reshot it, this time with the black flattened a little more. That did the trick. The frame is still far from perfect, but is good enough for me and the way I want this car to be.

My suspension pieces should be back from the powder coater Monday or Tuesday, and I can start putting it together as a roller. Today I prepped the rear end and plan to shoot it in black tomorrow. Here are some pictures of how the frame looks now.




Awesome Don. I somehow missed your starting post. I really like the turtle deck body. How are you going to decide which "T" to drive to the shows?
Thanks Chipper and Bill. Ya know Bill, I've wondered about that too. Plus, if I ever get the RPU done I'll really have tough decisions. :D I think I'll put the 23 in storage for a while after I get this one running. I always really loved driving the 27 and with the engine changes I'm planning it should be even more fun.

I got the rear end all painted today as well as my steering column and headlight bar. The red and purple parts are rapidly disappearing and turning black. I'm supposed to get my parts back from the powder coater tomorrow or Tuesday, and I'm pretty anxious to start bolting this thing back together.

Looking good so far, Don. Looking forward to each step you do as evertything that comes out y'alls shop is top notch.
Awesome Don. How are you going to decide which "T" to drive to the shows?

I think your going to have to strap them on like roller skates!! I'm green with envy. Man, you can make things happen, and you do such a nice job of it too. :) Sniper
Great coverage of the rebuild Don! I like the idea of just redoing a car you've had for so long. No need to sell it - just rebuild it!!

Thanks guys. Yep, this old 27 has a special place in my heart. It was the very first hot rod that I actually finally finished and got running on the road. I had a lot of 1/2 finished ones that I generally sold after a while to pay for some family needs, or else I was into things like Mustangs for a while and got out of hot rodding. I put a ton of miles on it during the years I drove it and the car never let me down. In my divorce the only two things I asked for were my T and my two cats............and that's about all she gave me! :eek::D:D Oh, those and my Slim Whitman record collection. :eek:

I was supposed to pick up my 16 pieces from the powder coater today but when I called them they said I only dropped off 13 pieces.........NO, I DROPPED OFF 16! They went back and checked and found the 3 additional pieces. Then they called me right before I was leaving to pick them up and told me they weren't happy with the way some pieces came out and they were staying as late as needed to get it corrected. They said I could pick them up this morning at 7:30 on the way to work. I guess after them having to redo the 42 pieces for Dan's car they didn't want to take a chance on me rejecting any of these.

So maybe tonight I can start unwrapping my new toys and putting them on the frame. :D

You are right, it was just like Xmas tonight. Picked up my 16 pieces and they turned out great. Boy was I pleasantly surprised when I got the bill, it was only $ 123.00 for all of it, and it included my front axle, spring, batwings, 4 hairpins, and two backing plates! I couldn't paint them for that amount of money.

I spent the night getting the front end under the frame and partially got the rear axle mounted to the rear spring. I forgot my camera, so I'll have to shoot some pix tomorrow night. Next I have to order my slicks and front tires and paint my rims. I'd have those powder coated too but it takes them 10 days each time so it would hold me back a little.

Wow. The powder coater in my area is WAY more expensive than that. I want to see the pictures. What slicks are you going to use? Are you going to use Buick drums?
I know Bill, even the last parts we had done for Dan's car were more, but he had 46 pieces, one of them his entire frame. I also had them powdercoat the entire swim platform for a customer's boat, it was about 8 feet long x 2 or so feet and made of tubes. They put non skid on first then powder coated it in a sparkly silver color the customer picked out, and that came to only $ 250. Like I said, I would get all my stuff powder coated instead of painting it, but the 10 days each time slows me down. When I am doing something that I don't need real quick I'm sure going to have them do it though.

No Buick drums right now. I only had two sets. I pirated the set off this car for my 23, and I gave Dan the set he has on his 30. I have a set of 40 drums that are turned and already painted that were on Dan's car originally, so I am going to run those for right now.

As for the slicks, I'm on the fence a little there. Part of me says to just go back with the 8:20 x 15 bias plies I have always run, but I also like the Hurst pie crust slicks..........probably in the 8 inch wide variety. I have decided pretty much to go with 4:30 gears so the regular tires won't bite worth a darned, I know, but I really only need the slicks for that one day and I plan to drive this car a LOT, and as you know it rains almost every day down here. After my little episode where I put my 23 sideways across 3 lanes of traffic because the slicks lost traction, I don't know if I want to go through that again.:eek: The one thing I always loved about driving the 27 was that I didn't have to baby it at all, it had no handling quirks. I just drove it like a normal car, even at 70 mph + in the rain. It just went right down the road. My 23 is a little more twitchy in the damp, probably because of the Firestone slicks on the back.

Not set in stone yet, but I'll probably just order the same 8:20 rear, 5:60 front combo I had, but maybe in blackwalls this time for a change. Won't know till I pick up the phone and actually place the order. :eek: Didn't take any pictures yet, came straight home after work, but tomorrow I'll get some.


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