Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Seasons Greetings from Chester Greenhalgh

A cute video message from Chester Greenhalgh, author of the legendary "How to Build a T-Bucket Roadster for Under $3000", now available as a 250+ page eBook at TBucketPlans.com.

Monday, November 23, 2009

How to Build a T-Bucket Roadster for Under $3000, by Chester Greenhalgh

I'm very happy to see that Chester Greenhalgh's T-Bucket bible, "How to Build a T-Bucket Roadster for Under $3000", is now available in an eBook version -- for just $9.99! Talk about a deal -- I saw a post three years ago on the HAMB that it was selling on Amazon for anywhere from $184 to $393 for Amazon in Canada! The new, fully authorized edition features several pages of bonus content and is available from http://www.tbucketplans.com/.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Primered Turtle Deck T at Turning Back Time

A nice turtle deck t-bucket I saw at the Sycamore Turning Back Time car show. Really tall front spring perch to accomodate the traditional spring-over beam axle.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Track Nose T-Bucket

Kinda nice track nose T-bucket from the Turning Back Time show, with knee action shocks, a coupla' two barrels, and other nice features.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sycamore, IL Turning Back Time 2009 Car Show

Since I've posted a slide show of the 2008 show, here's a movie created from still pics taken at the 2009 show today. Will post a few videos as well.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Where Did the Term "Fad T" Come From?

To start, here's the definition from no less an authority than the "Ultimate Hot Rod Dictionary: A-Bombs to Zoomies" by Jeff Breitenstein:

fad-T (also fad car) n. Any T-bucket roadster constructed entirely from new, prefabricated components, including a reproduction fiberglass body. The first aftermarket fiberglass roadster bodies featured in hot rodding and street rodding applications were introduced (notably by Cal Automotive) in the late 1950s. From the early to mid-1960s, T-bucket roadster kits gained in sophistication and completeness; the resulting fad-T trend peaked in popularity in the late 1960s and has maintained moderate favor to the present. Fad-Ts offer the advantages of simpler construction and lower initial cost when compared with other street rod types, but are sometimes discounted by rodders who prefer genuine vintage tin bodies and components.

I'll put a stake in the ground and say that the term fad-T was first used in print by the legendary hot rod writer and builder LeRoi "Tex" Smith in the July 1964 edition of Rod & Custom magazine. Fresh from building the innovative XR6, which was crowned America's Most Beautiful Roadster at the 1963 Oakland Roadster Show, perhaps no other person at the time was better qualified to write a story on "Trends in Roadster Styling". In comparing "traditional" roadsters and modern roadsters, Tex noted that:

"(The modern) category also takes into account the 'fad' cars, as they have come to be known. These are the 'kookie' cars that have become the rage in various sections of the country. In the early days of hot rodding they were called modifieds. They consist of an engine, frame, four wheels and a body. And not much else. They are generally of the bobtailed version, using a '23 glass Model T body set at a rakish angle on channel iron frame rails. The engine is very much out of doors, with outside drag headers modified (usually plugged) to feed the exhaust through stock mufflers under the body. Stock height windshields and tops add to the strange illusion of great height of these styles.

Although the kookie cars are never identical in every respect, they do look the same. Thus the tab of 'fad' cars by the more traditional builders.

These cars are really quite easy to build, especially since they have become so popular. There are several major speed companies now offering complete kits for building such a car, which makes them even more reasonable. They also make ideal show machines, as they catch the fancy of the general public. However, unlike the other categories, they are not the greatest for highway cruising. Much fun around town, though. Many West Coast builders are now even chauffering two cars, a kookie machine and one of the other approaches."

(Tex really knew what he was talking about. In later describing how the XR6 was conceived, he said, "I had been using a lot of drawings from artist Steve Swaja, a student at the time at the nearby Art Center. One day I asked if he could design a roadster project for me, using a combination '23/'27 Model T body and a race car nose. This was the drawing that we used as the project was introduced in Hot Rod. Curt Hamilton and Bud Lang had recently begun producing the first fiberglass replicas of the Model T bodies, mostly for drag cars. Their company was called Cal Automotive. Curt made me up a '27 cowl mated to an upswept '23 rear portion." However, this design concept swiftly changed when Tex received a phone call that a major model car company was willing to pay for the whole project if it was really far out. The rest is hot rod history.)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Big Bore V-8s by Roger Huntington

One of the articles that I believe may have contributed to the Y-block's "Rodney Dangerfield" image. From Selecting & Building Hot Rod Engines by the editors of Hot Rod Magazine, 1964 :

In the last chapter we analyzed the compact lightweight V8's in the American hot rod picture. Now we're going to talk about the big boys. We arbitrarily define this group as those basic engines weighing more than 600 pounds with accessories (but no flywheel or clutch). FORD 239-312: This is the modern ohv V8 engine that Ford brought out in their 1954 cars. It was used in displacements all the way from 239 to 312 cubic inches and finally settled at 292 cubic inches as the standard V8 engine option for the '58-'62 models. In '63 it was replaced by the new Fairlane cast iron V8 (221-289 cubic inches). The engine is still being produced for commercial applications, but is no longer used in passenger cars. Actually this is a relatively small, light engine that is very handy for swaps. External dimensions compare with the small Chev V8 (a little larger), and weight is only a bit over 600 pounds with accessories (say 605). Transmission adaptors and motor mount kits are widely available. You can get all kinds of factory and special speed equipment. The things are plentiful and cheap in the junkyards. Factory parts over the counter are reasonable. It has everything ... Or everything except performance. The basic engine was never strong on power and torque. The '57 312-cubic-inch Thunderbird engines were the best of the bunch. They had pretty big valves and ports, and breathed fairly well. And this was the year Ford supplied the McCulloch supercharger kit for this engine. Holman & Moody pulled 340 hp at 5300 rpm from their 312 NASCAR engines with the blower. They could easily blow off the '57 fuel injection Chevys on the NASCAR tracks in the early part of the season. Then NASCAR officials banned blowers and f.i. A few weeks later, Detroit pulled out of racing and the 312 racing engines were dropped. In 1959 Ford went back to 292 cubic inches and small-port heads, and made an economy engine out of this. If you ever expect to perform with this basic engine you will definitely need a set of the '57 312 heads. Even then there were problems of valve shrouding by the close combustion chamber walls. You have to do a lot of grinding in the heads to get 'em to breathe right. Another limitation here is cubic inches. The 312 block can only be bored .075 inch and stroked 1/4. There's no more room -- and this gives only 348 cubic inches. That isn't very big these days. So I see the small Ford engine mostly for the boy on a shoestring who must pick up an engine cheap for a swap or something. It'll do the job here ... but don't count on it for all-out applications.