The Truth About Cars » Rat Rod http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 19 Jul 2014 05:27:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Rat Rod http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1950 Pontiac Chieftain With Flathead Cadillac V8 Power http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/junkyard-find-1950-pontiac-chieftan-with-flathead-cadillac-v8-power/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/junkyard-find-1950-pontiac-chieftan-with-flathead-cadillac-v8-power/#comments Tue, 22 Nov 2011 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=419509 Here’s a car that, were it to roll onto the grounds of any Billetproof show, would cause a vast wave of inked-up Lemmy Kilmister and Tura Satana lookalikes to drop to their knees in captive-bolt-to-the-dome-grade stunned worship. But that almost certainly won’t happen, because this fine example of how-they-done-it-way-back-then backyard customization is Crusher bound!
Upon first sight of the engine compartment, I thought: “Hmmm. I didn’t think Pontiac ever made a flathead V8… but I’ve been wrong about so many anorakian car facts in the past that I’m probably wrong about this one as well.”
Well, Pontiac never did make a flathead V8, as it turns out, and I’m pretty sure this one came from a Cadillac.
No, penny-pinching hot-rodders, this isn’t your chance to score a LaSalle 3-speed for 50 bucks; this car has what appears to be some sort of Hydramatic, probably the one that came out of a wrecked donor Cadillac in 1958 or whenever this swap took place.
This car, which came from the factory with a “Silver Streak” flathead straight-eight under the hood, appears to have been sitting for many, many decades. My guess is that it got the engine swap in the mid-to-late 1950s, drove for a few years, and has spent the last 50 years in a field somewhere in the Great Plains (or in a back yard in Denver).
In addition to the painfully vintage engine swap, this Pontiac has some interesting custom touches on the hood. At the leading edge, we see these two “nostril” scoops.
On the sides, these funky vents. Was this setup for looks, or an attempt to aid engine cooling?
Postwar Pontiacs were on the stodgy side, but some of these design touches belong in a museum of modern industrial design.
Some bits and pieces of this car might be suitable for someone undertaking a restoration project, but the glass and trim are mostly bad.
Right next to the ’50 Pontiac is Jacqui’s crypto-lowrider ’64 Chevelle, which has this amazing Aztec-themed hood mural. I think I may have to blow up this photograph and hang it in my office.
But why mess around with photographs? I need to buy the entire hood and hang it on my office wall!

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And the Winner Is… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/and-the-winner-is-24/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/and-the-winner-is-24/#comments Mon, 24 Oct 2011 05:32:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=415714 It’s been quite a year for the builders of the Model T GT: a feature article in Hot Rod, plus several races in which the T held the lead for quite a while before vaporizing the transmission. Finally, everything came together this weekend at Infineon Raceway aka Sears Point, and the world’s quickest road-race Model T turned more laps than every one of its 170 competitors.
The team’s route to the winner’s circle involved a reduction in power, going from a 500CFM two-barrel carburetor to a 390CFM model, then retarding the ignition timing. This slowed the car down by a few seconds per lap, but kept the fragile T5 transmission alive and reduced the number of fuel stops by increasing the car’s range on a tank of fuel.
I’ve known Dave Schaible, the hot-rodder behind the T GT, since he helped me build the Impala Hell Project’s engine more than a decade ago, and I know how he scrounged up the bits and pieces to build today’s winner (I also know he’s good enough at building engines that we did an impound-and-dyno-test routine on the T GT’s Ford 302— when it was in the Buttonwillow-winning Mustard Yellow Volvo Doing 45 In The Fast Lane— at a Thunderhill LeMons race a while back: 188 horsepower).
According to LeMons Chief Perp Jay Lamm, the rules will soon be a-changing, making quasi-scratchbuilt-chassis cars like this (the T GT is built on a much-modified Model A frame with Fox Thunderbird suspension) more difficult to get onto a LeMons track (rumor has it that motorcycle engines in LeMons cars may also be outlawed). The T GT has become Schaible’s daily driver, anyway, so maybe it’s just as well that its racing days will be over soon. Congratulations, Team Model T GT!

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Rust, Tatts, and Brilliant Engine Swaps: Billetproof California 2011 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/rust-tatts-and-brilliant-engine-swaps-billetproof-california-2011/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/rust-tatts-and-brilliant-engine-swaps-billetproof-california-2011/#comments Mon, 19 Sep 2011 23:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=411695 The rules for the Billetproof show are simple: Nothing newer than 1964, no trailered vehicles, no post-1960s mag wheels, no fenderless cars with independent front suspensions, and— above all— no billet anything! I flew out to California Saturday to check it out.
I’ve been going to these shows for a few years now, and I’m noticing a couple of very positive trends. First, way more engines other than small-block Chevy or Ford Windsor engines in patina’d-out fenderless rods. Even the flathead Ford V8s were getting boring.
Like, say, a Weber-ized Pinto engine.
Or a supercharged Toyota 22R. This one would have the old dudes at a pro-billet car show clutching their chests and toppling off their ice chests. All the Time Out Kids in the world couldn’t make up for the shock of seeing a rice-burning four-banger in a classic Detroit race car.
The Maserati Rod was back, and a big hit as usual… but isn’t it time someone built a ’58 Datsun (license-built Austin A50) with an Infiniti V8?
The other trend that’s so refreshing is the large number of examples of once-shunned-by-rodders marques such as Pontiac and Dodge.
Which is cool, because Pontiacs of this era have the extremely beautiful illuminated-Indian-head hood ornaments.
Though I prefer the Plymouth sailing-ship ornaments.
And where else would you see a 1945 International delivery truck slammed this low?
Even though I longed for a Maltese-cross rear-view mirror on my fenderless banana-seat Schwinn in 1971, I think the Maltese cross thing has been way overdone by now (and we all know who’s to blame). However, this version is still acceptable.
I think I need to start a car club, just so I can design a plaque like this.
It is impossible for me to go to any car-related event in the United States and not run into someone I know from 24 Hours of LeMons racing. Here’s the Model T GT, which is not only the quickest road-race T in the world, it’s also an excellent daily driver. Really, this car gets used for everyday transportation. I ran into members of the legendary Cannonball Bandits and a few other LeMons teams as well.
You can forget about the anorexic standard of beauty outside the gates of Billetproof; once you’re in the show, Bettie Paige and Tura Satana are the models for feminine beauty.
I’m working on a gallery of patina desktop wallpapers, to go with the Junkyard Desktop Wallpaper Collection, and Billetproof provides some great material for that project.
If you’d like to see some of these images in three corroded and/or button-popping dimensions, don your 3D glasses and head over to Cars In Depth.

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Cargo Capacity Slightly Diminished, But Totally Worth It! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/01/cargo-capacity-slightly-diminished-but-totally-worth-it/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/01/cargo-capacity-slightly-diminished-but-totally-worth-it/#comments Tue, 11 Jan 2011 17:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=380123
Here’s a totally practical daily driver I spotted on the south side of Denver a while back.

My sources tell me that this Svenmeister Hardcore Kustoms creation, which appears to be a ’49 Ford pickup, was driven to the salt flats and back immediately after completion. Must have been a rough ride, but who cares?

The only disappointment about this fine machine is the small-block Chevy, though the cop-enragin’ straight pipes compensate somewhat. If ever a truck needed a Lincoln 462, this is it!

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Shorty Shoebox-amino Astounds, Confounds http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/01/shorty-shoebox-amino-astounds-confounds/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/01/shorty-shoebox-amino-astounds-confounds/#comments Mon, 10 Jan 2011 19:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=380039
Not many of us wake up in the morning and say to ourselves, “I think I’m going to shorten and narrow a ’57 Chevy wagon, give it a truck bed, and install a 427 with a 5-speed!”

Check out the powered bed-cover! The owner of this incredible machine, however, did say that to himself, and I spotted the result parked in front of a Denver wrecking yard. He didn’t have a lot to say about his creation, no doubt because he’s burned out from all the constant questions lobbed at him from dudes with eyeballs bugged out of their heads in amazed Rat Fink fashion, but I was able to get the summary of what he’d done.

The best part? This beast gets driven on the street for everyday errands such as junkyard shopping expeditions. If only someone would do this for a Studebaker Scotsman wagon…

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