West Coast Eastwood 22nd Edition: by John Gilbert

Semantic Drift — Her Favorite Color Isn’t Chrome

What’s worse than discovering Bolivian fecal hornets have built a nest hidden deep inside your toilet bowl, or how about getting hired and fired from a great job all in the same day?

Get ready, this one is really bad news. The creative young professional nerds responsible for transforming some of your favorite words into meaning modern gibberish just got their fiendish little fingers on chrome. That’s right, chrome.

Can you just imagine Trace Adkins singing about some lady that’s all crazy with elevating moisture levels over a fast free browser that unifies her toaster with her Magnavox hi-fi, and that helps turn on her Malibu lights?

What’s next renaming bum wad, synchromesh rings? Have you noticed there’s a lot of exuberantly styled houses on this street. Alright, I’m warmed up, lets get onto some tech, and maybe even a few event highlights.

Oh, and further into this report I’ve got a couple of quick peeks at the Tribute T Rod & Custom’s tech editor Kev Elliot built in an astonishingly brief amount of time for you. I’m not quite sure how Kev was able to keep up with all of his magazine deadlines, traveling, and front lawn mowing and still be able to pull it off. Must be those fast-drying paints from Eastwood.

 —John Gilbert

Outlaw Rodder

Friction Gets Tubular

Here’s a shot of the T before I added Speedway Motors’ chrome telescopic shocks. As covered previously I’m swapping out the bug-eyed Model A headlamps for some reworked Headwinds headlights with machined aluminum grille bars that match the Track T grille bars.

Last week I described there was a need to beef up the Hot Rod to Hell’s front suspension, but at that point I didn’t know exactly what I needed to do. I used Speedway Motors combination shock tower headlight mounting kit as a starting point to figure it out. That’s just how it is, its easier to start with a physical example to imagine what needs to be. The Speedway kit makes for an quick and easy way to handle the job on a conventional set of T rails, but the presence of the rounded front crossmember and trying to work around the track nose created  problems.

I really like how clean the friction shocks appear, but I’m not too keen on hitting potholes on the Interstate without beefier shocks.

After studying several front shock setups on other people’s track Ts I decided to devise a cantilever setup that would tuck inside the track nose. The idea was to bolt the US made, chrome-plated Speedway telescopic shocks out of sight. I know, it’s a sin to hide chrome.

I flunked algebra, and didn’t take geometry, but I was familiar with the term suspension geometry. First I marked the friction shock arm with a Sharpie dot to observe the arc the dot traveled in.

I needed to establish a point where the dot traveled as far front to rear as possible without moving up and down. Note the best spot was on an angled area.

I drilled a 5/16-inch hole in the arm at the same angle as the arm’s pickup points. Then made a mount to temporarily hold the shock absorber in place to test if the concept worked.

If the location was wrong the 5/16 hole was small and easy to weld up. In the next three photos note the angled wedges used to hold the bolt parallel.

Next was to establish the angle the shock should be positioned at. The wood block is the same width as the frame rail. Its faster and cheaper to use wood in the mockup stages than steel.

Top view: I viewed all angles and moved the friction shock arm up and down to ensure this would be the right location for the tubular shock to mount.

With the front of the shock bolted in place, I determined the top mount location by placing the shock in the middle of its travel.

The T off the wheel dollies and resting at ride height notice how good the Shotgun headers look close to the ground.

Satisfied the shock mount bolt on the friction shock arm was located in the right place I drilled the hole out to ½-inch to accept the shock bolt.

You never know when you might need something to help mock something up. This wedge I’ve had in my goodie drawer for at least 30 years.

To drill the wedge out to the correct bolt hole angle I used the drill vise to hold the flat side up flush with the flat deck of the drill vise.

I installed the ½-inch 20 shock bolt exactly as it would be when the job was done.

I used heavy gauge flat strap C-clamped to the block of wood as a fixture to simulate a completed upper shock mount.

With the T’s full curb weight on the ground I checked to make sure there was clearance between the shock and the frame.

Next I lifted the T into the air to see what happened when the front axle dropped.

Here’s another view.

It was important to ensure there was enough shock travel up and down. Here the front axle is hanging as far as it will drop. With the Heim joint bolt out the shock travels further indicting more than enough shock travel downward.

Here the shock arm is fully collapsed upward with the T on the ground. Note at ride height the Heim joint shows there is a lot of upward travel before the should would bottom out.

Fully-collapsed this angle shows the shock clears the frame.

With the axle dropped. Look how much further the shock arm travels than needed.

I’m hoping by next week I’ve picked up the steel needed to fabricate the upper shock mounts and show how the job came out. I’m liking this shock mounting configuration because it totally conceals the tubular shocks while providing heavy-shocks for serious road work.

One Rare Bird

Kelly Owens’ ‘42 Mercury Station Wagon… plus a little Ford woody history

This 1942 Mercury “Woody” wagon is a rare bird for several reasons. First a 1942 anything is rare for American made vehicles. December 7, 1941 marked the official beginning of the United States entering World War II and civilian production of cars, trucks, and motorcycles came to an abrupt halt. Mercury ceased production February 10, 1942.

There were 897 1942 Mercury wagons built and half of that number were sold to the US government for military use. In 2013 there are only 10 ’42 Mercury wagons known to exist.

This particular Merc wagon is the rarest of all ’42 Mercs because it is the only ’42 wagon that was custom built with Birdseye maple. An exotic wood, Birdseye maple wasn’t an available option. Henry Ford specified Birdseye for 10 cars custom made for dignitaries.

In other words this ole lumber wagon was a “brass hat” car. Henry Ford believed strongly in owning and controlling all of the natural resources FOMOCO used in manufacturing. And a lot of the natural resources came from within Michigan.

Kelly Owens’ Mercury won Best Wood at Wavecrest the annual woody meet held in Encinitas, California.

Here’s an amazing find considering woody wagons are subject to termites and wood rot. This ’36 Ford woody still has its original paint and short of an early Corvette engine under the hood is a true survivor.

Ford created the village of Alberta, Michigan, and opened its Alberta, sawmill in 1936. No doubt this ’36 Ford wagon is a product of first year production. Ford donated the town of Alberta to the state of Michigan in 1954. The ’51 shoebox Ford woody was the last real wood wagon Ford built. The Iron Mountain, Michigan plant built woody wagons, and ceased wagon production in 1951. If I’m wrong on any these facts please feel free to complain.

Rod & Custom’s Tribute T

In the Home Stretch

Eastwood products galore — Loyal Rod & Custom readers should be familiar with the Tribute T project, tech editor Kev Elliot has building in the pages of R&C, its based on a Speedway Motors T-bucket kit. I’ve swung by the Source Interlink tech center a few times and have watched the T’s progress in person, and I have to tell you Kev does really clean work. It’s always neat to see how Kev solves some of the problems that always come up in a ground-up build… did I mention he does clean work? That’s Jeff Styles stripping the T, Kev Elliot armed with 12-inch Snap-on crescent wrench, and Jason Scudellari pouring oil into the Wimbledon White engine.

For the Hot Rod to Hell, I chose Speedway Motors’ 4 into 2 polished stainless steel Shotgun style. The Tribute T is getting a set of Speedway’s chrome-plated 4 into 1 headers that dump into a collector.

What’s looks like an octopus eating an air-conditioner is Kev wiring the engine up to run. Ultimately the Tribute T debuted at the 2013 Louisville Street Nats with shortened plug wires and lookin’ good. That sounded pretty dumb, huh?

The Tribute T’s ultra deep gloss Boulevard Black urethane paint is from Eastwood. Stripes by Jeff Styles.

Its funny how many guys like to use these 6-foot long folding tables for a portable workbench. I’ve got one myself… In fact I need to clean the thing off, so I can load it up again.

Rustin’ Gold

’56 Ford F-600 in a Colorado field

An easy low-buck route to building a classic pickup on the cheap is to find a bigger truck like this field find ’56 Ford F-600 and pare it down into an F-100. All it takes is a new aftermarket chassis, or a used donor F-100 frame, and you’ve got the makings of a pickup. Take a look at the louvers on the cowl an area that’s really prone to rust on ’53-56 F-100 and it doesn’t look bad at all. Other areas that rust are higher from the road and don’t get subjected to as much rain water and mud like the pickups do. Notice the F-600 running boards are abbreviated in comparison to a ’53-56 F-100 pickup.

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