Hot Rods and Non-Ford Cars

If you go to any car show, there are always plenty of cars that aren't Fords or Flatheads. These are some that struck my fancy.

Roadster Rat Rod

Model-A roadster with Cadillac V8 engine and blanket interior Model-A roadster with Cadillac V8 engine and blanket interior

This Model-A roadster looks like a real "rat rod" in the best sense. It looks like it was put together with whatever was at hand, but all well done. There's an overhead valve Cadillac engine with two Stromberg 97 carburetors. A simple blanket interior. The grille is from a 1938 or 1939 Ford pickup truck. Nice job drilling out the I-beam front axle.

1936 5 Window Coupe

1936 Ford 5-window coupe

This 1936 5 window coupe has been done up as a street rod. Mostly cars later than 1934 seem to keep the fenders. This actually looks mostly stock except for the lowered suspension and modern wheels, right down to the canvas panel in the roof. But I'm pretty sure it had a Chevy engine inside when I peeked through the openings in the side of the hood.

1936 3 Window Coupe

1936 Ford 3-window coupe

Another nice street rod based on an 1936 coupe. Aside from the wheels, it looks mostly stock, although I don't think Henry offered that color red back then. I know my dad had had first a 1936 Ford, and later a 1935 Ford, but I didn't get interested in these cars until after he had died. 

Hemi Roadster

Hot rod using a Ford roadster body with a Chrysler "hemi" V8 engine

I didn't get good enough pictures to tell whether this is a model A roadster, a 32 roadster with a 32 grille, or what. The distinctive hemi v8 engine with the spark plug wells in the middle of the valve cover is definitely not Ford, although the Ardun conversion heads for the Flathead actually look surprisingly like hemi heads. More information on these engines can be found at the Roadsters web site.

Pinto with an attitude

Ford roadster powered by a Pinto engine Custom exhaust header for Pinto engine

I like cars with attitude, and this roadster with a Pinto engine has attitude! You can see it first in the Pinto emblem on the radiator grille as well as the bright purple and white paint job, the solid axle, motorcycle fenders on the front and those headers. Too bad there wasn't room for a turbo like the Mustang SVO or Thunderbird turbo-coupe versions of these motors, although hat would make the engine compartment a lot fussier than it is now.

Edsel "Roadster"

Roadster body with Edsel grille in primer Roadster body with Edsel grille painted yellow and white

No, Edsel didn't make a roadster, but someone has turned this one into a roadster. At least I hope that it's the same car in primer and then painted, and that someone hasn't started a new fad.


Fenderless hotrod with Model T body and Chevy big-block engine Chevy big block engine with four Weber carburetors and polished velocity stack air horns

Very elegant T-bucket with a big Chevy engine and four Weber carbs with eight gleaming velocity stacks.


1960's Chevrolet with 409 engine Engine bay showing the Chevrolet 409 engineSlightly closer view of four barrel carburetor on Chevy 409 engine

Okay, I know the Beach Boys song, but not much else about this engine. I have read that it dates from a time when car manufacturers actually delivered more horsepower than advertised. I guess that would be understandable if you were taxed on horsepower. After all, Ford developed a 60 horsepower V8 engine in the late 1930's, mostly for sale in Europe where displacement is taxed. And now that US cars are taxed (or at least rated by the government) on gas mileage, that's what gets overstated in advertising.

Anyway, someone did an amazing job with this engine bay. And I immediately liked the fact that it at least looks different from standard small-block Chevy.

Plymouth Convertible

Bright red 1940's Plymouth convertible Steering wheel and dash of 1940's Plymouth convertible

This looks stock, not a hot rod, but definitely cool looking some 60 years later. Red and white convertibles always look cool, I guess. This looks very much like a 1942-1946 Ford, but it's a Plymouth. I should remember to see how accurate guesses based on Ford's model years are when applied to other car makers, and who was the follower and who was the leader.

1930's Dodge Coupe

1930's Dodge coupe, unrestored with rusty fenders and front bumper Same Dodge coupe, still unrestored but looks blue in this light

These pictures were taken at different times (obvious from the grass, or lack thereof, and the different cars on either side). It does show I've been sizing up this coupe along with other people. I assume it came with a flathead six cylinder engine, but looks like it would make a good home for a hemi.