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

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

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

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

1932 Ford roadster with Dodge hemi engineI 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

Model A Roadster with 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"


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.


 Model T hotrod Chevy engine with Weber carburetors and velocity stacks

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


Chevy Belair with 409 engine Chevy 409 engine Detail of carburetor and intake of 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.

40's Plymouth Convertible

Red Plymouth convertible Interior of 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.

30's Dodge Coupe

Sizing up a Dodge Coupe Dodge Coupe from the left side

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.

Last modified Sunday, September 08, 2002
All pictures taken by the author
Tom Teixeira