Buck Boudemans '27 roadster.

Buck Boudemans ’27 roadster

Since it was so cold today, -5 yet at 1030, I wasn’t very motivated to go out to the shop,  Instead, I went to the Post Office, did some errands, filled up my “Milusion” for $1.77.9 (thank you Saudi Arabia for trying to drive US and Canadian oil producers under), and had lunch at the Gilmore Museum.  While I was there, I took some photos of my favorite things, and though I’d share what’s brewing in my head.  As if I needed another project…

Part 1.  The ’27 Highboy above was built by my late friend Buck Boudeman.  He was into Miller Indy cars and Stanley steam cars, but took time out to build this killer little roadster a couple of years ago just for fun and to drive to local cruise nights.  I like lots of things about it, and it has been haunting me for a couple of years.

Frank Mack '27.

Frank Mack ’27.

Part 2.  The Frank Mack ’27.  An Autorama winner in the early 50’s, built by then high school kid Frank Mack from junkyard Ford parts.  It’s unchanged, unrestored from its original incarnation, and it personifies a post war Hot Rod.  I’m going to blatantly steal ideas from this, Bucky’s car, and the following…

Cotton Werksman's "T".

Cotton Werksman’s “T”.

When I was in High School, in ’72,  reading “Street Rodder” and “Rod & Custom” instead of studying, Cotton Werksman’s Ardun powered T was burned into my brain.  This scooter is one of three that he built with a buddy, is now owned by a very nice guy from the Detroit area, and still lights my fire.  I prefer the swoopy ’27 body of the other two cars over the little ’17 T bucket body, but the space frame, quick-change and sprint car front really get my blood boiling.

Rumpity Rump...

Rumpity Rump…

I bought a ’93 Chevy conversion van several years ago, thinking I’d put the TBI 350 in my Diamond T.  The engine ran OK but had 175K on it, and rather than rebuild it, I bought a Vortec 6.0.  I did use the vans front suspension, gas tank, and some other stuff so I got my moneys worth, and the 350 has been sitting on a cradle since.  A couple of weeks ago, I was at my buddy Crafty B’s shop, and he had this dual quad set up and no name finned valve covers for sale.  The price seemed right, and I came home with them, and 30 minutes later, the TBI was in the trash and the Offy 360 and AFB’s were on the engine.  Another buddy noticed the carbs, and come to find out, they’re original 409 dual carbs, and despite missing the choke, needing to be rebuilt and some minor cosmetic damage, they’re quite sought after.   I sold them on eBay for enough to buy a pair of new Edelbrock carbs and freshen up the 350 with a cheap-O rebuild kit, so that’s all good.  It’ll need a conventional distributor and a 700R4 trans to replace the 4L60E, because I don’t like a stick shift, but it’ll be plenty of motor for a 2,000 lb. roadster.  And, cheap.

I have a ’36 Ford front axle and wishbones from the Fordillac, and another friend said he’d give me a Ford 8″.  Sadly, it’s not a quick change, but the price is right.  The 454 from the derelict motorhome that ate up all my spare time last summer I traded for a set of Dayton rim laced knock off wheels and hubs, with new bias ply tires.  I have a Mustang steering box, so I’ve got most of the suspension, steering, brakes, wheels and tires.  I just need a body and time.

Now, I need a pile of steel tubing and ‘glass ’27 body, and I have the beginnings of a ’27 based on, and inspired by, the three cars above.  My plan, if I can turn a pile of mild steel tubing into a “bird-cage” style frame like Cotton Workman built on his garage floor, a ’27 with a dropped, full belly pan like Frank Mack’s car,  with a deep foot well (unlike Bucks car with a flat floor) that’ll be comfortable, light, powerful with the rebuilt and mildly modified Chevy 350.  If the space frame turns out to be beyond my primitive measuring and fabrication skills, I’ll just build a ladder type frame that mimics a ’32 Ford frame and put a floor pan/belly pan on the bottom of the rails.  A little heavier, but simple and easy to build compared to the bird-cage style frame like Cotton’s car.

I’ve always loved ’27 Ford roadsters, we had a full fendered one 30 years ago, and I miss the fender-less ’36 Fordillac, so this will be a good combination and tribute to those cars.   I may have to sell something else I love, if only because really, 6 old cars, three vintage trailers and one wooden Chris Craft is all the hobby stuff one couple needs, so if anybody needs a ’48 Pontiac convert street rod with an LT1, I have just what you need…

  1. Iain Hall says:

    The sort of roadster you are planning seems like a fairly easy build and should be lots of fun to drive Don’t be too scared of building a space frame when i built my locost clubman i worked from an 8 x4 sheet of MDF made into a level table once you have your centreline a measuring tape and decent square its easy to lay out your base frame and build up from there tack it all together and build it around your engine and trans…

  2. Matt says:

    Everything, and I mean everything is “right” on that Frank Mack car. Spot on. I’ve dreamt of building something similar to what you describe. I’m scared, however, that if I did manage to pull it off, I’d never fit all 6′ 3″ 280 lbs of myself in it to take it for a drive. Destined for a Tudor Sedan I suppose.

  3. Jim Ayers says:

    Hi Brian,

    I sent you a facebook message asking if you could call me to discuss your 1947 Spartan Manor. I just bought one and had some questions that I thought you might be willing to help me answer. My cell is 469.231.9145.

    Thanks and have a blessed week,


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