Okay, okay, I screwed up last time. The Jackman Bros. ’32 does not have the louvers cut out of the hood on the driver’s side. It looked like it on my screen, and it made sense given the plexiglas floors inside to see the chrome undercarriage. But at least 100 eagle-eyed readers wrote in to tell me they plainly saw louvers on their big, hi-def screens. Right. Plus, more readers sent in color-corrected photos. Fine, but I’m not going to do it. That was the point. They’re old. They look old. And I’m going to leave them that way. Ooh, do I sound a bit tetchy because I’ve been cooped up in the house for more than two months? No, I’m just naturally this way.
But today I’m going to give you eagle-eyed, hi-tech readers a treat, and enough hard-to-see, half-hidden details to keep you busy for at least a week. I’ve already mentioned a couple of times that I’m quite happy–as most hot rodders should be–that the garage is obviously considered part of the home, and what better place to be sequestered…if you have to be sequestered? Mine has always been a working garage. But it was old to start with (1937), and we’ve been here at least 35 years. Right off I added on to the original 2-car garage, which ended at that large beam with the valve covers and hats on it, extending it 20 feet back, maybe 30 ft. to the right, and 18 ft. high. It holds 5 cars, plus a lot of other stuff, as you can (and will) see. I’m not a collector. In fact I throw too much away. But I do accumulate things, and save things that have special meaning to me (one way or another).
So, since people are usually somewhat amazed the further they wander into my garage, I figure this time of quarantine would be perfect to take you on a photographic tour of a few of the highlights. Some need explaining, some don’t. And believe me, there’s plenty I’m not showing, such as in cupboards and on upper storage shelves. I won’t spend much time on the cars, which you’ve seen. I finally got the first coat of lacquer on the 4 hood pieces for the ’33 sedan last week (a couple of which you can spot in the photo above), which will finish that project. I’ll also mention that these are all nice, new, non-rosy photos taken this week (I didn’t clean or straighten anything–it’s as-is), but the lighting in my garage has always been terrible–especially for painting. I should fix that. It’s on the list. No more ado. Here’s enough photos to squint at for several sequestered days.
The Spalding Bros. repro track roadster waits in the left rear corner, next in line. The 12-port Chev is ready to run, as you can see; header by Marty Strode, carbs by Tom Taros, linkage/adapters by me. And drying ’33 hood halves. Plus I just got a fresh ’39 Ford trans, balanced clutch assembly, and ’48 starter. It’s not just sitting. It’s the next project.
I don’t seem to have a wall of fame, but I do have a couple walls of shame. Sentimental value. You saw the photo that caused this a few weeks’ back. That windowless Halibrand up on the shelf came from the back of Duffy Livingstone’s Eliminator T, thanks to Tom Murphy.When the garage is really clean, I call it the “Pristine Chapel” because I started hanging art posters overhead, like this, years ago. You’ll note Rob’t Williams, Steve Stanford, Dave Bell, Kelly, Mayabb. Above this is storage with lots more goodies.
Another place for posters, plaques, decals, even photos are the back cupboards. Inside? Well…paint, sandpaper/blocks. bodywork tools, air tools, power tools, wiring stuff, wax/cleaners/glues/compounds, more photo files, binders of old decals, cloisonne pins, aircraft and polished bolts, more posters/artwork, old vinyl LPs and 45s, etc., etc. Also note closet doors are latched, upper shelves have raised lips, and most everything else is wired (or roped) to walls for earthquake protection. SoCal necessity.
These are just a few old rarities that got taped on years ago. Bet you’ve never seen the Rob’t Wms. “exploding” poster; it was originally done in 3-D. The Rat Fink Reunion posters go back decades, too.
I’ve even framed some wall art. Steve Stanford sent the B&W rendering of how he thought my erstwhile ’52 Chevy driver should look. He was right, of course (if not practical). Remember “The Roadster” (at $1 a pound) by Henning and Rich in the early, little R&C? You could send for these “plans” for $2. An R&C reader sent me this worn example, so I had Joe Henning sign it before I framed it. Next to it is a Woody Gilmore dragster “wheel.”
This is the back wall of the “L” extension, where I keep my dragster, along with my mill, lathe, bandsaw, buffer, belt sander, welder, and so on. At right are two file cabinets full of photo archives. The ’53 grille came out of the stupid R&C project car. There’s a complete spare standard-bore 302 GMC on the floor around the mill. The binders on the shelf are just a portion of my Hot Rod mag collection, along with American Rodder, Hop UP, and lots of reference books. What’s with DeKalb? Anna and I saw these flying corncobs in all the fields on our many cross-country roads trips, and took to them (sorta, kinda like the flying eyeball). So people have sent signs and hats.
The Iacono dragster developed a fuel delivery problem that seemed to stump everybody, so I kept taking more apart–fuel lines, hoses, filter, pump, etc.–until I finally found a hose that was kinking under suction. So while body panels are off is a good time to see inner details. That driveline is an amazing amalgam of parts and adapters, with a top-shift Cad-LaSalle 2-speed in the middle.
The part that gets (and deserves) the most attention is that middle beam, to which I started attaching miscellaneous (and many broken) parts over the years, as I accumulated them. I really can’t remember when and where I got the Jimmy 5-carb McGurk intake. That rusty cam is a McGurk steel billet I bought at Isky’s in the late ’60s for my ’48. Look closely, you’ll see a broken valve head neatly incised in that piston in the middle. The steering arm next to it broke off my F-100 pulling out of the driveway.
The Chevy headers are once-chromed stamped-steel Nicson or Clark. The Cyclone intake had one 2-bbl adapter, so I had a few more cast at my local foundry. The cam is a Spalding. That “set” of pistons came out of the first Chrysler Hemi in the Low Buck Spl. You’ll note there are only 7. Those are old Don’s boxed rods, and one decided to literally come out the side of an otherwise nice Windsor block at 150 mph. Fortunately it was in Prufer’s rear-engine Speed-Sport roadster at the time. Look real close and you’ll also notice 3 different brands of pistons. The tops are the same, but the skirts are different. Hey, what’d I expect in a $500 motor?
Just a couple more things need some ‘splainin’. That yellow track nose was hanging in Dave Williams’ red barn when I met him in the early ’70s (he lived across an open field from Street Rodder’s first offices). It was on his Dick Kraft-style T roadster he got in Hot Rod mag in the early ’60s–tried to find the issue but couldn’t; I’ve got the photos, which I’ll show in a later column–and even drove on his honeymoon with Sue. When he closed his Low Buck Tools shop a few years ago, someone was going to buy it for $100. I said, “No, I’ll take it.” My actual surfing days are done, but the culture stays with you. This 9′ 6″ Wardy is in pretty cherry shape for an unpigmented early ’60s board (we didn’t call them “longboards” because there were no short boards then). I traded the front suspension (dropped spindles, ’54 brakes) from my ’52 Chev for it when I installed a Heidt’s IFS.
The panel that says “Erleichda” was the tailgate from Shaky Jake’s striping truck. I was a big Tom Robbins fan at the time, and didn’t realize he was, too, until I saw this. It was a word from one of Robbins’ zany novels that roughly translates to “Lighten Up!” Jake was a good friend who passed too soon. I asked his wife Joy if maybe I could have this, and she said Yes. And there is a flying Spam can (Actual Size). This is my appreciation of L.A. artist Ed Ruscha, and one of his early paintings I loved when I was in college. Finally, the gas pedal full of holes you see hanging from the beam I made in metal shop in high school, by tracing around my pointy-toe size 13 shoe with a piece of chalk on some 1/8″ plate and cutting it out with a torch to start. It was in my ’48, along with a similarly made floor shift, for several years. Enough explaining. But here’s plenty more photos you can enlarge and pore over to stave off, hopefully, a bit of boredom during your home stay:
That’s enough for now. Good night. See you next time.