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Trans_Maro SuperDork
8/4/12 8:17 p.m.

Ok, someone asked for it, so here it is.

The long, slow, probably to be forgotten speedster build thread. Maybe I'll finish this one.

I love vintage car cars, speedsters and cyclecars mostly.

The little GN Cyclecar pictured here is a huge inspiration:

I love the wood frame with the steel brackets but I wanted something a little beefier and frankly, easier to work with.

The cyclecar above still gets raced regulary, I don't know what kind of balls the driver has but I bet they clank when he walks.

I love the big cars too, FIAT had Mephistofeles:

This thing has a 21 litre aero engine in it.

Brutus is a new car built on a 1908 LaFrance chassis, it runs a BMW aero engine from a HE111 bomber, here's a video: http://youtu.be/-63l3OtJAmA

I'm building something smaller.

I'm a big fan of Mechanix Illustrated which started out as Modern Mechanix. MM had plans for a homebuilt speedster in one of their early issues and I have a copy of those.

I've been hoarding parts over the last few years and it's time to get started.

Trans_Maro SuperDork
8/4/12 8:30 p.m.

So, I have a heavily modified frame that I picked up at a swap meet for $100.00 If I had to guess I would say it started life as a Model A frame but it's been boxed and Z'ed in the back.

Next comes the front suspension, new parts are cheaper than original parts now and I don't have to waste time repairing them. This is a $400.00 beam axle kit from Speedway Motors. 2" drop, spring over tube axle with hairpins.

I parted out my 1958 Canadian Pontiac last winter after the floors got so bad that I fell through them. The Canadian cars are the same as the USA market Chevy from the same year except we got bigger engines. The Pontiac donated it's rear end.

And it's 261 Chevrolet straight six and three-speed transmission.

I know guys love flatheads but the Chevy 6 was the "other" hotrod engine from the mid 30's to the 50's. 261 cubes, 150hp, a smooth idle and no overheating, completely stock? A flathead guy would need some $$$ to do that.

The 261 can be dressed up to look like the 1929 194 six cylinder without a lot of work so I willl be backdating the engine a bit. It's also getting dual Stromberg carbs and headers.

Putting the engine in the frame:

Trans crossmember is in the right place:

Not enough room for the clutch fork, I'll lower the engine further and put a window in the frame so the clutch can work.

The view so far:

Long way to go:

psteav HalfDork
8/4/12 9:20 p.m.


JoeyM SuperDork
8/4/12 9:44 p.m.

adding this build to my favorites

corytate Dork
8/4/12 10:07 p.m.


Luke UberDork
8/5/12 6:05 a.m.
psteav wrote: THIS. IS. AWESOME.


Very interesting, and cool project. Looking forward to seeing this one take shape.

Kram New Reader
8/5/12 8:03 a.m.

Bump for coolness.

Hope this one goes all the way!

Javelin MegaDork
8/5/12 9:29 a.m.
psteav wrote: THIS. IS. AWESOME.


stroker Dork
8/5/12 11:16 a.m.
Javelin wrote:
psteav wrote: THIS. IS. AWESOME.



914Driver MegaDork
8/5/12 12:16 p.m.

I've been discreetly searching for an abandoned American LaFrance.

patgizz UltraDork
8/5/12 7:36 p.m.

so far you're winning the game of life.

please complete project.

Rusted_Busted_Spit SuperDork
8/5/12 10:25 p.m.

Very Very cool.

hrdlydangerous Reader
8/6/12 10:00 a.m.

Cool build so far. Keep it up.

I guess that engine is like the ones they used in the GMC trucks in the states. It was an old hot-rodder trick to put a Jimmy engine in your chevy.

I'm surprised that the Pontiac rear end used coil springs and not leafs.

Double_Wishbone New Reader
8/6/12 3:49 p.m.

This is so cool! Good luck finishing it.

Trans_Maro SuperDork
8/6/12 8:46 p.m.

Nope, a Jimmy six is different again.

The 261 came in US heavy trucks as a bigger option to the 235 that was normally used.

The Chevy chassis (that's why the coil springs) used in the US has the 235 as the base engine. When it was used for the Canadian Pontiacs, Pontiac was the high performance division so they spec'd the 261 from the truck instead.

GMC trucks used a similar engine that was a bit longer, the GMC six was available as a 270 and a 302. There was a smaller size as well but I can't remember what it was.

A Jimmy six will bolt in place of a Chevrolet six but a little adjusting here and there will be necessary.


cghstang HalfDork
8/7/12 6:59 a.m.

I'm going to list my beater 300 I-6/5spd F150 in the $201x classifieds sometime soon with hopes that someone will use it as a donor to do something very much like this build.

I too, dig the huge old speedsters. Keep it up!

RossD UltraDork
8/7/12 8:25 a.m.

Very Neat!

Any ideas about the tire and wheel combo?

wearymicrobe HalfDork
8/7/12 9:10 a.m.



Trans_Maro SuperDork
8/7/12 9:30 a.m.

I'm a HAMB alliance member but I don't post over there anymore, the signal to noise ratio has gotten really bad in recent years.

As for tire/wheel combination, I'm probably going with steel wheels and Gum-Dipped Firestones from Coker.


914Driver MegaDork
8/7/12 3:06 p.m.

Trans, these guys may have stuff you like:


BTW, you are not alone:


Trans_Maro SuperDork
8/10/12 12:05 a.m.

914Driver: I've used Rootlieb products on cars at work, We have their hood and hood sides on a 1934 three-window we built for a customer. Very good quality stuff.

I'm going to be shopping the MAC's auto parts catalog pretty heavily.

I've browsed the NWVS site before, pretty cool stuff there.


Trans_Maro SuperDork
8/10/12 12:25 a.m.

Ok, I'll start from the ground up with this project for all you folks out there who aren't familiar with building a car out of a pile of old parts.

The first step is to level the frame front-to- back and side-to-side. This will let me set up the stance (there's that word!) of the car by tweaking the suspension later on.

Nothing looks goofier than a body that has been wedged on the frame to get a certain look, especially when the frame is exposed.

So, here my trusty angle finder shows level (0 degrees) front-to-back:

And side-to-side:

Next, we need to set up the engine.

First, center the transmission mount where you want it on the crossmember. I prefer to keep a transmission crossmember and rework everything else if I need to.

Once you have the transmission mount where you want it, clamp it in place and begin setting up the engine.

You will need to center the front of the engine in the frame and set the carburetor pad on the manifold level. Don't level the engine by the engine block or head, carb pads usually have some angle to them because engines are rarely mounted level.

So, the engine is now level side-to-side:

And front-to-back:

Next, I'll show you how to fabricate engine mounts that will look like cast iron brackets.

JoeyM SuperDork
8/10/12 6:07 a.m.

I'lm liking this thread more and more....

93EXCivic UltimaDork
8/10/12 7:33 a.m.

This thread = awesome

Rusted_Busted_Spit SuperDork
8/10/12 8:14 a.m.

This is the coolest thread ever.

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