Few cars are as basic, as elemental, as the Model T. Henry Ford’s horseless carriage for the masses was never meant to be fancy or flashy, just fundamental and functional. The same holds true for Model T-based hot rods–they seem to work best as stripped-down, bare-bones speed machines. To lavish such cars with conveniences like air conditioning, power steering, and cruise control is to go against their very nature.
That’s why we’re so drawn to Robby Hood’s ’27 roadster pickup. It’s simple and straightforward. Robby says he was influenced by the hot rods he saw in second-hand “little page” books like Honk!, Hop Up, and ROD & CUSTOM–magazines which pre-dated his birth by a decade or more. The bias is easy to see.
Interestingly enough, Robby tells us that the T was even more elemental when he bought it from his friend Sam Rambo a couple years ago. At that time the barn-fresh steel body wore a coat of primer and a turtle deck, as well as rust and dents accumulated from years of not-so-dry storage. Sam built a sound deuce chassis for it using American Stamping rails, Model A crossmembers, a drilled front axle, and an original ’32 rearend, then installed a stock ’46 Ford flathead for power.
Robby acquired the roadster with a little bartering and a little cash and soon decided that a little refinement was in order. A complete rebuild ensued, but Robby was careful not to get too carried away. Why ruin a good thing, after all?
To that end, the chassis remains pretty much as Sam built it, the only exceptions being an 8-inch Ford rearend, a new K-member, and paint. The same flathead still resides between the rails, but it’s now rebuilt and pumps out extra ponies thanks to an offset-ground Merc crank, Isky cam, Offy heads, and pair of Stromberg 97s. An ’86 Ford truck three-speed transmission (with overdrive Fourth) backs it up.
Robby says the original turtle deck was beyond repair, so a new Brookville Model A pickup bed now resides in its place. A sectioned deuce grille leads the way up front, and the roadster body has been patched and straightened well enough to wear ol’ Henry’s favorite color. Matching black Naugahyde covers the owner-built seat, accented by orange piping that coordinates with the car’s wheels and pinstriping.
While more refined than before, the T is far from extravagant. It still relies on hot rodding’s fundamental recipe: small vehicle, powerful engine, and no frills. Such simplicity has its appeal–lots of folks took notice of the pickup (as did we) at the NSRA Southwest Street Rod Nationals in Oklahoma City last year. One admirer, Jim Heinz, even convinced Robby to sell it a few months later. Will Jim refine it even further? We sure hope not!