So before you warm up your computer’s email system or sharpen your poison pen, STREET RODDER is very aware that Ford did not manufacture a Model T sedan in 1930. But that doesn’t mean an inventive hot rodder couldn’t create such an animal, and Steve DeMarco is just that kind of guy.
If the name is familiar, then you may have done some business with Carolina Custom Hot Rod Parts in Clinton, North Carolina. Started in 1985, Carolina Custom is a 10, 000-square-foot grocery store for the hot rod enthusiast, offering parts from more than 50 different manufacturers from their base as well as the over the Internet. They manufacture their own line of parts, too, making the products on site (with some of them having gone on to win multiple Best New Product awards at the NSRA Nationals in past years). So it shouldn’t be a surprise to learn Steve wanted to utilize what was around him to build a hot rod for himself, only this wasn’t going to be a “normal” type of ride.
The original plan was to find a Model T sedan and slip a Hemi between the framerails. But, as any rodder knows, car builds don’t always follow the original plan of attack and Steve was able to find a decent Model A sedan, which he figured he could modify to make it look like the T he really wanted. A simple idea, but a lot of work to get right!
The frame is where it all started, and it was stretched 18 inches over stock. There are airbags from RideTech on each corner, but well hidden from view. The rest of the suspension reads like a regular traditional-inspired ride, with a Super Bell chrome axle, ’48 Ford wishbones up front, and Pete & Jake four-bar out back with the Ford 9-inch. Updated parts include front and rear disc brakes.
The engine is a small-block, designed with special one-off parts to make it look more like a Hemi. Steve made the engine’s head covers, which do a good job of hiding the Chevy heads, and a six-pot manifold set up for Strombergs was converted to work with a sextet of Rochester two-barrels. Even the distributor was redesigned to look like a magneto, and new air horns (fitted with air cleaners) were fabbed. Sanderson Limefire headers were installed, too, to complete the engine. American Racing Salt Flat wheels (15×6 and 16×7) are shod in Diamond Back wide-white radials (195/65-15 and 255/70-16).
The Model A body was massaged quite heavily, having been channeled (6 inches) and chopped (6 inches in the rear, 3 up front). Along with a smoothed firewall and cowl, the windshield was designed to fit flush, and the roof was removed and replaced with a flat fiberglass piece (making the car 41 inches at the sunvisor). The squarish look in the car’s corners and on the roof is what gives the impression of a Model T at first glance.
Once the bodywork was completed the chassis was painted black and the body a Rock Moss Green by Wendell Procter. Under the low lid Wayne Bowers upholstered custom bucket seats and then added black Mercedes cloth to the roof. The gauges in the custom-fabbed dash came from Hainline and a tilt/tele Cadillac steering column works with a Flaming River steering box to get the ride down the road.
Once painted and polished up, Steve debuted the sedan at the Myrtle Beach Rod Run to the Sun alongside 2, 800 others cars. It received a lot of attention and, by the end of the show, it won the event’s Car of the Year award. STREET RODDER also liked what they saw when viewing the car for the first time at the Goodguys Charlotte event a few months ago and picked it as a finalist in the magazine’s Top 100 program.
But the one comment Steve remembers from all the folks who came up to talk to him about the car (they usually start talking before he has a chance to get out of the car!) is the one fellow who said Steve’s car reminds him of a rat rod in a tuxedo!
Collect lifters by rolling the block
When removing a cam and/or lifters from an LS-series block, remember to roll the motor over by hand after removing the pushrods and rockers. This will allow the lifters to seat themselves into the hold-down tray and keep them from falling into the block.
When installing an EZ-EFI system, it is critical that you make sure the pink wire on the harness is getting 12 V in the crank and run position. This simple connection is easy to miss. But if it doesn’t get the correct voltage, the system will not function at optimum levels, meaning your tune will suffer.
What should my Weber carb idle at?
Weber carburetors generally work best at a slightly lower idle than other carbs. For the best results, tune until you are around 650-750 rpm. If the idle is higher, Weber carbs tend to pull fuel from the lines and drip.
Image by SandraJ-Wa from Pixabay