1923 Ford T Roadster - Hot Rodding Doesn't Have to Be Complicated
Bill Post's '23 T
From the February, 2009 issue of Street Rodder
By Eric Geisert
You've probably heard about those folks who have been out of hot rodding for a while and then get back into the hobby after decades of inactivity. On the other extreme, you can also find folks who built their hot rod decades ago and still own them. But Bill Post, from West Des Moines, Iowa, takes a little from both columns.
Bill was 16 when he purchased his first car back in 1972, a '55 Chevy two-door hardtop, and he still owns the car. By 1977, he'd attended the NSRA Nationals in St. Paul (in a T-bucket) and got permanently hooked on hot rods. Both of his brothers, Russel and Donald, have acquired many rods over the years, and collectively the trio has owned nearly any type of muscle car or rod you can name, from Mustangs to Corvettes, and from Chryslers to Model As.
In the early '80s, Bill had built his first street rod, a '38 Chevy truck, which he then sold for parts to build a T-bucket. The idea was to build a pair of twins-one 402 big-block T for Russel, and a small-block copy for Bill.
The work started in August of 1984 when Bill took a long weekend and fabricated the chassis for both vehicles, which soon yielded a pair of rollers. The brothers reinforced the 'glass body of Bill's car by hand-laying fiberglass on wood around the interior. The floor, made from 3/4-inch plywood, was also 'glassed in to accomodate a three-inch channel over the frame, and 3/4-inch plywood was 'glassed to the interior firewall, too.
By the spring of '85 Bill had met his future wife, Tammy, and work slowed on the projects. Bill's T was relegated to the corner of Russel's shop, nearly complete with the body mounted, windshield installed, motor and tranny dropped in, and the radiator, headlights, and more already mounted.
This engine was out of a '67 Nova owned by Al Chindlund of rural Alta, Iowa. It had been drag raced in the early '70s at Humboldt County Dragway in Humboldt, Iowa, and Bill purchased the short-block from Al's brother, Norm, in 1985.
The '67 Chevy 283 was raced...
The '67 Chevy 283 was raced back in the '70s at local Iowa racetracks, but Bill purchased the motor, which was bored .060 over, in 1985. It now sports a Holley 600 carb, Sanderson headers, a Walker flex fan, and a Comp Cams bumpstick. The trans is a TH350 unit, and power run to a '57 Ford 9-inch rear.
By 1985 Russ had finished his car, but Bill's sat while he gathered up what little parts he still needed. This included the pre-'16 Model T steering wheel, which is an original maple wood rim purchased at a swap meet for $15.00 in 1984 and refinished by Bill's neighbor, Ralph Lane.
When Bill and Tammy got married, Russ thoughtfully gave the honeymooners a Stewart Warner speedometer for a wedding present-one of the few things not listed on the couple's registry! But don't let it be said Tammy didn't want her man working on a hot rod. She did, but the priorities in Bill's life were shifting, and the T got lower and lower on the list.
Changing jobs from being a welder/fabricator to a becoming a firefighter was a big change for Bill, but throw in a major house remodel and moving to West Des Moines, and you can see where some of the time must have gone. The T was never far, though, even as it became something of a shelf to stack things on in Bill's garage.
Twenty years later, life was going well for Bill and Tammy, and they decided they'd like to get the car finished, so they hired Russ in September of 2005 to finish the assembly.
Russ worked on dialing in the drivetrain, doing the needed wiring, plus painting the ride in December of the same year. Tammy and Bill had decided on the color by looking at paint chip cards at The Body Parts Store in Des Moines. The color caught Bill's eye and he just knew it was right, and he adds the final choice had nothing to do with it being Tammy's favorite color.
Bill and Tammy got their car back in the spring of '06 and took it to Pro-Stitch Upholstery where the pleated off-white vinyl interior and marine-grade carpet was installed (as Bill's car doesn't have a top, he needed to use weather-resistant material). Mike Johnson and Beth Bedell are the proprietors and they work out of a modest shop out in the Iowa countryside. Bill says they're great people and they do good work.
The pair also stitched up the boots around the steering column, shifter, brake pedal, and E-brake in a black vinyl. They also made a removable pouch, located under the dash, in black vinyl and they finished off the edge around the body with hidem welt and a stitched vinyl bead.
When it came to the wood dash, Russ had talked with Glen Bauer of Alta, Iowa, about cutting down an appropriate piece of wood. Glen said "I have just the piece of wood for that project," and went on to say that he had this unusual piece of Spalding maple that he was saving for one of the "Post Boys" projects.
With the final assembly done, the couple was then able to debut their brand-new, 22-year-old hot rod at the Goodguys Heartland Nationals in July of 2006. Now at a point where he can devote some time and effort into building hot rods for himself, Bill has gotten his own home shop up and running and is not only working on a '35 Ford Tudor slantback for himself, but a '34 Ford roadster for Tammy, too. With a smile, Bill says these cars will not take 22 years to finish and, when retirement comes around for Bill, he'll still have his '55 Chevy to keep him busy. See? Life does come full circle if you wait long enough!
Set up on a 102-inch wheelbase,...
Set up on a 102-inch wheelbase, Bill's bucket-T looks shorter than it really is. Coker Classic wide whites wrap the chrome steel wheels, and a spun aluminum gas tank takes up residence over the Model A rear spring. Hot rodding doesn't have to be complicated, as Bill's car proves.
Because he has no top for...
Because he has no top for his roadster, Bill had to use marine-grade carpet and off-white vinyl for the interior. Pro-Stitch Upholstery did the stitchin' and fittin', adding a cool vertical pleat to the bench seat and door panels. The Spalding maple dash is home to a trio of Stewart Warner gauges, and the steering wheel is vintage pre-'16 Model T.
Facts & Figures
Bill & Tammy Post
West Des Moines, Iowa
1923 Ford Model T Roadster
|Frame / Manufacturer: ||2x3x3/16 rectangular tubing fabricated by Bill and Russel Post |
|Wheelbase: ||102 inches |
|Modifications: ||home built with 11 inches of Z in rear, all brackets fabricated by Bill and Russel Post |
|Rear-end / Ratio: ||'57 Ford 9-inch (small bearing), 3.50:1 |
|Rear suspension: ||Model A spring, '40 Ford rear spring perches welded to housing, Total Performance rear radius rods, Pete & Jake's shackles and shocks |
|Rear brakes: ||'57 Ford drum |
|Front suspension: ||'34 Ford drilled I-Beam, '34 Ford split wishbones, Chassis Engineering reverse-eye main leaf with '34 Ford short stack of leafs, '37-40 spindles, Pete & Jake's short shocks |
|Front brakes: ||Super Bell disc brake adapter kit with Wilwood aluminum racing calipers on Mopar rotors |
|Steering box: ||'65 Ford Econoline (out of my brother Russel's van). |
|Wheel covers: ||Wheel Vintiques Baby Moons |
|Front wheel make, size: ||Wheel Vintiques, 15x5, chrome reverse steel |
|Rear wheel make, size: ||Wheel Vintiques, 15x7, chrome reverse steel |
|Front tire make, size: ||Coker Classic wide whites, 5.60x15 |
|Rear tire make, size: ||Coker Classic wide whites, L78-15 |
|Gas tank: ||10-gallon spun aluminum |
|Make: ||1967 Chevrolet |
|Displacement: ||283 c.i., bored .060," balanced |
|Machining: ||Norm Chindlund, Spencer, IA |
|Assembly: ||Russel Post, Custom Specialties, Alta, IA |
|Crankshaft: ||GM steel |
|Rods: ||GM |
|Pistons: ||forged |
|Camshaft: ||Comp Cam 270, double roller timing chain |
|Water pump: ||Airtex brand cast iron |
|Cooling fan: ||Walker flex fan |
|Radiator: ||Walker 5-row with transmission cooler |
|Alternator: ||GM 61-amp |
|Heads: ||1967 Chevrolet Power Pack |
|Rockers: ||GM |
|Valve covers: ||Offenhauser |
|Manifold / Induction: ||'63-65 GM/Corvette aluminum |
|Carburetor: ||600 Holley Model 1850 |
|Ignition / Wires: ||Vintage 1970 ACCEL Dual Point distributor with Pertronix conversion, Pertronix Flame Thrower coil, ACCEL wires |
|Headers: ||Sanderson |
|Make: ||1970 Chevrolet 350 Turbo |
|Converter: ||B&M Holeshot |
|Shifter: ||Lokar 6" tail-mount |
|Trans mods: ||TransGo shift kit |
|Driveshaft: ||'57 Chevrolet, shortened to 17" |
|Body style / Material: ||'23 Model T Roadster, fiberglass |
|Body manufacturer: ||Unknown, purchased from Minnesota Auto Supply (MAS), Minneapolis, MN in 1984 |
|Grille Shell: ||Chrome reproduction with Ford script |
|Final Bodywork: ||Russel Post, Custom Specialties, Alta, IA |
|Paint type / Color: ||Sikkens European Commercial Truck Purple |
|Painter: ||Russel Post |
|Headlights / Taillights: ||Dietz 9-82 with Mr. Roadster aluminum stands, modified '65 Econoline parking light buckets, front turn signals are Harley-Davidson |
|Outside mirror: ||Harley-Davidson |
|Windshield: ||Mr. Roadster with stainless support rods |
|Dashboard: ||Spalding maple by Glen Bauer of Alta, IA |
|Gauges: ||Stewart Warner |
|Air conditioning: ||keep the car moving...it works great |
|Wiring: ||hand wired by Russel Post |
|Steering wheel: ||pre-1916 Model T |
|Steering column: ||'65 Ford Econoline |
|Seats: ||plywood base with foam |
|Upholsterer: ||Pro-Stitch Upholstery, Springville, IA |
|Material / Color: ||off-white vinyl and marine-grade black carpet |
|Seatbelts: || black with GM flip buckles |