Regular readers of STREET RODDER will probably remember Jeff Eischen's last car--a black Model A tub--that was featured in the February 2008 issue of this magazine. Both stylish and subtle (two looks that are hard to achieve separately let alone together), it was full of things to look at while, at the same time, not overdone (like so many hot rods built today).
Eischen's latest ride, a '23 T roadster, incorporates some of the same form-follows-function ideals he set with his Model A, but he takes it a step further with this car by giving the onlooker even more goodies to ogle.
To balance The Two S's (style and subtlety) you need the hands of an artist as well as the brain of an engineer, and that's what Eischen is. Making a particular part look nice is one thing, but making it work is something else and, just like the late Lil' John Buttera before him was so good at doing, Eischen knows just what to address and to not overbuild any aspect of a car.
When was the last time you saw a '34 B-model four-banger dressed like this? The 214-inch i
With this project Eischen wanted to recreate the look and function of an early Dry Lakes or dirt track car but use as many early Ford parts (especially hopped-up engine pieces) as he could. But where some folks will purchase whatever they need from vintage swap meets and bolt it all together, Eischen has the capability to fabricate whatever he needs, which makes his vehicles even more of a one-off venture.
Starting from scratch and planning on a nine-month build, Jeff built his own chassis using 2 x 4 framerails and 1.5 and 1-inch round tube crossmembers all set up on a wheelbase of 100 inches. Out back he assembled a banjo-type quick-change using a Ken Austin aluminum gear case, stock axles and differential, and a 3.78:1 ring-and-pinion. He also made up a set of hairpins for both the front and rear along with his own quarter-elliptic spring design. Drum brakes from a '39 Lincoln can be found on each corner, as can a set of 16-inch Ford wire wheels (4-inch in front, 4.5-inch in rear) wrapped with Firestone tires.
The front suspension uses a drilled I-beam axle under a Model A crossmember along with a set of friction shocks, and steering is comprised of a reversed Corvair box (located under the dash), a side-steer drag link, a homemade Pitman arm, and owner-fab'd stainless steel steering column.
The unique seats that form to the backside of the cockpit were done in saddle brown vinyl
Though covered by nearly 200 louvers in the hood and hood sides, a '34 Ford B motor was then put in place. Taylor Machine (Whittier, California), Eddie Flora (Springfield, Ohio), and Mike Rush (Delaware, Ohio) all had a hand in on the lil' banger, which has a displacement of 214 inches. The crank is a Ford item while the forged steel rods came from Jay Steele at Taylor Machine. Steele, who Eischen says he couldn't have built this motor without, also supplied the .030-over forged aluminum pistons (7:1) while the camshaft was delivered by Specialty Camshaft in Plymouth, Wisconsin.
Topping the four is a Miller head, prepped by Steve Serr. A Mezerie electric water pump was also added as was a Bosch 009 distributor (typically found on VW Race engines) and ingeniously engineered to work off a crank-driven belt system designed by Eischen. Twin S&S Super E sidedraft carbs (which are normally used on V-twin Harley-Davidson motors) feeds the inline, while spent gasses exit through a stainless steel header system designed and built by the owner. An Arrow radiator, cooled by a SPAL electric fan, keeps it running cool while a Denso alternator and Moroso wires keep the juice flowing. The trans, a '48 Ford open-drive unit, was assembled by Eischen and uses a 9-inch Ford clutch and an aluminum flywheel.
The basic body came from Speedway Motors, but the steel turtle deck is an original Ford item. To the body Eischen attached a full aluminum belly pan as well as an aluminum hood and sides. In bucking the system that has builders invariably using a '32 grille, Eischen used a stock Model T grille, but made his own cover from stainless steel screen.
The chrome roll bar (from Tubular Techniques in Hilliard, OH) is hardly noticeable. Ford w
Ron Mullins, the painter from Mullins Body Shop in Galloway, Ohio, is the one Eischen picked to paint his ride, and he used PPG Black everywhere he could (there is no pinstriping). Dietz headlights, '32 Ford taillights, a roll bar (created by Tubular Techniques and chromed by Mike Barr at Metalbrite in Dayton, Ohio), a homemade stainless steel rear bumper, and a side mirror from Lobeck's was all added, as were the leather straps (made from trouser belts) used as tie downs for the hood.
Inside the cockpit billet aluminum abounds, though you wouldn't know it. The dash, painted with a light crinkle finish, is actually made of billet, and was fitted with a set of four mini Classic Instruments gauges (electronically strung together with wiring from a Ron Francis kit) and one large 8,000-rpm tach--no speedo. But if you can't figure when to push the clutch in at the top of each gear, Eischen provides a small chart as a key fob that spells out the guidelines and estimated speeds as a reminder.
The seating, made up with saddle-colored vinyl from Tritex, is a pair of buckets, but without the standard framework or bolsters normally associated with bucket seats. Mounted in a free-form style, the cushion area conforms to the floor and then sweeps up the backside of the cockpit. Eischen also used light brown square-weave carpet throughout the rest of the cockpit, which contrasts nicely with the color of the buckets. Topping off the interior is a Lobeck four-spoke steering wheel, mounted with a quick-release hub.
Most folks never get to see a Miller-equipped Ford motor let alone hear one start and run, but they're a hoot! Not as rattley/noisy as a genuine Offenhauser, the 214 in Eischen's ride definitely gives off its own unique exhaust note and something you just don't get with a more common small-block Chevy. But that's what you get with Eischen and his cars: uncommon, but extremely compelling.
A Lobeck steering wheel features a quick-release hub, and the gauges are Classic Instrumen
The partially-exposed, open-drive '48 Ford transmission lends a mechanical feel to the int
The satin finish applied to some of the parts, including the Ford wires, is yet another de
The stainless steel grille insert looks refined but functional, and other subtle nuances,
Leather straps (made from a trouser belts) look vintage as does the homemade Pitman arm, w
Ever wonder what 60 louvers would look like on a T decklid? They match the heavy louver jo
Eischen could have designed the carb intakes to run through the hood sides instead of half