In our travels, we come across our fair share of possible project cars ranging from bare bodies to running drivers and everything in between. Unfortunately, we can't buy and build them all, although some of us try. What we decided to do instead was to gather enough photography of various odds and ends at swap meets and car shows throughout the country and sit down and do a "virtual build" of sorts. We gave Josh Shaw at Shaw Hot Rod Designs a half dozen photos and a little bit of inspiration and left him free to knock out a rendering representative of what a guy could build with the provided items and a little bit of hard work.
For this build, we chose a '39 Fordor that was resting on a lot in Nebraska as the foundation. While there are numerous options when it comes to suspension components for these cars, both original parts and aftermarket, we chose to install a dropped axle up front and keep the stock transverse spring, wishbones, and drum brakes. We found a Dodge Red Ram Hemi at the Scottsdale Goodguys' show and figured that'd make a perfect powerplant, backed by a manual trans. Out back, we imagined rebuilding an original 9-inch Ford rear we found at Pomona to handle the weight and power of the sedan.
While the mechanical side of the build is pretty straightforward stuff, Josh really captured the vibe of what we're trying to do when it came to the appearance of the '39 in his rendering. Drawing inspiration from the push cars of drag racing and Bonneville, the Fordor has plenty of power to get that modified roadster or streamliner up to firing speed, all the while hauling the crew across the course in style. A Moon tank up front adds a bit of racecar aesthetic, while the push board and spare tire roof rack is pure function. Sat on Torq Thrust mags all around, the little '39 is part work horse, part hauler, and all hot rod. Built with functionality in mind, the sedan is completely economical and the overall idea can be built on a real-world budget
The point of this article and the subsequent following dream builds is to show you guys that the stuff is still out there to build a bitching ride, you just gotta hunt for it. And while the quality of parts and bodies available these days can be moderate at best, that shouldn't stop anyone from building their dream car, even if it is a bit of wishful thinking. For with a little bit of blood, sweat, and a few well-earned bucks, a guy can still build a cool hot rod, even in today's economy.
1939 Ford Fordor sedan
Ford Rear End
American Racing five-spok...
American Racing five-spokes
Dodge Red Ram Hemi
1939 Ford body parts
Ford Front Suspension
Moon 3-1/2 gallon tank