Everyone needs a hobby of some sort. You know-something to get the mind off the day to day grind and recharge the old batteries, so to speak. So, what's a good hobby for a professional street rod builder? Larry Shoaf, owner and operator of Rod Crafters (a full service rod shop located in Welcome, North Carolina) decided that building a hot rod in his spare time would be a perfect source for some well deserved R&R. Go figure.
Actually, Larry's cool little roadster project was the result of a comment made to a few friends during a late night bench racing session. During the course of the evening he mentioned to his pals that he'd like to build a non-Ford open car someday and instantly one of the guys piped up that he knew someone who had an early odd-rod that may be for sale. Come to find out, the car ended up being the remains of a '27 Chrysler roadster, and it was for sale. The rest, as they say, is history.
The remains Larry ended up with actually resembled a few slices of Swiss cheese more than it did a roadster. It was, at best, a pile of hole-filled panels and not much more. Always one for a challenge and looking forward to a personal project he could fiddle with in his spare time, Larry dragged the Chrysler home just about the time his son Mike (a car nut like his dad) came up from Dallas for a visit. During the few days Mike was there he and Larry put their heads together and started bouncing ideas back and forth.Mike even drew a few preliminary sketches of some chassis ideas and body mods that Larry might incorporate into the build, as well. Over the next few days, weeks, and months (remember, this build was an early morning/late night free-time project) a chassis was fabricated and an actual concept drawing completed. And over the next few years of spare-time fabricating and tinkering, the roadster began to come together.With just a bit of minor honing here and there it ended up staying amazingly close to the duo's original design, too.
It may have taken a bit over three years for Larry to fabricate this cool little roadster but, in his eyes, it was time and effort well spent. Those early mornings and late nights allowed him to unwind from the stresses of running a business and keeping up with deadlines and customer demands, all the while crafting a one-of-a-kind roadster that turns heads wherever it goes-and believe me, it goes everywhere.
If the 1927 Chrysler roadster...
If the 1927 Chrysler roadster wasn't such an obscure model you'd surely notice Larry's countless body mods right off the bat. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how ya look at it) I'd bet this baby's about the only hot rod of its kind in existence. Larry hand-formed a huge percentage of what you see here from scratch, that includes nearly everything from the roof and convertible top bows to the windshield frame, doors, hood, hood-sides, and decklid to name just a fraction. I know it's been said about other cars before, but this is a rod you've got to see in person to truly appreciate-the dozens and dozens of neat tricks and details are a pleasure to behold.
A '72 Chrysler 318 was topped...
A '72 Chrysler 318 was topped with an aluminum Six-Pack intake and a trio of Holley two-barrel carbs and was backed by a 727 trans and 9-inch Ford rearend for a powerful yet reliable driveline. A pair of early Cal Custom finned valve covers and Stelling & Hellings-style air cleaners give the engine a traditional look, too.
Larry formed the new dash...
Larry formed the new dash from scratch though he did follow the basic design of what was left of the original item. The gauge recess was filled with a full compliment of early Stewart Warner instruments and a Lime Works four-spoke steering wheel fit to a '52 Chevy steering column. One of the coolest interior tricks was the use of a '52 Chevy parking brake handle (you can see it just to the left of the column) as the shifter assembly for the 727 automatic trans (I told ya Larry incorporated a bunch of neat tricks into the build).
As Larry formed the myriad...
As Larry formed the myriad of panels needed to reassemble the roadster he made a bunch of changes as he went. The doors were made 2 3/4-inches wider and 2 inches taller than stock and the quarters shortened 2 3/4-inches to accept those wider doors. While he was at it the rear wheel openings were raised 1 7/8-inches and a sunken license plate housing (with a cool widow's peak) formed as well.
Larry extended the hand-formed...
Larry extended the hand-formed deck lid by 2 1/2-inches and utilized a pair of modified taillights from a '52 Hudson (check out those cool Chrysler emblems). He also fabbed the neat rolled rear pan with exhaust cutouts and had pal Jason make up the roadster's tubular rear bumper/push bar.
Not only did Larry hand-fabricate...
Not only did Larry hand-fabricate the Chrysler's grille shell (giving it a more track-style appearance) he also built the aluminum radiator and grille insert from scratch too.
|F A C T S & F I G U R E S |
Lexington, North Carolina
1927 Chrysler roadster
|Frame / Manufacturer ||owner-fabricated / 2 x 6, 2 x 4, 1 X 2 rectangular tubing |
|Wheelbase ||113” |
|Modifications ||Z’d 8” in rear, 2½” in front |
|Chassis plumbing ||aluminized steel |
|Rearend / Ratio ||Ford 9” / 3.15:1 |
|Rear suspension ||owner-fabricated four-bar, coilovers |
|Rear brakes ||11” Drum |
|Front suspension ||’34 Ford I-beam (4” dropped), POSIES (Hummelstown, PA) |
Super Slide spring, owner-fabricated hairpins,
Pete & Jakes (Peculiar, MO) tube shocks
|Front brakes ||’48 Ford drum |
|Master cylinder ||MBM Disc Brakes (Asheville, NC) |
|Steering box ||Vega |
|Wheelcovers ||customized baby moon |
|Front wheel make, size ||Wheel Smith (Santa Ana, CA) artillery, 15 x 5 |
|Rear wheel make, size ||Wheel Smith artillery, 15 x 10 |
|Front tire make, size ||BFG 155/80R15 |
|Rear tire make, size ||BFG 285/70R15 |
|Gas tank ||15gal aluminum |
|Make ||Chrysler |
|Displacement ||318ci |
|Machining / Assembly ||Ralph Brinkley & Sons (Lexington, KY) / owner |
|Crankshaft ||forged |
|Rods ||Chrysler |
|Pistons ||flat-top |
|Camshaft ||Napa performance |
|Water pump ||Chrysler |
|Cooling fan ||mechanical |
|Radiator ||owner-fabricated aluminum |
|Alternator ||Chrysler |
|Heads ||Chrysler (iron) |
|Valves / Springs ||Chrysler / Chrysler |
|Rockers ||stamped |
|Valve covers ||early Cal Custom |
|Manifold / Induction ||aluminum Mopar six-pack / Holley 2bbl (3) |
|Ignition / Wires ||Chrysler electronic / Moroso (Guilford, CT) |
|Headers ||iron manifolds |
|Exhaust / Mufflers ||2½” aluminized / Stainless Specialties (Cleveland, TN) |
|Make ||1972 Chrysler 727 |
|Converter ||Chrysler |
|Shifter ||owner-fabricated (utilizing a ’52 Chevy e-brake handle) |
|Trans mods ||Brian Stutts (Lexington, KY) |
|Driveshaft ||Oliver’s Driveshaft (Winston Salem, NC) |
|Body style / Material ||roadster / steel |
|Body manufacturer ||Chrysler |
|Body mods ||nearly totally hand-fabricated (see text) |
|Hood ||owner-fabricated |
|Grille ||modified stock |
|Bodywork ||Larry Shoaf (owner) |
|Paint type / Color ||PPG / Navy Blue |
|Painter ||Larry Shoaf |
|Headlights / Taillights ||BLC / ’52 Hudson |
|Bumpers ||custom bent tube by Jason Pulver |
|Dashboard ||owner-fabricated (similar to stock) |
|Insert / Gauges ||owner-fabricated / early Stewart Warner |
|Air conditioning ||working cowl vent |
|Insulation ||Wurth (Ramsey, NJ) |
|Wiring ||owner-installed Centech (Perkiomenville, PA) harness |
|Steering wheel ||4-spoke, Lime Works Speed Shop (Whittier, CA) |
|Steering column ||modified '52 Chevy |
|Seats ||custom by Ray Hester (Lexington, KY) |
|Upholsterer ||Ray Hester |
|Material / Color ||leather / Oxblood |
|Carpet ||cut pile |