New Age Motorsports in Monroe,...
New Age Motorsports in Monroe, CT, supplied the body for the giveaway car, and Tucci Hot Rods fabricated their own low-slung chassis for the car so it both sits and looks right. The track nose and grille came from Speedway Motors while the DuVall windshield was originally made for a '32, but modified to fit at Tucci's.
As a car builder you are always striving to better what you've done in the past. Once you've done one type of car a number of times you start looking for something else-something different. And that is just what happened with Dave Tucci, owner and operator of Tucci Hot Rods in Marcy, New York. For eight years Dave was the official car builder for the Syracuse Nationals giveaway car program, which meant he assembled a great-looking hot rod, which the organizers of the event (that draws 7,000 cars each July) would give away to a registered participant.
But after building seven cars (three '32 Ford coupes, one '32 Ford roadster, one '38 Ford roadster, one '37 Ford pickup, and one '48 Chevy pickup), Dave thought the shop had done enough '32 Fords and he wanted to do something no one else has seen before.
Luckily for Dave, things became clearer for him after talking with the guys at New Age Motorsports (NAM) in Monroe, Connecticut. NAM builds a few different fiberglass bodies, including an American Graffiti clone, an unchopped 'glass '32 five-window, and a '23 T-bucket. But they also make a 1927 Ford roadster body, and that's what caught Dave's eye. Manufactured without a floor, the body was perfect for someone who wanted to really change the way the car would drive and look (a specialty of Dave's).
Kind of looks like a high-tech...
Kind of looks like a high-tech Offy, doesn't it? Pulled from an '06 Pontiac Solstice, the 2.4L (about 146 ci) was manufactured to sit longitudally, which works well for a rear drive, hot rod application. The engine mates to a five-speed gearbox.
Once the shop got the body, they started looking for a unique drivetrain for the car, too, and thought they could design and create something unique. Rather than go with a "normal" small-block Chevy, Dave talked to Russ Evans at Nordstroms Factory Performance in Garreston, South Dakota, to find something unique, and they found it by choosing an '06 Pontiac Solstice Ecotec four-cylinder backed to a five-speed manual transmission.
This is how Dave saw the progression: "Once we received the motor, the basic body layout and stance started to come together. I knew I wanted the tallest but narrowest tire I could find for the rear and a proportionately matching front tire. I found that Coker offered a 33-inch-tall tire with a 7-inch-wide grooved dirt track tire. They also offered a 26-inch-tall ribbed dirt track tire for the front. I also wanted to use a wire wheel, so I called Gary Buckles at Dayton Wire Wheels and he came up with the right combination for what I was looking for-17x5 for the front and 19x5 for the rear. Once I had these sizes I started laying out the body height and the chassis setup. We then started with 2x4-inch box tubing and made a series of cuts to make the frame sweep to meet the body. Next we set up the Lucky 7 I-beam front suspension and fabricated the front half of the frame with four sections of 1/8-inch cold rolled steel and made it into a box to accommodate the front suspension.
Just the basics, ma'am: Aluminum...
Just the basics, ma'am: Aluminum buckets from Speedway Motors covered in black vinyl, while Auto Meter gauges, a Flaming River column and wheel, and wiring from American Autowire made assembly easy.
"Once the kick up on the front of the frame was complete we then started fabricating the motor mounts to get the motor and transmission in the correct location.
"A set of Lucky 7 radius arms were used as our rear suspension arms, and to do this we designed the frame to stop just forward of the 9-inch Ford rear. A step-up crossmember on the rear section of the frame was also fabbed to clear the driveshaft area and differential.
"After making a set of threaded bungs, they were installed in the frame and used as the pivot point for both the front radius arms and a set for the rear radius arms. With the rearend's placement set, we fabricated mounts for the Aldan coilover shocks off that stepped-up crossmember. A matching set was mounted to the 9-inch Ford, too.
Steve Hale sprayed the T with...
Steve Hale sprayed the T with DuPont Hot Hues paints while East Coast Artie applied the gold leaf numbers to the door as well as some pinstriping on the decklid.
"Once the front and rear suspensions were complete we turned our attention to the track nose and grille, which came from Speedway Motors. We built a tubular cage for the underside of the track nose and mounted that on the frame. Next came the radiator, which we made using a core from Wizard Cooling in West Falls, New York. Then we fabricated a set of headers using a Cone Engineering Lime Fire kit and built the muffler inside the tapered cone section of the header. Once the headers were complete they were sent out to Central Connecticut Coatings for a black ceramic coating. After the exhaust was complete we fabricated a hood and side panels out of 0.080 5052-grade aluminum.
"With the hood done it was decided to use an over-center style latch system with leather strapping to hold the hood down to the side panels. The floor and the rear firewall were made from 3/4-inch marine grade plywood, which was glassed to the body, and the trans tunnel was fabricated from the same aluminum as the hood and side panel.
"We decided not to use a traditional-style interior, so a set of aluminum bomber seats from Speedway was covered with a basic black vinyl. To hold the steering and brake components in place, a ribbed cage fabbed from 1-inch, 0.120 wall, round tubing was made and attached to each other with Welder Series Tucci Tabs. This made all the tubing removable and allowed them to be powdercoated.
"The underdash brake and clutch pedal assembly (from Engineered Components) was attached to the tubing structure, and it was soon followed with a Flaming River column. A custom steel dash panel also went in, which holds the Auto Meter gauges supplied by White's Auto & Speed in Cicero, New York. A pattern was made for the gas tank that fits the contour of the rear section of the body, and that pattern was used by RD Fabs to make a stainless steel gas tank.
"I also just happened to have a rough casting of a Duvall windshield frame in the shop, but it was originally designed for a '32 Ford. The '27 cowl is much narrower, so approximately 2 inches needed to be removed from each side and refitted to the cowl. The top half of the windshield frame was left off to expose the gray tinted glass from Mauro's Glass. A Vega-style steering box was supplied by Flaming River, along with their billet joints and shaft, and custom mounts needed to be fabricated for the box due to the location of the motor. After fabricating all of our components, everything was sent to Ultra Powdercoat in Utica, New York, for a textured black coating.
"A jig was then made to duplicate the front and rear suspension so those components could be removed and the car readied to be sent to Steve's Restorations and Hot Rods for the bodywork and to lay out the Dupont Hot Hues silver paint and graphics. After getting the car back from Steve's, we assembled the Wilwood brakes and wired the car with American Autowire Highway Series 15 kit. A set of headlights and taillights were supplied by Mac's Antique Auto Parts in Lockport, New York.
"Nearing completion East Coast Artie and his friends added a gold leaf number on the side of the car along with some pinstripe touches on the decklid. This made the car complete and the finished product exactly matched what my initial vision for the car was.
"Out of all the cars that I have built in my shop, the '27 track T roadster has been the most fun car to build and to drive. We found this car has gotten the attention of a wide range of people-from those who are into cars as well as people who are not."
As you can tell, for a giveaway car, this ride has a lot more going for it in comparison to a 1-800 Deuce roadster. And when we asked Dave to take the car out for a spin at the Syracuse Mile dirt track in order to have Chris Marks (www.timeoutphotography.com) get a few action photographs taken, we could hardly get him out of the car! The Syracuse Mile has been in operation since the turn of the last century, with legends including Ralph DePalma and Barney Oldfield to Rex Mays, Johnnie Parsons, and Al Unser Sr., all finding their way to the winner's circle at the facility.
Organizers of the Syracuse Nationals, the Right Coast Association, did as they had promised and gave the car away at their July event, and it went to Bob and Bev Good of Waterloo, New York. With the car weighing in at just over 1,700 pounds and equipped with a 185-horse motor, we can only bet they're going have a lot of fun with that car!
With the Ecotec engine, the...
With the Ecotec engine, the exhaust runs out only one side. Tucci's fabbed the headers and exhaust with material supplied through Cone Engineering. The hood and sides were made at Tucci Engineering too.
Dayton Wire Wheels made up...
Dayton Wire Wheels made up the tall 'n' narrow wheels (17x5 and 19x5) and they were wrapped with Coker Firestone Dirt Track rubber (5.00-17 and 8.20-19).