Curt Shumaker is a Sprint Car racer and collision shop owner from Ortonville, Michigan. After years of building, repairing, and racing his Sprint Cars, he combined those talents with the abilities he honed at his collision shop and built himself a hot rod that reflects the melding of both disciplines.
Curt's journey started two years ago with a trip to the NSRA Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he found the body at the swap meet. The chassis needed to reflect his Sprint Car racing background; a career built upon getting his race cars to handle well at different tracks. Famous Sprint Car chassis and engine builder Butch Dowker had an itch to see what he could build in the non-race car realm. The two of them got together and this is the result.
Dowker's talents are instantly apparent when you lay eyes on the beautiful and functional chassis he built for Curt's '30 Ford Model A Tudor sedan. The 111-inch wheelbase chassis with specially designed cantilever fully adjustable coilover suspension is a custom design that Dowker developed for Curt's A. All the suspension pieces and framerails are fabricated with imagination and hot rod appeal. Dowker is used to building a chassis intended to take huge amounts of abuse, which is a good thing when you live in Michigan. The roads in Curt's state are legendary for testing suspensions. The fully adjustable Advanced Racing Suspension coilovers are the jewels in this front and rear cantilever shock arrangement. This suspension setup is something you would see on Indy cars.
The car is rock solid and drives well, relying on a Moser 9-inch rear with a 3:90 gear. All the rod ends and materials used in the chassis are the finest available in the Sprint Car racing world. Bringing the sedan to a stop fell chore to Wilwood 12-inch brakes on all four corners with a mid-'90s Astro Van remote master cylinder and Y&S proportioning valve. The proportioning valve gives Curt the brake steering he enjoys in his Sprint Car. Steering comes by way of a NBC Sprint Car power box with the column and arms built by Dowker as were the Panhard bars, engine mounts, and much more on this custom-built, race-inspired chassis. The chassis rolls on 15x5 and 15x7 Wheel Vintique steel wheels with Nexen 165/80R15 radial tires on the front and 8.20x15 Coker Firestone Vintage Dragster cheater slicks on back.
The heart of any racer's car must be the engine. Sprint Cars and fuel injection are synonymous and what better way than to implement a vintage Hilborn mechanical fuel injection system. There is no question that getting mechanical vintage fuel injection to work properly on the street is a challenge-that never goes away-but that has never stopped a hot rodder who really wanted them. The Hilborn stacks sit on top of a small-block Chevy machined and assembled by Butch Dowker engines. Starting with a Lunati 3-3/4-inch stroker crank, the Chevy displaces 383 cubes and houses 6-inch Oliver rods with Diamond 9.5:1 pistons fitted with Sealed Power rings. COMP Cams Thumpr series was chosen for the balance of power and driveability along with a wicked-sounding idle. The engine breathes through RHS aluminum heads outfitted with like valvetrain components. The headers and remaining exhaust system were made by Butch and feature an auger-style muffler in the 3-1/2-inch side pipes. The plugs are kept firing at the perfect time by a full MSD ignition system. The engine package is set up for reliability and power. It made 440 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque on the dyno and is backed by a 700-R4 trans with a 2,800-rpm converter built by Jeff Aldrich from Grand Blanc, Michigan.