Regular readers of STREET RODDER will recognize Jeff Eischen's name as he has built some spectacularly subtle hot rods, the last two of which have been featured in previous issues (a black Model A tub in the Feb. '08 issue and a black T roadster in the June '09 issue). But how can you build something that is spectacularly subtle? Though possibly a contradiction of terms, one can "do" subtle but, if it isn't enough, then it doesn't get noticed. Too much and it looks like a clown car. Getting the balance right is the trick, and Jeff has figured out the formula.
Jeff combines his racing heritage (he was a factory Jaguar Group 44 team member and has experience on Sebring, Le Mans, and Indy teams) with old-time hot rods and always seems to come up with a winner. He started his third project the way he has with his others: at the computer. CAD allows him to plan every aspect of the car, from the wheel and tire diameters to the suspension pickup points to where the body needs to be modified, all before he ever picks up his welding gun or any wrench. The design works because he's already figured it out ahead of time.
For this outing, Jeff chose a '32 roadster pickup, with its base being a chassis kit from Shadow Rods (he believes their 'rails are most like the factory ones) and a steel body sent in pieces from Brookville Roadsters. Based on his predetermined wheelbase of 109 inches, Jeff took the Shadow Rods 'rails and kicked both the front and rear sections to get his car low and then bobbed the horns up front for a clean look.
From the nerf-style bumpers to much of the steering, Jeff fabs many of his own parts. Mike
The rear suspension connects to a Currie 9-inch rear (2.73:1) and is comprised of Strange Engineering coilovers and an original '40 Ford split wishbone to which Jeff sleeved the inside with heavy wall tubing to reinforce the piece. The front suspension, which uses stronger '47 Ford split wishbones, did not get sleeved. But Pete & Jakes steering arms, Strange Engineering shocks, and a Durant monoleaf spring were used. Wilwood disc brakes are found on each corner, with the fronts hidden under SO-CAL Speed Shop faux drum covers. Steering is a little unusual in that the aluminum box under the dash is from a mid-'60s Mopar, which has a slow turning ratio. But with the longer pitman arm (that Jeff made) the ratio is sped up to the required 16:1. The car rolls on Rallye America artillery wheels, which were made for Jeff in a 16x5 and 16x7 size before being wrapped with Coker 5.00-16 and 7.00-16 rubber.
This is where Jeff builds his hot rods-a 1,500-square-foot garage behind his house. Each c
When checking in with a friend who was in the process of making a Pro Touring car out of a '67 Camaro, Jeff took the opportunity to snap up his 327 V-8, which was dropped off at M&M Head Service in Delaware, Ohio, for some mild porting and general attention. An Edelbrock manifold and 600-cfm carb were bolted on up top and a set of ram-horn headers were added to the stainless steel exhaust system that runs out a pair of MagnaFlow mufflers. Backed to a TH350 trans, the drivetrain connects to the rear via a Colman Machine (Menominee, MI) steel driveshaft.
As for the body, Jeff didn't take the easy road and get an assembled body from Brookville Roadsters but rather one that came in pieces. Though it added time to the build, Jeff was able to incorporate some of his integral bracing around the firewall and elsewhere so rigidity could be added. The hood, from Rootlieb, is a four-piece unit that Jeff welded the top pieces together to form a three-piece setup, even though the stainless strip up top was retained for appearance sake. After making the stainless tube and screen grille insert, Jeff sent the body over to Mullins Body Shop in Galloway for bodywork and paint. The father and son team of Harry and Ron Mullins prepped the body before spraying it with PPG black paint.
Since there aren't a lot of upholstery shops near his home, Jeff found the distressed viny
Inside the cockpit a '32 dash holds the gauge insert Jeff made for the two Classic Instrument gauges (wired up with a Centech box). He also fabbed the steering column before attaching a mid-'60s Jaguar steering wheel and he used Dynamat before the upholstery went in. Living, as Jeff says, "out in the sticks" means he has to take the upper hand in doing the upholstery in his rides. He designs them first, finds and cuts the material (in this case a vinyl that looks like distressed leather), makes everything that is needed (the bench seat as well as the door panels), then takes the whole package to Tri-Tex Custom Upholstery in Columbus, so they can sew it all up. Once that's done, he takes it home and installs it and the square-weave carpet himself. After adding the home-hewn and stained oak panels to the bed (attached with Brookville strips) and the custom spun aluminum gas tank to the bed, the truck was ready for its first drive.
We caught up with Jeff at the Goodguys Columbus Nationals, where he picked up a STREET RODDER Top 100 award for his efforts. With his last two cars both being bought by a Southern California collector, it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine this car also being sold, but Jeff says it isn't going to happen. After selling off a few of his past creations he thought he'd like to keep this one and go to some local cruises and be a "normal" hot rodder. He hasn't stopped building, though, as he is finishing up a custom Model A coupe (built by Marcel De Ley and originally assembled at Boyd Coddington Hot Rods before Coddington's death in 2008) for another California customer. For us, it doesn't matter where these cars Jeff builds end up, just as long as we have a chance to view them before they disappear. Both a talented builder and subtle in his approach (think: cars from Lil' John, but with more style), Jeff is in a class by himself. We hope to see more rides coming out of Plain City in the near future and can't wait for the next one!
When a friend didn't need a 327 for a Camaro he was building, Jeff picked it up and had Mi
Though the bedstrips came from Brookville Roadsters, the oak came from the local Home Depo