A faux quick-change cover from Speedway Motors covers the 3.27-gear rearend. The rearend assemby measures 58 inches hub to hub to allow room for the combo of 20x12 Billet Specialties Legacy 2-G five-spokes and 305/35ZR20 Goodyear Eagle radials. Proportionally smaller 18x8 rims and 245/35ZR18 tires roll under the front fenders.
Using a Ford or Chevy OHV engine would have simplified the build. Even one of those Hemis might have made things easier, but for Fred and Dan the Italian-block 32-valve four-cam 4.6L engine and accompanying 4R70W electronic four-speed out of the Mark VIII was a unique choice. Every inch of the engine was, even though the engine required a lot of fabrication to make it fit, look, and work right.
The intake system in particular required many modifications; the Ruths handbuillt a custom plenum and massaged the OEM valve covers. “We didn’t want the hollow tube ring you get with tubular headers,” Fred says, so they went online to find some ’03 Ford Cobra headers, which were ported, polished, and ceramic coated. The 2-1/2-inch stainless pipes were modified to fit the lowered engine and fitted with turbo-style mufflers and hand-formed exhaust tips. Transmission housing mods included the removal of undesired bosses in addition to extensive other cutting, grinding, and polishing.
The cockpit is a combination of FFR design and Fred and Dan Ruth’s imagination. The ’glass FFR dash was modified with a Parr Automotive insert housing Auto Meter gauges from the American Platinum line. At each end are vents for the Southern Air A/C system, which runs off the compressor from the donor Lincoln. Dan installed the Kenwood head unit and the speakers for the sound system and wired the car using wiring from Ron Francis. The Detail Zone supplied a Telorvek system loom for engine, trans, and other functions, connecting the OEM controls to a common panel. Dan also built the custom console where the controls for the air, stereo, and airbags are mounted. A pair of ’04 Volkswagen Jetta buckets were upholstered in tan vinyl at Nacho’s near Fred’s home in North Hills, California.
Skeptics who doubt a street rod like this ever gets driven should get on their hands and knees and peek above the rearend cover where a hidden hitch receiver has been added for towing the small fiberglass trailer that hauls Fred’s luggage during road trips. We met Fred during the 2010 Road Tour from Louisville to Bonneville and wouldn’t be surprised to see him out there again on one of this year’s tour legs. After all, when you’ve been doing this stuff since the early days, like Fred has, it’s hard to stop.