The Nailhead began life as a ’66 Buick 425-inch V-8 but after a bit of massaging it now supports 432 ci. Engine Tech Machine was responsible for the machine work and short-block assembly but the final touches were handled by TRS. Alan Johnson Racing Engines got the nod to port and flow the heads, which were then outfitted with adjustable roller rockers by Tom Telesco. Weiand finned aluminum valve covers and timing chain cover further accent the brilliant red V-8, which also features a chromed oil galley (valley) pan. Also in service is a Joe Hunt Magnetos modern distributor hidden within the vintage-looking mag case. The Hilborn stack injection is electronic, utilizing a Big Stuff 3 EFI controller tuned by LRS Performance. Running sans mufflers the custom 2-1/2-inch exhaust was fabricated by TRS. The TREMEC TKO-600 (five-speed) with a custom shifter by TRS uses a Bendsent Transmission Adapters plate to link both the trans and engine together then linked to the rearend via a custom driveshaft built by TRS.
Dean Ellis of TRS got the...
Dean Ellis of TRS got the nod for the custom dash that is outfitted with a ’40 Federal truck instrument cluster restored by Classic Instruments.
At the corners you will see Real Rodders Wheels (Halibrand style) measuring 5.5x15 in front and 10x16 in back. Rubber is a combo of Michelin in front and Hurst cheater slicks in back.
Supporting this race car–inspired hot rod is a custom chassis welded together by TRS plumbed in stainless steel line with a 3.78 gear Winters V-8 quick-change outfitted with 31-spline axles, and Ford brakes with Buick finned drums. Supporting the rearend are 36-inch custom ladder bars, Panhard bar, and QA1 coilover shocks that are cantilevered and hidden behind the framerails.
The half sweep tach is a nice...
The half sweep tach is a nice touch riding underneath the dash.
The front suspension is based on the earlier mentioned ’37 Ford tube axle, ’40 Ford spindles, transverse Ford spring, Pete & Jakes 50/50 shocks hidden from view (cantilevered like the rear), custom TRS Panhard bar and SO-CAL Speed Shop disc brakes based on Wilwood calipers/rotors (master cylinder, proportioning valve) riding within Buick finned-style drums. The Schroeder race car steering is attached to a custom column twisted by a Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop four-spoke wheel.
The interior features a ’40 Federal truck instrument cluster restored by Classic Instruments with custom dash sheetmetal formed by Dean Ellis of TRS. More custom TRS handiwork can be seen in the bomber bench seat (with NOS Ford seatbelts from a ’50s T-bird) as well as the custom interior and flooring. The interior is Spartan when it comes to upholstery but what stitchwork that’s present was neatly handled by Tom Sewell.
Resting beneath the seats...
Resting beneath the seats and in the seat riser are the basic switches, including the original-style turn indicator switch.
The all-steel American Speed Company Speed33 is coated in PPG black with cream scallops trimmed in red by Joe Belfiore of TRS but before this could happen two more of the TRS crew, Louis Dilisioand and Waltermire, applied their bodywork skills. The no-chrome appearance is accented with matte gray running gear and interior metal surfaces. Exterior appointments include the TRS custom mirrors, rear roll pan (which houses the LED taillights), and Ford commercial headlights on custom fabricated brackets.
When Jim was asked what he would do different he answered, “I would further develop the race car look by hiding the headlights within the sides of the nose to achieve a more aerodynamic race car nose.” We think he pretty much nailed the race car look and as for the overall appearance we like it just the way it is.