Apparently John Mumford of NorCal's Bay Area decided it was time to clear out his parts shelves. How else can you explain his '27 Track T that's fitted with rare pre-'52 vintage speed parts from nose to tail? (Mumford is the owner and caretaker of some famous hot rods. While his collection of cars is sizeable he's especially proud of the Sam Barris–built '49 Mercury, then owned by Bob Hirohata; and the George Barris–built Ala Kart '29 Ford roadster pickup, then owned by Richard Peters, that won the America's Most Beautiful Roadster award at the Grand National Roadster Show in both 1958 and 1959. And now, Mumford has his very own AMBR-winning roadster.
While we are kidding, there's more than a bit of truth to Mumford pulling down one vintage part after another that he had collected over a lifetime. The build consumed a modest 18 months at the shop of Roy Brizio Street Rods, of South San Francisco, but the collection of parts took nearly a lifetime. (Brizio built the AMBR-winning red Ferrari-powered '32 Ford highboy roadster belonging to Jim Ellis back in 1987.) The starting point for this '27 Ford roadster came from Kelly Brown, the 1978 NHRA Top Fuel champion. Nearly 30 years prior Brown had begun the project and enlisted one of his friends, Steve Davis. (Davis is long known for his metalwork, especially in concert with chassis builder Lil' John Buttera, as both had collaborated on a number of drag racing fuel cars.) It's a story we have heard or experienced ourselves about projects that start in earnest and with the best of intentions but never come to pass.
Decades go by and Mumford hears about the Brown Track T and decides this would be the rolling shelf for his collection of rare speed equipment. Mumford and Brizio are no strangers, being friends and neighbors, and during the year-and-a-half the Kelly Brown Track T is transformed into an excellent example of hot rodding stock. To listen to Brizio explain the car's appearance you realize they hit the mark. "The details were all hot rod correct, too, from the Track T nose to the Halibrand rearend. The car's stance was just right; low and tight, like a Track T that could actually race around a track."
It was during the Brizio build time that Pete Eastwood, Kent Fuller, and Pete Chapouris became involved. The compilation of these rodding legends was about to yield one of the hot rods for the ages. Anytime you have a car that wins the AMBR it will forever be a part of history—that's a given. But just because the car wins doesn't always bode well for history treating the car kindly. Not this time, history will be very kind to this Track T.
It's been said the hardest thing to do is nothing. We aren't saying that under Brizio's direction little or nothing was done but rather what we are saying is that Brizio and Mumford had the good sense not to "change for change sake". The end result is a well-crafted hot rod resulting from its simplicity that's so mind boggling. Yes, the car is loaded with "touches", but to resist the temptation to overbuild, for that kudos must be given to Brizio and Mumford.
An example: When was the last time you saw steel wheels and hubcaps on an AMBR winner? We took a "quick look" through history and came up with Rich Guasco's purple '29 roadster with chrome steelies and caps—in 1961! The elegance of the original 16x5 wheels accented with Ford caps wrapped with Firestone 4.50 and 7.50 belted rubber yields a tasteful yet not overpowering look. While the Davis metalwork yields incredibly clean lines, the custom-mix maroon PPG paint was flawlessly applied by Darryl Hollenbeck of Vintage Color Studio, yielding a hot rod striking in appearance yet so simple in its presentation.