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.
Every car has a focal point and while the clean lines, flawless paint, simple and highly functional interior could bring all of us "in", it's the engine that will yield most hot rodders short of breath. In its raw form the Ford V-8/60 is neither impressive in its appearance or for its anemic power (60 hp). Once fitted into the diminutive roadster and then topped with arguably the rarest of speed parts—the Ardun heads—it makes this V-8 one for the ages. It's reported that only eight sets of the Zora Arkus-Duntov (Ardun) designed heads were made back in the day (circa 1932) and Mumford has managed to pack away two sets. Well, one set resides on the Howard Allen (Monrovia, California) machined and assembled 136ci V-8/60. When you hear of a 3.2-inch bore, a 2.6-inch stroke, one wants to chuckle but you have to admire the very robust appearance of the 100hp and 94 lb-ft of torque V-8. Other pace quickening components include an Isky cam and the four Stromberg 97 carbs (note the red fuel lines, very cool). A nod to modernization comes by way of the Mallory electronic ignition and the Powermaster alternator, while the custom exhaust system utilizes Borla mufflers all built at Brizio's by Jack Stratton.
Getting the modest horsepower to the ground is a Hot Rod Works (Nampa, Idaho) prepped Halibrand quick-change outfitted with 4.11 gears and 31-spline axles, Pete & Jake's Hot Rod Parts tube shocks, and a transverse leaf spring. Getting the power from the engine to the rearend is a '40 Ford pickup three-speed Top Loader refurbished at Vern Tardel Parts and Repair (Santa Rosa, California) run through the gears by a graceful '39 Ford shifter.
The chassis is based on a combination effort of Fuller and Eastwood. Remember the frame is a custom piece with a 106-inch wheelbase and set up to accept a V-8/60 and '40 Ford pickup transmission with a dropped tube in front and a Halibrand quickie in back. In front is an original '37 Ford tube axle that did receive the obligatory "dropped" treatment and then outfitted with '37 spindles. Other front suspension items include the Schroeder cowl-exit steering, a Posies reversed-eye leaf spring, SO-CAL Speed Shop tube shocks, and split wishbones from Speedway Motors. There's one more piece of hot rod eye candy and that's the set of four vintage speed equipment Kinmont disc brakes. The brakes are pressed into service via the '39 Ford pedal assembly and early Ford master cylinder.
You will recognize any number of hot rod parts residing within the interior but upon closer examination you will note added emphasis. First off the refurbished vintage Stewart-Warner gauges (100-pound oil, 215-degree water, 150-mph speedo, 0-30 charge/discharge amp, and gas gauge) maintain their original looks and are neatly housed within a custom dash. The gauges are off-center from what would be the norm but this was driven by the custom steering column that runs through the dash sheetmetal and hooks to the cowl exit Schroeder sprint car–style steering box. The steering wheel is a custom three-spoke fabricated by Davis. Other dash amenities include the ignition key and the adjacent push-to-start button located to the left of the wheel, while centrally located beneath and to the side of the speedometer are the turn signal (left) and the headlight (right) switches. The Model T windshield posts were chopped and a custom rearview mirror both fabricated at Brizio's, the custom seating was stitched at Sid Chavers Upholstery and features the brown leather seat back and twin base pads, which are slightly recessed into the flooring, allowing Mumford to sit "just right" when behind the wheel. (When seated it's your goal to have your shoulder nearly at level with the body height. This lowers you within the body and protects you from a great deal of wind buffeting.)
Originally started by Kelly Brown, one of these quarter-mile go fast boys, the Track T fea
The custom-made three-spoke steering wheel by Davis complements his original forming of th
The Spartan interior was stitched in brown leather by Sid Chavers over the custom seat bas
The aluminum hood and race car nose with custom insert were fabricated by Davis while the stock body sheetmetal was prepped by Hollenbeck and then painted in a custom-mix PPG maroon. Headlights are custom with '35 Ford lenses while the taillights are '46 Ford. The not-overdone brightwork is seen throughout and was aptly handled by Sherm's Custom Plating.
Many cars have won the prestigious AMBR award but years from now it's our best guess that people will still remember the little V-8/60 that could.