There’s a great deal of custom work on the interior; note the dash, center console, door p
Each year we embark on a magazine build, and before you is our latest Road Tour effort. A build that was a first--being a true custom--for the long succession of Road Tour cars, we present you with this year's '51 Ford (oftentimes called a "shoebox").
But where do we start? OK, let's answer the two most commonly asked questions: "What color is it?" and "What is the wheel and tire combination?" The color is straight from a PPG can called Golden Dream (PN 908324) and it originates from within their Vibrance Collection. As for the rolling stock it is comprised of a set of Wheel Vintiques smoothies and Coker American Classic whitewalls.
A little on the history of the car: Tucked in a corner of Fatman Fabrications' shop, Brent Vandervort pointed out a well-driven '51 Ford. After the obligatory, "I will trade you several of these, four of those, and I might throw in that over there for your decent-looking '51 Tudor sedan", a deal was struck for our soon-to-be 2013 AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour car. (The Tudor sedan has the longer roof than the more commonly used business coupe.) Since we were wandering around Fatman we thought we would do a bit more "shopping" and pick up a '49-51 Ford chassis complete with stainless steel IFS control arms, front and rear sway bars, a Flaming River manual rack-and-pinion, QA1 Proma Star adjustable shocks, Wilwood disc brakes (11-inch rotors in front and 10-3/4-inch rotors in back), a Dynotech driveshaft linked to a Ford 9-inch fitted with 4.11 gears and a limited-slip differential. The Fatman chassis is based on 3/16-inch wall rectangular 1020 SAE steel tubing that measures 2x5 inches and is all neatly welded together via Miller Electric Manufacturing Company equipment. The frame was modified using a newly relocated rear crossmember so that the body would clear the tapered channel job. (Did you notice the top chop, 2 inches in front and 3-1/2 inches in back, and that the car is channeled?) Resting at the corners are the ever-popular Coker American Classic 235R55-17 radial rubber sporting 1-3/4-inch whitewalls mounted to 17x7 Wheel Vintiques smoothies, each with 5-1/2-inch backspacing and 5-on-4.5 bolt patterns.
The sedan features Wise Guys custom-upholstered bucket seats that sport red stitching over
We've always wanted to work with the staff at Honest Charley Garage (think Coker Tire) and here was a project that was both geographically and mechanically desirable. Turns out our intuition was right on. A quick phone call to Intercity Lines, our go-to guys for moving projects around the country, and the once Fatman soon-to-be Road Tour shoebox was on its way to Honest Charley Garage (HCG).
Under the watchful eye of Greg Cunningham the staff at HCG was off and building. Well, once all concerned could agree on which version of the Eric Black-inspired concept drawings would be "the one". Now is a good time to mention that we had given the craftsmen at HCG plenty of time to complete the task at hand--10 months. (Hey, if TV stars can build a car in seven days, having 10 months should be a piece of cake!) Oh, did we mention that instead of a nifty '51 we wanted a full custom? Still 10 months, come on, how hard can it be?
If you have followed along on the pages of SR this past year you know just how much effort was put forth repairing rusted sheetmetal (and that's an understatement!) and how much custom metalwork was performed as well as all of the other finer points that turned this into a righteous-looking custom. The guys at HCG used just about every patch panel offered by Dennis Carpenter Ford Restoration Parts and a few that only HCG could fabricate. Now would also be a good time to mention that our shoebox is powered by the latest from Ford Racing Performance: the EcoBoost 3.5L twin-turbo V-6 and a Ford 6R80 automatic overdrive. (If you are scratching your head, you should be, as at the time of this writing these powertrain combos aren't readily available. The aftermarket is still catching up with the myriad of goodies necessary to allow you and I to drop one of these power combos into our streeter.) Other engine accessories include the custom exhaust system built at HCG and using Flowmaster exhaust pipe and DBX mufflers. Flowmaster was also involved in assisting HCG in making the ducting required for the twin-turbo inlet tubing. All of the exhaust system was then coated by Jet-Hot in one of their high-performance coatings.
The custom face rally clock is an HCG touch. It’s battery powered and highly accurate. Thi
The Lokar floor shifter (with its own trim ring) is but one means of shifting the Ford aut
The brake and throttle pedals come by way of Lokar.
While at the SEMA Show this past year we literally rolled the motor out of the Ford booth and into the HCG trailer and the motor was on its way. Of course, no one on our end had any knowledge on how to make this engine and trans package work in a hot rod. Ford Racing provided what they could but the real head scratching, hair pulling, and good ol' gnashing of teeth befell the engineers at FAST (Fuel Air Spark Technology).
Visible is the Flaming River steering column, topped with an original-style wheel neatly “
We "leaned" on FAST for their expertise on EFI and engine management systems for modern Detroit motors. Our first stop was David Page of FAST who turned us over to two FAST engineers, Ron Wiggins and Lance Ward. It was up to them to design the "tuning package" that would allow the use of a FAST XFI 2.0 and their wiring harness to match up to the Painless Wiring chassis harness and make this hot rod run.
Of course, there was one more bit of significant electronics to overcome and that was the Ford trans package. The Ford 6R80 had to work with the EcoBoost and the rest of the car's electronics and for this we did some more leaning--this time it was on Jay Rohrback of PCS. As it turns out PCS has a controller available so making our 6R80 function was less of a problem than we had anticipated. Turns out our tranny originally hailed from a '12 Ford F-150 mounted behind an EcoBoost. Rohrback took the lead and came up with the necessary controller to make it shift via a Lokar mounted floor shifter and the paddle shifters on the modified steering wheel fitted with a stock '51 Ford horn emblem.
We mentioned earlier that the shoebox had undergone a plethora of metalwork. One only has to look at earlier issues of SR to get a good inkling of just how much. With several drawers full of Eastwood bodyworking tools, Miller welding equipment, Dennis Carpenter patch panels, boxes full of PPG paint materials, the build was on in earnest to get the car ready for our beloved mullet-adorned chauffeur, Jerry Dixey, to have in time to make each of his appointed summertime rounds. Eventually this will equate to nearly 23,000 miles in roughly 12 weeks-and did we mention at the time of this writing 5,000-plus miles had already been tallied at a very impressive 25 mpg? Jerry tells us that the '51 approaches 400 miles on the just-over 16-gallon Rock Valley Antique Auto Parts gas tank, equipped with a complete Aeromotive fuel delivery system that includes pump, filter, lines, and necessary hardware. (Jerry also tells us that he personally can go 250 miles. Editor's Note: Not sure what he means but we believe he's bragging.) We also made sure that the trunk was filled with plenty of Golden Shine car detail products. (We figured Dixey would have it so easy cruising in the AMSOIL/STREET RODDER '51 Road Tour custom that we wanted to make sure he had something to do at the end of each day!)
The custom center console that houses the Lokar shifter is another piece of custom work fr
Although the top chop is obvious, albeit a mild chop, the car does feature a tapered channel effort from front to back. It isn't surprising that one might miss the channel given the pancaked hood, smooth quarter-panels, reworked dashboard, the deleted gas filler (the Rock Valley stainless steel tank is trunk mounted), the chromed (by way of Sherm's Custom Chrome Plating who also handled all of the brightwork) custom side molding, frenched headlights, and custom taillights from Lokar Performance as well as a totally rethought and reshaped grille opening. The grille needed to be reworked to house the HCG fabricated intercooler, a Vintage Air condenser, and U.S. Radiator brass and copper radiator complete a shrouded electric fan would now fill the opening. Look closely and you will see that the front and rear bumpers are stock in origin but both narrowed and smoothed. All of this nifty metalwork came straight from the workbenches within HCG. After the "heavy lifting" the body and paintwork was handled at HCG bringing to life the PPG Golden Dream gold tones making this year's Road Tour car a striking looking custom.
Inside the '51 is very spacious, space normally at a premium in a street rod. The Wise Guys buckets are stitched in black vinyl coupled with N.O.S. '58 Buick cloth in a black and gray combo; again the handiwork came from the sewing machine at HCG. In back the custom runs sans seating but it is nonetheless neatly finished in matching black leather and stitched in red are the Wise Guys buckets. Other interior trim such as the door and kick panels, custom center console, headliner, and carpeting are more top-of-the-line effort from HCG.
Making sure that chauffeur Dixey maintains the lifestyle he has grown accustomed to, creature comforts abound in the light of a Vintage Air cooling and heat system, Dakota Digital instrumentation, and plenty of Dynamat nestled under the custom carpet work to keep out unwanted sounds and heat. Keeping more unwanted outside climes and sound falls to the door glass operated by Specialty Power Windows (who also did the windshield wipers) mechanisms and SoffSeal, which provided all of the rubber used throughout the build. We wouldn't want Dixey to become taxed so a Lokar shifter is mounted center within the custom console and in case he tires there's a PCS paddle shifter resting behind the modified steering wheel. The pedal assembly is more Lokar touches as are the interior door and window handles. If you look closely you will see there are two dash-mounted clocks. One is a traditional Dakota Digital analog timepiece while the other is a highly accurate battery-powered sweep-hand rally clock, as would be used in the Great Race, with a custom face presented to HCG for use within the '51 again by Dakota Digital. One can't help but notice all of the dash touches, including the custom-face Dakota Digital gauge cluster based on a stock-appearing gauge cluster that features a single-face gauge (custom background) but is outfitted with speedo, tach, fuel, volt, oil, and water temp. The dash also houses the Vintage Air outlets and controls. The entire behind-the-scenes wiring is cleanly handled by a Painless Wiring 18-circuit fuse panel with related wiring, all put into place by HCG craftsmen. And as with any build there are always a myriad of parts and pieces that magically appear, and for that we have to thank Yogi's who supplied all of those "Oh, I thought you had that" hardware.
Neatly packaged into the corners of the wildly reconfigured ’51 dash are the air-condition
Dakota Digital analog gauges are used. Here the stock-appearing single pod is outfitted wi
The trunk is spacious, and this includes the location for the Rock Valley custom-made stai
Look closely and you can see one of the two air inlets for the twin turbos that power up t
A U.S. Radiator triple-flow radiator is pictured along with the Vintage Air condenser, all
Wilwood drilled-and-slotted rotors and aluminum hubs are used at the corners; 11-inch in f
More Lokar appointments include the window crank and door handle neatly mounted to the cus
The rear of the interior is run sans seating but is neatly finished in the same materials
Coker American Classic narrow whitewall radial rubber is mounted to the Wheel Vintique smo
Watch the guys over at Honest Charley Garage put the finishing touches on the 2013 Road Tour Car here:
Check out this time-lapse video of the team at Honest Charley Garage working on the 2013 Road Tour Car from start to finish here:
To see more videos covering the build of the 2013 Road Tour car please click here.