To slam the Metropolitan to the ground, Rodger fabbed up a custom chassis with a one-off f
When you build hard-core street shakers for a living, you’re used to working with certain elements of design and engineering, blending massive amounts of horsepower and handling together to work in unison. Rodger Purdy Jr. has become well-known for his ability to bring these fire-breathing projects to life at his shop, Pro Street Chassis in Chesterfield, New Jersey.
It takes a sharp eye with just enough restraint to infuse the right amount of attitude into each build while not going over the top. When trying to decide on what to create next for his own personal driver, since it would act as a recognizable facet of his business, Rodger explored countless makes and models before deciding on a Nash Metropolitan. While he had seen a number of Pro Street versions over the years, he always envisioned one with a laid-down stance, just the right engine combination, and a memorable yet subtle paint treatment.
With an initial design impression in mind, the search for a donor car began. After looking at a number of possibilities on the Internet, he located a suitable donor on eBay and won the auction. The ’61 Nash came with a bit of neat history as it had sat in front of a pizza shop in New York for the past 18 years as an advertising prop. Once the car was picked up, it was trailered back to the shop for a full evaluation.
With the initial plans set, the car was stripped to bare bones and cutting torches came out to remove the floors. With the car being so diminutive in size, special attention needed to be addressed for each upcoming step since they would most likely interact closely with each other.
Nothing says I’m ready to rumble like a 565ci Merlin V-8 assembled by Henry Jackson Racing
Knowing that he would be loading a gut-wrenching big-block into the tiny engine bay, Rodger set forth to design a fresh chassis (originally the car was unibody) starting with 2x3-inch mandrel-bent rectangular steel complete with custom crossmembers. To be able to tuck wide rubber under the back of the car, a Ford 9-inch rearend was extensively narrowed and filled with a combination of 3.90:1 gears and Strange axles. Suspended in place with a custom four-link and antiroll bar, bumps get ironed out by QA1 coilover shocks and springs. To add razor-sharp handing up front, a modified Art Morrison IFS was set in place with matching 2-inch dropped spindles deftly matched to QA1 coilover shocks and springs. Since the car would be generating wicked horsepower, a Wilwood master pushes fluid to 11-inch drilled Wilwood discs at each corner to make stopping a breeze. With the chassis completed, it was set to roll on a big ’n’ little combination of Weld Racing Magnum Drag 2.0 wheels with double bead locks and Mickey Thompson Sportsman SR rubber to set an aggressive stance.
Rodger’s biggest challenge for the build was to fit a big-block V-8 in the tiny engine bay without altering the classic lines of the Nash. After deciding on the engine combination, he worked with Henry Jackson Racing Engines of Cream Ridge, New Jersey, to assemble a 565ci mind-altering behemoth, starting with a Merlin block. Internal components would make any hard-core racer smile with envy, including an Eagle crank and rods, JE 10:1 slugs, a custom ground stick, and Dart aluminum heads filled with COMP Cams valvesprings and rockers. For the ultimate visual impact Rodger designed a one-off sheetmetal intake and crowned it with an 1150 Holley Dominator massaged by Gary Williams capped by a custom air cleaner. Detailed like a piece of fine jewelry, it was linked to a TH400 trans by A C Transmission of Hulmeville, Pennsylvania. The combination sparks to life through an MSD ignition and dumps its spent gases through a set of owner-designed headers.
The interior might be small, but it’s filled with just enough beige leather and matching c
After reviewing the body of the car, Rodger determined that there would only be a few tweaks needed to give it a dash of extra allure. He fabbed up new front and rear bumpers and accented them with a tasty rear wheelie bar to keep the car grounded, and wrapped it up with a drag chute where the spare tire once resided. To bring the body to life, the team at Blast from the Past Street Rods in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, massaged its sheetmetal to perfection before handing it off to Barry Rice to lay down a lustrous combination of PPG green and champagne vibe. With the car in the final assembly stages, it was delivered to Al’s Custom Auto Interiors in Mount Holley, New Jersey, to be trimmed in ultrasoft beige leather with complementing beige carpeting. To keep track of all the vitals, Haneline gauges were installed into the factory dash while a 10-point rollcage keeps everything safe. The entire build took Rodger one year to complete with the tireless help of his twin sons, Rodger and Daniel, and good friend Jack Dolan. The combination of subtle allure and radical power combined with the tiny body of the Metropolitan just plain works, bringing this street shaker plenty of attention wherever it goes. All we know is that Rodger nailed it again, with the design of yet another new-generation Pro Street car.
It’s amazing how so much rubber can hide under the sheetmetal. Custom bumpers, a slick whe
How does install height affect the spring pressure and lift ability?
Install height is the height from the bottom of the retainer to the base of the head where the spring sets. Springs have recommended installed heights, and shorting or raising that height will affect the given specs for the spring. Shorting it will add pressure and take away lift ability; raising it does just the opposite.
How do I convert my injector’s flow capacity from standard to metric?
If you have an injector that is rated in pounds per hour but need to know cubic centimeters per minute, you can use this easy formula: lb/hr x 10.2 = cc/min. For example, 55 lb/hr x 10.2 = 561 cc/min. If you need to calculate the other way around, the formula is cc/min ÷ 10.2 = lb/hr.
EFI vs. Carburetion
Weber carburetion systems share some similarities with EFI: short, independent intake runners, and a low fuel and air mass to move when you hit the throttle. The main difference between the two is that EFI relies on fuel being injected under high pressure, while the Webers respond to the needs of the engine via the constant depression principle. As for fuel economy, Webers do get respectable gas mileage, considering the engine is fed by all eight barrels constantly.