Saturday, April 30, 2011

Save a Ferrari, Build a Kellinson

I've been obsessing lately over a Kellinson coupe.  The Steve Stanford drawing above really got my wheels turning.  These fiberglass GT's have great lines and when combined with some early Vette underpinnings, they even managed to go around a corner without killing its driver.  Forget the Corvette shit.  Let's get serious with some Italian engineering underneath this thing.  Chevy powered Ferrari's like the one pictured below pop up under $30k often enough and are great donor cars. 

Removing the body gives a very competent starting point with double wishbone suspension, a live axle out back and 4 wheel disc brakes.  I've plotted a period perfect Kellinson with a very plausible back story too:

 Hollywood playboy dies in car fire.  Police say the driver flooded the engine of his 1965 Ferrari 330 during start up when the twin magnetos ignited the fuel.  The driver and car are a total loss.  Locals say he had it coming while Enzo Ferrari says it serves him right for not being able to properly start his car.

After the fire, all that remains of the prancing horse is its chassis.  The hot rodder, ever the opportunist, sees potential in blazed GT.  The chassis would be stripped of its Italian heart (as most of the aluminum would've melted in the fire anyhow) and in its place would be a fire-breathing Hemi backed by a Corvette T-10.  A crank-mounted supercharger forces the air while Hilborn handles the fuel duties.  For a body, a recently introduced Kellinson Sports Car would be lowered onto the reinvigorated frame.  Colors are still to be determined and wheels would switch from the Ferrari's Borranis to the obvious American Torque Thrusts.  A proper GT has to have an interior to match its styling and performance.  Loads of leather, machine turned stainless/aluminum, and pretty heavy race car influence adorn car's cabin. 

That's how I see it happening anyways.  Another crank mounted blower you say?  Another Hemi?
Well, Kellinson's body forced a pretty good engine setback (as much as 16" in some models) and empty engine bays look neglected.  The crank mounted blower fills the space, looks fantastic, and it even provides more in the go-fast department.  As for the Hemi, it's hot-rodding's harlot.  Lending itself to whatever it's master desires without being a cheap whore (cough, small block Chevy, cough). 

The interior mimics that of Dutch supercar maker Spyker Cars.  Their interiors are marvelous.  From the pedals, the seats, to its shifter.  Just look at that shifter and its linkage, seriously.  The switches give it that GT40 feel and the machined turned metal is pure hot rod.  A Bell 4 spoke wheel replaces the gaudy thing in the Spyker's interior and remains period correct too. 

What happens to the 330's body?  I thought we were saving a Ferrari, not parting it out....well, that's for another post.  This is only half the story.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Shoebox Ford

Ford made a lot of cars from 1949-51 (over 2.5 million) and therefore, they've been hot rodded and customized a lot.  I want to build one bad.  Not a smooth, candy coated sex pot either.  I need to scratch my Bonneville itch and a shoebox with a heavy nod to Joe Walden's '57 Thuderbird ( seems just the cure.

I 1st saw Joe Walden's Tbird on The Jalopy Journal and was taken back by how tough the car looked.  It's rare to see an early T-bird evoke so much attitude and Joe's had plenty of it.  I don't remember how a shoebox came into my mind, but I quickly combined it with all the mojo from the Walden 'bird.  Now, shoebox's have been chopped, dropped and sectioned more than car out there (arguably).  All of this is done in the name of style, I do this to my car in the name of racing.  Cheating the wind is the name of the game on the flats and who doesn't like to cheat?  Business coupes have the best lines of any shoebox, so we'll start there.  A 4" section seems to fit this body the best, then that's followed by a 4" chop and a raked windshield.  To bring the rockers closer to Mother Earth, a channel job the height of the frame is in order.  After we get the body shaped up, black lacquer makes the shiny side up...well, shiny. 

Suspension is lo-buck as we score a jaguar front clip (whole cars can be picked up for under a grand) and a 4 link connected to a 9" Ford until the funds exist for that handy quick change.  An early 331 ci Hemi is the heart of the beast with a crank mounted supercharger and Hilborn injection.  Shifting duties are handled by the factory 3 on the tree with 1st gear removed for the salt (perfect reason to build a push truck....fuck, here comes another sleepless night).  All this is covered underneath by an aluminum bellypan because we're cheating, remember?

The interior is functional but loaded with style.  Garnish moldings are chrome laden pieces and the factory dash remains in place.  A bright red floral headliner is the only thing I envision thanks to a seed planted by Union Speed and Style (  Aluminum panels match the racing seat and red carpet makes you kick the salt off your shoes before you get in.

Other details include using most of the stock trim but cleaned up.  Nosed and decked, frenched headlights/taillights and mild shaving exist, but I keep the beltline trim.  The stock rear bumper has its bolts shaved and is pulled in tight to the body.  The bullet in the grill is removed to become the air intake and a custom air dam influenced by Walden's 'bird finishes off the front end.  Rolling stock is provided by real mag Halibrands.