Part 4: Ford Y-Block, McCulloch Supercharger, and Suspension

By Ron Covell   –   Photography By Adam Banks

A tremendous amount of work goes into building a car from the ground up. In past installments we followed the Rad Rides by Troy team through the construction of the frame and major body components for this fenderless 1936 Ford roadster being built for Ross Myers. With those components largely completed, it was time to fit the engine and drivetrain and to design and fabricate the suspension system.

02 Adam working on the custom trim for the 1936 Ford roadster s grille shell
Adam is working on trim for the custom grille shell, which is but one of many custom, hand-fabricated pieces on this outstanding 1936 Ford roadster.

Part 1: Building a One Of A Kind Roadster

A Ford Y-block engine was selected and fitted with vintage-looking components that were cleverly updated to provide the functionality of a modern car. A McCulloch VS57 supercharger was used, but Pat Fleischman from Lubbock, Texas, was called on to equip it with the internal components from a Paxton supercharger. The engine will have fuel injection but the Autotrend EFI throttle bodies look very much like vintage Stromberg carburetors. Rad Rides by Troy has a reputation for building cars that perform at the highest level, but on a car like this, maintaining a vintage look is part of the discipline.

03 Ford Y block engine with a rare McCulloch VS57 supercharger for the 1936 Ford roadster
The engine for the roadster is a Ford Y-block, fitted with a rare McCulloch VS57 supercharger updated with Paxton internals and throttle bodies from Autotrend EFI.

Torsion bars were used on both ends of the car, longitudinal in the front and transverse in the rear. A lot of thought went into positioning the suspension components, so they tuck neatly into the chassis, providing an exceptionally clean appearance and leaving as much open space as possible. On an open-wheeled car like this, these details can make a huge difference.

04 Rad Rides made adapter plate connecting the engine to the 4R70W transmission in the Ford roadster
A Rad Rides–made adapter plate connects the engine to the 4R70W transmission. The power is then transferred to the Winters Champion quick change rear end through a custom driveshaft.

Part 2: Myers’ Fenderless 1936 Ford Roadster

Special radius rods were machined for the front and rear axles. These are highly detailed components, incorporating a ribbed design element. A great deal of planning went into making them blend visually with the other components while retaining the vintage look of a straight-axle car.

05 Low profile driveshaft cover made from 18 gauge steel for the 1936 Ford roadster
After the driveshaft was fitted, a low-profile cover was made from 18-gauge steel.

Special shock mounts were made for both axles. In front where they are more visible, the Rad Rides by Troy team found a way to hide the top half of the shock inside the headlight. This required some rather complex fabrication and machining, allowing the highly loaded components to be easily assembled and disassembled, but the results are well worth the extra effort.

06 Classic Performance Products power steering unit being fitted onto the Ford roadster
A Classic Performance Products power steering unit was painstakingly smoothed. The steel ring on the right will become part of the mount that holds the unit to the chassis.

Part 3: Intricate Fabrication On Myers’ Fenderless Ford Roadster

If you are enjoying this series, look for the next episode where the fabrication and fitting of some of the more complex sheet metal components will be covered. MR

07 Steering mount under construction with blended welds for the 1936 Ford roadster
Here’s the steering mount under construction. All the welds are blended so the part looks like a steel forging.
08 Factory designed assembly of the steering box attached to the chassis of the Ford roadster
With the steering box attached to the chassis, the assembly looks as if it was factory designed.
09 Front suspension torsion bars mounted below the frame rails of the 1936 Ford roadster
Torsion bars are used for the front suspension. Here you can see the mounts for the bars carefully positioned below the frame rails, so they will be largely hidden when the car is on the ground.
10 Hand detailed forged front axle positioned at normal ride height in the Ford roadster
Here’s the front axle, positioned at normal ride height. The forged front axle has been hand-detailed to give it a crisp, smooth finish, looking like it was machined from a billet.
11 Front radius rods CNC machined from an aluminum billet block for the 1936 Ford roadster
The front radius rods were CNC machined from an aluminum billet block. They feature a ribbed theme near the front attachment that will be mimicked on the rear radius rods.
12 Radius rods attachment to the front axle with a shackle used to connect the torsion arms
This is how the radius rods attach to the front axle; you can see the shackle used to connect the torsion arms.
13 Special front crossmember added to the Ford roadster for axle articulation and centering
A special front crossmember was added just in front of the axle, with a vertical slot that engages a shaft extending through a bushing in the axle. This allows all the parts to articulate while keeping the axle centered and it eliminates the need for a Panhard bar.
14 Special mounts for the front shocks hidden inside the headlight shell of the 1936 Ford roadster
Special mounts were made for the front shocks, designed so the upper portion is hidden inside the headlight shell. This provides a superclean appearance at the front of the car.
15 Side view of the meticulously assembled components of the 1936 Ford roadster
From the side, you can see how beautifully all the components fit together, with nothing looking tacked on or out of place.
16 Special jam nuts made to lock the rod ends into place at the ends of the radius rods
Special jam nuts were made to lock the rod ends into place at the ends of the radius rods. You’ll find countless little details like this throughout the build.
17 Winters Champion quick change rearend selected for the 1936 Ford roadster
A Winters Champion quick change rearend was selected. It is positioned here at normal ride height to start the layout of the suspension system.
18 Unique radius rods CNC machined from aluminum billet and polished for the Ford roadster
Unique radius rods were CNC machined from aluminum billet and polished to a mirror finish.
19 Complex bracket CAD designed and CNC machined to mount the rear radius rods and shocks
A very complex bracket was CAD-designed and CNC machined from steel to mount the rear radius rods and shocks to the rear axle housing.
20 Bracket welded to the rear axle tubes with components attached for the 1936 Ford roadster
Here the bracket is welded to the rear axle tubes and the components are attached.
21 Transverse torsion bars used at the rear of the Ford roadster with height adjusters
Transverse torsion bars are used at the rear. Each bar terminates at the adjusters for ride height, located at the center of the chassis.
22 Closeup of the height adjusters and the inner torsion bar mounting block in the Ford roadster
This closeup shows the details of the height adjusters and the inner torsion bar mounting block. The torsion bars rotate in bronze bushings at both ends.
23 Unique low profile linkage system used in the 1936 Ford roadster s chassis
A unique, low-profile linkage system was used so the torsion bars and anti roll bar could be positioned high in the chassis, reducing visual clutter and leaving lots of room for routing the exhaust system.
24 Neat arrangement of the suspension elements tucked up underneath the Ford roadster s body
Here you can see how neatly all the suspension elements tuck up underneath the body.
25 Front of the Ford roadster with custom billet wheels torsion bars and hidden shock absorber
Using torsion bars instead of a leaf spring and hiding the top of the shock absorber inside the headlight gives the front of the car a very clean appearance. Custom billet wheels were specially made for this car.
26 Custom billet wheels paying tribute to the original 1936 Ford s wide five pattern
The wheels pay tribute to the wide-five pattern used on the original Ford wheels from 1936.

Source:

Rad Rides by Troy
(815) 468 2590

Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of ’36 Ford Roadster.mr april 2024

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