This unique and striking 1928 Ford Boattail Speedster was a labor of love by the former owner, who passed away in 2018. The build is custom, as you can see in the owner’s write-up below.
The car was accepted, attended and completed the 2010 Glidden Tour in Holland, Michigan. It was built from the finest of materials by an expert engineer . . . no expense was spared. Note that everything used in the construction of the Speedster is of the highest quality, including the Connolly leather interior, burled walnut dash and classic vintage gauges.
This one-of-a-kind vehicle has a Model A frame, running gear, brakes, stock radiator shell, lights and hood. It has a Flathead 4-cylinder engine with a BorgWarner 5-speed transmission and has been driven 4,211 miles since it was built. Check out the Photo Gallery here to get a fun and unprecedented look at the restoration process.
Several publications are included with the Speedster:
The following article was written by the owner of this amazing auto and printed in Secrets magazine, October 2009.
Several years ago, while on a cross country car tour, my wife and I each scored a ride in a vintage LeMans Bentley. We were both enamored of the car, but soon found that it would require the sale of all our hobby cars plus our home to gain the funding for one. Later, we also became interested in tours for prewar aged cars.
I was on a medically induced retirement from my auto restoration business for a few years but wanted to get back into making a car from worn out pieces. The concept of a Model A Ford-based speedster would get us a car (sort of) like the lusted Bentley and access to older car tours, plus the option of a design not bound by restoration accuracy, i.e., a ‘30s street rod.
Although my efficacy was diminished, the therapy of a 2 ½ year-long car build has been good for my soul and physical condition, and I think resulted in a fun car. At a recent 400 car show run by CCCA, [although not a full CCCA classic] it garnered a 100-point score and first-place-in-class silver bowl.
Features of the Car
1928 Ford, rear “Z”ed 7 ½”, front axle moved in front of the radiator and the front lowered to match the rear. Axels are stock but the Ford radius arms are superseded by Speedway’s 4-bar linkages. Brakes converted to full self-energizing, activated by cables to avoid rod length changes in bumps. Wheels changed to 19” with 4.75/5.00 section tires. Springs reduced to 6 leaves front and 5 rear. The tie rod is moved to front of axle. Steering damper added, shocks are friction type per old race car design.
Short block by Ora Landis (PA) including balanced crank with cut down flywheel, full pressure oiling with filter, insert bearings, 1 ¾” valves, Stipe cam, Lion 7:1 head by Scalded Dog, cast iron header, Weber 2 throat carb and FS electronic distributer. Transmission is a Borg Warner T-5 with adapter kit from Auto Restorations including an open drive shaft. Electrics converted to 12v with alternator, 6-blade fan with shroud.
Inspired by Type 29 thru 35 Bugattis, Type N MG’s and boat tailed 20’s-30’s Indy cars, but with touring weather equipment. Radiator, shell and hood are 1928 Ford. Firewall and everything back of it were custom designed and built using modernized 1920-30’s coach building techniques, i.e.. wood framing skinned with fiberglass. Windshield (which folds), top bows, top, side curtains and tonneau cover were also custom fabricated. Fenders are Harley replicas from Oldy’s. Paints from DuPont’s Chroma list.
Custom built seats and panels, covered in Connolly leather with contrasting carpet. Walnut burl dash holds Classic Vintage instruments plus NAPA starter button, ignition, headlight and turn signal switches, MG horn button, plug for GPS, LED turn and high beam indicators and a bicycle clock/trip odometer.
Point-to-point wiring, various MG, Jaguar, Triumph and Rolls pieces which were lying around the shop. Many hardware bits from McMaster-Carr and a bunch of resto “A” pieces from Mike’s, Mac’s and Snyder’s. Halogen lights with turn indicators. Stainless 2” diameter exhaust to specs by Waldren. Mounted on the 16" wire wheels are Stahl Sport Radials (6.50R x 16).