Original Ford Dirt Track Racer Heading To Auction
"You can't fake a fine patina." That's the thought that kept running through my head as I scrolled through photos of this badass Ford Model T/A Dirt Track Roadster. That and, "Look at the football helmet style bumper! Those side pipes! I want it!" While there are methods by which a vehicle can be given the 'vintage' look, a well trained eye can always tell when it's fakery, and when it's not. One look at this thing and you can tell it's all original, and all beautiful. Built in 1948 by Tommy Garland of Buellton, California (home of Pea Soup Andersens), this dirt track racer is somewhat of a vehicular mutt. The chassis is that of a Ford Model A, the body is from a 1922 Model T, and the rear is off a 1914 Model T. A 1932 Chrysler donated its grill, and the power plant is out of a 270 cubic-inch Chevrolet straight-six. The 3-speed manual transmission is also a Chevrolet unit, and only the second and third gears have been fitted. RELATED: See Photos of the 1920 Ford Model T
If you think that steering wheel has a Mad Max vibe going on, you're right on the money. Underneath all that electrical tape is an industrial circular saw blade that Garland added four cutouts to, and milled the teeth off of. Yeah, this guy was the real deal.
Adding to the hardcore nature of the beast is the driver's seat, which was pulled from a decommissioned WWII bomber. The original seatbelt accounts for one-half of the active safety features, while the braced roll bar accounts for the other. Better keep the shiny—errr, rusty side up.
RELATED: This Mini Cooper Cafe Racer Custom Will Steal Your Heart
Looking at the T/A from the outside, Garland's skills as a welder and engineer are rather apparent. He built triple exhaust manifold himself, as well as the twin "elbow warmer" exhaust. A custom ground camshaft was provided by Sig Erson and the distributor was sourced from a 12-cylinder Cadillac, then adapted to handle the high revving straight-six.
After six years on the dirt track circuit, primarily with Lee Hammock in the driver's seat, but also Chuck Hulsey, No. 101 was put in storage by Garland. Thirty years went by before it was acquired by Buellton racer "Slick" Gaines, who displayed it at Mendenhall's Museum of Gasoline Pumps and Petrolina.
Now it's coming out of its museum state and headed to auction at RM Sotheby's in Monterey, California, next month.
RELATED: 1939 Chevy Rat Rod Comes Loaded With Power and Style