Ford Model T Lakes Roadster

Featured as the “Hot Rod of the Month” in the May 1951 issue of Hot Rod magazine, this Model T Lakes Roadster was built by Art Gerrick, a regular and successful salt flat competitor, particularly at Muroc dry lake. The article in Hot Rod, entitled “Rajo 4-Banger”, indicated Art was so proficient with cars that he had hopped up his first T by the tender age of 11, ready to go racing. This particular project, however, was started in 1936 and he used numerous unusual parts to modernize and modify the car. The build lasted quite a while, as Art intended to build the best four-cylinder powered modified to tear up the dry salt lake beds. Unfortunately, however, the car apparently didn’t race very often as it was superseded by newer, more powerful and aerodynamic designs by the time it was finally completed. By 1951, SCTA inspections became too rigid for Art to compete very effectively with this car.

Nevertheless, its 1951 Hot Rod feature was well-deserved and marked one of the magazine’s first use of cut-away illustrations. The body rests on 1924 Oldsmobile frame rails with kick-ups. Perhaps the most striking feature is the contoured plastic windscreen, which was heated with acetylene and hand-formed to fit the body.

The engine was a four-cylinder Model T unit with a 3 15/16-inch bore, early Model B counterweighted crankshaft, specially built Winfield camshaft, Rajo model BB-R cylinder heard and Winfield carburetors, all mated to a Model A bell housing and transmission. Other interesting pieces include dual ignition from a Pierce-Arrow, a converted Studebaker radiator core formerly used in Floyd Roberts’ Essex 4 racing car, Emsco pistons, a Jewett front-mounted oil sump and a Columbo cross-drive front plate that acts as a mounting for the aircraft tachometer’s generator. The front axle and center-mounted steering unit are from an early Franklin and it sports ’26 Chevrolet spindles with Model A hubs.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in September 2009 at the Petersen Automotive Museum, Los Angeles, California.

Modified Model T inline four-cylinder engine with Rajo model BB-R cylinder head, Model A transmission, Franklin front axle, Model A rear end with Model T leaf spring and cross-member and friction-type Hartford shocks, manual rear brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5"

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel

Gallery: Ford Model T Lakes Roadster