Hot Rod Blog

After attending the Oakland Roadster Show, and a couple of Good Guys events, I got really excited about building a hot rod. Heck, I like to do things with my hands, I've wrenched on cars before, and I felt it was time to try something new for my car hobby. After much research, and more to come, I want to summarize here how my plans are unfolding, what I want to do, as well as provide a worklog as things progress. I'll warn you in advance--progress is very slow as I've taken a major detour to learn some of the necessary skills including machine tools and welding.


Mouse over to see the transformation...

First, I had to come up with an overriding theme to make the project work, and hang together. I looked at lots and lots of rods, and a lot of themes presented themselves, including rat rod, retro/classic rod, high tech rod, billet rod, and so on. I wanted to try to do something a little bit newer and different. Off the beaten path. I call my theme "high tech road racer". I want to marry the best qualities of really code modern racing and sports cars with a lot of great technology, and with a lot of traditional hot rod values.

The epitomy of a road racer from the hot rodder's world is the track roadster or the Lakes modified. I liked the potential of the Lakes better because the track cars have been done so many times and there aren't so many Lakes out there.

This whole thing is still coming together in my head, and I'm collecting pictures to communicate and gel the idea which I'll post in this section. See if you don't think the High Tech Lakes Road Racer is a cool theme for a hot rod!


Flames. Gotta have 'em. But how do we make them fit the "high tech road racer" theme? Check out these bad boyz:

The combination is candy blue and ghost flames over black. It's subtle enough not to scream retro-rod. The colors say high tech to me.

Pure black with chrome and polished metal highlights is another possibility that would look good. Lately I am also really tempted by Ferrari red because it looks great to paint the engine red, and it would look great to do the interior in tan leather to go with the red.

Some painters in my area whose work looks good:

Renteria Body and Paint, Morgan Hill, CA (may also be called "Renteria Brothers")
1670 Joleen Way, Morgan Hill, CA 95037 (408) 779-2884

Fernandes Fine Finishes, 171 Kelly St, Lodi, CA, 95240


The interior is going to be the hardest place to strike a balance. High tech road racers just look a lot different than hot rods on the inside. For example, they usually have something more akin to a Momo steering wheel than the usual period piece we find in hot rods. Their seats are form fitting buckets rather than benches, and they have lots of gauges instead of a clean dash. We'll have to think about this one a little bit.

Chassis, Suspension & Brakes

A high tech road racer has to be all-independent, and it has to corner and stop like a modern sports car. I'm starting with a Corvette C5 rear suspension and drivetrain, and adding to that a modern hot rod independent front suspension.

Engine Specs & Assembly

Fuel Injected 351C...

The 351 Cleveland should have been the Uber-Ford engine given its amazing heads and other innovations, but somehow, it didn't quite beat out the Windors. Nevertheless, its a bit off the beaten path (I hate to jam another LS-whatever they're up to in a high tech rod), and it loves rpm, which makes it a road racer in my book!

Picture Serpentine Headers Like This Connected to Sidepipes!


How do you make the drivetrain exotic, high-tech, and road-racey? Since we don't have a mid-engine car here (although people have built mid-mounted engines in early Fords), I'm going to recreate what people call the "front mid-engine" design. This is done by mounting the transmission to the rearend at the back of the car, thus shifting the weight backwards. In my case, I'll be using a Corvette C5 drivetrain with its Getrag differential and attendant Borg Warner T-56 6-speed manual transmission.


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All material 2001-2006, Robert W. Warfield.