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'32 metro street rod

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  • '32 metro street rod

    Had a crazy thought today- how about I take a metro or firefly, strip the body off, cut the body down to nothing, and put it back together as a street rod or something. Keep the 3 cyl engine, but somehow make it go backwards. Then put it in the rear and find an I-beam front suspension from some junk small car. Basically make a 2/3 size street legal hot rod out of it. Or I guess that would be 'barely warm' rod.

    Ha. How can you tell I've just been to a car show- everybody has some huge engine shoehorned into place where the original flat head 35 horse engine used to be. I'm not knocking the creativity- everything is meticulously clean, well reverse-engineered, painted and polished with utmost care- have to hand it to them for the effort.
    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

  • #2
    A friend and I took a tiny little Fiat 500 and put a big block Chevy into it.....while we were still in high school. Yes, the thing actually ran, and was terrifying to drive.
    No good deed goes unpunished.

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    • #3
      In the late 60s, as a cocky engineering student, I had the opportunity to purchase my first sports car. It was an early 100-4 Austin Healey, complete with soft top, removable side curtains, and a windscreen that could fold down low or be removed. What fun that car was to drive. Unfortunately, it spent way too much time in repair. The previous owner, another student, had ‘fixed’ the bearing problems by sanding the scores smooth on the crankshaft and installing new bearings. The journals were so out of round that the bearings had to be replaced regularly. At some point, I got my own bright idea. I would put a different engine in it that had some HORSEPOWER. With the budget of a student and some trading stock, I was able to acquire a 327 Chevrolet V-8, high compression pistons and heads, Edelbrock manifold with 3 Stromberg 97 carburetors, and so on. As equipment manager of our school welding club, I had access to portable and bench welding equipment pretty much when I liked, so I built my own headers and fabricated and welded in my own motor and transmission mounts onto the box steel Austin Healey X frame. It was the point in the project where I had a freshly built beautiful engine squeezed into the cowl and ready for tuning, the hydraulic clutch was working, but no accelerator linkage was figured out yet, and the headers were still open. With no room under the bonnet, the car had originally had the battery in the trunk (boot), and with a Chevy V-8 in there, I had to do the same. I cabled the battery with OO welding cable, but figured it wasn’t thick enough for the long leads on the starter motor when the tight engine wouldn’t turn over fast enough to catch. I had to sit kind of sideways because my feet along side of the motor. That was causing the problem with the accelerator linkage design. Wanting to tune the engine and get on with the project, I decided to bump start the car. I left the distributor clamp loose enough so I could turn it to keep the engine running if needed, no bonnet, removed the windshield, and rolled it out into the street. With a tire between the bumper to the push car, I got behind the wheel, turned on the key, put it in second, and gave a couple tugs on the cord I had tied to the progressive link on the carburetors to squirt in a bit of gas. I gave the signal to give me a shove and stop, got rolling, and popped the clutch. My hopes for the engine were realized and then some! I expected the engine to catch, then I’d shove in the clutch and put it in neutral, and adjust the timing. What I got was a view of nothing but blue sky and an awesome roar. It seems that when a hard acceleration slams one back in the seat, it causes an even harder pull on an accelerator cord in one's hand. Hey, these are street tires, not slicks, where’d the wheely come from? I’m not sure whether I let go of the cord or shoved in the clutch first, but when the noise and bouncing stopped, the car was swaybacked, tops of the doors folded accordion style, and I had to climb out over the door, as it was hopelessly jammed stuck. Either the torque of the motor or the severe bang when I came down had bent the frame where I had welded the transmission mount. I sold it.

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      • #4
        '32?? '92 maybe. Buy two that have been rear-ended, and weld the front end of one into the back of the other.
        Any products mentioned in my posts have been endorsed by their manufacturer.

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        • #5
          Friend had a Hillman, which originally came with an 8 hp engine. They managed to squeeze a V8 into it. There was some funny stuff at the show, but mostly a lot of craftsmanship and tlc. There's always at least one guy with the fully blown, bla bla bla, loudest thing within ten miles- probably can be heard ten miles away. To each his own.

          We used to have a couple of quarter mile strips laid out- I would take my english ford van out and manage to get 47 mph in the quarter My cousin beat a few V8s with his big six- a 58 ford something or another, family car.

          I could beat anybody across the line, but about 10 feet later I was eating dust 35 horse doesn't go very far, ha ha.

          Yeah, I guess a metro made to '32 designs would be kind of lame-
          I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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          • #6
            Go to locostusa.com. There's a guy over there building a mid-engine Lotus 7 variant with a Geo driveline. I'm doing one myself, but I still have to finish the front engine V8 one I started.

            A Locost is basically an engine stand on wheels; there's a nose cone, a few simple bent aluminum panels, and some flat panels. A lot of builders don't even bother with fenders or a windshield.

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            • #7
              If you like a three cylinder roadster (it seems Metro is Suzuki-based), try the petit Suzuki Cappuccino. These little roadsters have a (optional?) turbo, intercooled, 657cc three cylinder, rear wheel drive. Nice engines, nice car, a colleague of mine has one or two...
              one for racing.
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzuki_Cappuccino

              Please don't use 1932 when discussing a late model botch-up. BTW, Ford offered 65 hp in their first V8.
              Last edited by Peter S; 06-25-2013, 05:42 PM.

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              • #8
                I recall one adventure while I was a high school kid...It didn't involve cars, but it did star a Ford flathead V-8. Being clever little morons the group of guys I went to school with, including myself, were always fascinated with things the would go. Larry, one of the better welders in the group, had a vision of an unlimited class hydroplane, with a flame belching 12 cylinder aircraft engine. I personally would have been content to leave the engine in the aircraft, and try flying it. But, there is a place where dreams meet reality. Since we were all working class teenagers, we would usually have to visit the next town if we wanted to rub two nickels together. The sleek, powerful hydroplane, in reality, became a decrepit plywood, flat-bottom, "duck boat" and the fire breathing V-12 ended up being a 65 horsepower Ford flathead out of a junked car. We cut and nailed stringers into the hull(??) to suit the engine, and skillfully cut a hole in the bottom of the boat for a crude, but effective, stuffing box for the propeller shaft. The propeller was liberated from somebody's Evinrude outboard. A couple of supports were nailed to the stern of the boat to hold the shaft of the rudder. Being dumb kids, the thought of a keel was somehow missed..(None of us went on to become famous boat designers) A fuel tank out of my uncle's boat, and a six-volt car battery were mounted at the bow, and holes were bored in the hull to feed water into the water jackets of the Ford. A set of handmade "zoomy" headers topped off the conglomeration. The nearest lake was Chatsworth Lake, which is actually a drinking water reservoir (no swimming or boating allowed). The "racing boat" was towed to the lake on a dolly behind one of the guys' sedans. Larry, who claimed to have some boating experience, was picked to drive it. He sat in the stern, one hand on the rudder tiller, and the other holding a small chain, connected to the carburetor. With little fanfare, the engine was started, and Larry turned the boat out into the lake. Once pointed in the proper direction, Larry pulled the chain and the flathead came to life. With an impressive wake, he roared across the lake, bouncing along, grinning like an idiot. Apparently, the engine support stringers were not secured to withstand such abuse. 50 yards off shore, the flathead twisted off the propeller shaft, and dropped cleanly through the "duck boat" as it started to disintegrate. Unfortunately, nobody calculated the tensile strength of the chain connecting Larry to the Ford's carburetor, and Larry, with tiller in hand, catapulted into the air, and disappeared through the huge hole forming where the boat used to be, following the engine to the bottom of the lake. Luck was on his side, and after getting untangled from the chain, Larry surfaced, and swam to shore. No time for celebration, the security guard had heard the flathead engine and was coming to investigate...We got the heck out of there.
                No good deed goes unpunished.

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