Streetside Classics-Dallas/Fort Worth
5400 Sandshell Dr
Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth, TX
There's a definite appeal to the back-to-basics hot rods affectionately known as "rat rods." While enthusiasts aren't exactly thrilled with that term, they have to love this 1927 Ford Tall T coupe, which embraces the funky sensibilities of the hobby, including patina, quality engineering, and just plain irreverence. If you want to avoid tradition and still have a blast in a cool rod, this is definitely the way to do it.
This long, slender, boxy Model T coupe was a complete custom frame up build and it kept its original dimensions for the most part, although the steel now sits very tilted (an homage to the Ed Roth "broken body" builds of the past) on top of a custom frame and is astonishingly low to the ground overall. The patina on the bodywork is either artfully intentional or the product of 90 years of aging depending where you look, and either way it's awesome. Some would say it's ripening on the vine, and with three sharp slashes of Rescue Green on both sides, hand-painted "Stray Cat" artwork, and a satin clear finish, it certainly nails the rat rod look. Unusual details are a hallmark of builds like this, and there are plenty here, ranging from the luggage rack on top of the cedar and faux gator material on the roof, to the metal-mesh covered rear compartment area that houses the radiator/gas tank/battery, or to the pop-out ship porthole window on the back glass. But our favorite part has to do with the roof-mounted Nitrous tanks. Not that we want to engage them on such a light vehicle (although they are plumbed should that tickle your fancy), but rather that they are wired to purge NOS smoke through the bill of the duck mounted on the front grille. Details like that make you fall in love with rat rods. In truth, the body may look rusty but it's only surface deep with a few dents and dings here and there for added character, and it's even pretty straight, with doors that fit surprisingly well. Most importantly on a custom build like this, it's been NSRA Safety 23 Certified and has passed every Texas inspection it's had since the build was completed.
The interior features steel floors, a tall automatic shifter in the floor, and a new set of custom-made aluminum seats with faux gator cushions that sit low in the car for the ultimate cool factor. The vintage twisted-spoke banjo steering wheel is pure folk-art and yes, this is a right-hand drive vehicle, because why not? Dare to be different is the whole point! There are some very rare Airguide dome gauges overhead, along with modern SunPro units under the dash. That very dash is a cedar insert attached to a Rescue Green steel panel, a color that also accents the top part of the custom door panels that also have a bottom panel made of the same hand-cut, molded, and riveted aluminum trim found on the outside of the T. Look up and you'll see that the gator tonneau roof section actually opens up into a makeshift sunroof. The interior is vintage, quirky, and actually pretty comfortable. And safety was still on the mind of the builder, as he had the presence of mind to install vintage aircraft seat belts for both driver and passenger.
Nothing is lacking in the horsepower department, resulting in this '27 being more hot rod than rat rod in that regard. The motor is a built 327 V8 date-coded from 1968 that's been bored .030 over and features flat top pistons, double hump heads, and an Edelbrock Performer cam and lifter kit. It snaps immediately to attention thanks to an Edelbrock 650CFM carb and full MSD ignition system, and pulls strong enough that the plumbed NOS tanks will never be in need, but should you be wild enough to give them a shot you'd be the first to wire it up and hang on for dear life. The open engine bay is presented very nicely, with a clean block featuring Rescue Green paint accents, polished components, and neatly wrapped longtube headers. It also runs a TH350 3-speed automatic transmission with a shift kit, so this is a car you can hammer down red-light to red-light and drive comfortably for longer distances. The custom-built frame is rectangular tubing that's been coated in satin black for a neat presentation, augmented with front disc brakes, chrome front shocks, rear air shocks, and a Ford 8" rear end with highway friendly 3.00 gears. See what we mean about cool engineering? It runs and drives great, tracks straight, and rides well on those 16-inch Kelsey Hays twisted spoke wheels wrapped in off-set reproduction Firestone whitewall tires.
Sorry purists, but these cars are here to stay and if you take the time to get to know them, you'll find that they're every bit as cool, drivable, and fun as the high-end pro-built rods. Documented with loads of build receipts, pictures, videos and a professional appraisal, this is one of those rat rods that is brimming with both personality and performance. Call today!
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