The real McCoy

"Old school"built Hot Rods has come to an ever increasing interest. Nothing to bother Aulis Haemeenkorpi from the finnish village of Seinaejoki. He has "the real McCoy", still in its rebuilt shape of 1950-51. Even with a pair of twin spark heads fitted that cannot be found on google.

By. Ulf Forsberg

On car rallys and meetings its easy to pass Aulis Haemenkorpis 1932 Ford. Partly because it isnt that rebuilt and overall changed to appearance and partly because it has some flaws. Most people just throws a few glances to move on to have a look at some more advanced cars.

-Their loss, Aulis shrugs. -If they have had a closer look they´d seen a typical early fifties styled Californian Hot Rod.

Aulis is a veteran within the hobby and in 2014 he sold both his Hot Rodded 1932 Ford Roadsters. It didnt take long until the gathered cash started to burn his pocket and making him restless.

So, there is just one solution; as to get oneself another project, for the moment beeing those "Duece Coupes". Scanning all ads he could find all over internet he stumbled over a 1932 Ford Convertible.

-Didnt like that model so i kept looking. - But a friend of mine in Sweden mailed over a couple of photos of a Convertible with a couple of inches chopped top.

-This turned me on, so i made the dealer a call.

He took a closer look at the pictures and phoned the owner, Ernie Winston hammon, up. He had then owned the car for 50 odd years. Many questions made, especially about the odd aluminium heads fitted with double spark plugs.

-You wont be able to google them, the owner replied.

He have had three of them forged and casted himself. Fitted with the logo of his own initials E.W.H. -By the way, I destroyed the moulds after that.

-So no-one could ever show up with the same type of heads. He later explained as Aulis recalls.

Conversation kept on going for a long while, finally ending up in closing a deal with the retired Hot Rod and Dragracing driver from Norco, California.

It didnt come cheap but on other hand it is an extreme rarity.

The body were still untouched as from factory and all parts left over from the rebuild made in 1950-51 were still kept. It also had a new upholstery made to replace the original leather by vinyl"tuck n´roll".

-All 1932 DeLuxe Convertibles had all leather interior fitted as NOS (new on sale), as well as "Two Tone Laquer, Safety glass, Cowl lights, V8 engine and Windshield wipers.

A couple of months later this -32 arrived in Finland, together with a -40 Ford Panel Delivery who had been bought in Orange, California. And as so, Aulis took his first look at the car at close hand.

-What a feeling to move your hand along the contour of an untouched, original, body. Never worked or refitted, welded or rustied down.

-And this feeling enhanced when i saw all of it and all the parts that came along.

The paintwork is still the very same original cellulose as is from 1932, part from the brown patches who were "hopped up" black, in the sixties. Even the frame has its original tarnish black paintwork intact.

-Yep. -Hood is in same perfect condition but i´d rather show off the engine. Aulis says, pointing at the radiator. And, yes, it also is the same as fitted at factory plant in 1932.

The car got its finnish registration immediatly, though at car rallys and concourses Aulis prefer to have some rare 1932 California plates on.

It certainly gives Aulis car its own appearance, as goes with the doors. They are about three inches longer than those of the coupe and roadster versions. And also, they are much heavier due to reinforcements, for handling those heavy glass sidewindows. Further back the quarterpanels goes up with a different contour mould toward trunk.

-Gas tank is also original, part from a smaller dent underneath and some interior surface rust

-But not worse than to just plug an extra filter on the fuel line.

Most Rodders of today throw their rear ends out. This one has... you might guess... its rear shaft still in place. It has had its gear ratio replaced by a more moderate 3,54:1 for running by modern standard roads on its 7.50/16" tyres.

And, of course, remains original gearbox and tubeshaft, as the handbrake fitted aside the gearbox. Not very common. Aulis have been thinking about replacing the unsynchronized gearbox.

-I have several trannys with double geartrains at my storage, Yes even a Lincoln, But i´ll keep this one.

Why? Well, it would take a cut in the floorpans and this he hesitated. Not at this car.

One look inside the car and one see nothing has changed since 1950-51. Back then it had its pedals and steering column chromed. The steering gear was changed when a 1940s Chrysler, possibly Chevrolet, were installed. Dashboard were regrouped by a Stewart Warner curved glass meter from a 1932 Studebaker.

-The interior door upholstery were gone so i made new ones. .Then i found a matching styled Stewart Warner auto rev+++ to fit at the steering column.

Front shock absorbers are replaced by some 1930s Chrysler telescope and in the rear we have the classic Heavy duty Houdallies "frog styled" dampers. All this well enough, but Aulis has still made some improvements on the car. The first thing he got hold of was to unbolt the dropped Pete&Jakes front end, complete with Ford -40s juice brakes, fitted there since the 1980s.

-Sold the complete package to this guy in Sweden.

-I gathered other parts from Sweden for myself and managed to buy this real goody after four years of persuation.

Naturally, the "goody" was a super-rare Okie Adams front axle and with this, the certainty, that it had to be on this very car. Okie Adams, it is said, have had made about 200 dropped axles during the 1940s. He used a -32 Ford "Heavy" axles as raw material. They were heated at both ends then to be cut by a machine saw. Then re-heated and re-forged into an S curb.

-The complete brakes i then fitted is the much more rare 1937-39 Lincoln than the 1940s Ford.

One of the most interesting things on Aulis Hot Rod, amongst all of these kind of Hot Rod cars, is the engine.

-Yes, It was a bit "sad" when i had the car delivered. Aulis says, in his typical way.

Other people might have put it a little bit different, using swearwords and going haywire, but not Aulis. To make a long story short; It was not running on all eight cylinders, Carburators leaked, as well as the engine itself as so did the valves, not keeping kompression right.

-Theres a couple of things up my attic. Aulis says with a twinkle.

-I went up to get a couple of Ford 94 carbs to replace them 97s mounted.

While at it, the electrical fuelpump were taken out of its well hidden location in the gastank, being replaced by a renovated polished original gas pump.

-Foul looking fuelpipes made by aluminium made me crafting new copper ones that blended better in the cars new oldstyle look.

-And while i were at it, There were to be new tubing inbetweeen pump and carbs as well.

The heads are, least to say, rare. Such a super rare, odd couple, that they are "non googleable". And Aulis have all three ever made. Two is on the car and one is hanging on his workshop wall.

The endevour of manufactoring something like this were inspired by racingcars and motorbikes propelled by engine with double ignition. Ernie not only casted his own heads, he also made the gears and cogs for the distributor.

-It is a Nash Autolite Twin Eight from the 1930s, "one of a kind" beauty.

Ernie also bought one of the first Ignitor packs for breakerless points in the 1980s, two pcs of course, and had them installed sice he got tired of burnt points and ever over adjustments.

-The engine looked nice with the heads on, But unfortunatly he didn´t put to much work for a final finish.

-Third cylinder had not enough space for any gasket and no two hit the head.

-So, each cylinder hadn´t the same amount of combustion chamber.

A couple of hours grinding solved these problems. With this, all domes were alike and had enough room for gaskets. A significant improvement in wich a measure of compression showed a 8.5:1 ratio. This is very good ratings to a flathead eight.

While the heads were off Aulis took out the Isky Max 1 camshaft to replace it with a Howard 363 and mounted new valvesprings.

-The valvesprings grounded at full lift and as such i drove around the whole first summer.

To be using a Hot Rod, at its fullest during summer season Aulis confronted a problem:

-Oil consumption.

-By a turnoround by Abo from Seinaejoki (about 200miles) it took 1.6qt of oil.

-But no smoking exhaust.

-It has some great spark and double coils hitting the plugs simultaneously.

for the next winter Aulis took the engine apart again. Aulis made Grant specially make new pistonrings with the right flange and mesurements to reduce oil consumption to a minimum. Part from this Aulis put together a new aluminium oil bellypan he had made.

Yep, I had done a mould and let another firm cast ten homemade racing oil pans just for me.

-They´ll fit Ford flatheads from 1932 until 1948.

It took about 200 hours to craft the mould and another100 hrs for casting and all the machinework.

-But only 10, 15 hours to polish, Aulis laughs.

With this new oilpan the engine fills 5.8 to 6.3 qt in comparison with its original 4.2 qt to 4.8 qt.

Aulis is very pleased with the car and it handles great speeds around 60-75 mph and pushes top speed over the 100 mph limit. But, howabout the top chopping issue that cought Aulis interest to begin with? He hesitates before answering:

-My buddies still thinks i should chop off a couple of inches but that thought has never come across.

-I would ruin an important part of that early Californian Hot Rod -50s era.

-Wont even have it repainted. Aulis says and revs his engine.

The V8 roars and gives off a mighty powerful sound through the pair of Lakester headers.

-Ernie made the pipes and a friend of his that worked att the Lockheed airoplane factory had the facilities of rendering them ceramic coating!. Aulis shouts through the engine noise.

-Sure! Them pipes do sound a lot!

-But one should consider that old saying from the childhood of Hot Rodding:

-"Loud Pipes Saves Lives". Aulis yells before taking off in a cloud of dust leaving us with his words of wisdom:

"Rod & Roll"!!