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carlisle1926

1923 Dodge speedster

68 posts in this topic

I just started mocking up a 1923 Dodge chassis that I am converting into a speedster. The chassis has a rather neat aftermarket rear spring set up. So far, I have just placed parts on the chassis just to see how they fit. I'll be using a 1920 American LaFrance hood that I will have to narrow a bit in order to make it fit the chassis width. I also have just the shell of an early American LaFrance that I plan on narrowing as well. The seat is off of a 1920's Seagrave and I plan on heavily modifying it to look more like bucket seats. The steering column will be moved back several inches and the frame will be stretched to fit the long hood.

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The extra transverse rear spring is unusual. I have looked at lots of Dodges but not cone across that arrangement before. Can you tell us some more about it.

oldcar.

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The extra transverse rear spring is unusual. I have looked at lots of Dodges but not cone across that arrangement before. Can you tell us some more about it.

oldcar.

I don't know much about it other than it was an aftermarket accessory. There is a guy in Georgia that has an early Dodge with the same spring set up on it too.

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Probably an early attempt to eliminate the bounce of running sans shocks. Certainly does look precarious though...makes you wonder why they didn't use long shackles between the longitudenal springs instead of adding the single transverse spring between them... Any particular reason for running the taller tires up front?

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Posted (edited)

The wheels were like this when I bought the chassis. I think the guy that I bought it from just through what he had laying around on there just to get it to roll. The larger front hubs are off of a later car and don't have bearings in them. That is another obstacle that I will have to deal with now. I hope to get a set of 24" wheels on there. If not, I'll settle for 21"wheels.

Edited by carlisle1926 (see edit history)

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I wouldn't be afraid to run the ones you have on there... i was just wondering why the size differentiation. Maybe you could add a good set of lever shocks to smooth out that rear ride...

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I've gathered a few parts recently for the project. I'll modify these One-Mile Ray marine spotlights and use them as headlights just because they are odd. I found this long sight gauge on Ebay and will use it for a gas gauge on the side of the tank. I also found this heavy black cast iron starter switch on Ebay. The steering wheel isn't perfect, but it fit right on the old Dodge shaft.

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Here is a bit of an update to the speedster project. I found a really nice set of 21" wheels and tires off of a Studebaker that are an exact match to my original wheels. I've been on the road working a lot lately and this is my first chance to post any new news. The original Dodge rear axle was junk, so I replaced it with a 1969 Mustang 8" Ford axle and then bisected my Dodge axle and welded the two halves around the Ford axle. It fit perfectly. Next I'll weld my Dodge mechanical brake backing plates in behind the Ford plates to hide the modern hydraulic brakes. I had to have the Dodge hubs turned down to fit the Ford bolt pattern, but it worked perfectly. They now bolt to the ford axle with special tapered flat head bolts.

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Keep up the great work. And the photos! There are lots of us considering speedsters for our next build.

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Posted (edited)

The axle ratio is 2.79. That might be a bit much with the large wheels. But, the Ford pumpkins swap out to a different ratio very easily.

Some good old fashion ingenuity going on there. What gears you running in the dif?
Edited by carlisle1926 (see edit history)

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Posted (edited)

I'm undecided on an engine. I'm wanting reliability, ease of maintenance, and availability of parts. I have a rebuilt 1970's 292 Chevrolet 6 cylinder here that would work, but I hate the idea of opening the hood to such a disappointing looking engine. I have access to several antique fire truck engines. A Seagrave V12, an American LaFrance V12, a 330cubic inch Mack flat head six and a Hercules 530 cubic inch six are all within reach. My main concern with any one of those engines is the likely hood of something going wrong in the middle of nowhere with a huge expense to fix. I help keep several old low mileage fire trucks going. It seems all these engines do is break down.

Edited by carlisle1926 (see edit history)

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The V12's would definitely be impressive! But like you I would worry about dependability and parts.

I am thinking about a Buick or Packard straight eight. They would be huge impressive engines in a speedster. Parts are not as much of a problem with total rebuilt kits available. A well known speed shop makes transmission adapters to adapt them to a modern trans. (probably an invisible concession I would make)

Thanks for the reply,

Dwight

Dwight

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Those are all some nice engine opptions.

I guess it comes to 3 things, What do you want to do with your speedster, how much do you want to spend to do that, and how cool do you want to be ,while doing it.

Reliability, performance, budget, wow factor, all key elements that need to be looked at and being carful not to cross over in to the "hot rod" catagory.

If you go with the V12, with that 2.79 dif, you had best put a heavy duty clutch in that thing, In low gear you would be doing something like 45mph at 1100 rpm!! What a blast that would be, then shift into second...... Yaahoooo!

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My goal when I started this project was to build a super low budget speedster with the capabilities of driving on long drives without trouble. I didn't care what the engine looked like as long as it was completely reliable and cheap. As long as the speedster was externally period correct, that is all that I cared about. If I use any engine other than the rebuilt and ready to go 292 Chevrolet 6 that I have, then I'm getting into several thousand dollars worth of engine rebuilding/ tune up with any other engine. Also, the 292 is a very light engine when compared to any of these V12 or big flathead 6 engines.

My big question that I'm asking myself now is, do I really want to have a puny ugly 292 Chevy under the hood that is sure to disappoint everyone when I open the hood, but be able to drive anywhere with cheap operating costs, or do I go with one of these wow factor engines that I can't afford to run and can't make it out of Houston without a costly repair. As much as I know I will hate the looks of it, the 292 is probably what will be used.

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I wouldn't mind the 292, There great motors. I have several in verious vehicles. I have one with .60 over piston, a lumpy cam, split headers with strait pipes. and a Edmons aluminum intake with a 650 4bl on top. chromed evey thing else. When it was in the 55 ford truck, people coudn't believe it when they saw it under the hood. The thing roared and sounded like a beast.

In your case I would clean up the crankcase and paint it aluminum colour. the block and head black. put on an unpolished aluminum rocker cover and fit oilers or priming caps on top. An Edmons double intake with apair of 97"s at each end. Headers of course. Put some copper/brass tid bits and piping hear and there,

could be fun.

The only thing thats a dead give away is the water pump and altinator.

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Since its Dodge(and a very cool project) an old straight four or 6 banger will do the jobb and be time right, but if you wanna have a 8 and cheap you cant beat a 1969 318:)

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I'd go with the flat 6. That would look cool. Remember your car will be half the weight as normal so a big strong engine is way over kill. I have a stock Model A engine with a Weber downdraft and a Model a high speed ring gear in mine. I'm pushing maybe 45-50HP and it will cruise at 65-70 MPH no problem. Anymore than that and you better have Hydrylic brakes and a roll cage on these old chassis'.

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My next project will be a Fast Four Dodger Speedster. I have a 27 Fast Four Engine and tranny. Also have a 26 DB Sedan.

Good Luck.

fred

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I am a big fan of the 292, it will take a lot of abuse, parts are cheap, and common. Put on an Offy triple single carb intake, aluminum finned air cleaners, aluminum finned valve cover and side cover. Split cast iron headers, and a marine cam. You will be proud of what is under the hood and it will look right and run great. You will have great selection of Tranny's too.

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