A Jeeper Builds A Hot Rod: Ratty Flatty - Video #EJS2016Posted in Moab Experience: 2016 on March 26, 2016
Ward Williams is an off-roader. And he is a Jeep guy. So when it came time to build a hot rod to cruise around town, it is no surprise that Ward built a low-slung flatfender. He used parts he had lying around from other projects and combine them with inspiration from past flatrods built by guys like Randy Ellis and John Cappa to build a fun cruiser for around town. Ward started with a 1947 tub that came with a title but little else. He put the tub on a boxed military M38A1 chassis and built a bench seat and a chopped windshield for his cruiser.
Power comes from a tired odd-fire V-6 engine out of Ward’s rockcrawler that is backed by a BOP-pattern TH400 out of a 1968 Oldsmobile. There is no transfer case on this flatfender, instead a stubby driveline routes power to the big bearing Ford 9-inch out of a pickup, complete with an unknown gear ratio. Front CJ-2A springs are used in the back with the NDT tires completely outside the tub, while up front things are less conventional, at least from a Jeep perspective. A hot rod transverse mounted leaf spring and radius arms locate the beam front axle that uses closed knuckle Dana 25 outers and drum brakes. The whole thing is so wrong it is just right. These aren’t the parts that you would spend top dollar on, but that is the point. Ward built a cool cruiser that reflects his Jeep lifestyle and did so without breaking the bank.
Ward took the tired 225 odd-fire V-6 engine out of his wheeling rig and put it in the flatrod. It breathes through no-name headers he got from a friend and custom side pipes. An HEI distributor lights the fuel that feeds from the Rochester two-barrel carburetor.
Ward’s Willys is full of fun little details like the canteen that has been repurposed as the radiator overflow tank. A mechanical fan draws air through the radiator and keeps the mild V6 cool, even without a fan shroud.
“I know, it is too shiny,” Ward confessed. The Griffin aluminum radiator has no problem keeping the odd-fire mill cool, but it doesn’t quite look the part of a vintage hot rod. Ward plans to scuff and paint the radiator so it doesn’t stand out so much.
An old hot rod trick is to use a Corvair reverse steering box on the outside of the frame. This is push-pull steering with a long drag link that runs parallel to the front radius arms. Even though this hot rod doesn’t have big wheel travel, bump steer can be an issue without the proper steering geometry.
Rolling stock consists of 31-inch-tall 7.50-15LT Denman Non-Directional Tires (NDTs) mounted on 5x5½-inch stock steel wheels that Ward got from a friend. The NDTs aren’t exactly the best hot rod tires but they sure look right on an old flatfender.
The front axle is a straight beam
The odd-fire engine uses a mechanical fuel pump on the block, which is plumbed to the two Jerry cans that are mounted in the back. The cans are plumbed together to provide ten gallons of fuel, plenty to cruise around town.
The marker lights and tail lights on the Willys were liberated from a Chevy pickup. They fit the era and theme of the flatrod, which uses a 1946 Willys body on a boxed M38A1 frame.
1947 Willys CJ-3A
Engine: 225 odd-fire V-6
Transmission: TH400 three-speed automatic
Transfer Case: n/a
Front Axle: Beam with Dana 25 outers
Rear Axle: Ford 9-inch
Springs & Such: Transverse leaf spring (front), factory front leaf springs (rear)
Tires & Wheels: 7.50-15LT Denman Non Directional Tires (NDTs) on factory steel wheels
Steering: Push-pull with Corvair steering box
Lighting: Factory headlights
Other Stuff: Jerry can fuel cell, Ice chest battery box, canteen overflow tank, Griffin radiator, 1-inch tube, M38A1 frame, HEI distributor