While we were with Jason Pall on the Central Coast, he took us a few miles down the road to San Luis Obispo, to see some cool guys he hangs out with, all of which share Jason’s enthusiasm for banger motors, that is, the early pre-war, four cylinder flathead motors that were standard in Model A’ and B’ Fords. These guys all belong to a nationwide group called F.A.S.T. which stands for Ford A Speed Technology, and they’re all dedicated to hopping up, tuning, and racing these motors in various events. Jason himself runs this Washington blue A Roadster which when photographed already had a built four banger, though it was recently re-done again in time to show at the 2015 GNRS.
We met up with Mac Mclain, who may be well into his ’80’s, but along with his friend Phil Farber, can both be usually found in their shared workshop messing with old Ford’s. Mac built his stunning black A Roadster himself and also put together the wild four- banger ‘B’ motor, which features a rare Australian Jenkins head, three carb’s, and a home brewed inlet manifold. All polished and finished to show quality.
The guys don’t only work on four cylinder cars of course, as demonstrated by the neat A-V8 that was taking shape in the shop, and by the stock but cool ’41 Convertible that was in for a little fettling when we visited. Also, Phil’s ride for the day was his sweet Model A Roadster Pick-up rolling on steelie’s and with a neat line in nerf bars front and rear. The cool RPU is powered by a 59a Flattie, a ’39 trans and a ’39 Columbia 2-speed rear axle.
After a good look round, we headed out across town following the Model A’s, round a maze of industrial back streets until we got to another centre for Banger goodness, the ‘museum’ of Jack Dewar.
Jack Dewar has built himself a cool collection of Model A’s, most powered by hopped up four-bangers, and all housed in a purpose built workshop packed full of vintage memorabilia and neat old stuff. (He also owns the green ’41 Convertible). Under the various hoods of his cars were all the ‘names’ of vintage hot rodding, Navarro, Cragar, Evans, Riley, the list went on and on, and it was all fascinating stuff.
The two A’s in the header pic are also Jack’s, Phil kindly firing them up and pulling them out into the California sunshine for a few pictures. The green highboy and the blue roadster pickup are both actually Brookville bodied cars, and both have highly modified motor’s featuring a neat home brewed piece of equipment known as a four-in-one accessory front cover developed by Pat Garry, another local F.A.S.T member. This clever piece of kit bolts to the front of the block and uses the cam to drive the re-located distributor, plus a small water pump sourced from NASCAR circles. It is also possible to run a Hilborn mechanical fuel pump from it and provide an alternator mount at the same time.
Having spent time with these four-banger powered cars we can definitely see the appeal, even if they are even more expensive to build than the venerable Flathead V8’s, and they’re certainly not cheap to put together. Very cool though to see a bunch of guys keeping these old motor’s alive and continuing to develop the technology that really started hot rodding way back when.
Our thanks to Jason, Mac, Phil and Jack Dewar for showing us their great collection of cars.
Note: Another version of this article has been published in the May ’15 issue of Ol’ Skool Rodz, and also the Spring ’15 issue of Raydar Magazine.