Cutworm Specialties of Hayesville, NC built what will probably be one of the standouts of this year’s SEMA show. The aluminum dually is inspired by a Ford Model A but is entirely scratch-built by hand. Check out the video from eGarage to see the truck in motion and the small shop where it was built. Cutworm specialties is based out of a building that used be a general store belonging to the owner’s grandfather who was also the inspiration for the name of the business. The two guys who built the truck take some time to explain why they loving building Hot Rods at the end.
Many people are calling Mulimatic Inc.‘s new ’32 Ford demo car “The world’s most advanced Hot Rod” or “The world’s best handling ’32 Ford.” These are bold claims which I’m sure plenty of people would like to contend, but today we’re going to talk about the unique suspension system that Multimatic has come up with. They call it their In-Wheel Suspension and as the name suggests, all of the components that guide the wheel travel are housed inside of the wheels. If you think about how much wheel travel a street car or race car needs, maybe 3 to 5 inches compression and 1 or 2 inches of droop, that range of motion can easily fit inside the diameter of modern 17 to 20 inch wheels.
What Multimatic has done is mounted the wheel to a hydraulic cylinder that controls its stroke. There are no control arms, pivots or even ball joints of any kind. As the wheel moves through it’s travel, hydraulic fluid is displaced which travels through lines to what is pretty much a remote coilover that’s mounted to the firewall. A spring mounted valve gives the suspension its spring rate and damping is adjusted very much like a traditional shock. The entire system allows for compact and flexible packaging for oddly shaped chassis. Having a single point of force transfer probably also means the chassis can be lighter since it doesn’t have to have hard mounting points for all the control arms and links.
As for whether or not the Multimatic has built the best handling ’32 Ford in the world remains to be seen. Though interesting from a packaging standpoint, the in-wheel suspension may have some major drawbacks. I would say the first one is maintaining the temperature of the hydraulic fluid. There’s a lot of energy being transferred and that will heat up the fluid which will change its viscosity and damping characteristics. I’m also curious about how good the handling of the car can be with a linear “axle path.” With this system, you can’t do things like camber or toe gain with loading. Without having driven the car, my guesses could be totally unfounded. Either way, Multimatic has built a cool hot rod and the In-Wheel Suspension system is a pretty fascinating concept to wrap your brain around.
Meet Gretchen, a hot rod with a 1931 Ford body, a 1952 Diamond-Reo tractor engine and a frame made from old light poles. It’s not a combination that many people would think of, but that’s the point. Gretchen represents what hot rodding should be about: reasonable priced cars that are cool because of the ingenuity of their builders. These are the cars that can be enjoyed and shared because their merit doesn’t come from sheer expense and perfection. I especially liked how the owner talks about being able to take the Gretchen to car shows and let kids climb all over it. In our world of the ever-growing skills gap, working with your hands is taboo and more and more chop classes are being cut from school budgets. We need cars like this to to expose the next generation to crazy gasoline engines that make more than 1600 foot-pounds of torque. It’s an uphill battle to inspire the engineers and fabricators of the future.
The Draguar is probably my favorite of the Hot Rod Magazine Road Kill episodes. The guys purchased a Jaguar with a clapped out Chevy 350 for $1000 and then bolted a gargantuan Weiand supercharger to it in a parts store parking lot. The car survives some burnouts, a road trip and a few passes down the drag strip before the engine gives up the ghost. Apparently they thought the car was cool enough to deserve a new engine. This episode is about the dyno prep of the new Ford 383 that’s going to make a home under what’s left of the hood of the Draguar. The process starts with a break-in run naturally aspirated before the Weiand supercharger gets bolted on and they go for broke cranking up the boost with smaller pulleys.
Basem Wasef of Car and Driver pays a visit to Jonathan Ward of ICON. Ward got his start restoring old Toyota Landcruisers through his company TLC. His business then evolved into producing super high-end resto-mod versions of old 4×4’s including the FJ40. His most recent line of cars kind of brings Ward back to the middle ground between his two businesses. The ICON Derelict line takes old cars with perfect patina and re-engineers everything underneath the body without restoring the outer appearance. 3D scans are used to fit a new Art Morrison chassis to the body powered by a modern engine while the interior is fitted with modern gauges and air conditioning cleverly hidden beneath all of the stock equipment. The guys have a pretty candid discussion of what it’s like to drive one of these everyday and the type of hardcore car geek they appeal to.