Friday, June 10, 2011


Built on a modified Model A chassis, Sarasota Café Racer Bill Stelcher’s recreated ‘Riley Special’ is powered by a hot-rodded late-model (1932) four-banger.
In 1929 you could buy a brand new Ford Model A roadster for just $385.00. Powered by a 200-cubic inch Flathead four-cylinder engine rated at 40 horsepower at 2,200 rpm, it had a top speed of 65 mph. Back in the day, select Ford dealers and speed shops offered Model T and A owners who wanted more performance two-place Speedster bodies as well as OHV and OHC conversions for their Flathead Fours. 

Popular brands of conversion heads included Cragar, Rajo, Riley and Winfield. Modified early Ford Fours delivered V8 performance and powered roadsters and belly tankers (Lakesters/Streamliners) that could be found on weekends at the dry lakes (El Mirage and Muroc) and racetracks in California. They were part and parcel of the birth of hot rodding in the U.S.