Lowell Unruh bought this stunning 1928 Ford roadster when he was in high school, more than 50 years ago. He turned it into a winner on the National Rod and Custom Association show circuit in the early 1980s and has just recently installed an ultra-rare Ford 427 SOHC engine in the venerable beauty.
Producing an estimated 650-700 horsepower, the 427 SOHC engine is more than adequate to motivate a 2,200 pound street rod down the highway. Ford built about 300 of these power plants, which were banned by NASCAR but went on to dominate in NHRA drag racing in the mid-1960s.
Mike Laughlin is credited with the deep Candy Burgundy Wine paint job on Unruh's beautiful roadster, which features monster Mickey Thompson rear tires mounted on 12-inch wide Halibrand rims. Unruh constructed his own headers from a Speedway Motors kit, sweeping them back into side pipes containing integral mufflers.
Yards of chrome light up the undercarriage of the roadster, with the Halibrand quick-change rear end and axle tubes getting the full treatment. Even the underside of the car was pinstriped by Steve Parks.
With the diamond-tuck upholstery spilling over into the trunk compartment, Unruh chose a 12-gallon gas tank from an old Gleaner pull-type combine for his fuel storage solution, accenting it with body color paint and a bright red Ford logo.
A stainless steel roll bar was artfully curved to fit the contours of the '28 roadster body, running through the seat bolster down to the frame, where it is reinforced with braces running to the rear of the car.
A set of vintage Stewart-Warner gauges fill the dash of the roadster, with a 4-spoke Lecarra steering wheel keeping the car pointed in the right direction. The heavy duty C6 automatic transmission is shifted via means of a tiny Mustang factory-style gear lever.
A set of blue-dot Pontiac tail lights from the early '50s add just the right touch to the rear pan of the roadster. Unruh says the `EZ GOIN' vanity plate describes his approach to street rodding these days.
Even these Mickey Thompson Pro-series 31x16.5x15 tires can't handle all of the power that the Hemi Cammer produces. Note the beautifully bobbed Model A fenders that make a valiant effort at covering the wide rubber.
Unruh has a second Ford SOHC motor in the works, this one mounting a massive 10-71 Littlefield supercharger on a rare Pete Robinson low-rise manifold. This aluminum block version is awaiting a set of heads and may end up in the little burgundy roadster at some point, boosting horsepower to over 1,000.