Hot Rod Magazine Feature: 1923 Ford/Fiat Custom

The 1950’s and 1960’s brought about some pretty cool customs, many of which were one offs. Several of those one off built cars have disappeared, but thankfully a few of them do sift to the surface like this unique low slung machine. Described as a mix up of Ford and Fiat parts, this small roadster has a great appearance, and would be an awesome piece of history to restore to its magazine condition. With a lengthy 9 day auction, this hot rod has been bid up to $1,050. Be sure to take a look at it here on ebay out of Sacramento, California. Thanks to reader Peter Rettig for this awesome custom submission!

With a flathead V8 neatly nestled into the chassis, you start to get some perspective on how small, and how low this car really is. The current short block looks like a solid unit to rebuild, and the chassis overall appears without any faults.

Taking a look at this car’s past, it is easy to see its immense appeal, and American flair.  4 carbs singing while wheeling down the road must have been a real treat in this machine.

The cockpit is narrow, and you would sit just about level with the driveshaft. The wacky elongated shift lever is still in place, and is certainly a specific piece to this classic car puzzle. There is some evidence of the wood floor, but it would seem that little of the interior has survived. The aluminum dash panel remains, and gives some hints as to how this car was set up in its past.

The body appears to be all there, but there are a few changes from its magazine appearance. The trunk lid is no longer louvered, and is now a smooth piece. Despite the minor surface rust, the body is in nice shape looking only to need prep work for paint. The easily recognizable windscreen from the magazine is present, but the glass looks to have been involved in an accident. As the seller has mentioned, it seems that many of the unique parts for this car remain. With that being said, it seems fathomable that this car could be rebuilt to its 1950’s glory. Would you take on the opportunity to rebuild this custom classic?

WANT ADS

WANTED 1979 Chevrolet Monza Looking for the Town Coupe version, brown, ideally California but willing to buy from anywhere. Contact

WANTED 1966 Pontiac Grand Prix Rust free vehicle. Interior and motor/transmission not important. Need good sheetmetal Contact

WANTED 1981-1983 Chrysler Imperial Looking for an excellent condition Imperial, preferably in original, unrestored condition. Contact

Submit Your Want Ad

Comments

  1. Metoo

    Geez! It’s been a hard road down from what it was.

  2. Derek

    Note to whomever buys it: Please, please, please, don’t drop a SBC in it, keep the flat head.

  3. TriPowerVette

    Wow! Wow! Wow!

    Blue Chip investment.

    It is said that the raison d’etre for art is that it EVOKES emotion.

    If so, this is a masterpiece.

    Nobody who looks at it would have no opinion. Anyone with ANY interest in the automobile hobby would have VERY STRONG opinions.

    Art. Pure. Simple.

    Like 2
  4. Mike

    Same car as photo? Grill in front of axle in pic, not behind.

    • jdjonesdr

      Really hard braking in reverse?

    • Ian

      Looks like the axle was moved forward, check the picklefork attachment location

  5. Madmatt

    What happened to this car…?Wow was really cool…!
    Yes..,please keep the flathead..!I can’t believe
    HRM doesn’t want to buy it back and re-do it themselves?
    This would be a fun build,….and you could tell a
    great story along the way..!

  6. Joe Haska

    Are all you guys smoking dope? Or you just don’t know anything about Hot Rod history. When I first saw the car, I couldn’t place it at all, then I saw the photo feature ,and I remembered it , I didn’t like it then. Where are you getting the idea that this car has some magical connection to HRM. It was in the magazine, not a cover car, not a built by the Magazine or staff, NADA, it was a small article.
    Keep the flathead, by all means-what flathead, you talking about the block sitting between the frame rails? I would bet any amount of money, its cracked and might make it for scrap. You could save the sectioned deuce grill shell, except the really hard part , the vertical bars are gone. I would hang it on the garage wall. HRM buy it back, back from what? A fun build, what do you think your building a past AMBR car. Blue chip investment, boy would I hate to have you for a financial planner. The whole thing is worth scrap metal price’s. The windshield frame is just aluminum framing ,maybe from a new screen door ,at the time. The cowl 1/2 the body panels and deck lid are sheet metal. There are sections of a 27 T, in there somewhere ,but who knows where. Oh, and that custom billet aluminum dash, has to be a rare piece, with the holes in it. I wonder if they custom drilled them on a Bridgeport?
    I am sorry people, I get a little upset, but it is obvious if you are much under 60 years old, you don’t have a clue , and have no idea what traditional old Hot Rods are. Think about it back then, guys built junk too, just like they can now, and that’s fine, but don’t confuse every piece of old sheet metal you see, as a diamond in the rough, it just isn’t.
    You all seem to have opinions about Rat Rods, this could make a Rat Rod. Quien Sabe? Maybe it was the first Rat Rod, and is worth a small fortune, knock your light out!

    • Wiley Robinson

      I love this response. Yea, it was goofy looking when it was all there.

    • Derek

      I think you’re wrong Joe, I don’t see anything there from a “27 T”, it looks to me like a circa 1925 Fiat 509 roadster which has had the doors welded up and smoothed over. I would say the windshield is most likely brass or bronze and nickel or chrome plated. At some point, the chassis has been altered (lengthened?) to put the front axle ahead of the shell and I think the proportions of the car have benefitted from the change. When I said, “keep the flathead”, I didn’t necessarily mean the rusty old block that was sitting between the rails, I meant perhaps another Ford flathead in more serviceable condition. The car originally had a flathead Ford with 4 deuces in a row. Nice!
      I think it’s a pretty neat car even if it’s a little different and not the same old boring trad hot rods that we’ve all seen a million times. I think the car is well worth saving and yes, I am well over 60 years old, I’m not “smoking dope”, and I’ve owned literally hundreds of cars of all kinds.

      • TriPowerVette

        @Derek – Amen. I’m 65 years old, and have noticed that one of the things that happens when someone who thinks he knows it all enters his two bits, is (many times) they claim to possess their own wizened head and declare that I (and other who disagree with them) must be some upstart with no background.

        I gave you a thumbs up.

  7. Ikey Heyman

    I agree with Joe, he makes good points – but technical aspects aside, there is a “cool” factor here that appeals to me (and I’m over 60).

  8. grant

    Couple of nitpicks, Joe is right, there’s no flathead in there, it’s a bare block. A “short block” would include the reciprocating assembly, valves and a cam. This is just a block, and why the hell would anyone install a bare block in the framerails? Because they found this as a pile of parts and wanted to make it look more complete. This is scrap metal shaped like an awkward car.

  9. Kevin Tapply

    I strongly suspect this is a scam to make someone believe that the car for sale on ebay is the same car as the one in the story… Look closely folks, there is no way nature could have damaged that original car so much that it would result in this pile of crap…. Here are a few examples; wishbones were originally chromed, no evidence of chrome here, The rear deck lid was nicely welded and formed to shape, looks like a 12 year old in welding class welded this POS. Original car in magazine did not have a hood, this one has something that looks like it was cut with a hacksaw. Run, don’t walk, away from this “Opportunity”.

    • grant

      Shoot Kevin nailed it. This “car” is fake. If you look carefully there are a lot of differences.

  10. Joe Haska

    Thanks guys you didn’t disappoint, I thought someone would be a little up-set. Sorry Derek, I stand by my comments, because I don’t know what a 1925 Fiat 509 roadster looks like, I would think pretty bad, if it resembles this “car”. Also, boring traditional Hot Rods, we see all the time. You miss the point, this is being past off as a piece of Hot Rod history, and HRM car (no such thing). This is being represented as a fine example of a Hot Rod from the late 50s or early 60’s ,it isn’t.
    I have also had way over 100 cars and a large % were early Ford Hot rods, and I am 75, but that’s got nothing to do with it. You just don’t know what you are looking at!

  11. Coventrycat

    Hey look, no “patina” or matte paint – people actually painted their hot rods back then! What on earth were they thinking?

  12. jw454

    Not that it matters but, I don’t think this is the same car as the HRM car. Maybe someone liked the one from the magazine and tried to duplicate it.

  13. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    Doesn’t look like gauges ever were mounted in that thin aluminum dash panel. I’m not smoking dope presently, but as someone who’s done the flathead Ford/T bucket route using “found” parts it is entirely possible that someone, or many others, tried to duplicate the orange magazine car in their garage in southern California! I’ve attached a photo of a Fiat from 1925. The magazine car may have started with one, and the one for sale may have been an attempt to replicate the delicate “rise” to the cowl and other Fiat features. Either way, I hope this auction ends where it stands at $1000 and the buyer has a flathead ready to fit to the car. Then begin the years-long trial of fabricating and working with the metal body for giggles.

  14. TriPowerVette

    Ladies and Gentlemen;

    This morning, in an effort to impose some sanity on this chest-beating session, I wrote the owner, and the below is his response. FWIW

    ===========================================================

    Hello (No Name Given)

    1. The discussion while worth a chuckle is not all that accurate. 2. Two people a consensus does not make. That being said there were some good points relating to this car.

    1. It has led a hard life since its glory days 2. The fact that it is a neat piece. 3. While not as valuable as a ford/cover car/more noted car it is worth someone bringing it back to life. 4. Yes for the most part it is a pile of parts mocked up…as the photos clearly shown.

    So as to the cars originality…. the body, grill, some suspension pieces, headers, shifter, hood, hood sides, among other things are clearly identifiable (if you look at the photos). The frame has clearly been modified (lengthened) so that is why the grill sits in a different location etc. More to the point of the (2) conspiracy theorists (just kidding)…. no one would try and reproduce this car! I can’t believe I even had to say that out loud.

    A few answers to facts/consensus makers (again I jest)
    Block “I would bet any amount of money, its cracked and might make it for scrap”. Nope good solid core mostly installed to hold up trans and mock up headers
    “The windshield frame is just aluminum framing ,maybe from a new screen door ,at the time.” Steel windshield frame that was on the car in the magazine
    “Oh, and that custom billet aluminum dash, has to be a rare piece, with the holes in it. I wonder if they custom drilled them on a Bridgeport?” Sheet of aluminum probably drilled with hole saw in someones garage in the 50’s. This was probably screen door material!
    ” The rear deck lid was nicely welded and formed to shape” Nope, it had a chrome trim around the deck lid and overlapped the rear opening
    “Original car in magazine did not have a hood” Uhhh yes it did, again look at the photos

    As to your question of proof please see above and the photos provided in the listing. As to your statement of crude…these cars were crude back then. Crude only lends to the originality of this car.

    Regards, Roger

  15. HARDBALL

    @TriPowerVette:

    Why did you go and contact the owner???

    We were having too much fun arguing.

    Now you have come along and spoiled it!

    That’s just great!! Thanks a lot.

  16. Kevin Tapply

    I don’t but it.. then again I am not “Buying it”.,

  17. Joe Haska

    TriPowerVette, I went to this site this morning with the intention of giving you my e-mail and phone and saying if you want to visit I will explain to you and give you the facts of why I said what I did, and I still will
    But when I read the comments from the owner, I went totally balastic because he obviously knows nothing! All the cars were crude back then that’s beyond stupid. Maybe someone has heard of , the Doane Spencer roadster, the Eddie Dye roadster , Bob McGee’s roadster. Bkackie Gajean,s AMBR roadster, Barris Ala Kart, Niekamp roadster AMBR winner. the Dick Flint roadster, and if I thought I can just keep naming them. If you want to see these cars and how bad they were here are some references. Dain Gingerelli Hot Rod Milestones, Ken Gross, same title, Don Montgomery series of books on the history of Hot rods. David Featherston, woodies to hot rods , he has done them all. Pat Ganaul, more title than I can name , Allen Mayes old skool hot rods.
    These are not only authors and experts on the subject but all good friends of mine, and if you look close, you will see some of my cars in their books.
    Sorry for being so passionate about the subject, but it is important to me to get, this part of automotive history right, check the facts know who is telling you what and why, don’t perpetuate B.S.
    Joe Haska jhaska@Comcast.net 303-668-4994

  18. TriPowerVette

    I’m sorry, I have been trying to answer Mr. Haska for over an hour, and it keeps dumping my contribution, saying “Slow down, you are posting too fast”. The good news is, that I am following the advice of several BF contributors and already saved the text in a file, but it seems no use.

  19. TriPowerVette

    Now, it is saying that I am trying to post a duplicate comment. Moderator: Just let me know when the site will let us carry on what is proving to be a very interesting thread.

  20. Joe Haska

    TriPowerVett, I posted my info for you, as I would have no issue, with talking with you and try to explain where my point of view is coming from.
    This conversation reminds me a little bit of the year I took my wife to Bonneville, she stood there and watched, while another gentlemen and I carried on an intense conversation ,and when we finished, she looked at me and was laughing. I said what! She said this must be the only place on the planet that you two guys could talk about something, that nobody else cares about, or even knows what you are saying, and you are very serious and intense. I can’t remember now what it was, probably Triumph motorcycles or B class roadsters, who knows, but she was right.
    Or “What we have here is a failure to communicate” cool hand luke

  21. Joe Haska

    Tripower, I posted my info for you, as I would have no issue, with talking with you and try to explain where my point of view is coming from.
    This conversation reminds me a little bit of the year I took my wife to Bonneville, she stood there and watched, while another gentlemen and I carried on an intense conversation ,and when we finished, she looked at me and was laughing. I said what! She said this must be the only place on the planet that you two guys could talk about something, that nobody else cares about, or even knows what you are saying, and you are very serious and intense. I can’t remember now what it was, probably Triumph motorcycles or B class roadsters, who knows, but she was right.
    Or “What we have here is a failure to communicate” cool hand Luke

    • TriPowerVette

      It’s not fair. They won’t even let me post mine, and yours gets posted twice! Well… I guess we all know who’s the favorite, don’t we…?

      My wife and I were just now outside, watching the Lunar eclipse.

  22. Joe Haska

    Tri Power, my wife and I did the same “Pretty Cool”! I had the same problem posting, so I am not the favorite, I changed the wording a bit and it took it, e-mail me direct. I am a glutton for punishment. Plus no else cares! joe

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.