Model T Hot Rods and Typewriters

It was my pleasure to meet Kirk Wright of Scottsdale, AZ at the Scottsdale Pavilion’s show. We started talking about my car, a 27 Ford Roadster and the the 2.3L Pinto motor I run. Then Kirk started telling me about some of his cars. After hearing about the Model T ‘banger motors he was building, I set up a meeting at his house to see what he’s up to. His card says AAA Typewriter Service on it, so I didn’t know what I was getting into. I got into this:
Hot rod Model T hemi
If you’re into nostalgia racing or old-OLD time hot rodding, or just really into Model T’s, then you just spilled your beer. You’re looking at a one of kind Hemi headed model T engine. The valve cover is also a unique piece.

Modified Ardun valve cover for custom Hemi 4 banger

It’s a modified original Ardun valve cover. Kirk added extra room to clear the custom made aluminum roller rockers. Displacing 190 cu. in, Kirk expects this engine to put out about 320Hp. Don’t believe it? Kirk’s basing that number on another T engine he’s built and dyno’d. That’s in another T pickup that Kirk’s owned since 1951 when he was 11, bought with $50 saved from 3 years of picking cotton. The whole story’s told in a book Kirk wrote himself called “Me and the T”. It’s on old trapper’s truck used in Young, AZ.

Hot rod skinning truck with OHC model T motor

At first glance, you might see this truck as an unusual, but not extraordinary rat rod. You’d be mistaken. Looking past another 4 cylinder bad-ass, you’ll find 4 wheel, power assisted disc brakes, rack and pinion steering and a cleverly hidden alternator mounted on the rear axle near the wheel. Too cool.

Hot rod skinning truck with disc brakesOHC four banger Model T motor up closePower brakes on the hot rod model Thot rod model T

This ‘banger makes 278Hp. I asked if that’s dyno proven and Kirk honestly told me that this engine’s an exact copy of one that did dyno at 278. How can an engine designed almost 100 years ago take that much power? Even Kirk thinks Henry would, “Shit his pants” if he saw what’s being done to his engine. I thought for sure it’d run hot, but thanks to an external oil pump from a Subaru and an entirely new oiling system and cooler, it hold 12 quarts of oil. It never gets hot and never stops turning heads. What could be better? Kirk drives the truck all the time and runs it hard! He just got a speeding ticket on the highway a few days before we met. GO KIRK!

I couldn’t be happier with what I’d seen so far, then I saw this vintage Hill Climb racer and record holder from 1976:

hot rod uphill race T. Waiting for Hemi four banger

Then, walking past the Dodge SRT-10 Ram (naturally, it’s way beyond stock) I saw this speedster in progress:

Hot rod speedster Kirk was building

And then this 1911 Ford Model Torpedo that belongs in a museum but is plugged into a battery tender, just in case Kirk want to go for a spin:

1911 Ford Model Torpedo

I plan to write more about another T motor in Kirk’s garage, the T parts he’s got, the custom race T parts he designed and made, his plans for the hill climb racer and even the vintage racing pictures he’s got on the wall. I’d do it now but I can’t remember everything Kirk said! I left amazed and anxious to write this story but had to wait almost a week until Sunday’s paper came out. Seems the local paper found Kirk pretty amazing, too. Look for more info and details about everything soon. It’ll be a good excuse to go back and see the soft spoken gentleman who repairs typewriters.

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Custom hot rodder Kirk Wright of Scottsdale and his Hemi Model T

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