JULY 28, 2011 (AUGUST 2011) : A NASTY ’27 MODEL T TRUCK WITH A BUILT-IN FLAG CONTROVERSY

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Lou Shirvell has coveted a Model T hot rod since he was 15.

 

A more experienced hot-rodder asked him “have you ever ridden in a T? It’s the roughest riding vehicle ever built?”

 

An undeterred Lou found what he wanted decades later and this classic rod is the end result of the search.

 

It’s a natural fit-Lou looks like a hot rod guy from Hollywood casting.

 

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But he didn’t count on the flag controversy.

 

The story begins with Lou’s passion for early Chrysler Hemis. He’s accumulated them since his first one-a 1953 Imperial. It was rusted so badly that the hinges were seized but it had that magic heartbeat-a 1st generation Hemi.

 

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Since then Lou has nearly cornered the market on vintage Hemis because as he says,“anytime I see a Hemi I buy it. And I travel with a car hauler”. One of his more lucrative purchases was a 70,000 mile ‘67 Hemi GTX that he kept for 2 years then sold to continue his search for a T.

 

His infatuation with all things Model T and Hemi engines is even more inexplicable when he confesses that, “I’m really a Chevy guy“. But the search ended when he found this T and after a 2-year build he had his dream machine.

 

This little T is a classic street rod that combines function and form. For example, the floors are 3/8 inch steel “just in case he gets T-boned“. The motor is a period correct-no surprise..a 392 Hemi. Lou went straight-on old school with a 50s “anything can work” philosophy so the little T has an ‘82 Vette rear end, 1947 IHC steering column, Turbo 400 transmission and a ‘47 Fargo horn.

 

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Lou may have overshot the runway on this lightweight little street demon because he’s run 128 mph in the quarter mile including 3 passes at 12 seconds where as he reported, “they kicked me off because I didn’t have a roll cage”. He’s philosophical about that though because he knows that the results will stand forever.

 

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Now he’s content to run the odd 1/8-mile in the T “just to blow the carbon out” plus he’s always on the road facing real weather. In fact, the weather has been so real that he was caught in a major hailstorm where “ I never had a top, just sunglasses and a ball cap, I ended up with a cab full of 4 ½ inch hail just after I went into a 400 foot skid. A couple of motorcyclists had stopped because of the weather and they thought I was a stunt driver”.

 

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Most importantly, Lou has found what he’s wanted since he was a kid. He admits that the inner kid in him takes over every time he points this little T with the gargantuan motor down the highway.

 

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The flag controversy? Somebody with a website dedicated to cars of the 50s and 60s took a picture of his T and put it on the site-without the Canadian flag on the radiator.

 

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Maybe it was an Iranian, North Korean or Libyan site but on this site we celebrate flags and cars from all over the globe, so here’s a final look at Lou’s dream T.

 

 

Jerry Sutherland

 

For more car guy stories click here-https://www.mystarcollectorcar.com/

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