The Rat Rod. “What is it?” You may ask as it passes by, loud and low, the hints of something familiar, but still not quite what you would expect. “That’s a 1924 Ford Model T? It doesn’t look like what I would have thought it should.” I have heard this at many a car show while standing next to a rat rod.
Often, these machines are amazing feats of engineering and ingenuity, as well as a wonder of how they even drove to get where they are. Most of the time, what comes from the imagination is pure excitement to look at and to listen to. Take a look at what John Sawatzky is doing with his ’24 Model T, and be amazed!
Make sure to check out all of the photos at the end of the article and remember, this project is currently being built.
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Name: John Sawatzky
What type of vehicle is this?: Rat Rod
Make, Model, Year of Project: 1924 ford model T custom
What stage is this in?: Somewhere between complete and not sure if it will ever get finished
When did you purchase it and for how much?
My budget was the price of an engagement ring that I sold back because I ended up single ( $1800)
Why did you choose this vehicle?
I chose this body because it had history, was the first family car of an old farmer from Blairemore, Alberta, Canada
What sort of condition was it in when you started the project, what was wrong with it, etc.
It was just a body, no frame, no rust, no big dents.
What, specifically have you done, or had done to it?
I started with just a body.
I have had to custom make the frame, all mounting points for body, front suspension, rear axle, motor.
I also custom made front swing arms, headlight mounts and radiator mounts.
Can you list any and all parts that you have put in?
Front and rear springs and Hassler shocks from a 1916 Ford Model T.
230 inline 6 from a 1951 Chevy pickup
rear axle from 1982 Chevy pickup
4 speed trans
headlights from a 1926 Chandler
front axle from a 1949 GMC pickup
Where have you purchased your parts?
All my parts were found on local buy and sell sites. After reading blogs about what parts are compatible with each other, and searched out parts that fit my budget, and would work together, the engine/transmission combination was the most important, as the rest can be made to work.
What about you?
I am 38 years old
I am a welder/fabricator by trade and gear head by passion.
I grew up with American muscle v8’s, and dirt track cars.
My first project was a 2005 dodge neon srt4, which I built a 300hp autocross car out of from stock .
I started this project because I was getting ready to get married to a gal who left me. I took the money from the engagement ring and decided to build a car that was different, being a bit of a greaser, a rat rod was my first desire to have.
With my mechanical knowledge and fabrication skills, I set off on an amazing build.
Any stories regarding this project?
This project has an amazing story, it has kept me sober for the last 2 years, and a bunch of guys in my current car club have spent many nights in my garage learning fabrication and mechanical skills from me as I have been fabricating the metal work, and doing the mechanical work.
It has allowed me to meet other car guys in my area, and hear the history from some of the older parts I have acquired.
After taking on this project it gave me the privilege to help restore another classic (1949 GMC truck) where I traded my fabrication skills for a bunch of the spare parts that were headed for the scrap bin.
I was about a year in to working on the project when I got laid off, and someone who was following my build on Facebook offered me a job because of my unique ability to design and fabricate a way to make parts work that normally shouldn’t go together.
Any garages, parts stores, fabrication shops, etc you want to call out specifically?:
I would like to give a big shout out to inliners.org for their blogs and information on old mechanics, and rockauto.com for the rebuild kits and parts I need, and the “turbo Camaro” build on YouTube for all the information on rebuilding and modifying the inline 6.
Make sure to check out all of the pictures. Click the first one and scroll on through to the end. Remember, this build is a current project and not yet complete, so come back as there may be updates as he finishes it up.
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