Jack McDermott's 1929 Ford

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Jack's roadster as it appeared when it was featured in Hot Rod Magazine December 1953. Photo courtesy of Hot Rod Magazine.
Photo courtesy of Hot Rod Magazine.
Photo courtesy of Hot Rod Magazine.
Photo courtesy of Hot Rod Magazine.
Photo courtesy of Hot Rod Magazine.
The old hot rod as it appeared when Bill Ruffner owned it. Photo by TOE.
Photo by TOE.
A photo of the roadster that Dan Roney took at Jennerstown Speedway around 2012. Photo courtesy of Dan Roney.
Photo courtesy of Dan Roney.
Photo courtesy of Dan Roney.
Photo courtesy of Dan Roney.

1929 Ford Roadster built by Jack McDermott in 1950. The 1929 Ford body was mounted on a set of 1932 Ford rails, which was Z'd in the rear to lower the car. Up front, the axle was dropped and filled. The fenders were made from Buick spare tire covers. The fender brackets were made from ordinary electrical conduit reinforced with iron bolts. The steering system originated from a 1935 Willys, which was much smoother than the stock unit. The deck lid was filled, the door handles were removed, and the hood latches were standard trunk buckles bought from a hardware store. Both hood sides were fit with 20 louvers on each side, costing 10c per punch. The rear end was modified by installing 1939 Ford teardrop taillights and by installing a MG bumper. Jack had Barris Kustoms paint the car once the bodywork was completed. The car had split wishbones, chromed shocks, and headlights. A 1932 Ford grille was installed, giving extra cooling to the warmed-over flathead, which once sat in a hot belly tank, the double century mark. The 1946 Mercury 268-cui flathead once ran 151 mph at the dry lakes in 1949. The engine featured a 1/8 bore, Clay Smith 262 cam, Potvin ignition, Edelbrock heads and dual manifold. Many of the components in the engine compartment were chrome plated, making the engine pretty neat. The interior was reupholstered by Bill Gaylord of Gaylord's Kustom Shop. Jack also fit the roadster with an adjustable 1930 Ford windshield. An Auburn dashboard was installed and reversed, giving it a recessed effect. Jack used solid 16-inch wheels, with Firestone motorcycle tires up front and standard Firestone 7.00-16 tires in the rear, which were found suitable with 3.78 rear-end gears.[1]

Sold to the East Coast

The car was sold to Elwood "Woody" Brougher of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1954 or 1955 for a total cost of $900. Woody owned Brougher's Speed Shop in West Mifflin, a suburb of Pittsburgh, and he made winter trips to California to buy speed parts for his shop and his racecars, which he raced at the local dirt track. In March of 2020, Dan Roney told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama that the speed shop was a side job for Woody since he worked in the steel industry, "it was only open in the evenings and maybe Saturdays." Dan went to the shop with one of his friends when he was 17. In 2020, he still had fond memories of the place; "I was 17 years old and joined a car club, The Axle Snappers, from Aspinwall, Pennsylvania, and one of the fellows in the club was going down to Woody's for something and asked me if I wanted to ride along. It was like asking me if I wanted to ride along to Mecca, to which I said sure. I didn't know what to expect, and the place turned out to be a big contradiction of thoughts. There was all the bright, shiny speed equipment all right, but the shop itself was a small old wooded building with one light bulb coated in cigarette smoke. The place had dirt floors and reeked of old cigarettes. Right outside the door was the streetcar tracks, and the building rattled when a streetcar went by. But I was at a speed shop, and it made my year."[2] The car was towed to Pennsylvania and would never hit the road until its recent restoration. the flathead was sold, and a Chevrolet V8 was installed, which eventually got sold as well. As time passed by, Gary Brougher, Woody's grandson, inherited the car.

Sold to Bill Ruffner

Gary sold the car to Bill Ruffner of Delmont, Pennsylvania on October 2 2004. By the time of the purchase, the car was missing its engine, radiator, wheels, and a few other miscellaneous parts. After buying it, Bill decided to restore the historic hot rod back to how it appeared on the cover of Hot Rod Magazine December 1953.[3] Bill drove the car occasionally, and he maintained it to try and keep it as original as he could.[2]

Up for Grabs

In the summer of 2022, Bill put the car up for sale. The price was on the high side of $100,000. Unconfirmed rumors has it that Jack McDermott's son bought the car from Bill.

Magazine Features

Hot Rod Magazine December 1953
Trend Book 122 Custom Cars 1956 Annual



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