Norm Milne's 1931 Ford

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A pre war version of Norm's roadster featuring a chopped stock windshield and rear fenders. Photo courtesy of Jeff Faeber.
A newspaper clipping about the Thunderbolts 50 year reunion held in February of 1995. The photo shows Norm in his roadster back in 1945. This street legal version of the roadster featured frenched Pontiac headlights and wipers. Scan provided by Jeff Faeber.
Norm's roadster at the Alkali dry lakes near the Reno Air Force Base in 1947 or 1948. Mel Falconer's 1939 Ford is parked in the background.
A detail photo of the Westergard windshield with cowl spot for the glass.
Restoration pictures from Randy Rods Inc.
A photo of the restored version of Norm's roadster. Photo courtesy of Jeff Faeber.

1931 Ford Model A Roadster owned by Thunderbolts auto club member Norm Milne of Sacramento, California. Norm was the first President of the Thunderbolts, and his roadster featured bodywork by Harry Westergard. The first version of Norm's roadster was built prior to WWII. This version featured a chopped stock windshield and rear fenders. By 1945 the car had been restyled further by Harry Westergard, featuring a DuVall looking windshield that came from a 1939 or 1940 Ford. The windshield had the bottom 5 or so inches cut off. The stand fit the windshield perfectly, and the bottom of the windshield went into a .5 tall slot on the cowl. The windshield could be removed for lakes racing in a matter of seconds. Norm's roadster was built to be a comfortable and a fully legal road car. The car had legal headlights, road height, front license plate, and windshield wipers. It featured 1932 Ford frame rails, and a 1932 Ford grille. The radiator filler was under the hood, and there were no projecting door or trunk handles. In the rear the frame had a 4 inch cut to allow more axle travel. The front and rear springs were flattened one leaf at a time to lower the car. The Inside the car sported a 1936 Plymouth gauge cluster. A column shift was used to avoid clutter of floor shift.

Norm's roadster was powered by a Mercury flathead that had been bored and stroked to nearly 300 cubic inches. Ford high altitude heads filled by Arco Welding Company brought the compression ratio to over 10 to 1. The flywheel was trimmed flat and heavy springs were put into pressure plate. Special Grant pistons were used and the entire engine was balanced by Hall-Scott. A Potvin Linc-Z ignition was used and a single twin throat carb was reworked for a stock manifold which was ported and mated to the block. The block was ported and relieved with hand built headers and the exhaust exited through the rear deck panel. An assortment of high speed jets were bored out for the carb and tuned on exhaust analyzer.

In 1949 Norm's roadster was featured in Hot Rod Magazine July 1949, by then the engine had been fit with Meyers heads, Offenhauser manifold and a Weber car. According to the story, the roadster had been timed 114 mph with SCTA in 1947.[1]

Randy Lackey of Randy Rods Inc. in Williams, Oregon bought the car in the mid 90s. He drove it for some years, before he in 2005 decided to restore it back to its original condition.

Magazine Features

Hot Rod Magazine July 1949





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