www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Wichita to host Special Olympics North America softball tournament -2/11/2015, 4:13 PM

Via Christi to offer 2 events to help people enroll for insurance -2/11/2015, 4:13 PM

Sedgwick County withdraws from National Association of Counties -2/11/2015, 4:13 PM

Kansas House panel holds hearing on marriage -2/11/2015, 4:13 PM

Community leaders coming together to discuss ending domestic violence -2/11/2015, 4:13 PM

Parkinson's Disease Support Group to meet in McPherson -2/5/2015, 12:05 PM

Cited owner's case includes 2-day jail stay -2/5/2015, 12:05 PM

Smoky Hills Audubon Society to host free program on protecting birds -2/5/2015, 11:10 AM

Shuttle crosses many paths -2/5/2015, 11:10 AM

Jury acquits man for aggravated assault -2/5/2015, 11:10 AM

Second police officer to appeal firing to City Council -2/2/2015, 8:07 AM

Highway closed for repair of ruptured gas line -2/2/2015, 8:07 AM

Drop, Cover, Hold On -2/2/2015, 8:07 AM

Bill would let home-schooled students play on public school sports teams -2/2/2015, 8:07 AM

Wichita school district's Choices Fair set for Thursday -1/28/2015, 4:07 PM

United drops nonstop service from Wichita to LA -1/28/2015, 3:04 PM

Teen accused of assaulting girl with knife at school -1/28/2015, 3:04 PM

Mission of Mercy to offer free dental care in Salina -1/28/2015, 3:04 PM

As Kansas turns 154, five events that shaped our state -1/28/2015, 3:04 PM

Kansas Senate set to pass 'constitutional carry' of concealed guns, no permit required -1/22/2015, 12:07 PM

Kansas Senate committee hears from medical marijuana supporters -1/22/2015, 11:04 AM

Defendant in burglaries case ID'd in video -1/22/2015, 11:04 AM

Barber Co. manhunt was short-lived on Facebook -1/22/2015, 11:04 AM

Airport boss shocked with surprise honor on 30-year work anniversary -1/22/2015, 11:04 AM

Meetings to discuss goals of education -1/22/2015, 11:02 AM

Wichita City Council could vote on marijuana issue Tuesday -1/22/2015, 11:02 AM

Salina woman's bank card fraudulently used -1/16/2015, 4:59 PM

Retiring judge marks end to an era -1/16/2015, 4:05 PM

Man accused of beating, shocking woman -1/16/2015, 4:05 PM

Wichita City Council votes 5-2 to move ahead with library plans -1/13/2015, 2:50 PM

Restaurant employee arrested for allegedly adding to tip -1/13/2015, 2:49 PM

Misdialed 911 calls from cellphones waste taxpayers' money -1/13/2015, 2:49 PM

Mahindra to launch Midwest distribution center in Lyons -1/13/2015, 2:49 PM

County commission votes Shadwick chairman -1/13/2015, 2:44 PM

Dr. Donna Sweet earns award from American College of Physicians -1/9/2015, 3:05 PM

Boeing on track with deliveries of Poseidon jets to the Navy -1/9/2015, 3:05 PM

Prosecutors receive additional reports in child torture case -1/9/2015, 3:04 PM

Politico: Huelskamp flip-flops on Speaker vote -1/7/2015, 11:00 AM

No-till farming focus of winter conference in Salina -1/7/2015, 11:00 AM

Negative publicity costly to county -1/7/2015, 11:00 AM

Hutch man pleads guilty to assault on officer -1/7/2015, 11:00 AM

Final person sentenced in connection with beating of Salina woman -1/7/2015, 10:59 AM

City Council to consider higher storm water utility fees -1/5/2015, 12:00 PM

Change for the better -1/5/2015, 12:00 PM

Sylvia home deemed total loss after fire -1/5/2015, 12:00 PM

New commissioners respond to county issues -1/5/2015, 12:00 PM

Man arrested in connection with alleged rape -1/5/2015, 12:00 PM

Man shot dead in Haysville during reported break-in attempt -12/30/2014, 11:02 AM

Cold front plunges much of Kansas into deep freeze -12/30/2014, 11:02 AM

Access TV looking to increase quality -12/30/2014, 11:02 AM

Voting for grants will end on Christmas Day -12/23/2014, 10:56 AM

Santa Claus welcome year-round at Hutch home -12/23/2014, 10:56 AM

Marquette tyke gets big wish; family destined for Disney World -12/23/2014, 10:56 AM

Kan. death has spurred work on virus -12/23/2014, 10:56 AM

Hospice rep goes to bat for nonprofit -12/23/2014, 10:56 AM

Cirque du Soleil coming to Wichita -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

V-Plan transmission line now in service -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Plains pupils: Pluto's a planet -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Hutch United Way campaign slips further from goal -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Hutch inmate charged with sexual assault -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Colorado teenager injured in 1-vehicle wreck on I-70 -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Salina Journal hires attorney to pursue names of county commission candidates -12/17/2014, 11:01 AM

Hays resident to sign copies of his book in Salina -12/17/2014, 11:01 AM

Grandview Plaza shows another clean audit -12/17/2014, 11:01 AM

Eighth-grader earns educational opportunity -12/17/2014, 11:01 AM

koch121514 -12/15/2014, 9:56 AM

Cattle rustlers hit several counties -12/14/2014, 6:13 PM

Michael McDonald brings soulful sounds of Christmas to Stiefel Theatre -12/12/2014, 12:02 PM

McCarville enjoyed Kan. Supreme Court work -12/12/2014, 12:02 PM

Constructing gingerbread houses en masse -12/12/2014, 12:02 PM

City redefines 'perennial violator' -12/9/2014, 11:59 AM

Feast day to shine with celebration, anniversary -12/9/2014, 10:56 AM

Ed board has lesson for 5 eyeing seats -12/9/2014, 10:56 AM

Century-old Christmas letter still has meaning -12/9/2014, 10:56 AM

Thirteen apply for commission seats -12/9/2014, 10:56 AM

Max Heim selected interim president of Colby Community College -12/9/2014, 10:56 AM

Gold coin gives needed boost to Salvation Army kettle campaign -12/9/2014, 10:56 AM

Abilene's Garfield Elementary has potential -12/5/2014, 5:54 PM

Man arrested for shoplifting at Salina Walmart -12/5/2014, 4:51 PM

Former school counselor sentenced for rape of 13-year-old boy -12/5/2014, 4:51 PM

Design for Central starts taking shape -12/5/2014, 4:51 PM

Kansas highway projects to proceed as state grapples with budget -12/4/2014, 2:00 PM

Foreclosures continue to fall in Kansas -12/4/2014, 2:00 PM

Sedgwick County trying to renegotiate IRS building deal -12/4/2014, 1:59 PM

Wichita police find 75-year-old woman -12/4/2014, 1:50 PM

High Touch acquires Overland Park technology services firm -12/4/2014, 1:50 PM

For five decades, TV anchor Larry Hatteberg stayed innovative, kind -11/29/2014, 5:58 PM

Details are sketchy on robbery at Kwik Shop -11/29/2014, 5:58 PM

Animal shelter director expected to take job in Amarillo -11/29/2014, 5:58 PM

Kobach on schedule to address Hutch tea party -11/29/2014, 5:57 PM

Some like it not: Graffiti unwelcome -11/29/2014, 5:57 PM

Defendant in Fairmount Park attack now charged with capital murder -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

Weigand shuffles executive leadership -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

Share the Season: Son's hospital stay put mom behind on bills -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

Sedgwick County property tax bills went out this week, some incorrectly -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

Injured vet, family find reasons to be thankful through hard times -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

Foster dad pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter in baby's death in hot car -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

WSU to dedicate upgraded lab to study electrical power -11/24/2014, 4:55 PM

Wilbur Middle School employee placed on leave after arrest -11/24/2014, 4:55 PM

Wichita investors announce plan for southeast Kansas casino -11/24/2014, 4:55 PM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Hot-rod builder saves biggest V-8 challenge for last

Published on -7/26/2014, 4:35 PM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

SALINA (MCT) — Dick Spracklin is an old hand at building hot rods. Over the years, he figures he's put together no fewer than a dozen early 1930s coupes and sedans with souped up V-8 engines.
"This is the last one. It was in pretty rough shape. This was the worst of the bunch. I kept it back for last," said the retired Salina firefighter.
"A buddy and I were driving around one day and we saw a bunch of old cars sitting there (in the Sylvan Grove area). One of them was this '31 Model A 5-window coupe. It was pretty well all there, but really rusty and rough."
But having built all those early hot rods, he knew he could bring this one back, too. So he hauled the coupe home and put the hulk in storage. Eventually, with the help of his son, Tom, he got to work on the project.
"He's a certified welder. We designed the chassis toward the Model A frame, but we added a few extras," Spracklin said. Extras like 4-bar front and rear suspensions that mount to custom fabricated brackets that blend seamlessly into the boxed metal frame rails.
The choice for a rear end was simple: a sturdy 9-inch Ford unit that uses coil-over-shock components to transmit power to the pavement. Spracklin likes the "highboy look," which involves removing the original fenders and running boards and substituting cut-down cycle-type fenders, with the body mounted atop the exposed chassis rails.
The bobbed rear fenders are the only fiberglass pieces on the coupe, with the sliced front fenders being metal trailer fenders sourced from Tractor Supply Co. and fitted to custom-made brackets.
Coker steel wheels were chosen for the vintage look, with ribbed beauty rings and late 1940s button-style hubcaps. BF Goodrich T/A tires, fat 275/60/15s in the rear, and diminutive 175/65/14s up front, comprise the rolling stock. Wilwood disc brakes were fitted at all four corners of the car.
Spracklin took the completed chassis to Grain Belt Supply in Salina and had it powder-coated in Safety Yellow, a color that would prove hard to match when it came time to paint the rest of the coupe.
He makes no bones about the inspiration for the look of the car.
"I was really enthused about that movie, 'American Graffiti,' " Spracklin admits. "The difference is, the car in the movie was a '32 and this is a '31."
To achieve the same profile, Spracklin decided to take a full three inches out of the top of the car. It proved to be a surprisingly easy task.
"These things are square. It was very easy. You just cut it off and drop it down," he said. The bulk of the body modifications were done at Calp Customs and Hot Rod Repair in Salina, where Rodney Geist finally matched the chassis color with a custom blend of R-N paint that is now known as "Spracklin Yellow."
Spracklin's powerplant of choice was a Chevy 350 crate engine mated to a 350 Turbo Hydramatic transmission built by Allen Cope of Tink's Auto Repair in Salina.
"I ordered the engine from Scholfield in Wichita. I called at 4 p.m. one day and the next morning at 8 a.m., it was on my driveway," Spracklin said. The engine was fitted with an Edelbrock intake and 4-barrel carb, along with Speedway Motors ram's horn exhaust headers, which are matched up to a full-length 2 1/2-inch stainless steel exhaust system built by son Tom, using Speedway "Smitty" stainless steel mufflers.
Spracklin chose a 1932-style grille shell and insert, but retained the 1931 hood top and sides. A flush-mount gas cap and thin third brake light round out the rear body work, which features 1939 Ford teardrop tail lights.
Inside, a pair of late model Pontiac Sunfire bucket seats were used, with pleats matched to the remaining custom upholstery stitched by Bev Crawford of Salina and installed by the owner. A tall Genie shifter topped by a helmet-clad skull shift knob give the snug interior some hot rod ambience, as do the twin sets of Dolphin gauges mounted in a flying wing dashboard insert.
Spracklin's coupe features an ididit tilt steering column topped by a Lecarra leather-wrapped wheel, cruise control, air conditioning, power steering, power windows and power door locks.
After he accidentally locked himself inside the car when the electrical system failed, he did, however, mount a set of Toyota pickup manual door releases inside, just in case.
"That's never going to happen to me again," he chuckled.
With more than 300 horsepower on tap, Spracklin says, "This thing just goes right on down the road."
He and his wife, Alma, have racked up a little less than 4,400 miles since the yellow highboy coupe was finished about three years ago, with most of those miles incurred on road trips to National Street Rod Association regional shows in Oklahoma City; Springfield, Mo.; and Louisville, Ky.
"It's a driver, not a trailer queen," Spracklin says. He plans to have the '31 on display at this week's Leadsled Spectacular in Salina.
Reach Mike Berry at mberry@wichitaeagle.com.
___
(c)2014 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.)
digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos