The Rat Trap

Between 2008 and 2015, I had the privilege to work for one of the most traditional speed shops in Brazil, Powertech, the company was founded with a noble mission: to bring performance parts from the USA to South America, helping a legion of gearheads who craved speed but had nowhere to go. Powertech’s founder, João Alexandre de Abreu, is probably the most knowledgeable car guy I ever met. He is also responsible for bringing drag racing to a professional level in Brazil, but this might be a story for another post.

Powertech garage.

During my time at Powertech, one of my responsibilities was to take care of the “classic cars” the boss had for sale. One can’t complain about a job that requires cleaning, fixing little issues and driving around a collection of classic cars, from the 1930s to the 1970s, including some cool hot rods too.

Even though I remember most of them (if not all), some stand out, such as this 1929 Ford Tudor rat rod

The car was pretty much finished when it arrived at Powertech and only a few changes had to be made to bring it up to the boss’s level.

Picture courtesy of Revista Hot Rods

The hot rod was first powered by a 318″ small-block Mopar but when it came to us, the engine had already been replaced by a more “classic” unit, a 221″ Ford Flathead V8. The engine is easily identified as a first-gen, by the two water pumps placed in front of the cylinder heads, built between 1932 and 1936. The mill is bone stock but the team installed a pair of Stromberg 97 carbs, mounted on top of an Eddie Meyer Hollywood aluminum intake.

The Flatty is bolted to a 3-speed manual tranny that was removed from Chevy pickup truck.

The spoke rims were custom built by the Powertech team, 17″ in front and 19″ in the rear, wrapped with Firestone whitewall tires (4.75 x 5” and 5,25 x 5.50″).

The radiator grille came from a 1934 Ford and the big headlights from an REO truck that we don’t even know the year, very rare indeed.

The roof was chopped 2 1/2″ and to give this ultra-low stance, the body was channelled but I don’t remember how many inches.

A little explanation for those not really into the Hot Rod universe: channelling is a process of removing the car’s body of the frame, cutting the floor loose and reattaching it higher inside the body. This modification allows the entire body to rest closer to the ground without messing up with the suspension.

Picture courtesy of Revista Hot Rods

The interior is very simple, as a hot rod should be in my opinion. The gauges came from a 1939 Ford and the steering wheel from a 1970s Chevy SS.

Ratoeira

Picture courtesy of Revista Hot Rods

Although the car is “too clean” to be qualified as a Rat Rod, the team considered it as such. After a while, it became known simply as “rato”, the Portuguese translation for rat. Old-timers like me called it “ratoeira” (rat trap), a term well known at race tracks, referring to a race car so poorly built that would most likely kill the driver.

I had the opportunity to drive the Rat Trap at our local race track, during a hot rod meeting in 2012. Picture courtesy of Dragsterbrasil.com

The Rat Trap took an awful long time to be sold, and during that time we drove it to many hot rod/classic car meetings that happened in our town. Naturally, the team became attached to the car.

Now I just wonder if the new owner is treating it with as much care as we did.

Note of the editor: “The Flatties have their own music so, let them sing“. Check it out the video below and listen to the Rat Trap sound.

Published by Rubens Junior

Passionate about classic cars, motorcycles, airplanes, and watches.

One thought on “The Rat Trap

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