Darrell Zipp designed and began manufacturing his version of a Ford “lakester” in the early part of 1999. These fiberglass kits were quickly embraced by the “street rod” crowd and known for their high quality body panels and reasonably rigid frames. I’ve read in the past that Darrell used “Hot Wheels” models as his inspiration – adding modern hard tops, his own interpretation of ’27 Ford lines, and other details that you wouldn’t think would lend themselves well to traditional hot rodding.
Life, as they say, finds a way… and so did our seller. What you see here is the second Zipper built in the Grand Junction, Colorado shop by Mr. Zipp. It was sold as a roller with a Model-A banger in 1999 and subsequently “backdated” into what looks and feels like an early Ford lakester. The seller did a great job providing the details for this listing, so I figured it was best to use his own build list:
- 103” wheel base, custom chassis, weighs 1700 pounds
- Quarter elliptic suspension
- Adjustable hairpins, front and rear
- Model A rear end with 3:54 gears and a phony quick change
- 1932 Ford front “heavy” axle with tow bar brackets
- Rear friction shocks
- Front shocks are rebuilt MG Midget rear shocks
- Schroeder sprint car cowl steering
- Frame, tie rods, hairpins, axles, brake drums are powder painted red or black.
- Rocket 16” polished Ignitor wheels with knock off caps, Firestone tires.
- 1939-1942 Ford Hydraulic brakes with dual master cylinders
- Braided metal brake lines with AN fittings
- Front brake backing covers designed to match Buick finned drums
- Rear brake drum axle retainers
- 1931 (May) Model A engine with about 5,000 miles
- Brumfield Super Head, ARP studs, SS acorn nuts
- FSI ignition system
- Adjustable lifters
- Counter weight crank
- Insert bearings
- Four into one headers, stainless steel exhaust system
- Weber 32/36 2 barrel carb, 97 style Edmond’s air cleaner
- Electric fuel pump, regulator & pressure gauge
- Aluminum Radiator w/electric fan/rock guard/moto-meter
- Bronze timing gear
- V-8 water pump
- 28 pound flywheel with V-8 clutch
- 1939 Ford transmission with shortened closed drive shaft
- One wire chrome alternator
- This engine produced 60 HP at the rear wheels on a chassis dyno
- 1932 Ford dash & Speedo with S-W vacuum gauge & volt meter
- Classic Instruments 0-4,000 custom tach on the steering column
- Water temp gauge mounted next to fan thermostat
- Quick connect 13-1/2” wood rim steering wheel
- Tinted windshield with top curved to match the dash
- Keyed 12v battery disconnect switch
- Hidden + and – lugs for jump starts and charging
- Seat back has built in lumbar support
- Seat based has webbed opening for better comfort
- Upholstery is brown Naugahyde distressed leather pattern
- Fitted carpet is brown Mercedes-Benz material
- Door panels are aluminum with louvers
- Two tonneau covers; black Naugahyde and red canvas
- Original Fulton gas pedal, Seat belts
- Flat black DuPont epoxy paint body finish
- Fiberglass with 1” square tubing reinforcement
- Aluminum half hood with leather strap hold downs
- 10 gallon EMPI polished aluminum tank mounted above rear axle
- Tank has shut-off valve
- E&J style headlights with snow machine bulbs…LED tail lights
- An easy to install luggage rack holds cooler, gear, etc.
Currently registered in Colorado as a 2000 Homebuilt with an assigned VIN. Insured by Hagerty as a 1927 Ford roadster. This car has participated in FAST hill climbs, Speedster Reunion, Dirt Drags, Georgetown Hill Climb, Goodguys Shows and featured in ROD & CUSTOM and SECRETS OF SPEED. Tow bar included.
Questions From The Jalopy Journal:
What’s the worst aspect of this roadster?
”It’s a track roadster, so it’s stiff… Also, it’s hard to get in and out of if you aren’t limber.”
What’s the best aspect of this roadster?
”It’s just unique… and the build quality is VERY professional.”
Thoughts From The Jalopy Journal:
Traditional fiberglass builds can be a hard pill to swallow, I admit that. But there are a couple of practical considerations that often get overlooked. The first is obvious – the cost. It’s hard to beat the value of this car under its current reserve. The second is less obvious – weight. Even with the 60hp banger motor, this little roadster probably scoots pretty good. Damn thing only weighs 1700 – pounds. There is no better performance mod than weight loss.
Also, for some irrational reason, glass t-bodies have always gotten a bit of a pass from me. I guess those Fad-T’s of the 1970s really did influence me somehow… Plus, it’s hard to argue against the details of this little Zipper.