When I first started writing this blog it was called Roadsters, dropped axles and Quickchanges which all have been my love for many years. I went through several Halibrand QC’s and had a garage full of Champs and V8’s. They used to be inexpensive and available at swap meets across the country. A good friend of mine, Mike, used to weld up the broken pinion areas or small cracks in the side plate bearing surfaces and they worked just fine for street use. I also collected Halibrand wheels especially the 15 x 4 1/2 and 16 x 8/10 versions. I loved the magnesium looking polished ones but they were impossible to maintain for the street. I still run Halibrand wheels and QC’s in my builds but the new Winters is a much less expensive way to go. The differential is the hard item for the Champs and a spool is not recommended for the street (hard core only). Real Rodder’s Wheels are the replacement wheels that are first class and shine better than any Halibrand ever did. Having said that, I can’t seem to pass up old Halibrand center sections and side plates for the early Ford housings (10-bolt).
Along with the QC, I remember when the Bell axle came out they soon replaced the old I-beam axle and was the axle to have. Some early versions were only dropped a couple of inches and later AndyÂ Brizio made a small volume of the early Bell axles.Â Super Bell offered them in the 5 ” drop which was what I used on my builds in the late 70’s. Lobeck started the painted Bell axle look with his trend setting Deuce hiboy in the late 70’s. But as trends go, the I-beam came back and is the standard of the industry today with forged units available from CE, Magnum, Super Bell and SO-CAL. Magnum still offers the Bell looking axle with up to a 6″ drop which would really put the old nose on the ground. Fat Jack used the Bell style axles on his 4-bar front ends and they were super. The Deuce (Heavy Axle) is still in high demand and several places drop them up to 5″ without a stretch mark. Whatever your preference, make sure you keep the axle in good shape and inspect the unit for stress cracks or other damage. Breakage is rare but it does happen and sometimes results in serious injuries. I just purchased a new SO-CAL unit as I like the design and the price.
In summary, roadsters need to have dropped axles and quick changes to excite me. My youth was spent laying on the ground looking at the V8 Halibrand under roadsters in our little town. Axles were cheap and easy to replace and it was all about “The Look” and not about the noise. I still think big dirt track tires in the rear and ribbed fronts provide “The Look” of the times, even though the ride is sacrificed â€” it didn’t seem to matter in the early days. Today, many still create the look with the help of Coker but I have grown away from the look in favor of the Excelsior skinny tires which provide a much better handling roadster on the freeways in LA.
Don’t forget the Early Times Mid-Winter Rod Run this Sunday starting at Richard’s Tire in Long Beach. Departure is 9:00 am. It will be fun as always.
The open drive line is popular today and easy to set up. Halibrand, Rodsville and Winters have the V8 model.
The simple 10 bolt case allows the use of the early Ford bells. Some like the 36 style but I prefer the large taper of the 37-40 bells. Model – A and Deuces have a different diameter bolt circle than the later units so be sure what case you are buying.
Here are the parts that make up the Champ QC. The spool should not be used on the street (John W). If you have one of these you no longer want let me know.
The Winters is ready to bolt in and add your brackets. For the money, this is the way to go and they make super quiet Helical cut gears.
I like the Champ in the 33/4 roadsters with the side adapters for the early Ford bells.
Here is a NOS Culver City unit I just located. The spool makes it a race unit but can be changed to a differential. $$$$
Adding the 9″ rear bearing housings make the unit bullet proof with pull out axles and big brakes.
Housings are plentiful and you don’t need the ones with good bearing surfaces. I buy the whole rear end and sell the center sections and brakes so the housings end up being free.
Here is a Winters unit with side adapters for the Early Ford bells or their tapered housings. Note the 36 bones and Model-A spring.
Mine had the Champ with the CAE side plates and 40 housings. The larger housing looks good in the 33 and will handle the HP.
Here are the dies for the forged aluminum Super Bell axles that are produced in LA which I didn’t know until doing this article. I like them but not the price.
In the early days, dropped axles were a thriving business for many speed shops.
117 Harv can polish your Deuce axle to perfection for the plater. Lots of hours goes into these old forging to make them ready for the chrome process.
The CE axle ( Old Vintage axle Co.) has been the only reproduction forged steel axle on the market until SO-CAL came out with their version.
Here is an example of a 5’dropped Deuce axle. You can see the stretch near the perch pins holes.
JHRS has some neat items to go with the dropped axle. You will spend a lot of money for this set up but it is all brand new and looks good on some builds.
The Bell axle is a strikingly smooth axle that chromes or paints easily and makes a statement that you are different.
I found this one on the HAMB and the caption states, “6” dropped bell axle.” I do like the 29 hiboy roadsters.
Â Monday’s Roadster Rears
Gary knows how to build “The Look” into his roasters. Note the license plateâ€¦not Nebraska.
The Champ with adapters looks the best to me. Note required notch for gas tank.
Here is another example using the Champ.
Cory knows “The Look” and has it under his beautiful roadster.
Race ready is what this rear end tells me when I follow him around town.
Cam builds some of the best Deuce roadsters around and you can just see the QC peeking out from under this beauty.