Monday’s Quick Changes

I was talking to Tom the other day and we started discussing quick changes. He has used them for years in his hot rods and so have I. Halibrand used to be the only choice for the correct look but that is changing since Halibrand is no longer. Sure the period correct builder wants a Halibrand and will pay dearly for one; however, for the average builder, the Winters quick change is the top choice today. Tom feels a hiboy roadster has to have a quick change peeking out the back to have the look. I agree to a certain degree but the noise can be very hard on your ears after many miles behind the wheel (earplugs or an iPod help). My first few years of writing this blog was based on quick changes and roadsters as I was heavy into building some for my cars. Lobeck’s roadster influenced the trend in the 70’s but they have been around for years and were primarily for racing. Changing gears was a must at the track, but I doubt that today’s hot rodder changes ratios at all. Visual impact is the primary function of the unit so why not install one and leave it alone. I have seen them installed in almost every type of hot rod there is and I don’t know why you would need one under a 40 coupe unless you were racing or just wanted the look. My buddy in high school had one under his 55 Chevy and I thought it was cool.

Over the years I have owned and built several QC units and thought they were the only rear end to have under a highboy roadster. Tom is in the process of putting together a Champ model with 40 axle tubes and has most of the parts including the side adapter plates which are real hard and expensive to locate. Since I am bored with nothing to do in the garage, I decided to search Craigslist and eBay to see what is available. I haven’t looked for a few years and I was surprised that both sites contained several examples of both the V8 and the Champ. Prices vary for the units but most are in the same range as a new Currie 9″ rear end that lists for $2600 in some of the catalogs. I know of one (Halibrand) that has been sitting in a garage for many years and I think it may be for sale. I would love to put together another old looking one with late models axles and Lincoln brakes. The hunt begins for this very traditional rear axle choice.

How you mount them today is up to your build style. Coil overs with a raised rear crossmember is the most common. I prefer the Model-A rear crossmember with the same spring. (The ride may not be suitable for some of us.) The high arch required to clear the quick change robs some room in the trunk area but if you use the P&J tubular unit the interference is minimal. I like 3 inches of clearance between the top of the housing and the x member. You don’t want to bottom out on the expensive center section. I know this problem first hand.

Finally, mounting the axle using ladder bars of some sort or 36 wishbones is the most common method. The QC is not for everyone today but for us old racers, they are the only thing that looks right. Noise for me is not a problem as I can’t hear very well these days.

Stay Tooned!


A QC is a beautiful piece when installed in the 34 chassis with 40 axle tubes. A model-A x-member spliced into stock 34 x-member is an old trick.

Industrial Chassis builds some really neat chassis with one off items. Note this x-member for  the Winters QC. Lincoln brakes are the current rage for some builders. I like them.

This is a true classic rear end with a modern touch. The use of 36 bones, new Winters QC and new Lincoln brakes make this old looking rear end reliable and traditional in appearance. It appears the rear frame horns have been raised to eliminate the large gap seen on most reproduction chassis and bodies built today. They also may have just been replaced as the frame looks original.

Lots to look at in this photo and it all works together. Are the 36 bones strong enough as is or do you need to add reinforcing plates? See full story on the HAMB.

The Winters champ with side bells is another way to go. The use of the Model-A rear crossmember has long been the standard for the QC rear axle assembly.

Installing the 9 inch big bearing ends is not difficult but best left to someone with an axle bar and ends to keep them straight. I made my own jig and they worked fine.

TIG welding ensures a secure end on the old housing. Have this done by a competent welder is you lack the required skills.

If you prefer the aluminum bells they are available with 3 inch tubes. Coil overs are another way to go and are more adjustable than the spring. Wilson Welding backing plates for the 9 inch rear end are good looking. This is an expensive rear axle assembly as shown.

Industrial Chassis also installs the stock Model-A rear x member in their chassis. These are hard to locate in good condition and run about $150+ at swap meets.

George used the P&J rear x-member which is a much lower profile but clears nicely. He also selected the coil over, 4-link set up for his rear suspension.

Here is a Champ with a unique cantilever coil-over shock treatment. Looks like a well engineered suspension to me.

Today’s Perfect 40 Ford Coupe!

Tim just finished this classic Folkstone Gray 40 coupe that is one of his best efforts. I could forget about a roadster with one of these in my garage.

The stance is what makes a 40 coupe look good or bad and Tim knows how to make them look good. Nice job Tim.

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