Feature Article, Street Rods, Washington — April 8, 2015 at 4:47 am

Gary and Linda Scheibal (Issue 108)



By Steve Heeb

In 1992, Gary and Linda Scheibal became intrigued with a 1932 Ford when it was being advertised in Old Car Weekly. The vintage car was in Lancaster, Ohio, but Gary was convinced that the engine made up for any inconvenience caused by the distance involved.

“I was looking for something with Ardun power,” Gary explains. “I had been trying to call the seller for two weeks. He was on vacation but I was persistent.”

Ardun heads, named for designer Sir Zora Arkus-Duntov, were developed after World War II to help cure overheating in Ford flathead V-8 engines for hard-working military trucks by taking the exhaust out of the block.

The Ardun’s hemispherical combustion chamber heads could improve an engine’s performance from 95 horsepower as a flathead to 160 horsepower as a hemi, and enabled some to produce as much as 300 horsepower.

“My dad had told me about the Ardun heads as a kid,” Gary recalls. “Now I have two of them. One is naturally aspirated and the other has a blower.”

When the Ardun equipment was being produced, the extra performance came with a hefty price tag.

“Only 200 to 250 sets of the heads were produced and they were super expensive in 1948,” Gary says of the $500 cost. “You could have bought a good used car for that price.”

He notes that motors with the Ardun heads were treasured in the late-’40s and early ’50s, and still are today.

“Racers wanted them for drag racing and the salt flats,” he explains. “They are considered the Holy Grail of hot rod engines.”

The rare powerplant led Gary to travel to check out the car in question.

“I flew to Lancaster and took three days to look at it,” he says. “Finally I said I would take it and had it shipped back to Washington.”

The car had first been hot rodded in 1952, 40 years before Gary brought it home to Puyallup.

“It was a race car but the engine and frame were a little tired,” Gary admits. “I drove it a year and then something went wrong.”

The car would sit idle for a decade before Linda decided enough was enough.

“I told him to get out there and make the car run,” she laughs. “Whatever it takes.”

“I pulled the engine and had it rebuilt by Luke’s Custom Machine of North Vancouver, B.C.,” Gary says of the project in 2002.

“I love the sound of the engine,” Linda says of getting the Ford back in action.

A ’39 Mercury floor shifter transmission helps move the power back to the original 1932 4:11 rear end and ’40 Ford hydraulic brakes help keep that power in check.

The whitewall Firestone tires are mounted on ’35-vintage wire wheels, including the spare mounted on the bumper. The car also sports special wheel covers stamped by the Stewart Warner Instrument Co. in 1937.

“I think it’s about the only set left in captivity,” Gary says.

The leather interior was redone by Bob Jasper in 2005, and includes a Stewart Warner panel with 1952-vintage curved glass Stewart Warner wing instruments.

But the improvements were in the spirit of the original car.

“I didn’t really change anything,” Gary says. “It’s just a lot nicer.”

And it is a lot nicer.

Gary and Linda show the car up and down the West Coast from Canada to California, with Northwest stops including Seaside, Ore., and the Portland Roadster Show, as well as the Goodguys Pacific Northwest Nationals close to home in Puyallup.

The Scheibals won a Magnum Axel Real Hot Rod award at a Goodguys show in Scottsdale, Ariz..

“Gary’s real proud of that,” Linda says.

They have also trekked to the Goodguys event in Del Mar and the 50th Anniversary Roadster Show in Los Angeles.

They also have enjoyed being selected for special invite-only shows.

“It was a great honor to be invited to Blackie’s show in Fresno,” Linda says of being included in the prestigious Autorama by famed hot rodder Blackie Gejian.

They also will have their Ardun-powered Ford at the Pacific Northwest Concours d’Elegance this September at the LeMay Museum in Tacoma.

“There’s a new class for hot rods and we’ve been invited to that,” Linda says.

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