Classic Lines, Cummins Twist
You’ve seen Cummins swaps before—but you’ve never seen one like this. A no-expense-spared, ground-up street-rod build using only the best parts in the automotive world, this ’39 Ford features stunning body work, a 391ci Cummins I6 with a billet-aluminum block (and no shortage of bling), a take-out rear-end and independent rear suspension from a Nissan Skyline and a built 47RH Chrysler four-speed automatic. The old-school sedan was a collaborative effort between Todd’s Hot Rods of Oakwood, Illinois and Scheid Diesel of Terre Haute, Indiana—and it’s nothing short of a masterpiece.
The objectives of building a unique yet comfortable, and powerful yet fuel efficient car gave birth to the exotic engine, the coil over Mustang II front suspension and the aforementioned Skyline IRS. Instead of opting for mechanical injection, the Cummins sports an electronically controlled, high-pressure common-rail fuel system. The latter technology brings infinite adjustability to the table, which in this case means squeaky-clean operation and a dyno-proven 700hp and 1,400 lb-ft of torque. For a quick walk-around of this one-of-a-kind cruiser, keep scrolling. To see it in person, stop by the Axalta booth at the 2019 SEMA Show.
Things got underway three summers ago with lots of measuring, cutting, fabricating and reinforcing in addition to the required body work. Notice the standard operating procedure Cragars aboard the Ford in this image. As the project progressed, the decision was made to ditch the street-rod wheel of choice in favor of something unique: 18-inch Ambassador Artillery’s from Mobsteel, Inc.
Accommodating the Cummins
The guys at Todd’s Hot Rods definitely had their work cut out for them in making the inline-six Cummins fit. Thanks to a plastic mockup engine furnished by Scheid, things were made much easier. All told, the car’s firewall had to be moved back an entire foot to make way for the 42-inch long Cummins.
From salvageable Ohio barn find to sleek-black, Cummins-powered classic, the meticulous, three-year build was executed to perfection. Now, wearing Standox base and clear coat from Axalta Coating Systems, the car is headed to Hot Rod Alley at the 2019 SEMA Show in Vegas. There, you’ll find it on display outside the Axalta booth as well as an entry in the annual Battle of the Builders competition.
Injecting a bit of modern technology into the build, a common-rail power plant was chosen as the means of propulsion. Using a stand-alone Bosch Motorsport ECU that was set up and calibrated by S&S Diesel Motorsport, the electronically-controlled Cummins is as streetable at 700 hp as a factory engine is at 350 hp.
Here, you’re taking a peek at Scheid Diesel’s billet-aluminum Cummins block. Up until now it’s been primarily used in solid block form in 3,000-plus horsepower truck pulling applications, but Scheid decided to use the ’39 project as an opportunity to showcase its water jacketed version of the same crankcase. Within the aluminum block, a factory crankshaft from a 6.7L Cummins swings a set of billet connecting rods that are topped off with 4.125-inch bore Diamond Racing pistons. For clearance purposes, a low-profile oil pan was supplied by Stef’s Fabrication Specialists.
High-Flow 4-Valve Head
Above the exotic crankcase sits a 24-valve cylinder head off of a 5.9L common-rail Cummins. The cast-iron piece has been treated to CNC porting, a performance valve job and machined to accept fire-rings for maximized combustion sealing. It’s anchored to the block by way of ARP head studs and wears a one-piece, billet valve cover.
Hanging off a three-piece exhaust manifold on the passenger side of the engine, you’ll find a BorgWarner S300. The fixed geometry turbo features a 68mm turbine wheel inside a T4 flange exhaust housing, a 63mm cast compressor wheel inside a 90-degree outlet housing and builds as much as 50 psi of boost with the engine under full load.
Due to the lack of real estate available in front of the engine, a conventional air-to-air intercooler couldn’t be run. Instead, a water-to-air unit was sourced from CX Racing and packaged near the driver side firewall. The highly efficient charge air cooler drops intake temps considerably and immediately routes boosted air into the nearby side-draft intake manifold. John McElroy fabricated all the necessary piping to make the water-to-air unit work.
Single, Stock CP3
Gear driven in the factory location, a 6.7L Cummins-intended, stock displacement Bosch CP3 high-pressure fuel pump pressurizes diesel as high as 26,000 psi before sending it to the fuel rail. From the rail, fuel flows to a set of Scheid Diesel’s Premium 50hp injectors, which are remanufactured ’03-’07 5.9L units with new OEM solenoids, valve pieces and nozzles.
To supply the CP3 with adequate low pressure diesel, a FASS fuel system hums away at the rear of the car. The 95-gph fuel air separation system sends 16-18 psi to the CP3 through ½-inch fuel lines and ports.
Keeping things simple (and electronics to a minimum), a 47RH four-speed is employed. In addition to its lack of complexity, the Chrysler slushbox was originally offered behind the ’94-’95 12-valve Cummins and enjoys a vibrant aftermarket following. This means it was no problem for the folks at Scheid to beef it up in preparation for handling 1,400 lb-ft of torque and top it off with a triple disc converter from Diesel Performance Converters.
Skyline Rear Suspension and Axle
In need of an axle that could tolerate the Cummins’ low-end twist, a ’98-’02 R34 Nissan Skyline donated its rear-end to the build, complete with the independent rear suspension it came with. A custom driveshaft built by The Driveshaft Shop turns the 3.55:1 ring and pinion.
Mustang II Up Front
Ordered from the Heidts Hot Rod & Muscle Car Parts catalog, the front suspension utilizes Mustang II upper and lower control arms, along with adjustable coil over shocks. A Mustang II-derived rack and pinion steering system (also from Heidts) is employed as well. Mustang II front disc brakes help bring the 4,000-pound sedan to a stop.
The last order of business was finishing the interior, and for that Patton’s Upholstery in Champaign, Illinois got the call for much of the work. The car’s dash and center console were built by Marty Ward at Todd’s Hot Rods, with the dash incorporating a Bosch digital monitor and data logger sourced from S&S Diesel Motorsport. As for the sound system, JBL component speakers and speaker cross overs were installed, along with a high-wattage head unit.
Ready to find out what one of Scheid’s 391ci Cummins mills is really capable of? Your 3,000 horsepower tutorial awaits right here.