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Waste Not, Want Not

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This 1927 Ford roadster came about because of a free, splash-oiled 216 Chevy.

“Waste not, want not” sounds like it probably came from Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanack, but it could very well have been the motto of working-class Americans who lived in the shadow of the Great Depression—car folk in particular. That ethos is still going strong with some who grew up in times of abundance. Take Lafayette, New Jersey hot rodder John Knas, for example, whose ’27 Ford roadster started out with a drivetrain many would have passed over.


The ’36-’39 Ford “Wide Five” wheels were adapted to the Chevrolet rear axle with ’37 Ford brake drums.

John and his girlfriend Candace Connell are regulars at The Race of Gentlemen in the gray Model T, which features a 1951 or ’52 Chevrolet six-cylinder that John picked up for free when a friend elected to re-power with a Small Block Chevrolet V-8. The 92-horsepower, Babbitt-bearing straight six dressed up nicely with vintage speed parts and Wayne dress-up goodies. Its 1937-vintage design looked right at home among the Ford flathead V-8’s and four bangers on the beach at TROG.



The ’51 or ’52 Chevy six sports twin carbs on a water-heated Edmunds intake, Fenton cast headers and a Wayne valve cover.

With the help of friend Andrew Kohler of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, got the free driveline (John acquired the three-speed manual trans and torque-tube rear axle along with the Stovebolt) mocked up with Ford buggy-spring suspension in a ’27 Chevrolet frame and a ’27 Ford body (modified with a ’31 or ’32 Chevrolet truck firewall) in about one week. The complete build took a total of 4 or 5 months and the car has been on the road since 2011 with no problems.


TROG is an event usually associated with flathead V-8’s and pre-war four-cylinders, but sixes like John’s can run in the exhibition class.

The little gray roadster, with its paint inspired by the factory color of the engine, makes a handsome little runabout and that six makes a sweet music unlike anything on the road today. We don’t know if John and Candace will be at TROG West, held October 15 and 16 in Pismo, California, but we will be there to bring you all the neat gow jobs and hot iron seen there pounding sand.