NEWMARKET, ON: It’s a common scene in the hobby. Someone drives into a show field, finds a desirable spot, pulls out a comfortable folding chair and settles down for a relaxing afternoon. Old Autos subscribers Mike and Brenda O’Connor see it happen all the time, but it hasn’t worked for them (the relaxing part, that is).
From the moment they arrive in their rat “Rusty” until the event is dismantled, people crowd them with questions. It’s anything but ratty, and might be better described as a traditional 50s style rod with more character than shine.
Admirers are informed that Mike came across it as a barely drivable project in Tulsa, Oklahoma one year ago. Through last winter, together with the assistance of friends, he re-engineered everything that needed re-engineering. The chassis has rear frame notch and front frame is Z’d 1 inches. It also features TCI rack & pinion steering, tubular upper & lower control arms, rear 4-link, ‘Vette power disc brakes all around and four-corner air ride via dual compressors and dual tanks.
Factory gauges are restored both mechanically and cosmetically and are calibrated to its Pontiac 261 c.i. six-banger. Glass, wiring harness and cooling system are new, as is its interior. In fact, everything is new that could be new, and if not, then it’s been rebuilt.
Mike and Brenda enjoy chatting about Rusty. And you will enjoy chatting with them.
The O’Connors acknowledge incredible support and effort from pals Scott and Al Collins on mechanical & suspension work. Mark Williams rebuilt the carburetor and handled engine tuning. Matt Labutte of Brightwork Design hand painted the historically-correct Clay Smith Cams logo. Except for that “aged” logo, this vehicle is 100% true patina. No fauxtina here.