Leonard Williams' Roadster

TS3X65MPH

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Leonard Williams' Roadster
« on: August 11, 2016, 11:45:37 AM »
Henry Ford may have begun the hot rod craze when he modified an early production Model T to set a land speed record in 1908, though some would argue that it began in 1938 with the creation of the Southern California Timing Assocation Either way, most will agree that the zenith of its popularity didn't really start until 1948 when Robert Petersen began publishing Hot Rod Magazine.


Over The next 20 years "hot rodding" was in full swing. People all over the country were upgrading the performance of stock cars by adding high-speed equipment through basic modifications in carburetion, compression and exhaust. The challenge was high among America's youth to produce the coolest, hippest, and most importantly, the fastest hot rod possible. It was in this climate in 1962 that Seattle's Leonard Williams had a vision. That vision was loud and it was fast.

More than 10 years earlier, Williams had purchased a 1923 Ford Roadster from the son of Preston Tucker. Although many different makes were used in hot rodding, the preferred engine was a Ford V8, introducced in 1932, which made performance available to the masses. The 1932 Ford Roadster, also known as "The Duce" with its fenders taken off and the front axel dropped, became the standart by which all hot rods were judged. Williams wasn't completely satisfied with his V8, even if it was a spirited ride. He wanted more than just what everyone else was doing. In the spring of 1950, he installed a warmed-over 1950 Oldsmobile engine into his hot rod in 1952 and 1954, the car was at the Bonneville Salt Flats turning a respectable 134 mph. But Williams, who was working at The Boeing Company as an engineer in the jet turbine testing and development area, again wanted more.

In the summer of 1962, when he had the opportunity to purchase a Boeing 502-8B turbine engine, it seemed completely logical to him to install the 272 pounds of raw power to his 32 Ford Roadster. Williams mated the turbine-output shaft with the Ford torque tube, sans transmission. It fit naturally after splitting the Ford's wishbone front axel and putting in the plumbing of the turbine.

What do you do after putting a jet engine in a car? You commute of course! That's right: between 1962 and 1965 Len Williams was seen commuting to and from work at Boeing in what the LeMay Museum now calls the "jet car!"

For nearly 20 years the jet car was kept in Len's garage gathering dust before he finally made the decision to sell. With the exception of a new paint job, the car is exactly as Len assembled it over 40 years ago. Still fired up annually, the car combines the fascination and mystic of turbine power with a true hot rod assembled during the height of the era.

LEONARD & HIS WIFE GLADYS.
You Aren't Living If Your Windshield Isn't Dirty.

TS3X65MPH

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Re: Leonard Williams' Roadster
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2016, 11:46:05 AM »
HIS WIFE GLADYS.
You Aren't Living If Your Windshield Isn't Dirty.

TS3X65MPH

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  • THANKS TO MY DAD & MOM,WIFE GLYNIS & SON STEVEN
Re: Leonard Williams' Roadster
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2016, 11:46:48 AM »
SALT FLATS
You Aren't Living If Your Windshield Isn't Dirty.

TS3X65MPH

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Re: Leonard Williams' Roadster
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2016, 11:47:34 AM »
TURBINE
You Aren't Living If Your Windshield Isn't Dirty.

TS3X65MPH

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Re: Leonard Williams' Roadster
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2016, 11:48:20 AM »
AS IT SITS TODAY.
You Aren't Living If Your Windshield Isn't Dirty.

DavyJ

  • Hero Member
Re: Leonard Williams' Roadster
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2016, 11:48:39 AM »
Quite a piece of history, hard to imagine that it is still untouched! Hope it stays that way to show the talents from the 60's to the young un's of today and tomorrow.
Living life at a 100 smiles per hour!

TS3X65MPH

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Re: Leonard Williams' Roadster
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2016, 11:49:34 AM »
FRAME
You Aren't Living If Your Windshield Isn't Dirty.

johneder

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Re: Leonard Williams' Roadster
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2016, 11:49:47 AM »
Great story thanks Beppie

flatheadv8s

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Re: Leonard Williams' Roadster
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2016, 11:50:30 AM »
Lenny & his Roadster on the cover & a engine photo.

Life is like a toilet roll. The closer you get to the end the faster it goes.

Tom

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Re: Leonard Williams' Roadster
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2016, 11:50:44 AM »
Great story, thanks for sharing !

TS3X65MPH

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Re: Leonard Williams' Roadster
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2017, 10:32:59 PM »
Another.
You Aren't Living If Your Windshield Isn't Dirty.