"Organ Grinder" Hot Rod Features 454 Big Block Chevy Engine - Engine Builder Magazine
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Engine of the Week

“Organ Grinder” Hot Rod Features 454 Big Block Chevy Engine

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Among the many high-dollar, tricked-out, ultra-fast cars that came to race and have fun in the sun at Sick Week, there were a few straight-forward, no-thrills hot rods too. Of course, that doesn’t mean those cars were any less cool – in fact some of them were super cool – like this 1930 Ford Model A with a 454 big block Chevy engine.

1930 Ford Model A

The 92-year-old car belongs to Reggie Moore. Reggie has owned it for 50 years and has entered a number of drag-and-drive events and hot rod runs over the years ever since getting serious about driving the car 18 years ago.

“I bought it when I was 12 years old with my paper route money, so I’ve had it for 50 years,” Moore told us. “I went to school with a buddy who’s dad had a whole yard of Ford Model As. Even at 12 years old I was all messed up. I talked to my buddy’s dad and he said he would sell me one. I got real serious about driving it about 18 years ago and we’ve been running it wide open ever since and having good time. I’ve done about 14 or 15 Hot Rod Reunions in a row with it. I’ve also done Rocky Mountain Race Week 1.0 and 2.0.”

Reggie’s 1930 Ford Model A is dubbed the “Organ Grinder” and it typically has a nicer engine running between the rails. However, a recent dyno issue meant Reggie needed a plan B engine. He remembered he had a junk motor from an RV that he had built years ago still sitting at his shop. He swapped that 454 big block Chevy in Organ Grinder and made it to the inaugural Sick Week.

“I built this motor about 10 years ago for a dually, but I got rid of the dually, so it was just sitting in the shop,” he says. “It’s got dished pistons and not a ton of horsepower, but we put it in there. It’s honestly just a junk motor, but before Sick Week I did swap in a new intake and a different roller cam, rockers and lifters, which kind of woke it up. I have two Carter carbs on top of it. I’m getting about 12-13 mpg. I run 32-inch tires, which let me run about 65 mph pretty comfortably. I have a Super T10 transmission, which is a 4-speed with no overdrive.”

Reggie also told us he built the headers on the hot rod himself in just 20 minutes. He also built the car in only five days back 18 years ago.

“Ever since, I’ve just been putting little stuff here and there on it,” he says. “I don’t have all the high-dollar safety stuff, so I can’t run too fast. I wrote down 11.50 for Sick Week, so that’s our goal.”

Reggie stayed consistent all week in Florida running ETs of 11.63 at 115 mph, 11.76 at 101 mph, 11.90 at 99 mph, and 11.98 at 95 mph for an average of 11.82 at 102 mph. He competed in the Gassers vs. Hot Rods vs. Beetles class.

Engine of the Week is sponsored by PennGrade Motor OilElring – Das Original and Engine & Performance Warehouse Inc./NPW Companies. If you have an engine you’d like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder Editor Greg Jones at [email protected]

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