You’re going to like this. No honestly, you are…we’re launching a brand new Stromberg 97 carburetor – this time with factory patina. New, but old. Just the same, but better than ever. And to prove a point, we asked The Rolling Bones Hot Rod Shop to check it out in the ultimate road test. If you can’t wait to see ’em – the pics are at the bottom of the page…
To be honest, we’ve been wanting to do this for years (we asked the Bones Boys about it at Bonneville 2009!), but couldn’t ever really get to grips with two key issues. One….how do you age a brand new carburetor with new stainless steel parts and shiny new brass? And Two….how far do we go? Patina’s a very subjective game. Where does patina stop and ‘ratina’ start? You know what we mean. We naturally make our regular 97 models as nice as possible, so we were heading for dangerous waters here. And to be honest we weren’t that comfortable with putting our name to something that looked downright nasty…
The answer is a middle path. The new ‘Barn Find’ model is a brand new product that won’t look out of place on a car with established patina. It’s a look that we’re super-happy to put our name to, but which, at the same time, is like a blank canvas. And that’s why they’re so cool.
Out of the box, they’re kind of old looking and even in appearance, yet every one is slightly different. The light rusting on the bases; the spots of oil creep where we lube the moving parts; the brass coloration and more. But that’s just the start. The best part is, the final finish is up to you. The more you handle them, the more patina the media finish picks up. You can rub the edges with your hands, for example, or rub a little dirty oil on the linkage and lettering. But they darken off naturally anyway. Want to bury it in the yard for a couple weeks? Get digging!
Of course, once we’d answered problem Two, problem One was a whole lot simpler. The cast iron bases are left out in the yard for a few days (we never wait long for rain here) and lightly rusted before we rattle can them with a careful mist of flat black…Can’t do that with aluminium bases…The main castings and stainless steel parts are lightly media blasted. And the external brass parts are heat aged. Every Barn Find model even comes with one of our “Reconditioned with Stromberg Genuine Parts” rosette decals to complete the look. Operational efficiency is still top of our agenda, though, so some parts, like the choke plate, accelerator pump rod and springs, are left untouched. It all adds to the old, but reconned look.
OK, so we love it, but what does the rest of the world think? Only one way to find out….in at the deep end…We sent three new ‘Barn Finds’ to the masters of hot rod patina, New York’s Rolling Bones Hot Rod Shop. Did they like them? Doh! ‘Boy they look GREAT!!!’, reported our new best buddy, Ken Schmidt. ‘We gotta tell ya, if they work half as good as they look, Clive has smashed a home run for us die hard vintage engine hot rodders.’
And did they work? In no time, the Bones Boys had those unsuspecting carburetors mounted onto the 276 inch flathead motor in the team’s ’32 XF Gas Roadster. They drove it half way across the USA to Bonneville, Utah. Then drove a few more miles again – well, three at a time down the Salt to be precise – adding another 8mph to their best ever sped (127mph!) . To further prove their reliability, two of these suckers were then swapped into the stylish Dick Deluna Cockshutt ‘34 Ford 5-window for the trip back over the mountains to California.
We’ll let Ken sum it up – ‘The moral is, when you build a vintage engine-powered hot rod for someone and his first drive is 3500 plus miles, always put the best carburetors on it you can…And we did.’
The new Genuine Stromberg Barn Find carburetor (part number 9510A-BF) retails at just $475.00 a piece and they’re in stock right now. Click the part number to read more about it on the Stromberg website. If you want a matching linkage or fuel line parts, I guess we can do that too. Just email us. If you click any picture, they expand into a neat gallery. We especially like the ones our ace cameraman Rick took alongside a real Stromberg 81 Barn Find. Since it was taken, we’ve cheated it some more for an even closer match, but we wanted you to see the ‘before’ finish as it comes in the box. The Rolling Bones need little introduction, of course. Click their name to read more about the trip in their own words. The cars are awesome. But then you knew that already.