Installing a Small Dynamo on the California Sports Special: A Tom Chandler Design Variation

Here’s A Picture of a Happy Rick D’Louhy Driving the Finished California Sports Special at the Daytona Beach Dream Cruise in October, 2010.

Hi Gang…

In the summer of 2010, I wrote an article about how my good friend Tom Chandler installed a generator when space was at a minimum in the restoration of his Glasspar G2 special.  For those of you wanting to review this article, please click on the following link:

In the past 6 months, we faced a similar problem with the restoration of Rick D’Louhy’s 1955 California Special.  However, in our case we didn’t have space in front of the carburetors.  The lower part of the front hood scoop was in the way.  So, we were restricted to a very tight space above and to the engine-center of either of the Ford Flathead water pumps.

That means we couldn’t follow the exact methodology outlined by Tom Chandler, and would have to develop a modified solution that would work (just like some of you might have to do).

Here Are Both Brackets Fabricated by Tim Masters – Shown Before Installation of the Dynamo. I’m Proud to Say That I Made the 90 Degree Bend in the Left Bracket All On My Own (grin).

Tim Masters to the Rescue!

Fabricating a New Bracket:

First things first.

We had to purchase a generator, and we did so from Ray Kasal of Iowa Motor Parts – as discussed in the article referenced above.  Once the generator arrived (also called a dynamo), Tim took to trying it in different areas for a perfect fit – before fabricating the brackets for it.

Tim’s quite a master at making this work correctly and he had to take into account the position of the generator / dynamo so that enough tension from the fan belt continued to be applied against the water pump pulley.  If you position it too far away from the center line of the engine, the amount of “wrap” that the fan belt has against the pulley is reduced, and the tension needed to grab and turn the pulley will not be enough.

You Can See From This Picture That Tim Masters Had to Get the Position of the Dynamo Just Right – So It Lined Up With All Pulleys on the Ford Flathead.

Tim nailed the position with correct placement of both brackets, and away we went.  Good work Tim!

Re-routing the Radiator Hoses:

We were limited to locating the dynamo exactly as described in this story.  It couldn’t go directly in front of the carburetors as Tom Chandler did – no matter how much we wanted this to happen.  The problem with our solution in terms of placement is that it completely blocked the path of one of the radiator hoses from the cylinder head to the radiator top end.   Not a good thing gang!

We looked at several options and then decided to route the hoses directly to the inner fender wells and then back to the radiator.  This would give us additional cooling capacity (which is always a good thing with Ford Flatheads) and would be symmetrical in design too.   Good friend Scott Miller and I worked on this solution and the final result seemed perfect in every way.

Regulator Mounted on Firewall:

The dynamo purchased from Iowa Motor Parts works just like a generator in that it needs a regulator too.  This was also purchased from Ray Kasal of Iowa Motor Parts and just by chance, the design of the regulator utilizes a finned aluminum housing to keep it cool.  What a perfect look for a 1950’s special!  The car gods were smiling on us when we found Iowa Motor Parts and Ray.  With Scott Miller’s help, we mounted the regulator on the firewall and wired it in.

Finished and Running:

For those of you interested in hearing the car run (prior to muffler installation), here’s a short video on the California Sports Special.  You can see the dynamo in action in a few parts of the video:

[vsw id=”532FHEVpHGw” source=”youtube” width=”425″ height=”344″ autoplay=”no”]


The finished car looks great and the engine compartment came together with a nice vintage look and feel for a 1950’s Sports Special.  Scroll down on this page to see lots of additional pictures of the engine compartment as well as several photos of the car displayed at the 2010 Daytona Beach Dream Cruise with Timothy Luke, star of the new Hot Rod Film “Deuce of Spaces,” in the drivers’ seat.  Click here to learn more about the mile “Deuce of Spades.” 

If you happen to be in the Sarasota, Florida area, be sure to visit the Sarasota Classic Car Museum and have a look at Califonia Sports Special.   For a full story on the restoration and history of the California Sports Special, click on the link below:

Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…

Glass on gang…



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