“Dick Williams Roadster”
Seventy years is a long time for a hot rod to live its life largely unmodified. The Dick Williams Model T Roadster, while the subject of some subsequent owners’ aesthetic updates over the decades, survived very nearly as Mr. Williams of Berkeley, California, conceived and built it in 1952. It was, and remains today, a very significant piece of hot rod history. Automotive historians believe this is the first hot rod built on a tubular frame, departing from the practice of using existing frame rails to underpin the car. This allowed for moving the engine further back in the chassis for balance and weight distribution. That engine, which still remains in the car, is a bored and stroked 1948 Mercury flathead V-8 that wears Navarro heads and a custom intake with four Stromberg carburetors. With Dick Williams at the wheel, this engine powered the T to 123 mph at Bonneville. While it was fast, Dick’s roadster was best known for its beauty and style. At the prestigious Oakland Roadster Show in 1953, it won the coveted AMBR (America’s Most Beautiful Roadster) Award. Along with the quality of its construction and the use of the best speed equipment of the day, the Robins Egg Blue color set the car apart, then as it does now, after its recent restoration by noted builder Roy Brizio of South San Francisco.