Well, sort of. This is a “1934 Ford Speedstar.” For the uninitiated, a “Speedstar” is a style of hot rod featuring a radically lowered, chopped and channeled (i.e. cut-down and re-contoured) mid-30s body and chassis. These days, almost all Speedstars are actually fiberglass bodies on custom frames built from scratch. That’s the case with this car built by Jack Taylor of Knoxville, Tennessee.
What makes this car unique in American hot-rodding is the power plant, a Nissan 5.8 liter V-8 normally powering the largest SUVs made at the company’s Tennessee factory. A Chevy “small block” is almost always found under the hood of this kind of car – these days often a crate LS4 Corvette engine. The few exceptions are Ford or Chrysler engines. But Taylor was working for Nissan at the time he conceived of his project, appropriately called “Black Widow.” (All hot rods of this quality have names.) So this was going to be a Japanese-powered hot rod.
In true-blue American hot rod tradition, much of the car is hand-crafted from scratch by Taylor, including the aluminum grill, the suspension and the extreme “garage engineering” required to put a Nissan 6-speed manual transmission into the car (the engine was only ever mated to a slush-box automatic by Nissan).
Since Building Black Widow, Taylor has turned his passion into a new career, Fat Jack’s Customs. You can read more about this car and what went into creating it over three and a half years at Gearheads and also at Magnaflow’s The Wall of Authority.