Willett Specials Chicago
ISCA Champion: The 'Disco T'
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A brief history on the "Disco T" 1923 Ford Roadster

I began customizing cars, motorcycles, and racecars in my garage behind our home in Worth, IL in the late sixties. At that time I was service director for Chicago’s largest Buick dealer. My first street rod was a 1923 Ford T Roadster pick up named "Easy Pick Up" which I took on rod runs and to the occasional car show. As time passed, and I became an avid Hot-Rodder, I wanted to build another 23 T Roadster street rod. It was the early days of NSRA so I wanted to build a street rod with a racing influence and different style from anything else on the street.

The "Phoenix", a 1923 Ford T Roadster, was the car. A fellow member of our street rodding club, "Street Rods Ltd", Fred Focchi, talked me into bring the Phoenix to the Chicago World of Wheels. The car was a hit. While I was at the Chicago show I met Joe Konkel, an ISCA official. Joe talked me into bringing the Phoenix to the Detroit Autorama at Cobo Hall. Cobo Hall is the show were the prestigious Riddler Award is given away. To be eligible for the Riddler Award you must be showing the car in competition for the first time. I was unaware of this when I brought the Phoenix to Cobo Hall, so the Phoenix was not eligible for the award. However, the Phoenix did beat the car that won the Riddler award for Best Rod at this show.

I continued on to six more ISCA shows in the 1972-73 season and ended up ninth in the overall standings for the championship. That was it. I was hooked on car shows! So over the next summer I re-designed the car’s paint, wheels, tires, front suspension, nose, side panels and built a theme based display. The new theme and name for the car was the" Chicago Fire". The Chicago Fire did very well that season but lost the 1973-74 ISCA international championship by 3 points to AJ Cappella from Philadelphia with his "Zodiac" 1964 custom corvette.

The taste of victory and the determination for the championship was in full swing after that season. I completely took the car apart and redesigned every aspect of it. The level of detail and workmanship was second to none. The car was re-themed and named the "Disco-T". The rest is history. The Disco-T won every award available at every show it attend that season. The Disco -T then won the ISCA International Championship race for 1975-76 season and set a new high point record of 1068 points that still stands today some 27 years later.

Every part used in the construction of the Disco-T was modified or hand fabricated for the car. The Disco was fully operable and functional for street use.

Features:
- Contemporary design version of 23 T Rdstr.
- Fabricated body panels
- 468 cu in Chevrolet big block
- Fabricated twin turbo charged induction system
- High Performance GM 400 turbo transmission
- Romeo Palamides chassis
- Independent front and rear suspension
- Indy style wing / tail light
- Jim McFall interior
- Custom wheels
- Themed multi color Dupont paint finish

Chassis:
- 4130 chromemoly round tube, fabricated by SEMA certified Romeo Palamides
- Double rail drop floor inside frame rails.
- Fabricated engine and transmission mounts
- Finished in DuPont black Imron

Body:
- Modified 1923 Ford T roadster body
- Hand fabricated aluminum front nose panel
- Hand fabricated aluminum side panels
- Hand fabricated aluminum floor and tunnel
- Polished stainless steel fire wall
-Indy car influenced rear wing made of polished stainless steel with rear brake light in trailing edge
- Hidden battery in parachute pack
- Hidden electrical system in windshield mount
- Custom themed interior by Jim McFall
- Suspended windshield made of smoked plexi-glass
-White birch wood dash stained purple
- Custom mixed multi-color pearl and candy orange with hand airbrushed themed graphics to disco music. Entire paint finish in Dupont material.

Front suspension:
- Hand fabricated independent torsion bar suspension
- Fabricated chrome-moly upper and lower control arms
- Disc brakes
- Rack and pinion steering

Rear suspension:
- Hand fabricated independent torsion bar suspension
- Halibrand championship quick change center section
- Modified corvette up rights
- Corvette bearings and spindle assembly
- Modified corvette half shafts with slip joints
- Fabricated chrome-moly upper and lower control arms
Wheels:
- One off aluminum and steel mag wheel designed by Willett and manufactured one year after show season.
- Firestone tires

Engine:
- 468 cubic inch, 600 horsepower, eight cylinder Chevy motor built by Joe Amato
- Polished and reworked aluminum open chamber heads
- Crowler rods
- Forged aluminum pistons
- Forged steel crank
- Isky solid lifter cam
- Custom fabricated polished twin turbo induction system
- Vertex mag
- Polished aluminum water cooled exhaust manifold

Transmission:
- Reworked GM 400 turbo transmission with shift kit
- 3000 rpm stall speed converter

 

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