The Norman Transcript

Headlines

February 1, 2014

Red hot rod ‘dream come true’

NORMAN — Norman resident Vincent Letta bought a perfectly good car and then changed everything in it except the fiberglass body.

In part this was because he has the skills to do most of the work himself. Letta is a journeyman toolmaker. He was one of the hands-on guys who made Oklahoma’s GM assembly plant run like a finely-tuned machine.

“I bought the car over four years ago,” Letta said. “Since then I’ve replaced just about everything in the car.”

The vehicle is a 1940 Ford Deluxe convertible coupe replica. He purchased it from an elderly Oklahoma City gentleman who broke his hip and could no longer operate the car’s standard transmission.

Letta yanked the six cylinder engine and replaced it with a fuel injected Ford 302 cubic inch motor. Along with buddy Tom Wenzel they shoe-horned the larger power plant into the engine compartment, making it fit and then modifying some parts around it.

“We bought the replacement engine and transmission from a guy with a totaled 1999 Ford Explorer,” Letta said. “We had to re-do the drive shaft and motor mounts.”

The chassis came from a 1992 Ford Ranger. Brakes, shocks, springs and exhaust system are new.

“It has brand new wiring and tail lights,” Letta said. “Other than the interior and paint, I’ve done all the work myself.”

The car is a hot rod and should be named something like Maybelline or Miss Clawdy. Letta’s four adult children, who grew up in Norman and now live all around the country, have encouraged him to christen the jalopy, but so far he hasn’t. Any car that won the 2013 Cleveland County Fair Car Show’s People’s Choice award like this one did deserves to have a moniker. Inside the toolmaker’s immaculate home is an artist-signed painting of the car that a friend gave him titled “Letta’s Hot Rod,” so possibly it should be known simply as L.H.R.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Junior Police Graduation First Junior Police Academy graduates

    The room went dark and a slideshow flipped through photos of children participating in the first Junior Police Academy as kids chattered excitedly, remembering what they had done over the past two weeks. Norman Police Department hosted ...

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Officials say transparency lacking in Wal-Mart zoning

    Norman city staff recently admitted to withholding information from the public regarding a controversial zoning change in southeast Norman. If approved by the city council, the proposal will allow a Wal-Mart supercenter at Cedar Lane and ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Air Algerie jet crashes with 116 on board

    OUAGADOUGO, Burkina Faso — An Air Algerie jetliner carrying 116 people crashed Thursday in a rainstorm over restive Mali, and its wreckage was found near the border of neighboring Burkina Faso — the third major international aviation ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Nonprofit raises $3.9M-plus for new center

    The Center for Children and Families, a United Way of Norman partner agency, announced Thursday that it exceeded its public fundraising goal of $3.5 million and raised more than $3.9 million to complete the purchase and renovation of a ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Bad year won’t dampen peachy tradition

    PORTER — A rusting, silver-colored water tower tells visitors to this rural town between Muskogee and Tulsa that they’ve come to the “Peach Capitol of Oklahoma.” Residents of Stratford, the state’s other self-proclaimed peach capital, ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Union Market opens this fall on campus

    Shelves are being stocked as employees buzz around like busy bees and activities are in the last stages of prep as the University of Oklahoma anticipates the opening of its new eatery Union Market, located in the Oklahoma Memorial Union in ...

    July 26, 2014

  • OU football recruit under investigation in assault case

    An attorney representing Joe Mixon confirmed Friday evening that the highly-recruited Oklahoma running back is being investigated by Norman Police in connection with an incident in which a woman suffered multiple facial fractures early ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Campus Cornerassault

    Norman Police responded to an alleged aggravated assault at the Campus Corner Pickelmans Gourmet Cafe early Friday morning....

    July 26, 2014

  • U.S.: Russia firing across border

    KIEV, Ukraine — Russia is launching artillery attacks from its soil on Ukrainian troops and preparing to move heavier weaponry across the border, the U.S. and Ukraine charged Friday in what appeared to be an ominous escalation of the ...

    July 26, 2014

  • McCain: Arizona execution ‘torture’

    TUCSON, Ariz. — U.S. Sen. John McCain says the execution of an Arizona inmate that lasted two hours was torture....

    July 26, 2014