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Where in the World is the Hot Rod Reverend? (Part 1)

Updated: Jun 3, 2023


Yep, it's going to be a looooooooooong trip!


If you pay attention as you read the blog posts here on HotRodReverend.com then you are aware that over the past couple of years I have been considering a transition in church ministry. Obviously, there is a great emphasis in the name “reverend” in the moniker, Hot Rod Reverend. This is a life calling for me, and I make no apologies to declare that I go where and to whom I believe God would have me serve. For the past several years (almost eight to be exact) and up until December of 2022, I have overseen a rather large children’s church ministry called Master Clubs. (Visit masterclubs.org to find out more.) Roughly 25,000 children across the US have been influenced by our Bible study curriculum and we have trained thousands of volunteers who serve in their respective churches. Hearing reports of young people responding to the gospel, exercising faith in God, and even experiencing victory as some have been delivered from street gangs and all the rest - I must say that it has been very fulfilling to know that you are making a difference for eternity!


April and I on the plane headed to California for our interview...


Looking at the map, it is easy to put two and two together. “Why is the Hot Rod Reverend moving to California of all places?” Blog subscribers that live in California would have a different perspective on all this, but lately in the news we have heard that people are moving out of the state. I am sure that to the uninformed it does seem strange, and my wife and I would have to say that up until a few weeks ago a move such as this was not something that we believed we would ever do. To state quickly the prompting of this decsion, Lancaster Baptist Church of Lancaster, California contacted me to discuss the possibility of serving as their executive pastor of operations. The church flew my wife and I out to California for several days of interviews, meetings, church services, and dedicated time with Pastor Paul Chappell and his wife Terrie. Just a few days after our return to Milford, Ohio, I called Pastor Chappell to tell him that we were fully committed to move to Lancaster and serve. Things have transpired so quickly and so well that exactly one week after that phone conversation we put a contract on a home just a couple miles from the church property. Just yesterday, I booked three separate nights of hotel rooms in three separate states to prepare for our trek across country the week of May 1.


Serving as executive pastor will bring unique challenges in California!


What does all of this mean for the website, the blog, the 55 Ford Club Sedan, etc? Let me begin by admitting that I will need some time for adjustment to life and church work after this move, but I have every plan to continue. Lancaster is situated about three and a half hours south of Hanford where Tim McMaster, the Y Block Guy is located and about three and a half hours north of Mummert Machine in El Cajon. How is that for location? Also, the El Mirage dry lake bed where land speed racing takes place under the watchful eye of the SCTA is only 40 minutes away from where we will live. When I told the wife about El Mirage she said, “That sounds like fun, maybe you could take your car out there.” But after I explained what land speed racing was and how fast the car could potentially go she changed her mind.


Could El Mirage be in the 1955 Ford's future?


For those of you that were hoping to see me become the publisher of the Y Block Magazine, you need to know that for the time being I will not be able to assume the responsibility. Bruce Young, the founder and editor for almost 30 years, stalled out in late 2022 and I never received the subscriber list, the advertising information, and a number of other items we had discussed. He is still working on Issue 173, which will be his last issue from what he has told me. Unfortunately, Bruce’s health continues to wane, and the wherewithal to publish is just not there with him anymore. I told him that I was hopeful another subscriber could step up and take on the challenge. Lately I have been very busy and pre-occupied with this transition in church ministry, but I will have to admit that I have been toying around with an idea to make the magazine digital for the time being. After having purchased professional publishing software, I had been working on Issue 174 and was just about finished with it. (The blog will have more on all of this once I get settled out west.)


If you are tracking well on all of this news, then you can probably surmise that the effort I was making to be at the large all-Ford show in Carlisle, Pennsylvania is also out for 2024. We just do not see a way that I can make that venue logistically. Hopefully, those of you within driving distance can make that show what it ought to be as thousands gather for a weekend that will highlight the Y Block Ford engine. Although I will not be able to attend, I will do my best to continue to post updated information on the 2024 event as details float my way.


Near Future

While the home we are purchasing is only 4 years old and very spacious, the dedicated garage and shop space will be comparable to what I am in now. You can expect blog posts on space-saving ideas, upgrades and improvements to the existing floorpan, and verification of my dear wife’s statement, “The garage is 100% yours.” As you would imagine, I am moving much of my tools and shop equipment, but already I have pared down some inventory. A separate blog post has been written that outlines what parts and equipment I am leaving behind at my dad’s place in North Carolina. If you are in the market for 55-56 Ford parts, Y Block engine cores and heads, or even shop equipment, you will discover that items are priced very reasonably. I even left my engine hoist for dad to help load the engines should someone arrive to purchase one.


Quite a few parts are up for sale!


As I write this blog post, I am visiting my daughter and son-in-law in Houston, Texas. Ted Eaton’s machine shop is only three hours away in Lorena, and as you would guess I did contact Ted ahead of time to make arrangements to visit him, tour the shop, and take him to lunch. (Maybe I can fatten him up to slow down that altered T bucket!) All kidding aside, Ted is a good friend, and I am looking forward to spending some time with him. You can expect photos and maybe even video to pop up in the future. . If Ted is ok with it, I may give the visit its own dedicated space here on the blog series. Many of us in the Y Block world owe much to Ted for his research and development of our favorite engine. Any man that can take on the likes of John Kaase in the horsepower arena certainly knows his stuff!


Ted Eaton at the 2022 Fast Fords and Y Block Shootout


T-85 R11 Transmission

You may recall that sometime back I picked up a T85 R11 for the 1955 Ford Club Sedan, with hopes to completely disassemble, rebuild, and install along with the NOS Hurst Syncro-Loc shifter and brackets. It just so happens that an acquaintance in New York contacted me and offered a trade on T85 transmissions. (I met Charlie at the 2021 Fast Fords and Y Block Shootout in West Salem, Ohio.) The T85 I have is specific in its tail shaft for a 1957 Ford Thunderbird, and Charlie has a rebuilt, ready-to-go T85 that was specific to a 56 Mercury. Very soon, we should make the trade on these units since he wants to travel eight hours or so to Milford, Ohio from New York to visit and swap. This will certainly save me some time in the future when I make this swap to a stouter transmission. Time is short concerning my physical move out to California so I do hope this can all take place very soon!


This rebuilt T85 R11 looks very nice and ready to go!


Hurst Kits

Concerning the Hurst kit for the Borg Warner overdrives, I have had a few people reach out to me with questions as to where to find the brackets and pieces of hardware specific to those floor shifters that would clearance the solenoid, have the correct offset, and allow the Hurst shifter to bolt right into place. I may decide to have the original Hurst brackets reproduced by a local machine shop if there is enough interest. Seems like I could have several sets made of items that would fit the R10 and the R11 units. Do let me know if you are interested, just bear in mind that I have no idea of timing and pricing just yet.


312 Y Block

The 312 Ford Y Block build is still ongoing, although the last year’s temporary living conditions have not given much time and space to putting it all together. It is interesting that this move to Lancaster puts me close to Tim McMaster who has all of my rotating parts at his shop! (Talk about saving money on shipping - this will be great!) To save space during the move across the country, I have removed the block from the engine stand and placed it on a furniture dolly. The engine stand will be disassembled and shrink wrapped. The engine run stand will remain on its wheels as is and items packed around it when everything is loaded on the truck. I do have the ECZ-G heads from Harry Hutten that were refurbished and built up by Ken Corrill. Speaking of Ken, during a phone conversation early this week he said that he wants to build up another set of G heads for me complete with port work, bowl work, beehive springs, 2.00 intake valves, etc. I just may have him do so, but shipping out to California from Adams County, Ohio will be expensive.


That C2AE block keeps following me around...


Happy Easter!

For preachers of the gospel, there is never a better time of year than when we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. For all of the religions of the world, only one claims a deity that died for the sins of all mankind, was buried in a grave, and was brought back to life after three days and nights in the tomb. The claims and record of Christ are exclusive for He said, “No man cometh unto the father, but by me.” If you are taking time off, making memories with family, watching the kids have the Easter egg hunts, or what have you, please consider Christ during this season. The entire world dates itself in accordance to the advent of Jesus Christ, yet many use His name as a means of profane babble. Many abuse the name “Christian” and never show a true following of His teachings; and unfortunately there are scores of people who still scoff at the gospel. According to I Corinthians 15, the good news - the gospel - is literally the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Our preparation to meet God in the life to come after death all hinges upon our reception of Christ’s finished work for our atonement. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12



It is my privilege to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.


The Hot Rod Reverend

aka Daniel Jessup

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