Street rodders are quite the creative lot, and Bill Hanke is no exception, but a prime example of the imagination and ingenuity that it takes to build a metal inspiration. Visit any local street rod gathering and you will find all breeds of discarded relics of automotive history that have been transformed into rolling displays of automotive art. Highboy, lowboy, bobbed, chopped, channeled, sectioned, old school, rat rods and whatever else describes these modern wheeled steeds of steel.
Some are built in a very short period of time and others can take years, even decades. One thing is for sure, there’s always one that wows and draws a crowd. One such example of crowd drawing, noggin scratching, guessing, and jaw dropping expressions is Barb and Bill Hanke’s Mayflower, a Triumph Mayflower to be exact .
I became acquainted with Bill and his Mayflower some 25 years ago. The car’s body was then sitting on its cowl in the corner of the car shop where I was working. Bill was a friend of the shops owner, Don Carnevale, and Bill wired the cars we were building in the shop. Over the next 20 some odd years the Mayflower under went many transformations. Almost every stock body panel and body line was modified. The chassis started as an Alston kit that was widened and lengthened before Bill was satisfied it was ready for the body. The body was chopped, panels altered, and the entire front clip, fenders, hood and front grill hand fabricated in sheet metal. This metal creation was not the result of the well known magazine builders, but the inspired creation of one home builder.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of viewing this creation in person, follow along as we present the story of Barb and Bills Mayflower. Over the summer months we will present the story of Barb and Bills “Triumphant” Mayflower.
Bill found his “treasure” in 1981 sitting outside a friend’s garage in Dearborn MI . His friend already had a good original and had saved the old derelict from the “crusher” for parts. Seeing a street rodding candidate in the unusual small sedan, Bill offered to take the hulk off his hands. Bill thought it would be a great little “rod” for his then teenage daughters. Intense negotiations ensued and with the help of a good bottle of rum the Mayflower ended up being trailered to Bill’s garage.
Enjoy the finished creation in the following pictures. The segments following this one will have information about the building of Barb and Bill’s Mayflower.