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Signal with Style

A turn signal upgrade for a '46 Ford

By Rotten Rodney



It’s been said that “necessity is the mother of invention.” If you’ve ever followed an old car, rod, or custom with its turn signal flashin’ unnoticed by its driver, you’ll understand this invention’s necessity.


Prior to 1951, turn signals were only an add-on accessory. Such aftermarket add-ons were commonly anchored to otherwise-attractive mast jackets via unsightly, jagged-edged clamps. The old assemblies weren’t much to look at, and for the most part, they weren’t self-canceling. For those who’ll settle, the fragile units o’ yore are manufactured in foreign countries today. For those who’ll not settle, a long-overdue alternative is finally here.


Hot Rods & Custom Stuff’s about-timely turn signal solution bridges the gap ‘tween function and fashion. Featuring modern ‘lectronics within a classic, art-deco, cast aluminum housing; “Blinkie” is currently available to fit the popular 1 ½-inch steering column. In cramped cockpits where knee room is kneeded, a discrete dash-mount version; “Blinkie Dash” is also in full production, with “Blinkie Shifter” coming soon for column-shift ’40-and-later Fords.


So, because the column-shift model is as we’ve stated, “coming soon,” it wouldn’t be nice to tease prematurely—and we’d never do that. For owners of column-shifted ’40-and-later Fords who want it and want it now, Hot Rods & Custom Stuff acknowledges your needs. In fact, HR&CS proprietor, Randy Clark is amongst you, as his own ’46 Ford sedan delivery comes in for the upgrade—before Blinkie Shifter hits the shelves. As you’re about to witness; his clever crew of crafty craftsmen can ably accommodate.  


Here’s what’s coming off. Much like string tied ‘round a finger, the clothespin serves as a reminder to manually cancel the signal. The clothespin was Randy Clark’s idea. Later on, Randy and Blinkie’s co-developer, Mike Edwards had a better idea.


“Lefty-loosey—righty-tighty.” Hey, did y’all think I just stand around takin’ pictures? As long as I’m here anyway, I’ll be offerin’ twisted assistance every step o’ the way—even though HR&CS’ multi-talented fabricator Jeremy may not actually require it.  


So here’s a second-to-last look at the universal unit o’ yore. Once again, we’re of the opinion that it’s not much to look at. Some may go so far as to say it’s ugly. If that’s what you’re thinkin’, just wait ‘til you see its double-ugly—no, make that 3-alarm-ugly fasteners.


The fasteners’ jagged edges could conceivably cause minor-to-major slasherations to fumblin’ fingers of unfamiliar operators. Sure, an assortment of adhesive bandages could be kept in the ashtray, but today we have a new alternative—so off with it.


Here fresh-cut from its attractive packaging is the column-mount model Blinkie. The only difference ‘tween this model and the “coming-soon” column-shift model is a machined relief channel for the ’40-and-later Ford’s original shift tube.


A 1-inch endmill will make the necessary relief. HR&CS has a fixture for this operation so the channel’s location is on-the-money every time. Having been-there-done-that a time or two before, the setup goes quickly.


The column-shift model (Blinkie Shifter) will be available soon—perhaps by the time you read this. So, we’ll not expound the millwright operations. Let this just serve to illustrate how HR&CS can fill column-shift model orders ahead of the first batch’s delivery.


Meanwhile, back in the passenger compartment, the old unit’s sharp-edged fasteners have left the mast jacket marred ‘n’ scarred. Randy’s ‘46 is not a shiny car, but still, we can’t just let this go. So, Jeremy gets to preppin’ for paint.


Jeremy has tricks up his sleeve and he’s taken steps to speed the paintwork along. A lunch-break later, the masking is removed and things have dried enough to proceed with the installation. There now. Doesn’t that look better?


“Lefty—no, righty—wait, how’s that go again?”


HR&CS does employ an in-house wiring guru, but here his services will not be needed. Blinkie’s instructions are clear and easy-to-follow—and Jeremy is quite capable of doin’ a tidy tie-in. Caught here with his smokin’ solder gun in-hand, he’s all-but-finished now.  


Remember what we started with? Aesthetically, we’ve gained a smoother appearance in art-deco style. ‘Lectronically, we’ve gained lasting durability and a self-canceling feature.


Clothespins are for laundry. Considering today’s three new Blinkie brand alternatives, this obsolete unit o’ yore leaves a lot to be desired.


This Blinkie installation was completed in a flash—and that’s including the extra painting and machining steps. Your results may vary, but HR&CS is here to help.