The Story




So what do you get when you partner John Becker, owner and operator of Pierce Refrigeration, with innovative inventor Corliss Orville Burandt, better known as Cob?  One sweet street rod, that’s what!


When John heard Cob’s idea for the reverse flow induction engine, aptly named since its air intake is in the rear and exhaust in the front of the car, he immediately jumped on board to help make it happen.  Both men, eager to build something different and definitely “not run of the mill”, began their collaboration nearly three years ago. 


Knowing no one had ever used the reverse flow concept with a Chevy small block engine, John and Cob chose that for the basis of their project.  With a basic design in mind, the next step was finding a body to house the engine. 


Spotting an ad in Minnesota Street Rod Association   magazine, John thought he had the perfect solution.  For $1,900.00 he could buy a 1932 Chevy Sedan with a 1934 Model A Ford cutoff pick-up box welded to the back.  “After driving 300 miles to Wisconsin to pick up the car, I realized the frame was scrap and I would have to build a new one.  Even though the price was a bit steep for the car’s condition, I decided I wasn’t going to drive 600 miles round trip and come home empty handed.”


With the assistance of John’s son Joshua, the car started to take shape.  The body itself required several additional alterations.  As mentioned earlier, a new frame was constructed after which, “I cut the top off the car and made it into a bucket.” 


The car already had a Chevy rear end with hydraulic drum breaks in back.  “We wanted them in the front end as well.  To do this, we removed the Model A spindles, then cut the Chevy spindles off and welded them to the Model A wheel, put a ½” plate between them and dropped them down 2 ½”.  The Model-A wheel fit over the Chevy break drums exactly.  We did need to enlarge the Chevy bolt pattern to fit the larger Model-A bolt pattern.”


A re-built 1968 Chevy 327 V8 motor with Chevy 400 heads is the real heart of the Reverse Flo car, as it is known around Pierce Refrigeration.  “We enlisted Barry Cam Company in Lester Prairie, Minnesota to build a cam with repositioned lobes that worked to alter the valve timing.”  Regrinding the cam allowed us to keep the stock engine rotation. 


The car uses eight Honda 750 motorcycle carburetors.  Why? “Because they are banked together, already have four in a row, are cheap, and because they are COOL. 


The Reverse Flo has a “V” shaped exhaust manifold designed to fit into the engine valley.  The exhaust intake manifold is ¼” plate steel welded to the exhaust pipes. Keep in mind that while the intake manifold is normally bolted to the intake, in the reverse flow application “our fabricated intake manifold is bolted to the original exhaust ports and the exhaust manifold is welded to the ¼” plate steel intake.”


Several other features of the car include: a Ford flat head distributor, with a crab cap, driven off the camshaft at the front of the motor; a remote cooling system with both the radiator and electric water pump located under the rear of the car; and a beefed up 200 transmission.


Keeping to the desire to make this car as unique as possible, it was designed to run on E-85 ethanol fuel, something rarely used in a street rod.  Utilizing E-85 ethanol necessitated an increase in compression to a 12 ½ to 1 ratio. 


The Reverse Flo has a gravity fed fuel system instead of a fuel pump.  Five gallons of fuel is held in a stainless steel tank hidden in an antique wooden barrel sitting in the truck bed.  When asked about gas mileage, John replied, “The farthest it has ever been driven is 15 miles, and frankly I was just concerned about making it home at all.”  Upon further explanation, John revealed that the Reverse Flo’s 1930 Model A steering sector and components provide pretty loose steering, making handling a heart stopping challenge.


John tells me his favorite moment in building the Reverse Flo, was the first time she fired up.  He and Cob had just finished putting the motor together and pre-timed it.  They designed the car to start by turning the key switch, then pushing a button knob. Not remembering that in this particular Chevy engine tuning the key sent power directly to the coil, John pushed the knob only to have the car fire immediately.  While amazed that it started the first time, “it scared the heck out of us.”


What’s next?  John claims he and Cob will continue to refine the Reverse Flo and enjoy the crowds of attention they get at local shows.


For more information, photos, video of the Reverse Flo’s first drive and a chance to purchase our snappy t-shirt visit our website at


Story By Linda Sewald