The Ruptured Duck: A B-25–Inspired, Mustang-Guts Hot Rod Work in Progress

The Ruptured Duck

Right off the bat, we’ll confirm what you’re probably already thinking: No, this hot rod isn’t finished. Nor is it a half-wood, half-aluminum shelf on which to place cards, pamphlets, and the like. Instead, this creation is mid-construction, with the builder, Brycen Smith, hoping to have it completed in time for next year’s SEMA show in Las Vegas.

The Ruptured Duck

The unfinished aspect of the project is what caught our eye, though: the aluminum bodywork taking shape over a wooden buck—and, to rhyme a little bit, the car’s name: the Ruptured Duck. Smith said the car is inspired by a World War II B-25 Mitchell bomber nicknamed the Ruptured Duck (it flew in the Doolittle raid over Tokyo). He said the rounded nose section will be skinned in clear acrylic with a thin metal skeleton structure evoking the B-25’s bubble-like cockpit. That same design cue carries over to the windshield, which looks as if it will eventually morph into a four-panel arrangement with the same vintage-aircraft character.

The Ruptured Duck





As cool as the Ruptured-Duck-in-process looks with its wood subframing and aluminum-sheet body, the wood elements are purely for body-panel-forming purposes and will not be present on the final car. What will be present is its modern running gear, sourced from the Ford Mustang,  including that model’s independently sprung rear axle and a Ford Performance 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder crate engine, as well as a full tube-frame chassis. (We checked; it’s the Mustang version of the EcoBoost four, not the new Focus RS’s feistier unit.) The front suspension features a stunning cantilevered arrangement, which Smith said was fitted to keep the front control arms narrower for better front-wheel clearance when turning, and it should look properly incredible through the clear acrylic hood when completed.

The Ruptured Duck

Perhaps even better than the car itself is what Smith plans to do with it. Eventually, the car will be sold, with 45 percent of the proceeds going to Homes for Our Troops, a charity that builds houses for injured military veterans; another 5 percent will go to the American Aeronautical Foundation.

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