I’ve been working on the ’34, spending the past three days getting the hood and grill shell aligned. I’m calling it a success, I believe I’ve gotten the fit as close as it can be, given the vagaries of ancient, inaccurate stampings, vaguely close reproduction parts, and my limited patience for this type of fussy work. I have to say, getting the car assembled, even in this “mock-up” phase for alignment and placement of minor stuff like brake pedal and steering column and steering box makes me pretty happy, and fired up about the project.
The hood and grill shell initially fit so poorly I didn’t think I’d ever be able to get them even close, but the end result is better than I expected. The hood is a reproduction from Rootlieb, the grill shell is an old reproduction from some unknown maker, probably Argentinian, where up through the ’60’s and ’70’s, old Fords were kept going, and crude replacement parts were available. I ended up having to make some slits in the top of the grill shell and pulling the sides in with a winch strap, the resulting fit is surprisingly good.
The car also setting up on wheels for the first time in years, although I found some of the stuff I got with it, namely the beautiful Buick aluminum brake drums, may not be useable due to wear, but we’ll see. I’m a little concerned too about the stance, the rear is lower than I planned (perhaps I flattened that ’40 rear crossmember too much) and the front looks too high, despite the dropped axle and reversed eye spring. Not helping the goofy stance are the 14″ wheels and tires on the rear and 16’s up front, I’m going to have to get the right size rollers to see where I really am before I get much further.
Next up, I have to make mounts for the (original) top bows, and finish up the notch in the firewall for the Chevy 283’s distributor. There’s a little more glass work to do on the body, one of the doors has a corner nubbed off, and the splash aprons need to have a little added to the bottom to fit the hood the way I want (see the above photo). All in all, it’s not much, I want to get those chores done before it gets cold. Then, it all comes apart for final welding of the frame and chassis components, then prep for paint, wiring, fuel and brake lines.
Tempting to leave the body in the black epoxy primer over the original purple paint, squirt the same stuff on the chassis and hood and call it done, but I have other plans, which I’m not going to reveal until it’s done.