Archive for the ‘Ford Roadsters’ Category

23915926_10215552222861315_2855824909208211346_n

 

Wisdom from my buddy Jake Moomey.  He’s right.   The stance on this car is perfect, the result of a flattened (almost too much) ’40 Ford rear crossmember, and ’49 mono leaf rear spring,  a flattened stock front crossmember, a 4″ dropped axle, and a Posies “Superslide” reversed eye “Super Low” spring up front.  The frame rails are notched front and rear, and it’ll probably settle an inch after being driven.

Then, it’ll be perfect.

For those who don’t care for the  Dayton rim laced wire knock off’s, I have this to say…

24130040_10215552213941092_6352111787536151187_n

 

Too bad.  In addition this set of 14″ slots and G7814 Bias Belts, I have a set of 15″ ’49 Chevy wheels with stock hub caps (the car has a 283, and ’36 Chevy headlights, the BowTie is fine), some 8.00×15’s for the back and 7.20×15’s for the front.  That should make the “purists” happy, not that care.  I plan on running the wires most of the time.

24131482_10215552202420804_1086177782074156802_n

 

I’ve gotten started on the wiring, the battery is mounted in the trunk and the cables are run to the starter, and I”

I’ve sorted the wiring out in the ’61 T’Bird steering column, figured out which wires are for the neutral safety switch, turn signals and back up switches, so that much is done.  Before too long I should be able to fire the thing up and hear the 283 through the open headers.  The brakes need to be bled, so after those two tasks are complete, it’ll be a runner.

I’m trying now to find material that matches the seat upholstery.  I’ve gotten one sample from about 10 that is close, which may be close enough, since the seating surface and bolsters of the seat don’t match anyway.  It may be fine on the door panels, kick panels and top well, certainly close enough for the trunk.  Top color is still undecided, it’s either black/tan or tan/tan.  I’ll decide when I order the material.

I’m really happy with how it looks on the ground, it’s been setting on jack stands for months.  This is the first time it’s been on it’s wheels on the ground since paint, so this is another big step forward.

Advertisements

‘Tis the Season to be Jolly, and nothing makes me jollier than working on the Hot Rod!   Everyday is like Christmas lately, with the Big Brown Truck or the mail-lady bringing me little trinkets and presents from Speedway Motors, eBay and Vintage Ford Parts.  If I’d make a list and order everything I needed at once, it’d be less shipping but also less fun getting stuff delivered.   I will say that of all the things I’ve ordered, only one thing has disappointed, and that was the windshield gasket, a “Mr. Roadster” part, I ordered from Speedway.  It is totally wrong, doesn’t come close to fitting the original Ford frame, so I have to get another one, probably from Steele.  Oh well.23755451_10215478035886687_5139613326768938365_n

 

Yesterday my pal Jake Moomey turned the Ford front hubs down to fit the good Buick aluminum brake drums.  The car came with a pair of drums fitted, but one was no good, the (steel)  liner was paper thin, and the pilot holes in both were slightly off center, they had a tiny bit of run out.  I bought one,  stole one from the ’63 Riviera (it hurt to pull the the drum off the Riviera, but I have another one for it), and we (well Jake, I watched) turned the hubs down to fit the Buicks smaller pilot hole.

It felt really good getting the car back up on all four wheels as opposed to setting on jack stands with the front wheels simply mocked up the stands.

23844891_10215501643156854_7128176245317606555_n

 

Jake has a ’49 Chevy Tin Woody wagon project, and along with that came a ’49 4 door sedan parts car.  It has 5 original Chevy 15″ wheels.  I’m buying the wheels, which gives me a third option for wheels and tires.  I have the Dayton knock-off wires, for a contemporary look, the 14″ chrome slots and bias belted wide whites (shown above), for an early 60’s vibe, and the Chevy 15’s for a post war traditional feel.   I have a nice pair of 7.20×15 Cokers that’ll be perfect up front, and will be looking for a pair of 8.00×15’s to mount on the other pair for the rear.

Neither sets of whitewalls will be suitable for long distance driving, but the Daytons and radials will be perfect.  Since the car has a Chevy bolt pattern behind the knock of spliced adaptors, a space saver spare in the trunk, a jack and lug wrench will serve as “one size fits all” spare tire.  We had flats twice with the ’36, and with different bolt patterns on each end, no trunk room, bias ply tires and tubes, it wasn’t a very practical set up in case of tire trouble.

23844935_10215478036606705_4177796427001234498_n

 

I’m down to the final fitting and finish stage of the build, so the long up coming winter will be just the right amount of time to get things fitted and finished.  I had the top bows on, but loosely mounted.  With the mounts firmly bolted on, the top bound slightly folding, and had to forced to fit behind the seat back in the top well.  Not good.

It turned out that one of the mounting holes I’d drilled in inner body structure (that I built from photos found from an old Street Rodder Magazine build on line) was slightly off.  That fix turned out to be as simple as a new hole a quarter of an inch rearward and up, which let the top irons stack without binding, and pulled them back just enough to clear the seat and drop into the top well perfectly.

I’ve made patterns for all the interior panels, and just have to make them now for the trunk, which will be upholstered to match the interior.  No rumble seat cushion plans at this point, we’ll use it as a (very spacious) trunk.  The rumble lid actually seems suited better hinged at the rear for loading and un-loading.  If at some point I want seat cushions, we can add them at any time.

I’m still going back and forth daily on the color for the top.  Either black or tan will look good, so I can’t go wrong either way.  I’ll probably decide as I’m ordering the material. Tan would look good with the whitewall tires, black would be good with the chrome spokes and blackwalls.  The interior will be tan, the existing seat, and the top likely won’t be up very much anyway, so I don’t know why I’m agonizing over a decision.

With the fuel line hooked to the tank and wiring to the solenoid it’s ready to fire up.  Now that brakes are all finished I can bleed the lines.  The steering column and wheel are finished and mounted, and the dash is lacking only a new Stewart Warner manual temp gauge.  The (rather clunky) aluminum gas pedal and throttle cable arrived yesterday, so the list of things to do is getting shorter every day.

23843389_10215501643596865_3782143289725534396_n

 

I’m (sort of) committed now to having the car in the basement at AutoRama in Detroit at Cobo hall in February.  That seems like a very reasonable goal now, and a good place to debut the car.  For a Christmas present to myself I’d like to have it to the point it’ll start, steer and stop,  and get the paint cut and buffed.  Anything I get done after that, upholstery and top, is optional to get it to Detroit for the show, but a good thing to aim for.

Cheers, and Happy Holidays!

 

 

22154554_10215078926149193_8015128229576760913_n

Without being too maudlin, this is a reference to Tom Petty.  Writer, musician, fellow baby boomer, who died of a heart attack just a couple days ago.  I’ve been casual fan for decades, always admired him because he not only made music I liked over the years, but he seemed to follow his heart, and made the rest of us happy doing so.  Simple, unadorned, straight up rock and roll.  No frills.  No unnecessary adornment.  He didn’t guild the lily.  I like that about him.

Not that I’m anywhere near the artist (or particularly musical) as Tom Petty, and I don’t want to flatter myself too much here, but thinking about it, this car is my equivalent to the kind of music Tom Petty made.  It’s simple and clean.  Like a good chopper,  and a good authentic hot rod, there’s nothing there that doesn’t need to be there.  It’ll reflect my taste, the cars that influenced me and made an impression when I was a kid in the late fifties and early sixties, looking at car magazines in the grocery store while my mom shopped.

22221521_10215078925989189_3479687622111898072_n

I’ve always loved ’33 and ’34 Fords, particularly a fenderless roadster.  The line of the hood and the inner fender as they sweep back into the rocker panel, which is not flat on top of the frame, but dips below the frame (making these cars channeled from the factory) in a graceful arc that I think is lovely.  Without fenders, that line is accented and amplified, the signature feature of these cars.  Likewise the angle of the grill, hood and forward edge of the doors is unique and beautiful  (albeit it dangerous), and “matches” that rocker panel/hood sweep.

I’ve wanted one for 40 years, saved Street-Rodder magazines with ’34 highboys on the cover, and feature cars, including this very one, for almost that long.  It sounds trite but it’s a real dream come true.  That it’s in my garage, tantalizingly close to being finished, amazes me every time I see it.  I feel fortunate to be able to own this car, proud of the skills I’ve gained over the years that enable me to build it, and thankful my wife Kim supports me and my madness.  She didn’t complain when I sold the ’48 Pontiac convertible we’d had since before we got married, that financed this, nor when I dropped more than half of the proceeds of that on a trailer load of mis-matched and cast-off parts that became this car.

Thanks Kim.  I love you, and not just for this.

Getting primer on it today was a huge step forward.  I’m hoping to get color on it before the weather cools down, so that this winter I can get all the rest of the work done and have it ready for next spring.  It’s been a little more work than I anticipated, but not horrible, and so far I haven’t run up against any huge obstacles.  At least none that I couldn’t work out.

22141300_10215079109873786_8822423519721289760_n

There are lots of little details I really like about the project, things that I think will separate it from other ‘glass bodied ’34’s.  Not there are tons of them around here, but there are a couple.  Like a good Tom Petty song, it’s identifiable and recognizable, but different and unique at the same time.

That’s my hope any way.

 

 

Hot Rod!

Posted: April 4, 2017 in Ford Roadsters, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

I finished up the headlight stands today and got the lovely splash aprons mounted below the hood.  Even though the hood is raw steel, the body is flat black and the splash aprons are purple, you can see the beautiful sweeping line of the hood, splash apron, headlight and tire make that flows down and back to the rear wheel.  The bottom of the body doesn’t lay flat on the frame like a ’32, but drops down  below the frame, to follow the hood line.  It’s beautiful, and it’s why I built a ’34 rather than a ’32, or the ’27 I was originally going to build.  I love it.17634448_10213207746090861_6471970211750891650_n17757432_10213205080984235_1940985273489453503_n17757509_10213207745850855_5432272209028145714_n17757562_10213207746570873_2864557533850458756_n

17342997_10213039500804834_3213163995760765948_nWow.  I am so happy right now.  Body is on permanently.  Engine in temporarily, I’ll pull it out to finish and paint the firewall.  Had a moment of “OH NO!”, when setting the engine, as I’d raised the center (flattened) the front crossmember an inch to lower the front, which lead to some initial interference between the crank pulley and the spring U-bolts.  I had room to shove the engine back 1/4″, which let the pulley drop down behind the U-bolts, I’ll have to fill the existing engine mount holes and cut new ones in the frame pads, but there’s plenty of room for that.

Almost done enough to set behind the wheel and make Hot-Rod noises!

Hot Rod!

Posted: March 9, 2017 in Ford Roadsters, Hot Rod, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,




The 34 chassis is painted and assembly started.  I’m taking the front spindles to my pal Jake’s shop Saturday to install new kingpin bushings, then the brakes can can be detailed in the front end completed.    There’s some touch up paintwork to do on the top of the frame, but I planned on that, it’s hard to paint upside down.

After that, brake lines and rear shocks, and the body goes back on for good.  The two four barrel intake will go on the 283, now Massey Feguson Red, and a new distributor to replace the GEI, and then it goes in between the frame rails.  Then, I can set in it and make hot rod noises!

This ’34 is testing my skill set.  Today I went to ALRO steel and got a piece of 20 ga. stainless to make the dash panel.  I got a piece WAY bigger than I needed, thinking it’d come in handy to make something, sometime.  I stopped at my buddy’s house on the way home and borrowed his bead roller.  Great plan.

The first thing that happened was that I laid the panel out, and then rolled the bead on the mark for the outer edge, thus making it 1/4″ too big, and it hung below the dash.  Damn.  So, I laid out another, cut it, and while rolling the bead (the 20 ga. stainless really taxes the bead roller), I wandered off the line and ruined it.  So, I cut out number three, no problems, got the machine finish on, cut the holes for the gauges with a brown blade in the cut-off wheel.  All the gauges dropped in save one on the far right, so I began to carefully open up the hole with the cut-off wheel.  Not carefully enough though, I slipped and ended up with a big divet (look over the ammeter)imageuploadedbyh-a-m-b-1485298479-997388that the bezel doesn’t cover.

So, I’ll cut out panel number four, use up the last of the piece of stainless, and spend another day doing it all over again.  If I had the right tools for the job, it’d save me aggravation, but I’ll be more careful with the next one.

On the plus side, I did manage to make the package tray/seat back brace without any wrong cuts or trips back to Menards for more pine.  The seat looks great in the car, the support makes the body much more solid, so I have managed to move ahead.

16142313_10212519724890761_1686832476450757326_n

16266162_10212519724730757_3603639506430287837_n