Archive for the ‘Ford Roadsters’ Category

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

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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.

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Lots of work don the ’34 this week.  The firewall notch to clear the 283’s distributor is glassed in.  I used a chunk of a heavy cardboard shipping tube as the core and glassed in both sides.

While I had resin mixed up I reinforced the sills in back of the doors.  The body is braced with white oak, but it looked like just one layer of mat over this piece, and it was cracked and delamininating.  So, I ground away all the “loose” stuff, drilled some holes in the oak for resin to penetrate, laid up three layers of mat, it looks more substantial.  All went well.

The rear axle, a ’55 Chevy with 3.70 gears, is all cleaned and ready for paint.  The frame is also ready for paint, as are all the rest of the chassis components.   The front end has a new Posies “Super Glide” spring, this one is a reversed eye, reduced arch, and is 1/2″ shorter than the one that came with the car.  It turned out to be  a Speedway spring, a sort of Posies “knock-off”, which made the car set much too high in front.  I have a flattened ’40 rear crossmember and a mono-leaf, which gave the car a “taildragger” stance.  I flattened the front crossmember almost an inch, which along with the new spring should drop the front 3″ from where it was.  I may take a leaf out of the front spring as well, but will drive it a little and let it settle before I do anything.

I made a pan hard bar for the front, using some threaded tubing from Speedway and two heim joints with studs.  Because the frame is upside down, I ended up mounting it backwards, that is, the fixed end on the passenger side, and it’s supposed to be on the drivers side.  So, I cut the little mount tab off and made a new one for the correct, left, side.  In addition I bought some shock mount brackets that mount below the radius rod/perch bolt, and 4 5/8″ heim joints to make shock links for the Houdaille front shocks.  I need to get some 5/8″ LH all thread rod to complete these.

It feels good to make progress.   Next up, I’m going to get the 283 cleaned up, painted, get the dual quad intake on, and then paint the frame and chassis components.  Spring is only 6 weeks away!



In last weeks episode, you’ll remember the ’34 was up on wheels, hood and grill shell aligned, body mounts made, steering box in, and the 283 fired for the first time.  Now, it’s all apart, separated into big automotive chunks, getting all the previously tacked together, mocked up chassis welded up.   

The next time it goes together the chassis will be painted and complete, the 283 will be detailed and wearing two fours, not the single Holley it has now, and the body will be wearing a coat of shiney —— paint.  

It’ll be a busy winter at Cool McCool’s Garage!

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