Posted: February 28, 2017 in Hot Rod, Roadsters, The purple nurple., Uncategorized
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No, it’s not finished yet, my wife bought me the issue of “Street Rodder” the car was featured in back in ’83!  It’s great to have it, and see the car as it was originally built.

I do have the frame in primer, and would like to have it and the suspension bits in color soon and assembled.  Not purple though…

imageuploadedbyh-a-m-b-1486431886-702963Answer:  You don’t.  You let it in, and let it drain right out.

My buddy Jeff Miller (Millers Garage) is building a ’34 Cabriolet with a rumble seat, and sent me photos of his trunk/rumble floor when I posed the question to him.  There’s a little “dam” on the trunk floor, and drain holes behind that in the floor.  Water runs down the rumble lid, into the trunk, and just drains out the holes.


I had some oak 2×2, lots of resin and mat, and made the dam out of oak and encapsulated it with fiberglass.  There was a hole in the floor for the previous frames Model A crossmember which I glassed up, the dam is over that.  It does double duty as a stop for the rumble lid.

It’s not pretty yet, but a little skim coat and some bed liner will make it look OK.

In other news, I got a couple of screen door turnbuckles, and put on in the drivers door, which had a persistent bow.  It stuck out at the bottom about half an inch from the door jamb.  The turnbuckle mounts at the rear, top close the the hinge and at the bottom front to a piece of plywood inside the (untracked) door skin.  A couple turns of the turnbuckle drew the lower corner in perfectly.  I’ll put one in the passenger door tomorrow.

I also discovered,  to my surprise, that the “B” pillar or rear door post is steel, as is the back inside framing of the doors, where the hinges mount.  The front door post/cowl has no reinforcement at all, it’s just an “L” lip of glass with no framing, either wood or steel, behind it.  I’m going to glass a strip of oak behind that tomorrow, which should help brace the cowl.  It has a lot of “flex” right now, owing I’m sure to the fact that there’s no bracing in the body there at all.




16388063_10212627671429357_2457363262295700225_nThe excitement of panel fitting and gapping 40 year old fiberglass!  What fun!

The deck/rumble seat lid and tulip panel now fit!  Even though I knew they didn’t, in satin black, all the panels looked reasonably close in alignment, when in fact, they weren’t.  I’ve spent about 20 hours getting just the rumble lid to fit right, which involved moving both hinges, and half a gallon of filler on the tulip panel.   The lid and tulip panel (between the lid and the back edge of the cockpit) weren’t even close to having the same “arch”, and since it’s ‘glass and doesn’t bend, the answer was filler and blocking.

And more filler, and more blocking…

It’s good now, there’s a uniform gap, the lid doesn’t scuff on the body like it did, and I made a rain gutter and the little “dam” that an original car would have on the trunk floor.  On cars with rumble seats, the rain gutter disappears where the lid rolls back into the trunk when opened, and any rain or wash water just pours into the trunk.  There’s a lip on the floor, and drain holes behind it.  Pretty simple, but this car lacked that important detail.

The passenger side door had once made a hasty exit from the body when it was accidentally unlatched at speed, both rear corners were scuffed off, and both hinges had been broken,, and subsequently repaired.  The top one was slightly bent, the strap that bolts to the body, and I thought I could just clamp it in the vise and spring it back.


It turned out to be cast iron, not steel, and it broke.  So, being cheap, and having brazing rod, I brazed it back together.  Now the door fits much better,  where it was out about 1/8″ too far before at the door post.  Nice gap there too,  before it was tight at the bottom and 5/16″ away at the top.

Now, endless work DA’ing all that stupid flat black and one coat of the original purple off the body, and I’ll be ready for some high build primer and color.  That should get me warm enough weather to paint and start assembling.

A friend on FB suggested that a full width stainless dash might “flow” better than the small center panel, and lots of people, including my wife, thought the two side panels were just too “busy”.  So, back to ALRO steel I went and  had them shear me a 2’x4′ piece of mirror polished stainless (I got extra, in the likely event I screwed up along the way) and I got busy.

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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.





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!

’34 Roadster updates

Posted: January 4, 2017 in Hot Rod, Roadsters, transportation

img_0955The holiday season is over, and it’s time to update the blog.  Progress on the roadster has been steady, if slow, but there is progress.

I’ve gotten the frame DONE, unless you count priming and paint.  I thought I was done yesterday, but my friend Matt Lesky posted some photos of a ’32 chassis he just finished up, and that inspired me to make a couple changes on the ’34, even if it’s not on a level equal to what “Ionia Hot Rod Shop” does.  This extra detail isimg_0961 gussets were the “X” member joins the perimeter rails.  I’d thought it need a little extra, but wasn’t sure what to do until I saw Matt’s work.  So, that’s now done.

I also ordered a bunch of trinket parts from Speedway to mount the Houdialle shocks I saved from the Diamond T truck, and a new front spring.  Faithful readers will remember the mock up shot, which clearly shows the front WAY high, considering a reversed eye spring and dropped axle.  I selected, after much anguish, a Posies reversed eye, reduced arch spring.  Initially I was going to use a mono-leaf, but was concerned about the reliability of a single leaf, made probably in China, and opted for a US made piece.  I also sectioned, or flattened, the front crossmember 3/4″, so I should be quite a bit lower than it was, and planned “rubber rake” should take care of the rest.

img_0952I bought a quart of acrylic enamel in the color I decided on (you’ll have to wait to see what that is!),  and as soon as I can get a day when I can heat the shop to near 60, I’ll paint the chassis parts, brackets, radius rods, axle, and rear end, the frame, and get the chassis assembled.

It’s exciting!