Posts Tagged ‘34 Ford’

Winter Wonderland.

Posted: December 7, 2017 in Hot Rod, transportation
Tags: , ,


Here at Cool McCool’s Garage, the first snow has fallen, but it’s toasty warm inside the shop.  

I’m busy getting the ’34 Roadster wiring harness made.  I’d salvaged miles of 12 and 14 gauge wire from the ill- advised motorhome project, and an equal amount of black plast loom.  Not period correct I know, but it’s all going to be hidden up under the dash, behind upholstery panels or in the frame.  



I’ve got the engine ignition, starting and charging circuits done, so in theory, it should start now and run, but I haven’t tried yet.   I’ll finish the complete harness before I fire it, I still need a ground cable and make ground connections for the engine and steel body bracing.  Obviously the wiring has to be tidied up and tucked in the looms yet, but it’ll look good completed, and should keep all the magic smoke inside the wires.

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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…

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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.

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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.

‘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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

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A little progress on the Roadster today.  I trial fitted the windshield posts and frame, after re-tapping the threads for the pivot bolt.  Someone had re-tapped them for 5/16 coarse, the correct pivot studs are 5/16 fine on the w/s end and 3/8 fine for the wing nuts, so I brazed the holes full and re-tapped them.  I need to get new studs, as the threads are booggered up on both of them too, but those are cheap.

The only parts for a ’34 Ford that are cheap…

The w/s frame itself I decided isn’t good enough to have plated.  I found two more pinholes, which I can braze full, The posts, new bronze castings, I buffed, and I sort of like them as is.  Which isn’t correct, but I’m out of funds for chrome, so I’ll run ’em as is, with the w/s frame painted, until I can get the posts chromed and new frame.

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After months of watching that on-line auction site, today I spotted a re-chromed, but slightly damaged ’34 grill.  The bottoms of the bars are tweaked, but I think I can straighten them, and since I’m going to paint the bars anyway, it won’t mater if the chrome is damaged in the process.  The chrome on the surround looks really nice.  On a genderless car, the grill shell is the focal point of the whole front of the car, so bad chrome really hurts the whole car.

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The dash insert is in, and gauges floating in the holes.  The water temp gauge has the Bourdan tube nipped off, I have a parts store electronic gauge I’ll take t he guts out of and put in the SW housing and face.  I have a fuel gauge, a small one, that I need to figure out where to put, and the ignition and headlight switch have to go somewhere too.

The gas tank is mounted, front and rear spreader bars fitted.  Headlight stands and front shocks mounted too, all with stainless hardware that I buffed up before putting the bolts in.  The headlight buckets are on the stands, I have to polish the reflectors and wire the new Halogen bulb sockets.

Little by little…


Now the fun job of blocking out the primer.  The car is going to be black, so it has to perfect, even though I’m going to age the finish a bit.  I want it to look like a nice car that’s getting old.  Which it is.


I use a long block with 120 grit, self adhesive paper.  This gets the ripples out, shows low spots and knocks down the high spots.  I didn’t shoot a guide coat on this first coat, I’m taking enough off that there wasn’t a need.  I found a couple areas that need a little  icing, but it was pretty good. After the next coat of high build (I’m using Nason 2K urethane), I’ll dust a coat of red oxide and then use 220 followed by 360, wet.  


It won’t be long before I get color on now, provided I get a break in the weather and walnuts don’t keep bouncing through the shop doors!

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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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It’s fall here at Cool McCool’s Garage, but that doesn’t mean we’re sipping pumpkin spice latte’s, or drinking cider and and eating donuts.  No sir!  We’re sanding our fingertips off!  I’ve been block sanding, filling little imperfections, and block sanding some more on the ’34 roadster, trying to have it in color before the weather cools off.

The body is looking pretty nice, which it has to be because the planned color choice will magnify any and all flaws.  Since the car has been painted a couple of times, and I didn’t strip all the old paint off (a decision I hope doesn’t come back to bite me later), it’s been a challenge.  The two color coats of what looks like catalyzed acrylic enamel (with a primer in between them) don’t feather very well, they simply chip off and leave an edge, I’ve been filling those spots, and other boo-boo’s, with icing.  I’ve sanded off all of the Spot and Glaze putty I thought would take care of those spots, and gone to the icing.

It works much better.

22050129_10215047289398294_5175394114002160653_nThe “chicken’s feet” I added to the wheel wells are finished.  I decided I didn’t like the little “tails” I’d left on the horizontal bead, so I took those off, and have the fender wells finessed and ready.  I didn’t know that ’34’s have flat wheel well panels, only ’33’s have the beads, and mine are “reversed”, but I like them and that’s all that matters.

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The nice thing about a ‘glass body is that any mistakes are pretty easy to remedy with some resin, matting, and filler, and the belt line bead is a good example.  The cowl bead didn’t line up very well with the hood, so I “fixed” that key moving it down the body about 14″.   Easier than hammering and welding, for sure.  Likewise the door sill on the passenger side was weird, so some long strand reinforced filler built up the missing bead just fine.

We won’t talk about how I dropped the passenger side door and chipped the back lower corner off, that I’d “fixed” from it’s exiting the car when the door came unlatched in it’s former life.  I’ll mix up some resin and chop some mat to fix that, don’t tell anybody…

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I repaired both hood aprons (or inner fenders, whatever you want to call them), they’d both had the corners broken off and lower edges mangled, and are good as new now.  The headlight stand on the left (F100 pickup shock mounts I cut up, missing in this photo) I had to tweak a little as the headlights (’36 Chevy Master) didn’t line up just right, and I had to heat and twist the brake pedal a little to allow some room for the gas pedal, but all the “build” stuff is now DONE.  I think…

In other news, the new springs I put under the Spartan turned out not to be the correct rating, they “settled” on our trip last weekend to Milford MI and the fall TCT Rally.  They flattened out so far as to let the eye rest on the bottom of the frame rail, bottomed completely out, actually opened the eye up on the rear spring hangers!  I was shocked, they ‘re 5,000 rated Dexter springs, obviously not enough.  So, I ordered two new 6,000 load rated springs (well, I MEANT to, but evidently I didn’t check “2” in the quantity box, so I’m waiting on the other one to get here) and have to get that back together for our last planned trip in two weeks

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There’s always something!