Posts Tagged ‘Hot Rod’

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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!

 

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Once again, I’m not as far along as I’d hoped, but I’m making steady, if slow, progress on the ’34.  I’v gotten a big chunk of the final body prep done, it’s almost ready for primer.  Next week is another camping outing with the Spartan, so no work on the car next week,  but, it’s all fun, right?

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I cleaned, detailed and blocked of the breathers on the old Cal-Custom valve cleaners I scored a couple weeks ago, the engine looks, I think, pretty dramatic and period perfect.  If it runs OK with those two carbs I’ll be even happier.  If it’s too much carburetor, I’ll pull the dual quad intake and put the single back on with just one carb and it’ll still look OK.  I have friends who can help me sort out the bugs if it ends up being beyond my skill set.

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The crowing touch on the engine bay has to be the beautiful stainless steel headers, stupid cheap at $76, including shipping.  Much better than the flaking Jet Hot coated ones I had, and cheaper than blasting and painting them, and stinking up the house baking the header paint in the oven if I did.  Right Kim?

Finally, I bought a few trinket parts at Nats North last weekend at the swap meet, and a couple things from the vendors.  The best thing, and the one thing from the swap meet, was a Southward heater housing, which I plan to put an electric heater behind for the car.  Or, a small heater core if that doesn’t pan out.  Happily, I didn’t need much as it looks like vendor support at that show is on it’s way out.  That’s a topic for a whole ‘nuther discussion, but suffice it to say that, unless you wanted new roofing or gutter guards, you were NOT to shop multiple vendors for street rod goodies this year.  NSRA has some work to do…

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In other news, the Spartan has a new pair of springs, to replace the sagging, rusted, nasty originals.  I’d put a new Dexter 7,000# axle  under it, but foolishly thought I’d save some work by using the original springs.  The right one started sagging after one use, and bottomed out HARD on the frame, despite re-arching it and adding one leaf.  The left side also bottomed out, so I bit the bullet and installed the (shorter) springs that had come with the axle.  This required making a “spacer” to mount the original hangers on, a
“C” notch for axle clearance, and a day laying on my back in the gravel drive under the trailer, but it’s all good now, and ready to roll.  This is why the roadster is not in paint right now.  At least, that’s my excuse…

Stay tuned for more exciting updates from “Cool McCool’s Garage”!

 

 

21151264_10214775325199359_3743655163660864024_nBuilding a car, or any project, is an overwhelming task if looked at in the whole, but it’s really just the completion of a multitude of little tasks.  When the last task is done, the car is done.  Like eating an elephant, it’s one bite at a time.

This past weeks tasks started with cleaning the shop, throwing away a Herby Curby full of trash and scraps, and taking care of tools.  With that chore done, I set to making spreader bars for the front and rear of the chassis.  The rear was simple, a straight chunk of heavy wall DOM tubing and two oval shaped brackets, but the front was a little more complicated.  Getting the angles cut to give the “V” shape to clear the grill, and drop an appropriate amount was a challenge, but I’m happy with the result.

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The plumbing for the car is DONE:  Brake lines, fuel lines, and radiator hoses.  I found preformed hoses and cut them down for both the upper and lower outlets at the local auto parts store.  The transmission cooler lines had me stumped, I tried one entire afternoon to make them from rigid 5/16″ line, finally after ruining one, and ending up with some clumsy looking ones I found that the radiator fittings were 1/8″ pipe, and I still couldn’t hook them up.  I went back and got some some soft copper line I could bend by hand, some rubber trans cooler lines, two brass hose bibs the right size, and got the job done in about 20  minutes.  It looks good too, not like it was made by a blind monkey.

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img_2829The seat riser got rebuilt, a clearance bump in the trunk (rumble seat) floor for the differential was made, and I added a couple layers of ‘glass mat and resin to the buggered up corners of the hood apron/splash shields.  The hood and grill shell fit is reasonably close, (REALLY good by ’34 Ford standards!), and I’ve got the ignition wiring done enough to fire it up.  My goal this week is to get the body prepped for paint and in high build primer, and the hood and little parts in color.  It’s tantalizingly close to being a real car!

I’ve made some real progress on the ’34, since I missed my “deadline” to have it at this years “Relix Riot” car show last weekend at the Gilmore Car Museum.  After a summer of having fun (which is what summer is supposed to be about), I’ve gotten busy on the car.  The brake lines and fuel lines are done.  I bought another Buick brake drum to replace the junk one (the lining was worn down too thin to be turned), and have that at my friend Jake’s where he’s turning the Ford hub down to fit the pilot hole in the Buick drum and re-drilling the bolt pattern.

I spent yesterday afternoon with a pan of CLR and a scuffy pad getting the surface rust off the Rootlieb hood, and when that was done, another couple of hours re-fitting the radiator/grill shell and hood gaps.  That involved welding the holes in the mounting tabs for the radiator full and re-drilling them, and as an aside, making a divot in the crossmember to clear the lower radiator hose outlet on the radiator, because with the radiator properly positioned it didn’t clear the (flattened) crossmember.

As Jake says, “It’s all about the re-do.”

A bunch of other little things have been done along the way, like cutting an access hole in the floor for the master cylinder, hooking up the shift linkage, and fitting a pair of absolutely beautiful finned Cal-Custom style finned valve covers to the 283, also a “Red Barns Spectacular” swap meet find.

I’m not sorry at all I missed my artificial deadline.  As the saying goes, “Good things come to them that wait.”.  It feels good to have it going together right, and good, rather than fast.  21034616_10214757575235621_5219514695707933902_n21077436_10214757575435626_861188910218844377_n21077515_10214741456792670_7259237883893543992_n-2

Faithful readers will recall our last episode, when our plucky hero (that would me) was left in a pickle.  Carburetor linkage that didn’t fit, brake hoses the wrong size, a driveshaft tunnel in the frame that wouldn’t clear the shaft and similarly flat floor.  

Did we mention the owner of the driveline local shop hurt his back and couldn’t make the driveshaft?

Well, the Cavalry arrived (in the form of the UPS truck)!  Steering shaft support bearing and bracket made and mounted!  Throttle linkage fabricated, looks and works beautifully!  Driveshaft tunnel in the frame modified and new floor tunnel in progress (thanks to another chunk of cardboard shipping tube and a yard of fiberglass mat my friend Steve [Mutant Brothers] gave me),and new brake hoses from the local NAPA store! 



And yet, he persevered.

…and some days the bear bites you.

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Yesterday I was planning fitting the brake lines and measuring for the driveshaft.  I got the front brake hoses (’40 Ford) out of their packages, and discovered they don’t fit the wheel cylinders in the Wilson Welding backing plates.  The fittings are too big.  So, scratch that, now I need adaptors, or correct size hoses.

Moving under the car, with trouble light and tape measure in  hand, I set out to measure for the driveshaft.  It was immediately apparent that the driveshaft wouldn’t clear the flat top of the X member at the rear, nor the flat floor.  I had plenty of room with before the body was mounted, but that and the engine settle the suspension enough cause  interference.  So, out came the cut off wheel and the torch, a little floor removed, a little bit off the back of the X member box, and we’re good to go there.

After adding a bit to the back of the cardboard and fiberglass trans tunnel/floor hump I made the the other day.  Good thing I’ve got the rest of the cardboard shipping tube laying around…

Then I moved on to the steering shaft.  I’d bought a double U joint to connect the Vega box to the ’59 T’bird column, and short piece of double D solid shaft to correct for the slight mis-alignment.  Great plan, but, I hadn’t noticed that the column has it’s own flex coupler hidden at the lower end, this gave me 3 U joints, not two, and the shaft flops and binds, so now I need a support bushing to hold the shaft solid between the box and column.

Thinking I’d make a solid fuel line from the pump to the fitting for the carbs, and thinking I could use one of the hose bibs I took off one of the E-carbs, I found that the new fuel line has 3/8″ NPT threads, and I don’t have THAT fitting, so no fuel line connected either.

No problem, add that to the order from Speedway, and I got the box of progressive linkage for the dual quads out of the box from Edelbrock.  Piece of cake right?

Wrong, Edelbrock makes this to fit THIER manifolds, which place the carbs tight together, this old Offy intake has them an inch further apart, making the Edelbrock linkage, nice stainless and brass bits, too short.  So, now I need to get some 3/8″ rod and make new links for that too.

So now, with the car setting on jack stands, a new hole in the floor, and nothing accomplished, I’m waiting for parts.

Again…