Posts Tagged ‘Hot Rod’

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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‘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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The initial plan for the roadster was to use the “patina’d” tan Haartz canvas on the top bows that came with the car.  This proved to be impossible when this morning I set to take the canvas off the (beautiful chrome) bows.  While the material was rotten, it WAS held on by what must have been thousands of staples and tacks.  These were driven into the solid wood bows, and pulling them wasn’t like pulling staples out of a convertible tops tack strip.  Oh no.  These refused to yield.  I ended up cutting the canvas with a razor, where it didn’t just tear or pull apart, removing it, and then pulling each individual staple and tack, first prying them up a bit with a small, sharp screwdriver, then yanking on them with pliers.  It took forever.

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That, however, ended up being a good thing.  The old, frayed, stained top would have looked TERRIBLE against the new paint.  The top had to come off anyway to trim the back edge and curtain owing to the 2″ chop, so it would have had to have come off intact.  Which NO WAY was it going to do.  The wire on was so rusty it wouldn’t close back up and would have had to have been replaced, which also would look out of place with the old material.

So, I’ll make a new top.  No big deal.

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Taking (OK, stealing) an idea from a fellow HAMB member with a lovely 34 roadster, whose top construction was outlined in detail in Street Rodder Magazine, and available on-line, I then notched the 2nd bow in the curve, to let it drop down further over the iron bow.  Taking 5/8″ out of the curve (seen above) let the bow drop almost 1 1/2″, which really improved the loft of the top.  It no longer looks like a buggy top, but like a hot rod.

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I mocked up the new profile using masking tape, It looks great.  The old window opening I didn’t like, it looked to “antique-y”, this is much more pleasing to my eye.  Again, the loft is much prettier, without the center arching WAY up over the drivers head (like I’m gonna wear a fedora in this thing!), and I even like the tan color of the tape against the black paint.  So the color is “mocked up” as well.

All in all, a pretty productive day, and one more thing checked off the list!

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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!