Posts Tagged ‘roadster’


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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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”!

 

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.

img_2201I got the instructions for the ’34 Roadster the other day, so I jumped right in on it!  Sadly, I repeated what I used to with model cars, and the full size equivalent of getting glue on the windshield, and am now mopping up the mess.

I had ordered some 5/8″ LH jamb nuts for the front shock links from Speedway Motors, and some rear shock mount steps.  The order came today, and all excited to hook my Houdaille front shocks, I made the connector link (5/8″ LH all thread) and opened the pack of jamb nuts.  They wouldn’t screw on, and it was obvious when I looked, they were RH jamb nuts.  On top of that, I only ordered one shock stud, thinking they came in pairs, so a couple of errors on that order.  I need to get some steering shaft and a couple of U-joints anyway, so it can be steered, so I’ll be calling tonight to set things righ

Meanwhile, the trans tunnel  I made out of cardboard is ‘glassed, it looks and fits fine.  I succumbed to peer pressure and swapped the single 4 bbl. intake and Holley carb for the ancient Offy 2-4 intake and the pair of Edelbrock 500 carbs I bought for it.  I ordered a small diameter electronic distributor, wires and coil which should be here tomorrow, so that’ll be ready to fire up.

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Finally!  The 283 is nestled permanently between the frame rails!  It was a bigger job than I’d anticipated, since I’d had things only loosely assembled before, I had to move the bolt holes back on the engine mount pads on the frame a quarter inch, but it’s good to go now.

I think the cream color firewall with the three gauges looks incredible, and the low mount alternator gets rid of that ugly lump up on top of the engine.  I opted to leave the single 4-bbl Edelbrock Perfomer intake on for now, I’ll put one of the new 500 CFM E-carbs on and get the thing sorted out before I tackle getting dual quads sorted out on a 283.  One thing at a time…

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I have enough cream enamel left to paint the ’59 T’bird wheel, which will tie that into the color scheme.  I dig the red engine and polished aluminum against the cream firewall, and the little dual quad air filter element looks better than the bug ugly chrome air cleaner the engine came with.  It’s starting to come together.

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When the tires were mounted on the Dayton wheels, the high pressure blast used to seat the bead blasted a couple big hunks of chrome off the right front rim.  I was bummed, but had been considering media blasting and paint the wheels anyway.  Then, a buddy suggested a product called “Rub and Buff”, sold in hobby shops as an ersatz silver leaf.  Probably powdered aluminum in a waxy base, the stuff worked amazingly well.  From five feet away, it’s almost impossible to spot the “repair”.  I’ll probably end up getting one new wheel from Dayton Wheel, but for now, I’m good to go.  The car is going to sport some light “patina” overall, so, this isn’t out of place.

I’m getting excited.

17861698_10213285226827831_7196399856735939171_nThe first, and I mean the FIRST guy who asks if this is “…one of those kit-cars…” is going to get one of these bronze windshield posts shoved right up his arse.  Up until yesterday, I had the posts and windshield frame just loosely bolted on, and no hinge bushings in the posts, and it looked reasonably OK.

Until I tightened things down a little.

Then everything was all kinds of off.  The left had post stood up several degrees more vertical than the passenger side, and didn’t lay right against the cowl.  The windshield bound in the  pivots with the bushings in, and the pivot stud would barely go through its hole in the (apparently twisted) left side post.

It was awful.

I ended up spending the afternoon getting these reproduction posts to fit the cowl of the who-knows-how-old, unknown maker fiberglass body, and accept the original, but chopped two inches, windshield frame.  Some (OK, a LOT) of “finessing” with a 4″ angle grinder on the bottom of the post flange, a little work with a hole saw to allow the mounting bolt some wiggle room, some time clamped in the vise with some precision re-shaping with a big Crescent wrench, and “Ding-Ding-Ding”, we have a winner.

That was after I made new brackets on the cowl brace to move the steering column two inches to the left and down a half an inch because the wheel was in the wrong place, and the brake pedal hit it.

This car has been a series of challenges to make things fit properly.  I started with the doors.  Broken hinges.  Poorly mounted latch hardware.  Nowhere near enough bracing.  Turnbuckles to twist the doors into submission.  Shimming the body on the frame for gaps.  Remounting and aligning the rumble lid hinges.  Filling and finessing the fit of the rumble lid to the body and tulip panel.  Making cowl to frame mounts (a vital part of old Ford body alignment that this car never had).  Getting the Rootlieb hood to fit the Argentine reproduction grill shell, and then getting the hood to fit the cowl AND the grill shell at the same time.  The splash aprons, which are still going to need a bunch of Mar-Glas and ‘glass mat and resin to fit  properly.

And that’s just the body.  I built the frame too, not having ever dealt with a buggy sprung Ford chassis before.

It’s been humbling, but fun, and great therapy.  I’m actually a little sorry to have it close to paint and being done.  Except for doing the interior, and a new top, and trimming the trunk, and  the exhaust, and…