Posts Tagged ‘roadster’

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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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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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…

Back in Black.

Posted: October 25, 2017 in Hot Rod, Uncategorized
Tags: ,

The roadster is now, for the first time in 30 years, one unified color.  I’m thrilled with how it looks, the single stage urethane paint laid down like glass.  I’ll color sand and polish it, in the words of my friend Bill McGuire, to give “that buttery glow”.
The next job, aside from putting it back together without scratching it all up, is to turn the front Ford hubs down to fit the Buick brake drums.  The drums I had were worn, broken fins, I bought one last summer, and will swipe one from the Riviera for now.  

It won’t be long now!


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!