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Projects 1940s Model A Sport Coupe Build Thread

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by mramc1, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. mramc1
    Joined: May 26, 2006
    Posts: 418

    mramc1
    Member

    ****DISCLAIMER**** This is a 1940s INSPIRED build of a Model A sport coupe to emulate a car a kid would have driven in 1947. It's not perfect. Overall the car is about 89.8% pre-'48 with the newer stuff done (or will be done) in a tasteful nod to tradition. Hopefully you'll dig what I'm shoveling. Anyway, disclaimer over, please enjoy.


    This winter I am going to start my '31 A Sport Coupe build. I bought the car back in '09 looking like this. A '31 body sitting on a '28 AR chassis. Somewhere along the way the door tops got cut off and the doors were stick-welded shut.

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    After two years of gathering parts I'm up to this stage. I have collected all of the drivetrain, doors, grille, decklid, hood, and windshield. Here's how it looked last week.

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    I need to replace the rear subrails so I began the process of cutting the doors open. Luckily the right door was easy, but on the left the guy burned a ton of holes in the quarter and cowl. I'll need to straighten that out.

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    Here I fitted up one of the replacement doors to see how things fit. At some point the B pilars got welded into the wrong place so the door hole was too big. Not a problem as I am fixing the subrails and the quarters are coming off for those repairs.

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    Here I have the right quarter unbolted/unrivetted. And then the left. Also notice that there was 1" thick steel bar welded to the top of the front subrails. Luckily the penetration was really bad and they cut off easy.

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    Rear subrails are pretty much toast. I am going to replace them from the doors back.

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    This winter I am building a new frame using some A rails I have. This car is going to be built with all the original patina on it. I want to emulate a car that a 17 yr old kid would have driven in 1947, just pulled out of a barn now. It's going to be fenderless with splash aprons and sit high in the air. I have a '38 rear and spring to use. I'm extending the frame to use a flat crossmember as a rear spring mount. That will drop the back of the car about 3 inches. The front will have a '36 axle with '38 drums and a reversed eye spring that will lower the front about the same as the back. I'll be running wide-5 wheels with 6.00s on the front and 7.00s on the back.

    The car is going to look '40s hot rod on the outside, but under the stock hood I'll be running a Model A green, carbed 2.3L Ford with a T5. This will be a daily driver, 40 miles per day, so I'm trying to get 25-27 mpg out of it.

    I'm also going to be building a faux Sport Coupe roof, but it'll probably be made out of steel. Aside from the engine/tranny I want to have everything else look as if it came from 1947. I love the look of '39 Ford taillights on an A, but they're used a lot so I found a set of '42 Buick sedan lights to run. Not too many cars have those and they have a '42 date code so they'll work.

    More pics to come as I do the subrails and start the chassis.

    Josh Quick
    Quick Speed Shop
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
    brEad likes this.
  2. Bib Overalls
    Joined: Aug 3, 2001
    Posts: 4,071

    Bib Overalls
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Jim,

    Sounds like a good plan. I'll be watching out for updates.
     
  3. yamadafacka
    Joined: Aug 14, 2008
    Posts: 505

    yamadafacka
    Member

  4. rusty truck
    Joined: Dec 17, 2008
    Posts: 214

    rusty truck
    Member
    from rochester

    Looks good. Any updates?
     

  5. aldixie
    Joined: May 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,642

    aldixie
    Member

    Good start, I am building a 40's style Sport Coupe as well. I will be running a 53 Mercury engine with Offenhauser heads and 3x2's. I am slightly further along then you are. Good luck with your build.
     
  6. mramc1
    Joined: May 26, 2006
    Posts: 418

    mramc1
    Member

    Not too much going on right now with the A. I sandblasted the subrails and quarter panel edges. The next step is to replace the rear subrails and rehang the quarters and doors. As of right now I am knee deep in a motor refresh of the 460 in my O/T '77 F250.

    Josh Quick
    Quick Speed Shop
     
  7. mramc1
    Joined: May 26, 2006
    Posts: 418

    mramc1
    Member


    Thanks! You're coupe looks good. Not too many sport coupes being built. Can't wait to see it when it's done. I have a '40 flatty in the basement that I would love to use if I had more $$ to get it going. It needs a complete bore and rebuild and I don't have the means to sink $4000 in a flatty right now.

    Josh Quick
    Quick Speed Shop
     
  8. I am very jealous of your project, keep us updated!!!
     
  9. aldixie
    Joined: May 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,642

    aldixie
    Member

    I know what you mean with the Flatty, I went through a few blocks, then I found one fully rebuilt on the west coast that was being replaced with a SBC. Got it for $1100 which was a steal.
     
  10. Looks great...looking forward to more pics
     
  11. caseyscustoms
    Joined: May 15, 2005
    Posts: 1,031

    caseyscustoms
    BANNED
    from st.joe, MO

  12. Koz
    Joined: May 5, 2008
    Posts: 2,315

    Koz
    Member

  13. mramc1
    Joined: May 26, 2006
    Posts: 418

    mramc1
    Member

    So long time since I updated my thread, but haven't been working on the car due to a bunch of other projects. Anyway, I finally dragged my frame table into the garage and have started to work on the frame. Since I am using a '38 Ford rear axle and spring I need to lengthen the frame in the rear. I am starting with a good front frame stub, that's the rusty one on top of the table. It's flat and straight. I'm extending the rear section with the pieces from the black frame below. That one is bent and broken in the front, but the rear is good. I'll be able to extend the frame, but keep the stock look by using the donor rear stub instead of new box tubing. I think I need to move the rear spring mount back 7 inches for the '38 rear, but will lay all the pieces out before I get to cutting. More to come in the future.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. mramc1
    Joined: May 26, 2006
    Posts: 418

    mramc1
    Member

    More progress. I cut the rear section off my donor frame and have the tails clamped in place. I made up the 7 3/8" difference of the spring over vs. spring behind mount by lengthening at the frame splices. This will make the frame look stock when done although it will be 7 inches longer.

    [​IMG]

    On the inside I made some oval fish plates to add strength. The outside of the frame will be butt welded and ground smooth so the seam won't show. I'll also box the inside of the frame at the splice when done. I might also build a rear facing K-member brace that will tie into the splice boxing plates and also locate the mount for the rear radius rods.

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    I removed the Model A rear crossmember and am looking now for a '35-'48 rear member to flatten out and install. Unfortunately I had one a couple of years ago, but sold it at a swap meet so I'm on the hunt again. I'd like to find a complete rusty frame so I could cut it up and get the crossmember and radius rod ball socket mounts too.

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    Here is the rear axle I'm using along with a mock up stock A front end. I'm going to tack all the frame together and then set it on the suspension before final welding just to triple check that the wheel base stayed correct.

    [​IMG]

    That's it for now. Future updates as they happen.
     
  15. rusty truck
    Joined: Dec 17, 2008
    Posts: 214

    rusty truck
    Member
    from rochester

    Looks good!!!! You are no Andy Kohler or you would have that done by now!!!!
    I know a yard where you might be able to get a rusty crossmember.
     
  16. mramc1
    Joined: May 26, 2006
    Posts: 418

    mramc1
    Member


    I know, if was as half as fast as Andy I might be done by now. He builds like a mad man. His coupe is going to be killer when it's done. I'm making slow progress, I have a lot of other projects going on.
     
  17. mramc1
    Joined: May 26, 2006
    Posts: 418

    mramc1
    Member

    This past weekend my buddy, rusty truck, and I went to our favorite old time junkyard in search of a rear crossmember for my frame. I remembered seeing a '39 pickup laying on it's side there. We found it and after some cutting out in the rain I had a rear crossmember in the garage.

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    I also grabbed the grille from that truck as it was laying on the ground bent into a backwards taco. The first pic is after I unfolded it and half an hour later with the hammer and welder I had a nice wall hanger. Always save time for arts and crafts.

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    I wasn't sure how to make the rear crossmember work, but finally came up with an idea. The part went from this:

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    To this:

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    I then used 2x3" box tubing to make new flat ends that attached squarely to the lengthened Model A frame.

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    I then tacked the new new flattened out crossmember into the frame and checked it out for ride height and wheel base.

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    The new crossmember should sit the rear down about 3 inches lower than stock A. With the '36 front axle and dropped spring in the front the chassis should have a little bit of rake, but still be tall enough to keep that late '40s look.

    [​IMG]

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    Now I'll finish welding the pieces up and then will turn my attention to fixing the rust behind the motor mounts and will think about designing an X-member for the radius rod mount.
     
  18. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,917

    gnichols
    Member
    from Tampa, FL

    Shit... this isn't just hot rodding, it's more like archaeology! What milenium is that fossil from! Gary

    [​IMG]
     
  19. mramc1
    Joined: May 26, 2006
    Posts: 418

    mramc1
    Member

    I think it's from the "Barrelnose-Forditis" species popular at the end of the Guilded Age.
     
  20. mramc1
    Joined: May 26, 2006
    Posts: 418

    mramc1
    Member

    Got my frame back from the sandblaster yesterday. He did the whole thing for $90 which I thought was more than reasonable. My dad has an industrial blasting setup, but by the time I drive to his house and spend 3 hours blasting a frame $90 is way more than worth it.

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    It was raining and way humid when I brought the frame home so I had to throw it in the shop and get primer on it at once so it wouldn't flash rust. I sprayed inside the rails with weld-thru primer and hit the outsides with rattle can Rustoleum.

    [​IMG]

    Now I can start to build an X member and get the boxing plates fabbed and installed.
     
  21. mramc1
    Joined: May 26, 2006
    Posts: 418

    mramc1
    Member

    Scored big at the free swapmeet put on in Buffalo yesterday. Picked up this dropped '35 Ford axle, reverse eye spring, and new shackels for $185.

    [​IMG]

    Now I just need to get some spring perches and bungs to split the front bones and I can stick the front end under the frame. I was supper stoked to find the axle as I was either going to just run the stock '36 unit I had or have one of my A axles dropped by one of the guys here. I wanted a real Henry dropped axle instead of an an aftermarket unit.
     
  22. mramc1
    Joined: May 26, 2006
    Posts: 418

    mramc1
    Member

    Some more progress. I set the frame down on the suspension to get a look at ride height. Here it is with the stock rear '38 suspension.

    [​IMG]

    Front is stock '36 with dropped spring.

    [​IMG]

    Over all I am pleased. It has almost a 2" rake with 6.50s on the rear and 6.00s on the front. The frame still sits high, but is about 2-3" lower than stock. It should look cool, but maintain a '40s vibe.

    [​IMG]

    Now to make some templates for boxing plates and get it back up on the jig for those and an X-member.
     
  23. killerbunny
    Joined: May 21, 2012
    Posts: 51

    killerbunny
    Member
    from serbia

    I hope this thread will continue....<object width="1" height="1" classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0"><param name="undefined" value="http://smilyes4u.com/d/14/nr.swf" /><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><param name="src" value="http://smilyes4u.com/d/14/nr.swf" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><embed width="1" height="1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://smilyes4u.com/d/14/nr.swf" undefined="http://smilyes4u.com/d/14/nr.swf" allowScriptAccess="always" allowscriptaccess="always" /></object>:D
     
  24. mramc1
    Joined: May 26, 2006
    Posts: 418

    mramc1
    Member

    </P>

    It's going to continue until the car is done. I hope that's long enough!
     
    brEad likes this.
  25. mramc1
    Joined: May 26, 2006
    Posts: 418

    mramc1
    Member

    Made a little progress over the Memorial Day weekend. First on the list was welding in the wishbone bungs. Here I'm making my measurements.

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    After I cut the bones to length I left a gap for good weld penetration.

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    Then I layed down a root pass.

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    And finished up with two cover passes.

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    Walla. One wishbone split into two.

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    I spent the majority of the weekend boxing the frame. I started in the rear and worked toward the front. I step-boxed the frame, leaving the boxing plates about 1/4" in from the outside of the C-channel. This gave me a nice shelf to weld on and shows that the frame is original, not just some box tubing.

    [​IMG]

    After both sides of the rear were in I started to build a K-member for some lateral support. I found I had an old Jeep CJ7 rollbar top that had nice curves. I cut it in half and used it to make the legs of the member. I hole-sawed the holes where the tubing could slip into the frame instead of just butt welding it.

    [​IMG]

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    This also gives me a good place to mount the rear wishbone mount once I get that far.

    After lunch I started going up front. Here I have the plates cut out with some access holes drilled for body mounts and the front wishbone mounts.

    [​IMG]

    I didn't weld the plates solid, but chose to weld one inch beads separated by one inch gaps.

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    I also welded the seams on the center and front crossmembers for a little extra strength. When everything was dressed up I primed the new metal. I think the frame looks nice and should be plenty strong.

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    My next step is to get the cowl set up and then build the new subrails on the frame. With a nice square base I can then put the body back together.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2012
  26. scrap metal 48
    Joined: Sep 6, 2009
    Posts: 6,075

    scrap metal 48
    Member

    Nice job on the frame....
     
  27. mramc1
    Joined: May 26, 2006
    Posts: 418

    mramc1
    Member

    Thanks, Scrap Metal. I think it will get the job done. It's way more stiffer now then when I started!
     
  28. banginona40
    Joined: Mar 5, 2007
    Posts: 758

    banginona40
    Member

    Great project! Nice work!
     
  29. mramc1
    Joined: May 26, 2006
    Posts: 418

    mramc1
    Member

    More progress. Set the cowl and subrails up on the frame to start the body re-assembly process. The original subrails are broke, rusted, and bent.

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    Ordered up a nice set of repops from Mac's back in the fall. After a little rivet grinding I was able to ditch the old subrails and mock up the new ones.

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    I also ordered a new body block mount set so I can get everything lined up and bolted down correctly. This weekend I am going to square everything up and start to weld the crossmembers to the subrails. Then I can attach the cowl. With a good square base to work from I will hang the doors and rehang the quarters and get the body back together.
     
  30. mramc1
    Joined: May 26, 2006
    Posts: 418

    mramc1
    Member

    More body building. With the cowl bolted down I hung the doors to get the cowl adjusted.

    [​IMG]

    Everything lined up pretty good. All I needed to do was shim the passenger side one washer thick to get the door to fit good. Driver's side worked with no shims.

    After the doors were aligned I welded the fire wall in.

    [​IMG]

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    Next I welded the crossmembers to the subrails. Then I hung both quarters and the tailpan to see how the rear of the body measured up.

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    After a couple hours of trimming, adjusting, and measuring I was able to get the passenger side quarter welded on.

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    It's starting to look like a car again! This week I am going to finish the driver's side. Then I can think about building the rear firewall/quarter panel brace and will also contemplate how I'm going to do the roof structure over the doors.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012

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