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Projects 1950's Tube Frame Sports Car

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by jebbesen, Oct 5, 2015.

  1. 54stude
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 60

    54stude
    Member

    This home built car (built in the 50's) was at the back to the 50's show in Minnesota this year. I think it might be matching the era and style of your chassis? It looked better proportioned sitting on the ground than the pictures portray.
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1445142272.200042.jpg ImageUploadedByTapatalk1445142283.455147.jpg
     
  2. ghornbostel
    Joined: Jan 3, 2012
    Posts: 131

    ghornbostel
    Member

    Nothing wrong with the proportions that I can see. A true hot rod sports car.
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  3. Yup, that's cool! A bit of an Allard influence.
     
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  4. AmishMike
    Joined: Mar 27, 2014
    Posts: 380

    AmishMike
    Member

    This car reminds me of "Locost Lotus 7" - popular English homebuilts ( & kits ) based on book "Build Your Own Sportscar on a Budget" by Ron Champion. Colin Chapman founded Lotus sports cars and Lotus 7 was famous racer. This book has a lot of info for builder and various body styles. Tons of builds and info on internet - most not HAMB friendly but still good ideas.
     
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  5. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 8,994

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    volvobrynk and AHotRod like this.
  6. Anyone know the brand of the steering wheel in this pic from post 28? I have one that looks almost exactly like it and have been trying to ID for years. it's 17" diameter, flat, aluminum with drilled spokes and a riveted wood grip. Has a weird 8 bolt mounting pattern (something like a 2 11/16" bolt circle). I'm afraid to modify it if it's off some rare, one-off early vintage sports car but can't seem to find anyone that can tell me its origins.
    Steering Wheel.jpg
    Thanks,
    Steve
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2015
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  7. 54stude
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 60

    54stude
    Member

    I did not take a picture of the info sheet on that car, but from what I remember it was built from Henry ford parts, in the 50's or 60's by an engineer or machinist in mn that worked for toro or onan. Truly a traditional road race sporty car.
     
  8. AmishMike
    Joined: Mar 27, 2014
    Posts: 380

    AmishMike
    Member

    I just meant the body design. Locost are space frame of 1" square tube originally with flathead 4 of about 900 cc but book shows all different designs with v8, motorcycle engine and various body designs - some like what you showed. This project crys out for body like "old yellew" - another famous 50's racer.
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  9. Mota Lita wheel?
     
    Ned Ludd and volvobrynk like this.
  10. volvobrynk
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,588

    volvobrynk
    Member
    from Denmark

    Not to nit pick, but it's ol' yeller.
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  11. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 3,869

    Ned Ludd
    Member

    The Locost is a diy version (way on the other side of kit form; in fact only the copyright on the book away from free-floating intellectual commons) of the Lotus 7, which in its original form had a Ford 1172cc flathead four like its predecessor, the MkVI. I think the MkVI - apart from the unusual rear skirts - is something worth studying as regards the car under discussion here:
    [​IMG]
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  12. verde742
    Joined: Aug 11, 2010
    Posts: 5,236

    verde742
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

     
  13. verde742
    Joined: Aug 11, 2010
    Posts: 5,236

    verde742
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    1940 Ford front brake drums, has screw off grease cups, and looks like a 1940 Ford gas tank, to me.
     
  14. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 26,027

    The37Kid
    Member

    Master cylinder is from a 1954 Chevrolet. Bob
     
  15. jebbesen
    Joined: Aug 18, 2015
    Posts: 383

    jebbesen
    Member
    from Winona, MN

    So in between my other projects I've been tinkering with the car. It's hard to not be too distracted by it. I played around cutting down an old Federal truck grille shell that I had. Not sure exactly how I feel about the results. For now it'll probably just stay with no body or grille. After a bunch of messing around I got it running and the engine sounds good. It has the typical Olds lifter noise but seems healthy. The carb kit I got was NOS so I'm not sure if the rubber parts were good for ethanol blend. In light of that I reused the all metal needles and the leather accelerator pump. Both seemed in good condition. I soaked all the small parts in Gunk brand carb cleaner and cooked the body in Cascade dish detergent. Filled an old motor oil can half full of denatured alcohol and lit it heating the dishpan of soapy water. That worked well.
    To get the engine to fire with the leaked down lifters I had a buddy pull me around the yard with my forklift. I think that probably was good to get oil pressure up before it fired off anyway. Now for the brakes... My plan is to run a 1962 International truck combo clutch/brake master but used them both for brakes with a bias bar between the two pistons. I figure this will give me safe dual circuit brakes with a period correct look. The IH master looks just like a 62 Chevy or GMC one but is 1" bore rather than 1.125". I ordered two brake master rebuild kits and will probably bore and sleeve the master I have. One thing I'm still trying to ID is the radiator. The fact that it's honeycomb core makes me think it's pre 1950 but I'm still not sure what it is. It leaks badly so I'm looking for a replacement. If possible I'd like to find a radiator with the top hose centered or right and the bottom on the left. One option would be one out of a Minneapolis Moline U tractor. It would look nice with the curved upper tank and has a nice thick core. We'll have to see what happens. If you can identify the radiator though that would be very helpful. The exhaust system was half gone and bent up. I fabbed up a copy of the originals with some stainless heat exchanger tubing I had laying around. Eventually I'll probably get something bent up but this works for now. Sounds really nice and mellow. 20151024_142238.jpeg 20151024_142137.jpeg 20151024_141553.jpeg 20151024_145219.jpeg 20151024_145222(0).jpeg 20151024_144848.jpeg 20151024_163545.jpg 20151024_163529.jpg 20151024_163512.jpg 20151024_122438.jpg 20151023_150900.jpg 20151022_110242.jpg 20151022_104637.jpg 20151022_104629.jpg 20151019_113317.jpg 20151018_175628.jpg 20151018_175614.jpg 20151018_175601.jpg 20151018_175553.jpg 20151018_175536.jpg 20151018_175528.jpg 20151018_175521 - Copy.jpg 20151018_175521.jpg 20151018_140721 - Copy.jpg 20151018_140721.jpg 20151018_140719.jpg 20151018_120728.jpg 20151018_115739.jpg 20151018_115734.jpg 20151018_115727.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
  16. 270ci
    Joined: May 17, 2010
    Posts: 348

    270ci
    Member

    [/ATTACH]
    54_Bel_air_Master_cyl..jpg

    Close, but No Cigar! Here's a 54 Chevy M/C,
     
  17. That was a Federal truck grille shell you cut up........:(
     
  18. jebbesen
    Joined: Aug 18, 2015
    Posts: 383

    jebbesen
    Member
    from Winona, MN

    Yeah I saved it from a junkyard about 15 yrs ago. It's been sitting around and I figured the likelyhood of ever needing it for a Federal was pretty unlikely. Sorry if you needed one. They're VERY heavy. I can't imagine that too many Federal trucks that have survived have damaged grille shells.
     
  19. jebbesen
    Joined: Aug 18, 2015
    Posts: 383

    jebbesen
    Member
    from Winona, MN

    Yeah I'm pretty sure it is a 1938 Chevy M/C
     
  20. volvobrynk
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,588

    volvobrynk
    Member
    from Denmark

    Master cylinder is a 1937, '38 and '39 master from a chevy car.

    I think the grill shell should be in front of that bar, ligth and shock mount. For a more streamline look, if you cut up such a nice day grill make sure it looks good. And that dosent look nice enough with the bar I front of the grill.

    I like them ligths a lot, they look good with that guide ligth on top.

    EDIT I'm to slow, despite ding right.
     
  21. jebbesen
    Joined: Aug 18, 2015
    Posts: 383

    jebbesen
    Member
    from Winona, MN

    Yes the bar will for sure be changed. I just didn't want to cut it before I figured out what to do with it. I think if it got moved back just a couple inches it could be flanged to have a removable piece inside the grille shell. The headlights could be lowered about 2-3 inches also to tuck them in closer.
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  22. jebbesen
    Joined: Aug 18, 2015
    Posts: 383

    jebbesen
    Member
    from Winona, MN

    Ok, It's time for an update. I've done a bunch of work to the car over the winter and this spring. A lot of it won't be readily apparent but I'll put up some pics and try to explain what they're showing. The majority of the work so far has centered around brakes and steering nothing cosmetic. This first post will cover the steering. As it was originally set up the steering was not great. They turned a cross steer Lincoln box on it's side and to get the side steering to go the right direction they turned the pitman arm up to 12 Oclock. The exact opposite of what you'd want for bump steer with split bones. Also because of the master splines in the sector and pitman arm they weren't able to set the pitman at 90 degrees to the drag link. This made it steer quicker and sharper one way than the other. I have been really trying to keep the car period so that anything I do could plausibly been done that way in 1953-1956. The car was built in 53 but the original 1949 303 Rocket was replaced with a 56 324 so I'm trying to use that as a cut off date. Cars like the Cunningham race cars of the era used Gemmer boxes so I figured a good period setup would be to use a manual cross steer Gemmer but rebuild it and add a much longer pitman arm to quicken it up. I scavenged a steering box from a early 1950's Frazer that is composting in the woods by my parents house. I personally hate it when steering columns aren't parellel with the centerline of the car. In order to get away from a crooked column I realized I'd need to put ujoints in the steering. This presented a problem for two reasons: they'd be highly visible in this car so they had to look old and mainly because there were almost no cars that had ujoints in the column before 1956. As I researched I found that MGA's started using joints in 1955. Perfect right? Well yeah, it is, but they're also not real available so I started watching Ebay and found 3 that were decent looking and could be rebuilt. The same joints were used later by Jaguar so the joint itself is available if you find the yokes. It's a miniature, greasable, needle joint just like you shrunk the ones in your driveshaft. The MG and Jag yokes use a 3/4-48 spline that is sort of morphidite but since I would be cutting the splines in the shafts myself that was fine. Obviously if you want to run a jointed shaft and stand the box with the sector vertical you have to seal the box. I milled the snout off the box that the column used to clamp to and bored a diameter for a lipseal. A 1950 Mercury steering box donated it's worm bearing retainer plate since it didn't have a hole for a horn wire. This left the problem of the worm shaft. I decided to machine a new one from a piece of 1045 steel shaft and press it into the worm. I milled a master slot in it for the worm and cut the splines for the ujoint yoke in my Bridgeport mill with the old K & T dividing head. That took some thinking. I'm a machinist but at 35 yrs old I came to the trade way after dividing heads were sort of a thing of history. Usually guys say to heat the worm in oil before pressing it on the shaft, but I decided it would be less messy to dunk the shaft in liquid nitrogen. Either way it's sure a lot easier to press a 6" long solid shaft into a worm than the original 5' long flexible hollow Ford one! Once the box was done I started looking for some sort of long pitman arm so I wouldn't have to build my own. Google image searches are invaluable when you're trying to find this obscure kind of stuff! First series 55 Chevy trucks had a really long pitman arm on their side steer boxes. The original Ford cross steer ones are about 6" long. The Chevy truck one is 10". The spline fits the Kaiser box but the master splines were clocked screwy on the Chevy arm. I decided to just mill the 4 splines away so that I could adjust it wherever I wanted. This was especially important as the frame on my car tapers from the firewall to the front crossmember. If I didn't want to have to build the mount out from the frame the Ford master splines would be wrong as well. I didn't want to bolt the box into the frame permanently until I figured out if my combination of random parts worked well so I bolted the box onto a piece of 3/8 steel and then made a clamp that would bolt between the frame tubes to try it out. I also didn't want to have to cut any more splines than necessary to try the steering out until I knew it would work. For now the column is just a long shaft splined at the bottom for the joint and tapered/keyed at the top for my banjo wheel. eventually there will be 3 ujoints to allow it to jog around my headers.
    In review here is the original setup.
    20151005_174225.jpg 20151005_174716.jpg 20151005_174841.jpg
    Notice how with the wheels straight ahead the pitman is nowhere near 90 degrees to the drag link.
    20151024_163545.jpg
    Here's the Frazer that the "new" box came from LOL Not much left! Surprisingly the box was like brand new when I opened it up. I think being upside down all those years helped keep everying submerged in oil. For as much of a pop can as those cars were the box was decent (for a Gemmer) design with the needle bearing 3 tooth roller. Whats better is the worm had no galling as is usually common on those boxes if they get any lack of maintenance.
    Sorry about some of these next pics. I lost some on my phone and can't replace these ones that Photobucket screwed up. I've gone thru this thread and tried to replace what I can.
    [​IMG]
    Sorry- I forgot to take a pic before tearing it apart but her is the casting with the new worm shaft being mocked up.
    steering box 1.jpg steering box 2.jpg steering box 3.jpg
    The Mercury box that donated its shim plate. If you compare the two you'll see the modification I made for the seal to fit in around the worm shaft. The Frazer box looked the same way. I considered using this box but it had much more corrosion on all the guts and more significantly the sector shaft is a larger diameter which would not have allowed me to use the Chevy pitman arm.
    [​IMG]
    For a length comparison here is the original Ford pitman arm vs the 55 Chevy 1st series truck one.
    [​IMG]
    Cutting the splines in my Bridgeport mill
    gemmer spline 1.jpg
    I did a short trial cut and then cut them extra long so that I could trim it after determining how far I wanted the ujoint to slide on. Obviously I left a polished seal diameter.
    gemmer spline 3.jpg
    Some of the old MGA ujoints
    gemmer spline 2.jpg
    This is a picture of the identical spline on the end of the column shaft. I chamfered it in the lathe and cut the groove for the clamping bolt.
    [​IMG]
    Test fitting the joint with the clamp bolt installed. Yeah- I know I need to clean my chip pan out....
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Removing the master splines from the Chevy pitman arm. I made a puck that had a short step that nested the large end of the tapered pitman spline. Then I tipped the dividing head so that one side of the tapered spline was vertical. This let me plunge a small endmill cutter down the side and removed the master wide splines.
    12734027_10153876018309870_6076928540007199321_n.jpg 12729362_10153876018339870_6400121663367566629_n.jpg 10660124_10153876018404870_7194580629437163395_n.jpg
    Mounted on the Frazer box for the first time. In this picture you'll also notice I tapped the box reservoir for a 1/4 NPT pipe plug. This lets me change the gear oil in the steering box should I decide to try different viscosity oil or just change it periodically.
    12718176_10153876018519870_9059678755032740395_n.jpg
    The temporary mount plate. Hmm. My Brown and Sharpe mill table is a mess too. Seems to be a theme here unfortunately!
    12744609_10153879875699870_3004028808573025617_n.jpg
    Here I'm trying it on the car. Obviously I haven't removed the original box yet in this picture.
    12741978_10153879876084870_2005296488162394868_n.jpg
    Here is a top view once I have the drag link in hook up across the car. Fortunately they didn't cut the unused tie rod end loop off the passenger steering arm when they originally set the car up side steered! My geometry with the long arm is about as ideal as you can get . 12745738_10153879876294870_3364481855407684934_n.jpg
    I think that I will end up changing the pitman arm taper so that the tie rod end enters from the top of the arm. Either that or heating and bending the arm up but I want to figure out my final ride height before doing that. This is a more recent picture where I am in the middle of reconfiguring the front spring and suicide mount (that will be covered in a subsequent writeup) but it is the best one I have showing the draglink and tie rod from the front of the car.
    20160612_192133.jpg
    With only one Ujoint the steering wheel ends up kinda low for right now. I'm 6' 3" so its a little tight. That will get changed when I add the joints to jog it around the headers and remake the permanent column drop setup on the frame. It barely clears the drivers cylinder head at the back of the engine right now. It works though for steering the car around while I wait to start building the headers and start adding the joints. I like how the steering wheel points right at you instead of coming from down by your left foot. 13177809_10154096756519870_1072538165695063795_n.jpg 13173641_10154096756609870_4288029095249124181_n.jpg
    I drove the car around for the first time this weekend after the steering modifications. I was slightly concerned that it might be to hard to steer with the new setup. It was great. I have 2 turns lock to lock and can steer it one handed. Granted those are awfully skinny tires so if I swap to anything wider it might get harder but it's very tight and responsive.
    13412972_10154177623414870_7651825028918814168_n.jpg
    Next I'll cover what I've done to the front suspension, brake work, rear axle mod plans. Hope you enjoy reading this.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
  23. Great write up,,enjoying the machine work,,looks like fun, well thought out.
     
    Atwater Mike likes this.
  24. steel rebel
    Joined: Jun 14, 2006
    Posts: 3,604

    steel rebel
    Member Emeritus

    The right guy found this car.

    Gary
     
  25. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 43,714

    squirrel
    Member

    nice!

    Is there such a thing as a PTO U joint? used on machinery?
     
    Stogy likes this.
  26. jebbesen
    Joined: Aug 18, 2015
    Posts: 383

    jebbesen
    Member
    from Winona, MN

    Yeah there is. I considered that but they're usually larger and not splined. They are often weld on or use woodruff keys. I have a few pto shafts from 50's era trucks that had hoists on them. That's probably what I might have used had I not come across the MG option.
     
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  27. studebakerjoe
    Joined: Jul 7, 2015
    Posts: 452

    studebakerjoe
    Member

    Not that it'll help you now but cadillac/lasalle used u-joints in the steering in the late 30s. So they weren't that uncommon in the 50s.
     
    Stogy likes this.
  28. studebakerjoe
    Joined: Jul 7, 2015
    Posts: 452

    studebakerjoe
    Member

    And I almost forgot Crosley used a small splined u-joint in the transmission to torque tube joint. That would be appropriate time period wise
     
    Stogy likes this.
  29. jebbesen
    Joined: Aug 18, 2015
    Posts: 383

    jebbesen
    Member
    from Winona, MN

    Hmm. That's interesting. I had no idea. I'll look into that.
     
    Stogy likes this.
  30. Awesome!
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.

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