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Projects '49-'51 Shoebox Coupe chopped

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by Ryan Glick, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. Ryan Glick
    Joined: Jan 8, 2018
    Posts: 6

    Ryan Glick
    Member

    Just bought me a '50 Shoebox Coupe and I'm looking to chop it, but I need some help on what to do. I'm 15 years old and really have no knowledge of chopping a top, but I've got all the tools to do it from where I work. I know that chopping a coupe is harder than a tudor sedan, so that's why I am asking. I know when they are done right, they look badass and I wanna do it right. Any tips and tricks on what I can do? Where to cut? How much to cut? How can I fill in gaps? Etc.... Thank you
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  2. flamedabone
    Joined: Aug 3, 2001
    Posts: 4,239

    flamedabone
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I built a '51 club coupe for 1500 dollars about 17 years ago.

    [​IMG]

    After I chopped it, I hated it. Should have let it be.

    [​IMG]

    BUT!! That does not mean that chopping your shoebox is necessarily a bad idea. If you like them chopped better and you have the skills and determination to see it through, then give her hell. The chop is pretty straightforward. Remove the entire rear window and frame, make your A, B and C pillar cuts, then sit the rear window in its original unaltered size where is looks the best then weld it back in.

    Good luck, -Abone.
     
  3. flamedabone
    Joined: Aug 3, 2001
    Posts: 4,239

    flamedabone
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    This is my Merc, but the cuts are pretty much the same for a shoebox. It is not for the faint of heart, for sure. Check out how nothing just falls back into place after the roof is lowered.

    [​IMG]

    You will most likely have to spread the top to get it to flow into the rear window.

    [​IMG]

    The rear window placement is absolutely critical on any chop, particularly a shoebox or Merc.Once you figure out where it goes, you have to make it fit again and you will have to make some panels.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here is the finished car. I have done a bunch of these and it still took me 3 months to chop it start to finish. It is an ass load of work for sure.

    [​IMG]

    Hit the search for Shoebox and Merc chop threads, there is a lot of information floating around here and all of it will help you one way or another.

    Good luck, -Abone.
     
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  4. Above is a good example of how I would not do it to a Coupe. Not a knock by any means, I just see things differently. I feel that leaning the B post forward on a Coupe should not be done. You can get away with it on a Sedan. My first Chop was on a 49 C0upe. Did it the same way because that's how it would go back together with what I had. That was over 50 years ago. My second one, I did not lean or tilt any of the 4 posts on advice of an Old Timer in town. I lengthened the Door tops so I could keep them where they belonged and liked how it turned out much better. A little more work for sure and back then it was all Gas welding. Also, back then every Wrecking yard had several body's to cut pieces off of. Not so much today. If I were to do another one today I'd still hunt up the pieces so not to lean the A and B post. If your unsure how or what to do buy yourself a couple model cars and cut them up. Same process only on a smaller scale and Way cheeper.
    The Wizzard
     
  5. choptop40
    Joined: Dec 23, 2009
    Posts: 3,012

    choptop40
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Yes , get a parts roof and door tops , also a magnetic angle finder...you'll have x brace the body and wear safety goggles when you are cutting , grinding etc..I still have impaired vision I one eye from flying metal and such....and measure 5 times and cut once....it's all angles
     
  6. flamedabone
    Joined: Aug 3, 2001
    Posts: 4,239

    flamedabone
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Pist-n-broke, you are right. The leaned pillar is what I disliked the most about the car. The very first time I pushed it outside I though...oh shit...I hate that... Too late then.

    That car lives in Sweden now and the guy is very happy with it from what I understand.

    -Abone.
     
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  7. Ryan Glick
    Joined: Jan 8, 2018
    Posts: 6

    Ryan Glick
    Member

    Snapchat-641150542.jpg
    Here's the only picture I have of it. I gotta pick it up this weekend, and then I can post some more on here I paid $650 for it with basically everything with it, but the body is a pos. I figured when I'm done with the stuff that needs to be done on it, I'd chop it and just finish the body off to what I want it.
     
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  8. Ryan Glick
    Joined: Jan 8, 2018
    Posts: 6

    Ryan Glick
    Member

    I honestly don't mind the slanted B pillar, coupe or sedan. BUT, it has to be done right. It cannot be half assed and slanted a little bit, or slanted to much. P1010010-vi.jpg Screenshot_20180110-183611.png The first car I've seen done, and wow that is art. I love it and definitely one of my favorite cars ever. The second is obviously from another thread on here, and it's just a normal B pillar. I could go either way with it...
     
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  9. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 3,721

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    If I were going to do major metal work on a "shoebox" coupe, I'd section it and leave the top stock height. The coupe tops just seem to have something "right" about them. I've never seem one chopped I liked. Sectioned with a stock height top is great.

    Now a tudor sedan, on the other hand MUST be chopped to get rid of the overall awkward look (and especially those faux quarter windows).
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
  10. Something I learned a long time ago is no matter how ya do it there will always be those that do and those that don't like things. Mostly you need to do it for yourself. For me I always try to get the Project on the exact wheels and tires I plan for it to live with then the Ground profile. That always seems to help decide how much or how little to remove. Another big thing is to be able to walk away 20 feet or more and walk all the way around to see just how it's profile works from a distance. Cars are like Women, If there looks don't stop ya in your tracks the Ride isn't going to work for you either.
    The Wizzard
     
  11. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 2,437

    southcross2631
    Member

    I agree about sectioning . The first true custom I ever looked at was a 50 that had been sectioned and had Packard tail lights and a Desoto grill . The guy who built it was so far ahead of every body else around the U.P. of Michigan as far as customizing goes.
    A sectioned shoe box with a stock top really looks cool.
     
  12. Ryan Glick
    Joined: Jan 8, 2018
    Posts: 6

    Ryan Glick
    Member

    I don't think I'd be into sectioning really, I kinda just want a badass lower rider, taildragger type of car. Something that'll lay frame and look badass at the same time. I like the way sectioning looks and it's pretty cool, but for my shoebox, and for only being 15, I can't do too much with my skill set... I'd definitely do it later down the road through...
     
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  13. old round fart
    Joined: Jun 9, 2008
    Posts: 132

    old round fart
    Member
    from Norman Ok.

    I think with no experience you should not start with the
    Chop. Start off replaceing rusted structure and suspension. When you gain experience you will do a better job on the top. As soon as you I start a chop it is not far from being unsaleable real fast.
     
  14. Ryan Glick
    Joined: Jan 8, 2018
    Posts: 6

    Ryan Glick
    Member

    Yeah I definitely want to do everything else first. I have experience with body work and metal, but nothing like a chop.
     
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  15. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 20,495

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    fill in your profile section -you do not state where you are located - makes a difference as to what look that you want end up with - do you have any experience doing work old cars? have someone in your Family that can help do the work that has experience? have money to put into this project? getting it road worthy first is the way to go - as stated above, measure and measure again - lay the rear glass forward so that you have to get custom glass made - make sure that when you do the front glass make sure to allow for seal and body flex - the wind wings can be another challenge & interior window frames - find something to practice cutting and welding before doing the real deal - if you have not already done done it, do a online search and You Tube too
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
  16. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 16,826

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    looks pretty rusty along the bottom. by the time you get that all patched up you will be much better able to do a chop.
     
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  17. CyaNide
    Joined: Mar 2, 2006
    Posts: 176

    CyaNide
    Member
    from Texas

    I agree too. Don’t chop the coupe. Sedans yes. French the lights and lower it down and drive it.

    CN
     
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  18. Slopok
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 1,953

    Slopok
    Member

    Just learning how to drive at 15 will ruin it without having to chop the top!:eek:
     
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  19. Ryan Glick
    Joined: Jan 8, 2018
    Posts: 6

    Ryan Glick
    Member

    Where I work is actually the best place where I can get help. I can dump about $2000-$3000 into it right now. To get it running, I would need to rebuild the flathead with the trans, make sure everything frame and suspension wise is good, and then I NEED to do floor work. That is number one on my list. I have some experience working on older cars, my dad and I used to have a '49 coupe that we worked on when I was about 8 or 9, so I didn't learn too much, but I've worked on a '66 fairlane and a '49 Merc. Nothing too major, I did some patch work on the '66 but that was pretty easy. The '49 I just cleaned up and sandblasted. I'm a pretty good fabricator for being 15, but I could definitely learn alot more which I intend to do with this car. And to be quite honest, it's a really bad body, so I might just use this first one as a template and a practice car, till I do the real deal. I'd love to work on cars where I work, but they are $300,000 Merc's and Ford's so I sure as hell wouldn't want to mess that up... I've watched alot of YouTube on doing a chop as well. I can't remember the dude's name, but he made a 4 hour video about chopping a car and was very descriptive about it... Loved that video and gave me lots of info that I plan to use...
     
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  20. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 3,569

    Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Member

    I know you're excited to haul it home and lop the roof off but no fair doing the fun stuff first! (I've seen chop tutorials on here on bodies that were missing their floors!)
    You have a lot of work in getting the basic floor structure and body squared up. I'd recommend getting it running and driving too, then lastly come back later and chop it.
     
  21. So Ryan, it sounds like you work at a Body Shop or something close to one. If that's the case I'd advise listing very close to the Oldest guys there at lunch time. Most of them have been through this same phase and already made some mistakes. They (We) never forget them. They will also remember what it was like to have your enthusiasm and wish they still had the drive you have. Listen close even if you don't agree. I tell customers like you that building any car is much like building a House. You must have a solid foundation before you can do windows and a Roof and there's a lot in between before you get to that Roof. If you skip a step you'll pay big for it latter.
    The Wizzard
     
  22. Emperor Chris
    Joined: Oct 9, 2007
    Posts: 465

    Emperor Chris
    Member
    from Nor Cal
    1. Upholstery

    If I was closer to you, I would help you do it. There are plenty of 49-51 chop threads on the H.A.M.B. that will get you going in the right direction.


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
  23. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 5,485

    'Mo
    Member

    For the record, I think shoe box coupes are tits, un-chopped.

    One of the nicest chopped profiles, however, was Bill Hines "Lil Bat".

    What makes it unique is that the trunk section was left attached to the top, and lowered between the rear fenders. (This was the reason for creation of the fins.)

    [​IMG]

    By doing so, the length of the top did not have to be shortened.
    In fact, the top was further extended by laying back the "A" pillars.

    [​IMG]

    But, as I said, un-chopped shoe' coupes are the cheese!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  24. I'm in the "don't chop a coupe" camp. Almost all coupes look lousy chopped IMO. There are exceptions of course.

    Join the shoebox social group (you might have to join before the content shows up, and I don't know if you can access through the mobile app, you might have to use the web browser)...

    https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/social-forums/shoe-box-hambers.112/

    There's a thread of build threads in there, including a lot of chops. Do a TON or reading and studying before you cut anything. There are plenty of messed up cars because someone got excited and started cutting before they knew how to put things back together. Walk before you run.
     
  25. Von Brush
    Joined: Nov 20, 2016
    Posts: 60

    Von Brush

    Anyone who is using a tablet is unable to fill out the profile because the tablet has no provisions for doing so.

    Sent from my 9024W using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  26. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 3,721

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    After seeing both pictures of the "Lil' bat", I have decided I don't like scallops on a coupe either.:eek:
     
  27. Finnrodder
    Joined: Oct 18, 2009
    Posts: 2,766

    Finnrodder
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Finland

    I havent seen many coupes that have a nice lines after chopping the tops.
    I guess mild chop, max 2" could look good on coupe,but the best looking coupes have a factory height top...The sedans are a different story,they look a kind of weird with the stock top.
     
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  28. Pipes
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 887

    Pipes
    Member

    You have years to chop the top on a car. When you get a chance google some mild custom coupes. That roof may just grow on you. I know it did to me. I had a 50 sedan that was chopped 3-4 inches. I loved that car but it needed a ton of work, and when my parents got in a jam i sold it to help them,and swore id get another one and chop it. well I got a 51 coupe and man after looking at some of the chopped coupes and then looked at some of the mild customs, i started to get picky and see things i disliked about the chopped ones. there are a few very well done coupes, but a majority of them just dont flow right. thinking mines going to stay unchopped now.
     
  29. BLUSHU
    Joined: Sep 1, 2016
    Posts: 340

    BLUSHU
    Member

    Ryan, I admire your youthful enthusiasm.
    A chop is a shit load of work to create a unique roofline on a car that has an incredible roofline the way it is.
    On a sedan I could see it being necessary because that roof is big & dorky looking.
    I'm sure that is why they started chopping them in the first place, trying to copy the look of the coupe.
    That is the beauty of this hobby, everybody has a different opinion on every aspect of a build and you have to work with what you got.
    Look at the 2 pictures under your original post.
    In my opinion the unchopped coupe looks way better than the after shot.
    a Simple redirect of your time & energy into ride height (which is a lot of work if you truly want to go low) & you can have one of the nicest looking shoeboxes around.
    Again just my opinion.
    If you feel you gotta chop then have at her, at your age, the more "hands on" the better.
    Whatever you do enjoy the hobby, guys like you are the future of our hobby!
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
    chryslerfan55 likes this.

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