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Projects 60's Era Street/Strip Model A Coupe

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by -Brent-, Aug 1, 2019.

  1. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,989


    Thanks, 40! I appreciate it. I went back, last night, and added a couple more detail pics here and there and fixed some of my typos and such. I'm trying to squeeze this thread in whenever I'm free and I see, now, I didn't proofread so well. Hahaha.
    loudbang likes this.
  2. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,989


    I had two really good cowl/gas tank tops so I kept one with the filler and cap and we filled the other. I actually like the tank filler kept in place.

    My thought on it is this, a lot of customizations have been made and keeping the filler is exercising restraint. The other part of my brain is like, "a whole list of things have changed, not changing this seems odd." So, that's pretty much how my brain works on things... haha.
    Filled Cowl Top.jpg

    The fuel tank top that's in the car, now, came off my donor chassis. I fully expected to see a nightmare in the tank when I cut the top off. However, when I saw inside, I felt bad for a moment because it was the cleanest tank I've EVER seen in all my years of cutting up and parting out this stuff.

    2018-04-01 14.50.23.jpg

    2018-08-03 22.57.12.jpg

    That's the worst of it!

    2018-08-03 22.57.24.jpg

    2018-08-03 22.57.37.jpg

    2018-08-03 22.58.17.jpg
    mad mikey, Hombre, dan31 and 8 others like this.
  3. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,989


    B Pillar Wood, Welding, and Rust Converter

    With the sub rails in, we can take out the bracing. Finally! Now the wood comes out.


    2019-01-29 16.18.34.jpg

    2019-01-29 16.18.14.jpg

    2019-01-29 20.17.08.jpg

    I modified this tiny, flat puller on the grinder so I could get it under the nail head without any damage and then it could "roll" over the sheet metal and pull the nail.

    2019-01-29 20.17.42.jpg

    Anyone who chops one of these cars knows its a paint to get any sort of decent weld with the wood in. So, with the wood out, we pulled the pillar and got some tacks on each.

    Model A B Pillar Tacks From Chop.jpg

    Model A B Pillar B Pillar Tack from Old Chop.jpg

    Model A B Pillar.jpg

    Matt squaring the prior cuts.

    Matt Seret Reparing Model A Ford B Pillar.jpg

    2019-01-30 10.27.12.jpg

    Model A B Pillar Repair.jpg

    This is the side that can be seen with the door open. So, it got a better finish on it.

    2019-01-30 11.11.51.jpg

    2019-01-30 11.10.38.jpg

    I wire-brushed the pieces and sprayed them with some rust converter.


    I did the same with the inside of the car. The wood had blocked these area when it was blasted.



    Probably not needed but it was cheap insurance.


    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
    mad mikey, Hombre, brEad and 14 others like this.
  4. Nick Agius
    Joined: Jul 29, 2015
    Posts: 139

    Nick Agius

    This is so awesome, Great stuff!
    loudbang and -Brent- like this.
  5. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 7,723


    I'm on board ;)
    loudbang and -Brent- like this.
  6. subscribed :)
    Loving this....
    -Brent- and loudbang like this.
  7. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,989


    Thanks, fellas! I appreciate it.
  8. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,989


    Olds/Pontiac Rear End - Dissassembly

    Early on in the plan I knew that this car had to have an Olds/Pontiac rear. I kept my eye out, locally, for a while. Eventually a parts car popped up. The seller was a bit reluctant to sell just the rear and I considered buying it for the 389, too, but rebuilding a O/P rear was costly enough. Hopping up a 389 is even more expensive... but man do I love those engines.

    The axle donor was a 1959 Pontiac Star Chief.


    Obviously, an axle out of a boat like this would be way too wide. So, like seemingly everything else, it will get modified (narrowed).

    Seemed like I was tripping over this thing for a few years... it had to be a couple, at least! Wrestling that heavy SOB into the truck was a great time.

    Pulling the Pontiac Rear From Storage.jpg

    Disassembly in the yard. Those lefty-tighty lug bolts always get me!

    2019-06-30 16.44.19.jpg
    2019-06-30 16.44.28.jpg

    One pesky backing plate nut needed some extra attention.

    2019-06-30 15.29.06.jpg

    Then, after a couple cut off wheels, all the brackets were removed. I should have left that one on the center of the housing, it looks weird without it.

    I left the third in and made some plywood caps and bolted them in to keep the sand out. It worked like a charm.

    Pontiac Rear Off to The Blaster.jpg
    mad mikey, Hombre, Thor1 and 5 others like this.
  9. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,989


    Narrowing an Olds/Pontiac Rear End Housing

    Man, I love when stuff comes back from media blasting. I started using a new place (well, new to me) and they're affordable, they do a great job and they're FAST. Unheard of, I know! Oh, and they're a friendly lot, too.

    Pontiac Rear Blasted.jpg

    I pulled the third and the end covers and cleaned out as much oil as possible. On the recommendation of Dave from Fabcraft, I marked up the housing and put a dimple to measure from on both sides so that there'd be no questions if Brian and I lost contact. He's so with it though, all my markings were probably not needed.

    Pontiac Rear Ready For Narrowing.jpg

    Pontiac Rear Ready For Narrowing 4.jpg

    Pontiac Rear Ready For Narrowing 3.jpg

    That divot was punched in to be 4" from the finished end.

    Pontiac Rear Ready For Narrowing 2.jpg

    To figure how wide the rear should be, I didn't get scientific. I just asked folks whom had cars that were in a similar style (i.e., with mags, slicks, tire hangout, etc.). All that said, I like round numbers, so we ended up taking off 3" from either side.

    It's neat how he set it up in the lathe to burn the ends in.

    Pontiac Rear Being Narrowed.jpg

    This lower photo is actually really neat. Check out the grounding wire. The pros have all he tricks.

    Pontiac Rear in Lathe.jpg

    From what I hear, the factory ends weren't always true (this goes for all the automakers). Brian is meticulous in his set-up.

    Pontiac Rear Set Up To Be Narrowed.jpg

    Those Fabcraft ends are really nice. Hindsight being what it is, I could have run big bearing Ford ends and run a lot less expensive drum brakes. Live and learn. I guess it's easier remaining all Pontiac... so there's that.

    You can kind-of see there's a drain plug installed too. Brian went around and filled in a bunch of divots in the tubes. Some were like that from the factory and some were from removing the bracketry.

    Narrowed Pontiac Rear Finished.jpg

    It ended up being pretty close to the width of an early Bronco 9" housing. I'd have to check my notes but with the drums it's in the 58" range... like 58.6"... something like that.

    Olds Pontiac Width After.jpg
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
    mad mikey, Hombre, Thor1 and 12 others like this.
  10. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,989


    Measuring For Axles

    Fabcraft has this handy template. It makes measuring for axles simple, otherwise I'd surely get it wrong!

    Fabcraft Pontiac Olds Axle Measuring Template.jpg

    Measuring for Axles.jpg Measuring for Axles 3.jpg

    While the pics don't show, these end were pretty much dead-nuts exact. However, holding a tape measure, a straight edge AND a camera is NOT recommended. I measured like 10 different times and then twice more with Dave from Fabcraft on the phone... hahaha.

    The axles are 31 Spline "Pro Street High Performance Axles" for 1957-1964 P/O 9.3' Rear End, 4340 Chrome Moly, heavy tapered shaft, extra thick flange w/large bearing journals. Full through heat-treated. 2 Bolt Patterns: 5.50" & 4.75" x 5
  11. Mr T body
    Joined: Nov 2, 2005
    Posts: 2,077

    Mr T body
    Alliance Vendor
    from SoCal

    Excellent work and love the era you're shooting for. I went back and forth about chopping my '31 and ultimately didn't. Kinda glad after driving it and trying to see stop lights and stuff.
    John Davies' coupe was my inspiration as well. Love the stance and paint too. Couldn't bring myself to cut on my body at the time since paint wasn't in the picture, but someday it'll get root beer and gold......
  12. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,989


    Thanks Mr T., I knew from the outset that I wanted a chop. It was the other stuff I hesitated with, like running a 32 chassis. It was an awesome set-up but it didn't align with what I was passionate about.

    There was all sorts of evidence, however, I just wasn't paying attention. Looking at the folders of Model A ideas and there was a lot of similar cars to what I had posted.

    So, it is good to wait on it, like you did on the chop and I did on the chassis.
    loudbang likes this.
  13. boutlaw
    Joined: Apr 30, 2010
    Posts: 1,197


    Brent , awesome work and vision. I wish I had seen detail like this before I chopped and repaired my 31 coupe back in 2012. The details like the aft firewall supports, the closeout panel and rear firewall in the trunk and the way you chopped the top are just well thought out and perfectly executed. I like the 60s era drag coupes as well and the examples in your avatar are perfect illustrations. Definitely subscribed. Glad your vision is better and that your lifestyle changes have made a difference. Beautiful kids to help you enjoy this ride when you finish. Now get back to work and keep posting.....

    brEad, Thor1, loudbang and 1 other person like this.
  14. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,989


    Thank you for the kind words, truly!

    I'm no innovator, a lot of this stuff I've seen before and I put my own idea on it. I've never seen the capped feet or the blank for the pedals but they make sense to me.

    Lots of this stuff won't ever be seen but I enjoy the creative process of problem solving... so both doing that and knowing the details are there makes me happy.

    I looked at your profile @boutlaw and I have to say your coupe looks pretty damn mean. I think you nailed it.

    As for the health changes, I'm grateful for the wake-up call. Man, I was going the wrong way for a while.
    loudbang likes this.
  15. brad2v
    Joined: Jun 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,630


    Still loving it. I really like your approach to how much to narrow the diff. No aerospace engineering formula, just pick a number.
    loudbang and -Brent- like this.
  16. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,989


    I mean give me a little credit, I had a tape measure in my hand... I think? :D
    loudbang and brad2v like this.
  17. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 10,403

    from Raytown Mo

    Glad to see you filling this post up! And more glad that I caught it early so I don’t have to spend three days catching up on it

    Love seeing some notes and tools used to get what’s in the photos. That tool to measure for axles is genius
    loudbang, brad2v and -Brent- like this.
  18. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,989


    Thanks, Tim!

    Yeah, that's a pretty neat set-up. The folks over at Fabcraft are a pretty decent bunch.
    mad mikey and loudbang like this.
  19. Hotdoggin DaddyO
    Joined: Jul 23, 2011
    Posts: 531

    Hotdoggin DaddyO
    from Hays, Ks

  20. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,989


    Bringing the Coupe Body Home

    I flew out to Matt's and picked up a U-Haul in Oakland, on my way.

    We loaded it up and it was bittersweet. I love Cali and Matt is a good dude, too.

    Bringing the Coupe Home (2).jpg

    2019-05-17 20.32.11.jpg

    My sleeping arrangement for the night... that was a rough one.

    2019-05-18 07.33.08.jpg

    Somewhere in Nevada.

    2019-05-18 08.01.00.jpg

    Bringing the Coupe Home.jpg
    Loading it was easy with a forklift and two guys but I am a notorious one-man band, so I figured out how to get the coupe down on my own. It's now a much heavier body! I used to be able to carry it around by standing inside, lifting up and walking around. Not anymore and I am glad about that!

    Bringing the Coupe Home 1.jpg Bringing the Coupe Home 3.jpg Bringing the Coupe Home 4.jpg Bringing the Coupe Home 5.jpg

    Now it's home for a bit.

    Bringing the Coupe Home 6.jpg
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019
  21. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,989


    The Model A Frame

    Now that the body was home, I had to prep for the next stage - getting it into a roller. That means the chassis needs to be built, some parts acquired, etc.

    As mentioned, previously, the car will sit on a modified, original frame. I had a perfect frame for the car but, like a fool, I sold it a while back. I have a beautiful, stock frame sitting under my roadster but I didn't want to make any other foolish decisions and then kill that project by using the frame.

    So, the hunt was on. Actually, I really love that process of hunting down the right parts and pieces for projects. Not just car projects, either, I do it for my house and shop and so on.

    I used to buy and sell a lot of early Ford parts. It's how I paid for most of what I have. I'm still plugged into that loop a little bit and occasionally there'll be a time when the truck gets loaded with parts to resell, it's not all that much anymore. Times have changed, I've changed and my storage condo is at max capacity (I hate that it's packed). Still, I found an ad for a bunch of A parts, including frames a few hours away in Colorado. Maybe there'd be a decent frame, if not, I could pick up some parts I didn't have to make a little profit on.

    I did scoop up a few frames and a bunch of other parts. None of these frames were good enough for what I wanted.... especially after owning two pristine frames.

    2018-04-01 16.08.44.jpg

    When I was there, though, I did see this 31 chassis. I didn't have a trailer, though, or I would've dragged it back with me.

    2018-04-01 14.50.16.jpg

    2018-04-01 14.50.23.jpg

    2018-04-01 15.27.37.jpg

    99% of the time frames are in better shape when they're on axles/springs/wheels. Being in Colorado doesn't hurt, either.

    The next weekend, I dragged a trailer out.

    2018-04-07 15.02.27.jpg

    Pulling The Chassis Out.jpg

    Chassis Heading Home.jpg

    2018-04-07 18.35.18.jpg
    The Tundra was a great parts chaser, too bad the motor got wiped out at 90k. :(

    Once the chassis was home, it sat around some more. It was now a play fixture and the grass grew long under and around it.

    2018-04-21 15.36.41.jpg

    Bob Racecar.jpg


    [Edit] Just looking at these pics and I am quietly kicking myself. This cowl, which I robbed other parts from, could've have a perfect donor piece to fix my car. But, yet again, I sold something too soon. I don't think I'll ever learn that lesson. I sell most things as quick as possible...
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019
  22. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,989


    Model A Frame Tear-down and Sand Blasting

    The tear-down begins.

    Tearing The Chassis Down.jpg

    And After, it got to sit for the rest of the season. After this season's snow, it'll live life in a garage... stay strong little buddy. Hahaha. :D

    Sitting for One More Winter.jpg

    Then, as summer came, I tore the frame down further, just to a perimeter, and brought it down to the blasters. While I was pulling it apart, I looked over it much better. It's in really great shape. The only major pitting is at the motor mounts. I've seen far worse. I'm pretty happy with this frame.



    All cleaned up.

    Back From Blasting.jpg

    31 Chassis Pitting.jpg

    Little by little, it's getting closer.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019
    mad mikey, Hombre, brEad and 12 others like this.
  23. UNSHINED 2
    Joined: Oct 30, 2006
    Posts: 948


    Your comprehensive posts are most excellent! I come back daily to see what youve posted. Keep on, keepin on!
    L7, Thor1, loudbang and 1 other person like this.
  24. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,989


    Thanks, Dane!

    There's a little bit left to wrap up before we get current. The chassis will be underway soon and I'll post updates as they come in.
    loudbang and UNSHINED 2 like this.
  25. UNSHINED 2
    Joined: Oct 30, 2006
    Posts: 948


    Excellent. Maybe I'll be able to see it before it goes back out West.?.?.
    loudbang and -Brent- like this.
  26. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,989


    Putting The Body in Sealer

    The car will be heading out to @Von Hartmann 's shop in Illinois, which has been notoriously humid (the state, not just Von Hartmann's shop... haha). It's been on the news for it's rain and record-breaking heat index. That type of moisture in the air won't play nice with the unprotected coupe body.

    That said, I needed to get the car protected before dragging it out to Ryan.

    I called up the same tow company that towed my Tundra when it died and they sent a hot rodder to my house. He's an awesome guy and had my son man the controls. Usually I wouldn't post so many pics of loading a car onto a flatbed, but I really loved this moment. I wish his little sister, who was at school, was able to help... she's ALL about this stuff at the moment.

    2019-07-10 09.36.05.jpg

    This pallet has seen some use!

    2019-07-10 09.36.20.jpg

    Explaining the controls.

    2019-07-10 09.38.29.jpg


    2019-07-10 09.39.42.jpg 2019-07-10 09.39.50.jpg

    2019-07-10 09.39.57.jpg 2019-07-10 09.40.02.jpg

    The operator, Gary, was like, "You're not done, yet, buddy!" and brought him over to the other side where they finished loading the coupe.

    2019-07-10 09.45.44.jpg

    2019-07-10 09.46.11.jpg

    2019-07-10 09.48.25.jpg

    2019-07-10 09.48.30.jpg

    When the coupe left, we loaded up the pickup with the fenders and head over to the shop.





    Aside from prepping the body for sealer, they wanted to adjust the panel above the deck lid, push the rear quarter out a bit on to get it into proper shape, and the front of the drip rails (where the header panel was installed) really bothered them, so they wanted to address that - too.

    In about a week, my hope was to be loaded and on I80 heading east.
  27. Vic Walter
    Joined: Jan 21, 2018
    Posts: 77

    Vic Walter

    very cool, i am in for the long haul
    loudbang and -Brent- like this.
  28. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,989


    Thanks, Vic!
    loudbang likes this.
  29. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,989


    Seeing the Coupe in Bare Metal - One Last Time

    The shop owner had called me with a few questions and mentioned that the car was in bare metal. They had run up against the clock and couldn't get everything done. The priority was to get everything into sealer, so the "other stuff" will have to wait.

    Knowing that the car was in bare metal, I had to swing by. This is probably the last time I'll ever see it like this.

    Here are some pics. As you can tell, it still has it's share of waviness, dings, dents, and now a few new holes.












    Another Area Needing Metalwork.jpg

    They tried to grind in the continuation of the drip edge seam. I don't know how it can be fixed but we'll get it sorted.

    Bare Metal Coupe.jpg

    Another thing to sort is the seam of the decklid patch. From some angles it's barely visible, from others you can see it will need some bodywork.


    The top of the decklid now matches very well to the upper panel.

    Panel Shape Matches.jpg

    Decklid Close Up Raw.jpg

    Another area that was ground through. I think they cut this area to adjust the gapping or maybe the cut was part of them working on the rear 1/4 adjustments.

    Issue Needing Repair After Decklid Adjustment.jpg

    Next time this car is seen, it will be in sealer.
  30. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,989


    Model A Coupe in Sealer

    The car was ready to go the morning I had planned to leave. So, I was in a rush (I still didn't leave that day) and didn't take many pics.

    Waiting in the Spray Booth.jpg

    Fenders Sealed.jpg

    In Sealer.jpg

    Sadly, that's all I got. It went straight into the trailer and I headed out to load up so I could get on the road.

    Still, it's awesome to see it "painted" for the first time in ten years!
    mad mikey, Hombre, brEad and 15 others like this.

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