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Hot Rods A First Timers 1926/27 Roadster Build

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Rynothealbino, Jul 23, 2017.

  1. Rynothealbino
    Joined: Mar 23, 2009
    Posts: 249

    Rynothealbino
    Member

    After collecting parts for and dreaming of building a hot rod for the last decade or so, I have finally gotten around to actually building something. The wife and I are finally both out of college and in stable jobs. We are finally settled in our second house and the garage is just big enough for me to work on a hot rod and maybe even one of our daily's if I have to. No more excuses. Its time to build a hot rod.

    In all my dreaming of hot rods there are tons of cars I have built in my head. From trucks and sedans to the really rough 30/31 coupe body that resides in our back yard. Since I had to start somewhere, I decided a roadster would be a great first build. There is not much to them which will hopefully make for a cheaper and quicker build. I'm sure in reality it won't make a huge difference, but it sounds good in my head. After going to Speed Week last year I decided I needed a 1926 or 27 Model T roadster or RPU.

    I looked though the fall and winter and finally came up with a couple leads this spring. After looking at some options, I decided to go with the roughest option I could. It probably wasn't the most efficient way to do it, but it was a 2 for one kind of deal...and I'm a sucker for a bargain. IMG_20170312_111850659.jpg IMG_20170312_111902667.jpg IMG_20170312_111637382.jpg
    The bodies came with a pair of workable quarters, and the rest of the turtle deck in various states of disrepair, but a really nice trunk lid. The story goes that the bodies were stored firewall down on a dirt floor in a building that had a tendency to flood. The one cowl is basically trash, but I have another good cowl that can go on that body. The body that looks better has pretty poor subrails through the body, but the rear section is pretty nice. A couple doors need to be reskinned and straightened, but I think I can save them. The bun pans on both bodies are pretty soft, so that will have to be addressed at some point. Here I am all loaded up and headed home with the bodies: IMG_20170326_171903712.jpg IMG_20170326_181019005.jpg
     
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  2. scotts52
    Joined: Apr 7, 2008
    Posts: 2,367

    scotts52
    Member

    Nice! Looking forward to seeing these get built.
     
  3. Rynothealbino
    Joined: Mar 23, 2009
    Posts: 249

    Rynothealbino
    Member

    At this point I wasn't sure where to start or what to do. I have a rough idea in my head of where this is going, but there are a lot of things that were and still are up in the air. I thought about doing a prewar build for a while, but decided against it for my first hot rod. I want to be able to hammer on and drive the wheels off of this thing. I really like the thought of a traditional hot rod that can (sort of) handle. I did some digging and research about 50's and 60's 'sports rods' and specials. Cars like Ak Millers El Caballo de Hierro and Old Yeller. I came across Duffy Livingstone's 'Eliminator' and knew I had found perfection. duffyT5.jpg 0402sr_milestones_01_z.jpg
    My car won't be as extreme as this, but I still like the thought of a V8 screaming through open headers in a light car with solid axles, tranverse leaves, bias ply tires and drum brakes. It will have a roll bar (6 point probably) which will stiffen up the chassis, as well as provide some degree of relative safety. I figure if I can get it to be legal for a 12 or 11 second quarter mile and be able to autocross with it I will be happy. As I said, I want car I can thrash on and use. Early ford body and running gear put together the same way someone my age would have done in the late 50's or early 60's. It will be build smart and solid and get used hard. Below are a few more cars I am pulling ideas from, mostly pulled from here: 5372115588_0c7a801620_z.jpg CRA Track Roadsters 1950s014.jpg Capture.JPG 17.jpg 01-24-ee4.jpg 0709rc_01_z+1924_ford_track_roadster+.jpg
     
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  4. Rynothealbino
    Joined: Mar 23, 2009
    Posts: 249

    Rynothealbino
    Member

    I decided the next step was to drag one of the bodies inside to see what I had to work with. It only took a few zipties and it almost looked as if I had the makings of a car. IMG_20170430_193123821.jpg IMG_20170430_193142606.jpg
    As much as I like cars on Deuce frames, under these little roadster bodies they can almost seem too thick at times. Plus I have few Model A frames sitting out back, so I drug a couple in to start looking at things. I took the spare 8" rear end for my 63 Fairlane, as well as a stock Model A front axle and set the frame right on them. The rollers are 7.50-16 mounted on International 1/2 ton truck wheels and the fronts are 5.50 or 6.00-16's that I have had sitting around forever. Throw a body on the frame and you have a roller right? Well except for the part about the seized wheel bearing and the fact that nothing is bolted together. IMG_20170502_065934.jpg IMG_20170501_205739317.jpg IMG_20170504_193637504.jpg
    Please excuse the poor quality of some of the pictures. I have since upgraded. If you look at the tape on the floor under the Willys (and the extra frame) you will see a hint of things to come...more tomorrow.
     
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  5. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    tfeverfred
    Member Emeritus

    Looks like a nice start.
     
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  6. evintho
    Joined: May 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,895

    evintho
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I'm watching this one!
     
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  7. Rynothealbino
    Joined: Mar 23, 2009
    Posts: 249

    Rynothealbino
    Member

    The next step was to start working on the frame rails. I knew from the outset that I wanted to sit IN the car rather than ON the car. I have a Willys CJ3A, so already have the sitting ON a car thing covered. Running a roll bar is another reason to sit down in the car. I want to have plenty of head clearance, but I also don't want to have the bar hanging way up in the air.

    With that in mind the decision was made early on to not channel the car, and also to run the floor off of the bottom of the frame rail. Minimally the drivers seating position will need to be comfortable and have room for 3 pedals. I would like to have a semi-comfortable seating position too. Doing all of this might be a tall order. I am using a body with poor subrails, so I won't feel bad about cutting them up to make stuff work. It will probably have open headers too, so that is less thing to worry about fitting in there.

    In order to accomplish this I decided too sweep the frame rails to the body. This will give me some of the look of Deuce rails without the added girth...or the hit on my bank account. I put a few marks on the previously seen model A frame so I had a rough idea of where the body should sit on the frame. Carefully centered over the crack in the concrete, I traced out the shape of the stock frame with masking tape (I really thought about spray bombing my fresh concrete). Thankfully common sense took over and I stuck with the tape. I also did the same with the body directly on the floor, roughly lined up to its correct position on the frame. I skipped a few pictures, but you can get a general idea of what I did with the pictures below: IMG_20170502_195331397.jpg IMG_20170502_195431145.jpg
    If I remember right this frame came to me as set up as a farm wagon. The rear crossmember and frame horns are long gone. The front crossmember was intact, so that was my starting point. Starting at the front, I started putting cuts through the frame and bending it in or out to fit the desired shape. I only did a few cuts at a time and tacked them to lock in the shape once I was happy with them. I left the one side alone so I would have a reference to go back to, keeping the stock front crossmember width. The frame is also upside down so it lays down flat on the floor. IMG_20170502_200633412.jpg IMG_20170502_204518131.jpg IMG_20170502_204540164.jpg IMG_20170503_200920733.jpg
     
  8. Rynothealbino
    Joined: Mar 23, 2009
    Posts: 249

    Rynothealbino
    Member

    Once I was happy with the shape I drilled the rivets out of the stock crossmember and split the rails apart. The thought was to start at the front, clamping / bolting both rails together and start transferring cuts across so I could copy the bends. IMG_20170513_073443746.jpg
    As I did this I tacked the ends of the frame to (hopefully ) lock in the shape to the other one. I skipped a few more pictures, but here is the semi finished product, with both rails bolted together top-to-top. IMG_20170517_181458457.jpg IMG_20170517_181309391.jpg Of course I cranked up the welder to do the inside passes, then split the pair back apart to finish the outside welds. I even dressed down the outside welds and was pretty proud of my work. Of course this was all without at least throwing one rail back down on the floor to make sure the shape had not changed. Most of you know where this is going already. I tacked in some temporary crossmembers and squared the frame up. It was at this point that I started to realize something wasn't right. IMG_20170627_201651081.jpg IMG_20170628_170320931.jpg
    Something had gone horribly wrong. The front and rear crossmembers are set at the correct width, but the frame was not even close to the right shape. The worst part was I had spent a few weeks thinking I had the shape nailed, so my tape started to come up off the floor.
     
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  9. Rynothealbino
    Joined: Mar 23, 2009
    Posts: 249

    Rynothealbino
    Member

    After taking a few days off I decided the only thing to do was to cut it back apart and get the shape right. It just wasn't going to work as it was. There was way to much 'hip' to the shape, and the front didn't come back out nearly enough. I figure I lost or gained at least 50% on each bend (depending on direction). The lesson: use something separate as a pattern. Or minimally check your work as you go. Also, don't be an idiot and crank the welder all the way up to 11 when you don't need to. All that heat makes metal move around a lot. I set the body on jack stands and started opening up new cuts at the places where it was furthest out of shape. Here it is after I had made a couple cuts: IMG_20170628_183256086_HDR.jpg
    In the end it only took 4 cuts to get the shape right. I welded these fully as I went so I wouldn't have to chase my tail again. I also stopped worrying about the front crossmember width. I payed attention to how I got the bends the way I wanted. On a couple of the welds, I was able to clamp up to a piece of angle iron to hold the frame straight. As the welds cooled they frame pulled in just the right amount. Now that I was paying attention it was crazy to see how much each weld pulled the frame around. Here you can see the newly reshaped rail next to the other one: IMG_20170628_183523887.jpg
    I might pull a little more curve out of the middle of the frame, but I like the shape. Since the subrails are pretty shot I could make them match the frame instead. The front width is easy enough to change too once I decide how I am going to do the front suspension. Here they are both beneath the body: IMG_20170630_210029291.jpg IMG_20170630_210039277.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017
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  10. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,725

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    When I saw the 'shape' of the first rail with all its tacked slices, I thought you were 'throwing us a curve'...
    Been down this '27 body on 'fitted frame rail' path a number of times.
    From 'straightening the curves' of a pair of '32 rails to a mere fitting of '28-'31 Chevy rails, the '27 just takes a mild curve back, best measured with body upside down.

    Grabowski did a cool trick on his 'Kookie Kar' first build. ('Lightnin' Bug')
    He turned the Model A raids backward, using the thinner rear rails for the front...much trimming, and re-fitting. Nice outcome.
     
  11. Rynothealbino
    Joined: Mar 23, 2009
    Posts: 249

    Rynothealbino
    Member

    After throwing the rear quarters back on and pulling the axles below it looks like a car again. IMG_20170719_202525379.jpg IMG_20170719_202516450.jpg IMG_20170719_202653107_HDR.jpg IMG_20170719_202750883.jpg
    It is sitting on the rear subrails in these pictures and the front end is sitting just in front of the chopped off frame rails. I want to keep it pretty close to a stock Model A wheelbase. The front end will come back a couple inches and I probably want to be about an inch or so lower overall.
     
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  12. A Boner
    Joined: Dec 25, 2004
    Posts: 6,245

    A Boner
    Member

    Like where this is going.
    You might want to consider a 3 bar + panhard bar rear suspension, with the upper bar going down the driveshaft tunnel to the trans mount area. Also give thought to skipping a normal transmission crossmember and instead use a heavy 14 gauge or so sheetmetal, seat riser/driveshaft tunnel/floor/rear transmission mount, uni-body type set up. That should get you sitting down in the car!
     
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  13. A Boner
    Joined: Dec 25, 2004
    Posts: 6,245

    A Boner
    Member

    image.png My seat riser is just below the top of the frame rails at the front, and naturally slopes down to the rear. Oh, and don't be afraid to put the floor below the transmission.....in the cockpit. Might not work real good in south Texas, but works great in Wisconsin.....and it's a TH 350! It only starts to get hot in there at high noon on a sunny 90 degree plus day. In the evening when it's 60 degrees out it is a welcomed addition to a roadster. My floor is 5" below the bottom of the frame rails.
     
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  14. bct
    Joined: Apr 4, 2005
    Posts: 3,103

    bct
    Member

    Would you mind showing an exterior side pic? I'm imagining a belly pan type look?
     
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  15. Rynothealbino
    Joined: Mar 23, 2009
    Posts: 249

    Rynothealbino
    Member

    I like the thought of integrating the crossmember with the floor and seat riser. I would like to see more pics of your floor setup if you could do that sometime. I was planning on a Model T rear spring mounted right ahead of the axle located by a 3 link with a panhard bar or watts linkage mounted down low to get the rear roll center below the front. I would like the car to have a slight tendency to understeer...I figure I will have plenty of power and skinny tires to make it tail happy when I want to. I want it scary but predictable if that makes and sense. I have been considering an asymmetrical 3 link also. See this thread for more info on these: https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/rear-suspensions-from-the-past.1067602/.

    From the reading I have done I want to keep the front roll center higher than the rear roll center. This means I need to keep the spring perch up a little higher and stay away from super low dropped axle. Below is a sketch of what I am considering: IMG_20170629_113636608.jpg
    Basically what you have is traditional suicide front end, with the spring mounted over the crossmember / top of the frame. The radiator would mount directly ahead of the spring / crossmember and right above the axle. I was hoping there would be enough room to sneak the lower radiator hose between the spring perch and the axle, then back up to the water pump. This is all still a very rough concept, so does anyone have thoughts on this setup? The car will either run a track type nose (similar to the 'Eliminator') or a deuce shell. I love Model A grills (and frame horns) but they just don't fit the direction of this build. Here are a couple pictures showing the rough spring and crossmember placement. I am considering chopping up and using a reinforced stock crossmember if I go through with this idea. IMG_20170719_202612707.jpg IMG_20170719_202621012.jpg
    Also ignore the extreme caster of the axle. The tie rod is resting on the bottom of the frame in these pictures.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
  16. Rynothealbino
    Joined: Mar 23, 2009
    Posts: 249

    Rynothealbino
    Member

    I got some time to work on the front cross member tonight. I have a little more chopping to do, and a few more pieces to add to it, but those will have to wait till I am a little further along.
    IMG_20170727_204325875.jpg
    IMG_20170727_204314626.jpg I checked my wheelbase and I am actually sitting at right around 102" instead of the 103.5" I was shooting for. I'll have to get suspension a little further along and then I may end up sliding the frame rails forward on the body. I know I have a little bit of variance still built in so I can slide them a bit and still line up.

    I am very likely going to run a 327 Chevy in this since I have a good one with no home. Does anyone have a real world measurement of how much room I need to leave between the firewall and front crossmember? Remember, I just need to clear the fan belt. I'll run a small cap points distributor, which I would like to be able to remove with the engine in the car. I'll probably put a clearance bump (indent) in, which is flush with the lower part of a factory Model T firewall. One of these days I will get around to unloading the engine from it's current home, which is the bed of a project truck of mine...along with 3 other engines and 5 or 6 transmissions stuffed in the cab. Moving sucks. Don't do it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
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  17. A Boner
    Joined: Dec 25, 2004
    Posts: 6,245

    A Boner
    Member

    image.png
    Here is a pic showing the black belly pan and the stainless steel gas tank hiding behind the side pipe.
     
  18. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 28,539

    The37Kid
    Member

    Nice project, always loved the look of a 26-27 T, looking forward to following your build. Bob
     
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  19. Good stuff! You had me at Eliminator!
     
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  20. rusty rocket
    Joined: Oct 30, 2011
    Posts: 4,403

    rusty rocket
    Member

    I digging what your doing. I built my frame in the same manner on my Modified. IMG_0126.JPG
     
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  21. Jkustom
    Joined: Oct 8, 2002
    Posts: 1,684

    Jkustom
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    This is gonna be rad! Keep it going!
     
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  22. Rynothealbino
    Joined: Mar 23, 2009
    Posts: 249

    Rynothealbino
    Member

    Made a little progress on the crossmember at work today. I had to weld in a couple cracks in the crossmember, and of course I blew through it with the welder. I couldn't get in there with an angle grinder...so out came the Bridgeport...
    IMG_20170728_093617719_HDR.jpg IMG_20170728_093628136_HDR.jpg

    And the die grinder...

    IMG_20170728_095216993.jpg

    Good as new:

    IMG_20170728_095414958.jpg

    I was doing some looking into splitting the bones on this. Since I have a few set sitting around I was going to use Model A wishbones. I also like the look of early tire rod ends (ball and socket type) used on the ends of the bones. Is there a bolt in option available for the ball side of the joint? I know I have seen them, I just need a part number. I will probably need to make a tapered bung to weld into the frame. Otherwise can I just cut the ball off the end of a Model A steering arm, face the end and weld it straight to the frame / bracket?

    IMG_20170729_122306685.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2017
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  23. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 28,539

    The37Kid
    Member

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  24. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 28,539

    The37Kid
    Member

    Like the table covers, sure make for easy chip clean up. Bob upload_2017-7-29_14-18-31.png
     
  25. Steve Ray
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 674

    Steve Ray
    Member

    I like where this is going. I'm a huge fan of the Eliminator and I saw it run at Watkins Glen when Brock Yates had it.

    HRM did an interview with Livingstone about building and racing the Eliminator and it's good reading.

    http://www.hotrod.com/articles/0909rc-the-legacy-of-duffy-livingstone/

    Many '70s Lincolns had smooth alloy wheels like the Halibrands on the Eliminator. You'd have to do something with the centers though.

    [​IMG]
     
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  26. Rynothealbino
    Joined: Mar 23, 2009
    Posts: 249

    Rynothealbino
    Member

    They help a lot, but don't quite make up for sloppy coworkers who refuse to clean up after themselves.

    I'll have to contact him about those tie rod ends, it looks like he is sold out of his current batch. Looks like these guys sell them too: http://www.hazecityspecialties.com/Hot-Rod-Products.html . I really just need the ball end of the joint though I have quite a few sitting around, so I should be able to make a good set out of what I have. For mock up purposes I'll probably just cut a set of steering arms up. That way I can just tack them to the frame while I play with wheelbase and stance. Unless someone tells me that that I shouldn't cut up Model A steering arms. I am pretty sure they are not worth saving...right?

    What bolt pattern are those Lincoln wheels? I kind of imagine this car having a few sets of shoes, and those could have potential. They look very similar to these: http://www.rocketracingwheels.com/solid-rocket-as-cast/p576 , but I would think they are significantly cheaper if I can find a set.
     
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  27. Steve Ray
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 674

    Steve Ray
    Member

    Probably 5x5". Cordobas had similar wheels which I think are 5x4.5".
     
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  28. bct
    Joined: Apr 4, 2005
    Posts: 3,103

    bct
    Member

    33 34 had bolt on balls . Repop are nice. Watch out for ones with the wrong taper.
     
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  29. Rynothealbino
    Joined: Mar 23, 2009
    Posts: 249

    Rynothealbino
    Member

    Made a little more progress today. I took a walk to the back yard to see what parts I could scrounge up.

    IMG_20170729_192418675.jpg

    Yeah. My neighbors love me. I have a Model A axle that had been converted for use as a wagon axle. The tie rod was already bent, and the steering arms had already been cut, so I decided to do some "yard work", with an angle grinder.

    IMG_20170729_192724041.jpg IMG_20170729_193312166.jpg

    CTaulbert sent me a message telling me where to get the correct parts from: http://www.macsautoparts.com/ford_m...style-1-diameter-ford-black-oxide-finish.html . I figure I will get these as well as the rest of the rebuild parts eventually, as well as has weld in bungs: https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum...s-for-1928-34-early-ford-tie-rod-ends.923817/ . For now though I'm going to at least mock it up with what I have on hand.

    I cut off the excess before tearing down the tie rod ends:

    IMG_20170729_195722742.jpg IMG_20170729_195948998_HDR.jpg

    And then some of this action:

    IMG_20170729_201604187.jpg IMG_20170729_202047543.jpg

    FYI, these are all the required tools for the job. Maybe I should buy one of those tie rod sockets. I also used the flame wrench to straighten the bent tie rods chunks.

    IMG_20170729_194505338.jpg
     
  30. Rynothealbino
    Joined: Mar 23, 2009
    Posts: 249

    Rynothealbino
    Member

    Then I proceeded to chop the bones:

    IMG_20170729_210904561.jpg

    Then I tacked in the tie rod ends:

    IMG_20170729_212313512.jpg

    Don't worry, this is strictly temporary. I am happy with the overall look though. Notice I popped the tie rod up over the frame. I have seen this a couple other times. I would need to modify the crossmember, and use extended steering arms, but it could work. It will come even closer to the engine, but again it only needs to clear the front pulley. Or I could do the usual tie rod under the frame. Does anyone have thoughts on this?

    IMG_20170729_214427142.jpg IMG_20170729_214405844.jpg IMG_20170729_214444549.jpg
     
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