The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by JJonesey, Jul 27, 2020.
I appreciate that.
Now, I know what you’re saying. I should have built it just like it was. But all that stuff was long gone. Even the floor was cut out of it. This was the point that I had to decide in which direction to go. After carrying the body home and looking it over really well, it was obvious that it needed to be stripped bare. Each conversation with Bernie revealed another story about the ways he had to “get by” while fixing up the car. Like how he didn’t have a power saw or cutoff wheel so the stock gas tank was cut out with a drill (yes, you read that right). The top filler panel was riveted on and then paved over with almost 1/2” of filler. Patch panels were made from flat sheet and either lacked any belt line or contour, or had them sculpted from Bondo. What wasn’t riveted was brazed, including his original 3” chop! It all had to go. We laugh about it now, but at the time, I had no idea what this little body had in store.
This is just after I got it home. My oldest son is helping disassemble what was left. He was about 10 at this point. He’s a junior in college now.
Once I had a direction, the first big decision was what to run for a chassis. The blown big block was a given, so it had to fit that and be stout. More importantly, it had to sit right with the big and littles. Stance is everything. And, I didn’t think I could get what I wanted from a catalogue frame. I knew I had to build it. Tex Smith’s book on building hot rod chassis became my guide. Honestly, setting up the suspension and geometry was one of the most fun parts.
Stock Model A frames are 3” (correction, 4”). I used 2x4” rectangle tubing for the main rails and was able to keep the profile of the stock horns.
Really nice car ! Definitely makes a statement. I like it. Bill
The back half of the chassis was another matter. To complete the narrowed rear look, I scored a new in box ladder bar subframe and a shortened Dana 60. I replaced the supplied crossmember tubing with thicker roll bar tubing welded inside and out and set the ladder bar and shock mount brackets on the rear.
The front suspension is a full drop tube kit from Speedway. In all, I added 6” to the chassis length and mounted the dropped front crossmember 1” forward from stock. This gave me juuust enough room to mount the engine.
And with that, we were able able to set the body on a rolling chassis. I think I stared at this thing for a couple of days! I played around with how much channel I could get away with. But, in the end I found the rear of the body would have to stay over the frame in order to clear the 31” tires. I kept the front about an inch lower to help with the raked look. You can also see by what’s left of the firewall just how much the body was originally channeled.
Nothing wrong with that. Rowdy attitude, borderline caricature, but hey! It makes a statement and it's certainly not belly button. I like it.
It's got to be a riot to drive
They are 4"
I'd say that qualifies as a hot rod!
Yep. I had to double check. I guess it’s been that long since I thought about it.
A few more mock-up shots. It started to become quickly clear that I wasn’t going to have a ton of room underneath for a full exhaust. A bought a set of block huggers that I really liked the look of. The sprints were a second choice. But, if I was going to run them, I had to make sure they’d clear the body. Lots more staring at this point!
Making your own chassis means fabbing all the various brackets and tabs too. I took a lot of time making sure that both the front and rear panhard bars were the same length, level, and swinging in the same arc. You don’t necessarily get this in an aftermarket chassis. This is one of the secrets to avoiding bump steer and other weird handling issues.
It’s been a lot of fun so far. A little tough to see out of though!
Once the body was sitting right, I got started on the body itself. Right off the bat, I had to fix the original 3” chop. Everyone has their preference. But, I think Model A’s look best with a 4-5” chop. The proportions just work for me. So, off came another 2”.
The grill was next. Another absolute for me is that while a ‘32 grille looks good on a Model A, it really needs to be sectioned to bring the height down to be in line with the cowl. 2 1/2” put mine right about where it needed to be. I saw a cool way to do the section that wasn’t just removing a band of metal from the middle of the shell. By making this z-cut right at the bottom, most of the weld ends up on the leading edge. This really reduced the bodywork needed to get it ready for paint.
nice work ...
I love it, the stance is perfect and the details on this car is out of world. You should be really proud.
Floors going in. I used an RCI 15 gallon cell mounted in the trunk. I had to notch the bottom corners of it a little to get it to fit. There’s also an access panel to get to the hidden battery compartment I made to sit right behind the rear axle. The rear firewall can also be seen here. I narrowed the package tray a couple of inches so I could mount the seats farther back.
Steel tubs replaced the old, patched metal.
Thank you! I spent a ton of time in that one little area. Unless you know how coupes are put together back there, most people miss it.
Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow, did you ever nail it. Coupes earlier than mine usually do not impress me that much, (the '33 being the exception), but yours is very special man, and takes top shelf with me. Great job, and what a outstanding color. Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow!!!!!!!!!!!!
( no disrespect to other earlier coupe owners intended with this post).
That’s awesome! Thank you. ‘33s and ‘34s were always my first love. I kinda fell into this one.
With the tank mounted, the next decision was whether to keep the fill cap in the trunk or move it outside. Also around this point, I was starting to hone in on some of the details I wanted to add to the design. I like sticking with two or three colors (shiny being a “color”) and having some recurring themes throughout the car. Finned aluminum is an easy way to go. But I also tried to use oval shapes where I could. Some people pick up on it. A lot have just commented about how everything works together. I think its an easy trick that keeps things from looking slapped on. My OCD will probably never let me be a rat rod guy.
While searching for “finned gas cap” I came across this. It’s from an ‘80s Jaguar. Fins and ovals... perfect! I just needed to mold in a flat area to mount it.
Dadgum, that is a nicely done Hot Rod!
To connect the filler to the tank, I made a custom neck from aluminum. It had to bend around the trunk hinge.
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