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Hot Rods Anybody remember this 36 roadster from late 50s to early 60s in Huntsville, AL?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Hamtown Al, Dec 20, 2017.

  1. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    ^^^ Me, too.
    Thanks greatly for sharing the Thickstun details... so, the manifold on the car is just about as old as the car, or older.
    WOW! The dang engine, a 48 Merc we think, ain't that old.:D
    The combinations that end up on these treasures when we get them continue to amaze me.:)
    I wish all the components came with their history... and the fellows who thought of them and then made it happen. Think about all the searching, planning, scheming, penny pinching, and trading that must have been behind making some of those changes happen over the many years and often, many owners.
    The PO is still chasing old pictures of the car. He found and installed the Thickstun. Maybe I can get the story on that upgrade, too.;)
    Thanks again for the continued interest and contributions.
    I'm hoping to get back on the car shortly... this dang cold has finally relented for the most part.
    When I got the roadster the PO was upset about the brakes not working and he also said the dang gas gauge seemed to have quit as well... probably another casualty of letting the car sit for an extended period.:eek:
    Another "opportunity!";):D
     
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  2. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Today's progress:
    IMG_3061.JPG
    Finally over the cold enough to get back on the car. Also checked on new rear wheels and found they are due here Saturday.
    Now for some help from y'all---do you think these are the same hubcaps?
    This is a cropped picture from the "as found" picture of the car in 1996.
    1996 (2).JPG

    I'm thinking they are the same as these caps that are pictured on the car much more recently:
    DSC00255 (2).JPG
    The more I look at the pictures, the more I believe they are the same cap. I'll try to remember to ask the PO about it the next time we speak.
    I believe they are 1946 Mercury caps but I'm sure one, or more!, of y'all know.
    Thanks for the continued interest and help.
    Al
     
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  3. verde742
    Joined: Aug 11, 2010
    Posts: 4,003

    verde742
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    FUNNY... Us old guys know ALL you have to do is JUST take out two bolts, LOOSING ONE, twist spare tire mount 180 degrees, re-tighten >>>it puts the spare tire at a more desirable angle AND closer to the body.
    HENRY JUST KNEW, HOT RODDERS WOULD WANT IT THAT WAY.....
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
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  4. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    ^^^Get out of here!! I must be a young pup at 68 to not have known that!:eek:

    Live and learn. I've got to check that tip out the next chance I get.

    Praise be to Henry.;)

    For the record, I do not know any OLD guys; just some that are younger than others!:D:D

    I also am curious about the rumble seat steps that came on the car. I hadn't seen any like this until now.
    IMG_3041 (2).JPG
     
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  5. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    I got word from the PO that the hubcaps and the unique rumble seat steps came on the car in 1996. He confirms them to be 1946 Mercury caps. I'm actually surprised that I heard from him before I heard from our collective HAMB information specialists!:eek: It has to be a first!:D Our HAMB brain trust must have been outside shoveling snow!:eek::D
    He still has the original Merc caps... we're "negotiating.":D

    Now the plot thickens about just where did those unique seat steps come from and who put them on the car and when? Come on... somebody in the world of HAMB has seen everything!:) I just want some help with these steps.

    Hunting history is fun... ain't it?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  6. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    No more history to report but did get the new wheels from Wheelsmith and got a test size tire mounted and put on the car for a test fit. Took some work to squeeze that tall rascal (31.7 inches!) in there but I got it. I had to install an adjustable rear fender brace to keep the clearance uniform... and off the tire!!
    IMG_3062.JPG
    On the ground. Does fill the wheelwell. Big Thank You! to Dickie Burke for sharing this tire size from his 34 roadster. With this height, should get some semblance of having overdrive... with a standard 40 Ford transmission!:rolleyes:
    IMG_3063.JPG
    Front clearance.
    IMG_3064.JPG
    Rear clearance. You can barely see my fabricated rear fender brace made from all thread and a battery cable end.
    I'm not sure that combination is considered traditional but it does work! Use what you have... right?!;)

    Real tires are on order and hope to have them soon. Fronts are going to be much shorter for a pretty good rubber rake.

    Working Al
     
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  7. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Got both new rear tires mounted and installed today.
    IMG_3065.JPG
    Had to fabricate a rear fender brace for the driver's side, too, as expected.
    Hope to pickup the front wheels with new tires on them tomorrow. Of course, snow is in the forecast for tomorrow!:eek:
    I'm still hoping to get the front wheels and install them tomorrow but that test drive might have to wait until the snow is gone. Looks like might get some extra time to spend on bodywork.:D
     
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  8. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    IMG_3068.JPG
    Fronts installed... almost not! One lug on LF did not want to let go.:eek: Soaked it in Kroil several times and tickled it a few times with the air gun and waited and soaked some more. Then turned air gun up to max... it came loose and made me very happy.:) It was one of those situations where you want it to come off but you do NOT want to ring off the lug.:eek: "Patience, grasshopper." Easy to say... hard to do.
    The old front tires had been shaved so did not have any size info on them but they were 27 inches tall. The new ones are only 25 inches so we gained another inch of rubber rake.
    That stance is really beginning to resemble one of Lance Sorchik's drawings at the back of the old Rodder's Digest.:D Bigs and littles; right?!!;) I still miss Rodder's Digest.
    Pardon the dust and protective sheet over part of the top... the panel between the trunk and cabin area is now down to the metal... almost an eighth of an inch or more of paint removed! Hope to get a light skim coat on it to even up the whole area today since we've got fresh snow on the ground.:eek:
    Body work is OK but riding is much more fun.:) Can't wait to see how much the speedometer will be off and calculate the new "rubber overdrive.":rolleyes:
     
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  9. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Did some math on the rubber overdrive and I think the car will be running about 65 MPH with the taller tires when it would have been running 55 MPH with the tires I took off. I'll check all that out with my GPS speed software when the weather is better. I figured the OD to be about 17.5% which reduces that 3.78 ratio to about 3.23, or so, by my calculations.
    Now, as to the mystery rumble seat steps; I recruited some help from our pals at the Fordbarn and got some further input and pictures of a similar part that we believe was made by Ford.
    I have removed both steps and taken them apart and they both seem to be homemade. Whoever made them went to a fair amount of trouble in that each step had TWO mounting bolts and metal backing plates for the inside of the fender and also a decent rubber pad cut to fit to protect the paint.
    IMG_3072.JPG
    IMG_3075.JPG
    IMG_3078.JPG
    IMG_3079.JPG
    IMG_3080.JPG
    I also learned from the Fordbarn fellas that the step plates likely were intended for a Model A.
    I'm surprised that they went to such trouble to fabricate the top step support when many rumble seat Fords have the step rubber installed through a hole in the top of the fender.
    We live, we learn, and we wonder...

    Thanks again to all for the help.
    Al
     
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  10. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    No word yet on additional history but did reach a stopping point on body and paint touch up.
    Here's and updated picture from the side as well as a picture from the rear quarter.
    IMG_3082.JPG
    IMG_3083.JPG
    Still could use some more sprucing up but I want to get it out for a ride!
    If the dang weather would just cooperate a bit more!
    I promise a good outside picture that will at least be absent all the junk in my shop!:rolleyes:
    I think the meeting of the fellas in AL was this past weekend... hopefully we'll get an update soon.
    Thanks again to all that are striving to help learn more of the history of the car and give appropriate credit to the owners and builders from the past.
     
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  11. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Thanks to some help via PMs from our fellow HAMBers, we have the name of a fellow that might have owned the car back in the 60s. Does the name Joe Van Valkenburgh ring a bell with anyone? He had at least a similar car in the early 60s and was in the military including a trip to Vietnam. He later became a professional scuba diver but unfortunately was killed while pleasure diving off the coast of Alabama in 1989.

    I also heard from the gathering of "less young than others" last weekend but got no real leads on the car but some did recall the car. And the hunt goes on. Still haven't heard yet from the effort to contact Sig Parks' son.

    Speaking of updates, here's the latest update on trying to get the old roadster to a few less shades of black.
    IMG_3084.JPG
    Still haven't gotten it our for a ride but I did go for a short breezy spin in the phaeton today. Got a lot of looks and several folks that wanted to talk about it.

    Thanks again to all the many folks trying to help gain more of the history of this old Ford.

    It had to be noticed at one point when it was bright yellow. I haven't sanded the backs of the front fenders in an effort to see if it had the running boards removed before the yellow paint or after. Careful sanding might yield a clue but the front of the rear fenders seemed to have some bondo touchups in that area in the not too distant past. I didn't sand past the bondo to see if there was yellow below it... maybe at a later stage of research. Now I'm mostly focused on getting the body sanded down to remove the considerable excess paint while getting it smooth and straight.

    Boy I want to go for a ride!

    Tomorrow is another day... hopefully a warmer one that is dry!
     
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  12. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    IMG_3088.JPG
    IMG_3089.JPG
    IMG_3087.JPG
    Finally, the weather Gods smiled on Smithfield and I got to take the roadster out for its first extended run. I drove it about 18 miles at 55-60 most of the time to hopefully clean up the spark plugs some as it hadn't really been driven in about 2 years. Took a minute to get it primed as it has been sitting for weeks but a quick shot of ether and it was running. The roadster ran great and pulled pretty good with two carbs.
    Biggest surprise was the amount of rubber overdrive. I used my GPS on my phone to check the speedometer and when the speedometer said 40 MPH, I was clicking along at 55 MPH!! I thought it might be 10 mph over at 55; not 15 mph at 40. Wow. Won't need an overdrive unit for sure and certainly has quite a rubber rake.
    I think it looks pretty good and especially like the rubber overdrive. 235/85 X16 on the rear with 195/65 X15 on the front. 5" wheels on front and 7" wheels on the back.

    I did make contact with a fellow that knew Joe Van Valkenburgh but he said the more he thought about it the less sure he was that Joe owned this car. He just couldn't remember the details... imagine that! He is just like a lot of us!
    He did offer to look through some old HS annuals from that time to see if any pictures of the car might have gotten into one of the yearbooks and he said it would be fun to walk down that memory lane anyway.

    It was cloudy and it might rain later but I was very pleased to have the very mild weather for a change... and I drove the car some distance and got it home under its own power! A winning day!

    I wish you all the same,

    Al
     
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  13. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 8,060

    Atwater Mike
    Member

    Great direction you are applying to this beautiful Roadster, Al.
    The 'spare tire mount inverting trick' surprised me, too. My '36 Three window had the external spare, also. Funny I never discovered that...
    Being 'one of the fellows no longer younger' (1942 model here) I seem to recall a time when that guy's name on the post-WWll Thickstun wasn't 'on everything like he owned it...' Yeah, that guy. Pat Pending.
     
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  14. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    ^^ Thanks for the kind words. I must confess I got a dang good starting point from the PO.:)
    Mike, you are right! 'Ol Pat Pending did come up with a lot of stuff.;):D

    Wish we could fish up some more history on the car.

    I did do some more detective sanding on the fenders and determined that the car most likely had running boards when it was yellow and maroon and maybe even black. It seems the running boards were possibly one of the last mods made to the car before it got parked for a long sleep.

    No telling how long ago the dash was replaced with a 40 dash AND the transmission changed to work with the 40 column shifter. Many 40 dashes got added but I doubt many of them got the column shifter and steering column, too.
    Then again, I might be wrong as I'm sure all the hot rodders wanted their honeys close and getting that floor shifter out of the way had to have had its benefits.:rolleyes::D
     
  15. Gary Addcox
    Joined: Aug 28, 2009
    Posts: 2,009

    Gary Addcox
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    That '40 Ford dash HAD to be designed by Edsel shortly before his death in '41. He would be very happy to know that his dash ended up in everything below the Model 01A, including his first masterpiece, the Deuce. Thanks, Edsel.
     
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  16. WiredSpider
    Joined: Dec 29, 2012
    Posts: 409

    WiredSpider
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    I see it is already listed for sale
     
  17. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    Hamtown Al
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    ^^ I thought I began this thread by saying I'd traded a 1936 convertible sedan with a much later model Ford drive train and AC and other updates for this roadster and a phaeton. A pal has already spoken for the phaeton.
    After reviewing the beginning of the thread; that's not clear on this thread but I posted pictures of the trade on another thread and THOUGHT I'd included same here. Getting old is bothersome!:D
    We still have an obligation to find out as much history as we can on ALL these old treasures so that we can acknowledge the changes made by previous owners and give them appropriate credit when possible.
    The days of many folks knowing about the history, more or less, of many of these old cars are very quickly going away and we all owe it those before us to remember their efforts as part of appreciation for them doing what they could and them passing their treasures along to us. I'm just another link in the chain of ownership and am doing my best to make the car roadworthy and safe again and I'm having a ball doing it.:)
    I believe the HAMB is the best source of information on many, many topics with amazing ability to turn up background information and often pictures from long ago of these neat old treasures. I greatly enjoy reading about so many things and really appreciate all the contributions of so many people. I only wish I could contribute more.
    A big THANK YOU! to all contributors on all threads and thanks for helping find out what we can about this old fairly unique roadster.
    BTW, a fellow called today inquiring about the roadster and I had it on the rack, fixing the emergency brake... naturally!. I got to looking at that rear tail pan on the outside and the underside and it has to be one of the best I've ever seen and I've seen many.
    IMG_3155.JPG
    Here's the underside:
    IMG_3156.JPG
    Ignore the flamethrower stuff.
    Next to no real rust at all. Amazing to me. I've seen a lot of bondo in this area on many cars.
    This lends more credibility to the story that the car set inside for a very long time and was well protected from the elements. Maybe we'll find out one day.
    Thanks again to all of the helpers. I sure hope we can determine who removed the running boards and did such a good job of reworking the back of the front fenders. I examined them from the underside and the stitchwork looked great to me. Maybe I can get a good picture or two to share if y'all are interested.
     
  18. ROADSTER1927
    Joined: Feb 14, 2009
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    ROADSTER1927
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  19. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Well, taking pictures of the underside of fenders while they are still on the car is a skill that I apparently don't have but I've doctored the underside picture as best I could to give you the following.
    Notice the many, many cuts that seem to have been made to get the outside to look so good. A lot of bodywork went into bobbing these front fenders... doesn't appear to be a big bondo boondoggle as has happened too many times in other cases.:eek: I'm sure there is some but it looks like considerable pains were taken to get the underlying metal as well shaped as possible.
    It looks to me like whoever did it was pretty good with a torch and hammer and dolly.:)
    Outside:
    IMG_3102.JPG
    Underside:
    IMG_3103.JPG
    The stitching seems to go just about all the way around the back portion of the fender. The cuts seem to extend a ways past the left side of what I managed to capture with my camera.

    Anyway, you asked and I tried to deliver.

    The frame and whole underside of the body seems to be in very good condition to me; especially, when I consider the many others I've seen that were somewhat sketchy at best. Relatively excellent condition compared to most.

    Eyeball the bottom of the panels behind the doors:
    IMG_3100.JPG
    IMG_3104.JPG

    That's remnants of earlier paint jobs showing along that bottom edge and not any real rust through. Often these areas have been either repaired or often replaced with a patch panel.
    All this lack of deterioration further supports the story that somebody kept this car stored in a great environment for a very long time. We just don't know who... but we're still looking!!;):)

    Speaking of which I got an update from a helper down that way that said that while Sig Parks had many cars; he almost never did anything other than make sure they were put in good order to run properly. He felt it very unlikely that Sig actually made any of the changes.

    And the hunt goes on!:)

    Many thanks for the continued help,
    Al
    PS The helper said that the 1960 population in Huntsville might have been 10,000 but it grew to more like 100,000 by 1964! This car could have come from anywhere.
     
  20. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Well, well, well. I've been on the hunt trying to give credit where credit is due and discovered much more about the repairs to the front fender that I posted above.
    I called the previous owner to see how he's recovering from a knee overhaul and we got to discussing the roadster. I said earlier that he repaired the leading edge of the front fenders to replace the sheet metal trimmed at the front.
    Here's the picture of the car when he got it.
    1996 (2).JPG
    I knew he repaired the front fenders to look more original and he did a good job.
    Here is the underside(as best as I could take a picture:eek:):
    IMG_3163.JPG
    You can see that he did a pretty good job.
    What I did NOT know was that it was HIM that did the great rework on the back of the front fenders as well!
    If you look at the first picture above, you can see that the back of the front fender could be cut off a bit short. I hadn't noticed that before until we talked about the fender repairs.
    Here is another shot of the underside of the repairs to the rear of the front fenders. He said they were just cut off more like the fronts so he laid out a design to make the bottom of the bobbed fender look like he thought it ought to look and went about making the design a reality slowly putting it together a piece at a time.
    IMG_3159.JPG
    You can see that he started with a rod around the bottom and a brace from above. He also put in a good fender brace as well. So Skip in Newnan, GA gets the credit for really making those front fenders look good.
    ATTABOY Skip!!:)

    Now that Skip is feeling better he hopes to get back to seriously looking for any old paperwork he might still have from when he bought the car and he hopes to get time to discuss the long ago trip to get car with his pal that originally found the car for him.

    And the hunt goes on!

    Apologies to Skip for not realizing he'd fixed the back of the front fenders, too. Of course, he didn't bother to tell me before today.;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
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  21. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    I thought I'd bring this back to the top in honor of the fact that I finally got the 1940 Ford front brakes back in good working order after a few struggles. I replaced the front wheel cylinders and hoses(I remembered that the rear hose had basically collapsed inside and killed the brakes on the rear). My pal, Shadow, came over to help with bleeding the brakes.
    We stopped at the Cockeyed Rooster Café for an early lunch on the test drive that went smoothly.
    I'm very happy to finally get the car in a more roadworthy form. It wasn't so much that stuff was broken as it was that it had set so long without use that some of the stuff let go once we got it out of its slumber.
    Seems to be pretty good now but still need to give more attention to the emergency brake setup and operation... opportunities!:D
    Also need to look further into why the gas tank sending unit seems to have failed... the gauge works if you ground the sending unit wire so I'm glad that end seems to be OK.:) It is always better to just need to fix one end of a problem than two.:D
    It was great to get it out in the wind for another test of that rubber overdrive!;):):)

    Any more word on history of the car. Anybody remember a yellow or maroon(body and fenders) roadster in a magazine with a 1940 dash?

    Thanks for the continued interest.
    Tired but happy Al

    Edit to add the picture after our latest test run.
    IMG_3176.JPG
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
  22. tb33anda3rd
    Joined: Oct 8, 2010
    Posts: 12,808

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    1. Connecticut HAMB'ers

    i bet the float.......isn't.
     
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  23. bigwindowjim
    Joined: Apr 29, 2010
    Posts: 34

    bigwindowjim
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    Al, I have a question about your roadster. It appears that there is a panel under the door that sort of makes up a bottom door sill. Was that added, or do you think this is stock? Mine does not have that. Thanks, Jim IMG_0037.JPG
     
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  24. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    IMG_3176.JPG
    Jim, in this picture it looks like a panel is under the door but there isn't one. It is just the angle of the shot with the frame rail showing below.
    The previous owner started to make a panel to go below the body to hide the frame rail and he did get as far as making the backside of the planned panel and bolting it to the frame on the passenger side. That is as far as he got.
    You can see part of it in the following picture:
    IMG_3101.JPG
    It could be duplicated fairly easily for the other side. I've got a cool polished aluminum panel that is also louvered that hides the frame rail on my 39 Chevy coupe that was also built without running boards.
    The above picture is the panel just behind the door on the passenger side and not the door.
    I hope this helps but I can take more pictures if you need them.
    My roadster body is stock from all I've seen and quite solid.
    Good luck with getting yours back on the road.
    Al
     
  25. bigwindowjim
    Joined: Apr 29, 2010
    Posts: 34

    bigwindowjim
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    Al, thanks for the reply. I'm not sure we are talking about the same panel. I copied your picture and am pointing to the panel in question with an arrow (2).jpg . When I'm inside my car, I can look down where the door and body meet, and see the ground. Thanks, Jim
     
  26. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Jim, the panel you are pointing to is the bottom of the passenger side quarter panel behind the door.
    Hopefully this series will better show where that panel is located as well as what the area under the door looks like.
    IMG_3202.JPG
    IMG_3203.JPG
    IMG_3204.JPG
    Hope this clears it up and helps you with getting your car on the road.
    Does your car have a body ID tag on the firewall?
    Al
     
  27. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 2,801

    Gearhead Graphics
    Member
    from Denver Co

    Just finding this thread, what a cool car! Really like that fender treatment, not one I'd seen before but he pulled it off well. Id lean to dropping the rear down level, but that's my taste. And that Phaeton.. WOWZA!
     
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  28. Very nice roadster....I like where you have taken it as far as bring it back to it's old days.
     
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  29. 392
    Joined: Feb 27, 2007
    Posts: 491

    392
    Member

    Good thread. Killer ride.
     
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