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Technical Best Model A Patch Panels?

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Gigantor, May 11, 2020.

  1. Gigantor
    Joined: Jul 12, 2006
    Posts: 3,819

    Gigantor
    Member

    A search didn't turn anything up - so I figured I'd ask y'all anyway.
    I need to patch or replace several panels on my 31 coupe. I know not all repop parts are created equal and I know that there can be a lot of variance in body lines depending on which plant your car came out of.
    BUT, are there companies that stand out above the rest for the fit and finish of their panels? I need to patch or recreate nearly all of the rear half of my quarter panels and wheel wells. I'd prefer not to have to buy an entire Brookville quarter panel either.
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Never2low
    Joined: Jan 14, 2008
    Posts: 1,124

    Never2low
    Member

    The Cowl, quarters, wheel wells and panel below the trunk, that I bought for my '30 Coupe, came from Mac's and were pretty decent, from my untrained eye.
    I know the rear corners are really difficult, and most, if not all the repops are not worth purchasing.

    A side from that, I'm just posting to say I like Powdered Toast Man, too!
     
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  3. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,642

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I have yet to find any that don't require some degree of tweaking to get them to fit properly.

    It is not all the aftermarket's fault, though. Over the 89-92 years since the originals have seen some serious history.

    Given the conditions of what passed for roads back then, and the flexibility of the chassis, the bodywork is often quite tweaked. Add in rust, previous "repairs", and all of the other ravages of time, and no two Model As likely still have matching dimensions, curves, etc., to each other, let alone factory spec.

    Never mind wear in stamping dies, over a model run.

    Try Mac's. They generally are close.
     
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  4. badshifter
    Joined: Apr 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,227

    badshifter
    Member

    The best ones are the ones you make. When I did my Model A a few years back I ordered from, Macs, Howells, Synders... and returned them all. Terrible fit, and most of them were 20 gauge and junk. They are simple cars, and with a bit of practice, hammer, dolly and a bead roller, you can make just about any panel your car needs. Add an English wheel, even a HF cheapie and a shrinker/stretcher and you can build the whole car. 18 gauge cold rolled sheet metal, and a little of your time.
     

  5. 31Apickup
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 2,310

    31Apickup
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I used the ones from Snyder’s, the profile on the cowl ones matched the original bead. The quarter patches were pretty good, but I had to devise a way to bend the bottom flange up correctly as the come with a 90 degree flange but need to fold straight up. I have photos in my thread 31apickup builds a coupe.


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  6. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,149

    anthony myrick
    Member

  7. chev34ute
    Joined: Nov 13, 2011
    Posts: 891

    chev34ute
    Member

    I agree with bad shifter. I have some repro panels, including a 30 Coupe seat frame, curved trunk panel and angled floor pan. They look ok but are too tinny to be used as anything but patterns. Likewise I borrowed a wheel well from a local rodder to make a pattern for my own and was surprised how thin it was. If the patch panels are anything like these, you are better off investing in some metal shaping equipment and doing your own.

    This is a 28 Roadster Quarter Panel I am repairing. It was missing the lower ten inches at the b pillar, the wheel well and the corner that sits over the rear cross member.

    E81BD57D-C527-47F4-A8D7-4623643CE894.jpeg E8FEA2D0-05E2-48EC-BE18-FCB296867DDB.jpeg
     
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  8. woodiewagon46
    Joined: Mar 14, 2013
    Posts: 1,712

    woodiewagon46
    Member
    from New York

    Because of the low volume of people restoring Model A's now a days ( and many V-8 Fords) it's getting harder and harder to find good sheetmetal parts. I just replaced the both quarters behind the doors on a 1929 Coupe. The panels I tried from three different vendors were just junk. All were about 1/4" oversized and the one I finally used, I needed to modify. The panel below the trunk lid from the factory is 9 and 1/4" tall. All the reproductions varied between 9 and 1/2" and 9 and 5/8". I finally just sheared 1/4" off and TIG welded the top seam. Every replacement sheet metal part will need some modification to make it fit correctly.
     
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  9. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,149

    anthony myrick
    Member

    In the defense of the patch panel makers, the cars they are building parts for are inconsistent. I have made patterns and found differences from side to side and from car to car.
    Add that to human error in making the patch panels.
    Most use 20-22 gauge for cost savings and ease of bending.
     
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  10. 31Apickup
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 2,310

    31Apickup
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I bought a pair of the wheel well panels, the beads were not pressed as deeply as the originals. I only used the lower part of them and made a die up to press the beads deeper on those portions. I also bought an under deck lid rear panel from Brookville, the height was correct but the vertical curve of the panel was not right, I had to notch the flange and made up a form to get them right then rewelded the flange, then it matched the curve of the body and looks right. This same panel does not come with the mounting holes nor the reinforcing strips. Also shown in my build thread embattled I did to these.


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  11. Psycho Deville
    Joined: Nov 9, 2005
    Posts: 443

    Psycho Deville
    Member
    from RI/MA

    I bought Mac's lower 1/4s for my '30 and had to use the shrinker/stretcher to get them to "fit". I'll just say I am not happy with 'em...
     
  12. flatford39
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 2,673

    flatford39
    Member

    Just don't buy directly from Howells. They sell to all the vendors. Life will be much easier purchasing them from your favorite vendor.
     
  13. sloppy jalopies
    Joined: Jun 29, 2015
    Posts: 4,178

    sloppy jalopies
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Tough spot,
    but if you pay the top dollar for beltline down patches, you will get compound curved skins,
    they fit well, [I cut the 90* strips off the ends, weld the outer skin, inner skin and the fold over strip all at once] then sand flat with a 3" belt sander...
    but the lower beads are just a curved radius where some are a tight 90*, a flat and another tight 90*..
    so I bought [4] total, one each door, the others split in two and used for cowl and bottom of the quarters... this was more money, but the tall patches let me remove a lot of pitting along the bottom 1/3 of the body …
    pix of a '30 coupe, note the hight of the patches... all the bottom beads matched... scoop__ last day here 004.JPG scoop__ last day here 006.JPG
     
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  14. Dino 64
    Joined: Jul 13, 2012
    Posts: 1,879

    Dino 64
    Member
    from Virginia

    Try Brattons, the corners from Howell’s are the best ones, though they all need tweaking.
     
    Ben38 likes this.
  15. Where to get the best sheetmetal is the question. I just ordered new subrails from Bert's Model A Center in Colorado as well as lower patch panels for the cowl, doors, inner door bottoms, rear quarters and bottom corners for my '30 Coupe. I asked who they bought from and was told the subrails were from Brookville, the cowl patch panels came from Stipe Machine in Wisconsin, the lower door patch's from Howells, the rear quarters and rear corners as well as inner door bottoms came from Ahooga in Ohio. Pay your money and take your chances. I have been happy with everything else that came from Bert's over the years so I'm anxious to see what Brown drops off.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2020
  16. Dino 64
    Joined: Jul 13, 2012
    Posts: 1,879

    Dino 64
    Member
    from Virginia

    I ended up ordering from a few different distributors trying in vain to get better quality. Only a couple of places actually making them, Brookville doesn’t make their’s either. I have a few panels I never used, PM me, they’re yours, just pay shipping ;)
     
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  17. scrap metal 48
    Joined: Sep 6, 2009
    Posts: 6,072

    scrap metal 48
    Member

    Brookville makes most of the patch panels and supplies most of the other vendors...
     
  18. Check out @IronTrap and his YouTube channel. Matt is working on a roadster and had to replace several panels. Recently I watched him replacing a rear corner. It took far more than a tweak to make it right. I think this is pretty typical with with replacement panels today.
     
  19. I believe I saw him in an Eastwood demo too, bead rolling a scratch-made patch. Seemed to have good success with some standard dies.


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
  20. marshall Metal Shaping.com

    Sorry guys....a little self promotion....lol
     
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  21. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 7,605

    5window
    Member

    Amen to that. But, how will we start another Howell's thread?
     
  22. IronTrap
    Joined: Jul 13, 2011
    Posts: 464

    IronTrap
    Member

    NONE of the patch panels fit/match OE. If you're going to buy patch panels try and get them all from the same vendor so the bottom beads match. I've found they vary in width/shape from a lot of vendors. I made a die to bead roll a match to the 30-31 body line for my roadster as the factory bead has "shape" to it and in't just flat like the patch panels you get. Also the beads usually don't match up height wise. It's a crap shoot and really a matter of how much of a perfectionist you are.

    The rear corner I just put on a roadster in a video I didn't take as much time as needed to make it perfect as the owner of the vehicle is pushing to get it back and just wants a driver. The corner needed some shape/crown in between the beads put in it with a planishing hammer or sandbag and hammer and dolly. Once you know how to make it "right" it's hard to leave the patch panels alone and just use them "as-is".

    One thing I'll mention is that most of the lower patch panels you buy are just made with a break, bead roller and a shrinker stretcher like any normal hobbyist would have.. just takes a good pattern to go off of to make them yourself. obviously more complex stuff like dash rails and some other stuff is stamped but even those are welded on and sanded to finish off.. so a lot of this you can do yourself if you want to put the time in. Just my 2.5 cents.
     
  23. 31Apickup
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 2,310

    31Apickup
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The Lower beads are not uniform shape originally from each area of the car. The cowl bead is more squared off compared to the quarter panel beads. I had quite a bit of the original beads left on mine and partially spliced the quarter panel ones.


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  24. sloppy jalopies
    Joined: Jun 29, 2015
    Posts: 4,178

    sloppy jalopies
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I patched a fender with a piece from another...
    the thickness [hight] of the outer flat bead was different...
    I may leave it or weld the patch on end and grind and sand to fit...
    they were cars not masterpieces... DSCN5404.JPG
     
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  25. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 5,665

    -Brent-
    Member

    We made the lower patches to match the factory bead. The rear piece below the decklid came from Mac's years back. The rear subrail connector came from Snyder's, as well as the sub rails and such. I've ordered from Bratton's and Bert's too. THE BEST customer service, not that you asked (but it could help you), has been from Snyder's.

    One thing I like when ordering from Snyder's, Bratton's and Bert's is that they'll sell you what fits best and if you're not sure, just ask. But... like it was mentioned, everything needs to be tweaked. That's metal work...
     
  26. sloppy jalopies
    Joined: Jun 29, 2015
    Posts: 4,178

    sloppy jalopies
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Snyder's has been really good to me... they took a part out into the storage building and compared the beadwork to what they sold me...
    they were sorry they didn't believe me, gave me free shipping on that order and said they would look for a new vendor...
    I have gotten parts from them in less than 24 hrs... and not cause I asked for quick ship...
    just some model A parts... probably lower patch panels...
     
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  27. bubba55
    Joined: Feb 27, 2011
    Posts: 339

    bubba55
    Member

    X2 with Snyders - they been good to me 2


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
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  28. Gigantor
    Joined: Jul 12, 2006
    Posts: 3,819

    Gigantor
    Member

    I just stumbled across your channel a couple of days ago and you're my new best friend. Words can't express how helpful and empowering those videos are. So, thank you.
    Sent from my SM-G973U using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
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