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Technical BODY, A fool chops at home. Step-by-step photos.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by cleatus, Jun 24, 2003.

  1. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    OK I have been meaning to post these photos for a while know, since a few people have asked me to post some stuff on how I chopped my car, but I have been busy as hell at work and the last thing I wanted to do was spend any more time on this damn computer.
     
  2. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    So here’s my story: When I was about 14 or so, I found a old publication (don’t remember which one) in my cousin’s room that had a story about Duane Steck building Moonglow in his driveway - something about restyling a car to make it uniquely your own design really stuck with me, and ever since, I have wanted to chop a car.

    Fast forward many years, and I spot a classified ad for a 40 chevy coupe and half heartedly point it out to my wife who says “well...if you really want it....” So I buy the thing pretty much sight unseen (it was dark and I did not have a flashlight) before she can change her mind, Later, I realized it is just a serious pile, but since she had the confidence to give me the go ahead, I figured I could not turn back now. Oh well, I wanted something that was pretty much junk, so I would not feel guilty cutting it up since I was a beginner and all.

    Here’s the p.o.s. I drug home as a starting point:
     

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  3. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    Well of course, the first thing I wanted to do when I got the car home was to cut that way-too-tall roof, but I refrained for a whole year or so while each night I spent some time in the garage staring at it (with a good buzz on) deciding HOW to cut it to get that “custom swoop” I was after. During that time I also was turned on to the Barris books which really helped me refine my plan and made customizing seem so doable. In the meantime, I taught myself how to weld by replacing the rusted out floors/rockers/firewall/tailpan etc.

    Finally the time came when I was thinking I was ready to attack the roof. I did not want to invite any friends over to help, cause I did not want to feel pressure to move ahead any faster than I could ponder each step, so I decided to just tie the roof to the rafters in the garage and just cut it loose, then lower it down myself.
     

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  4. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    Here you can see just how incredibly tall the roof was on this thing.
     

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  5. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    The red lines indicate where I cut the back window to lay it down. Note that I did not cut it all the way across the bottom below the wind - this was to keep things in registration. My plan was to cut it right along the body line and then just push the rear corners inward so that they could slide inside the body as I rotated the rear window down - that strategy worked out great. The red arrow illustrates where the corner will come down and attach to the side.
     

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  6. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    So, I took a deep breath and cut it loose and dropped it down and forward to line up the A pillars, which luckily lined up perfectly with no need to modify the angles of the posts. Then I had my wife help hold things in place while I clamped and tacked.

    This photo shows just how far forward and downward the roof went. Now it is time to make the cuts around the rear window in the areas marked by the red lines in that previous photo so I could rotate the rear window down to create the swoop I was after.
     

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  7. FONZI
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 1,537

    FONZI
    Member

    Great post.....keep going.



    Fonzi
     
  8. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    And just like that I went from too-tall dork mobile to custom - it was a happy day!
     

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  9. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    Here you can see the rear window area rotated forward to meet the back of the roof. Notice how the corners were pushed inside the body so it could just rotate down. Then, after welding, I just went inside the car and trimmed off the excess.
     

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  10. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    Now, at this point , looking at those side windows, many people might think “Oh shit what have I done?” but I was stoked, cause I could see I had created the basic shape I was after and I had planned to make it a hardtop anyway. Here the top of the door was clamped to the roof to give me an idea of the shape of the side opening. Later, the tops of the doors were welded into the roof because I wanted to retain the body line around the side opening to keep some of the 40 chevy character lines. Keep the good stuff and get rid of the bad.
     

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  11. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    In this photo you can see the jagged mess left from hacking out the door posts. Since I wanted to retain the nice multiple curved body lines, this was going to be a real challenge for an amateur.
     

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  12. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    So what I did was cut a small cross section of the body line from the top of the door and took it to a place that had a sheet metal brake and asked the to provide me with 6’ of metal bent to that same shape. I must say they did an outstanding job matching the profile I provided. I then used that metal to piece together and fill in all the jagged holes where the posts used to be.
     

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  13. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    Now, this might look pretty straight forward, but keep in mind that the side opening not only arches up and over, but in and out at the same time. So making that 6’ straight stock into a compound curve took quite a bite of trial and error. Hear you can see where I am working the top forward to meet where the tops of the doors will be welded into the roof.
     

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  14. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    Another shot of that area. Later, I went back and spliced in a more rounded rear corner from the bits I had saved because I thought it was a bit too pointy compared to the rest of the car.
     

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  15. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    With the top of the door in place, I am close to closing the gap to finish my side opening - now I just have to do it all over again on the other side and make it match - damn!
     

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  16. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    At the leading edge of the side opening, I wanted it to come forward into more of a point, so I spliced in a better curve from the piece I had discarded when cutting out the rear of the factory 1/4 window.
     

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  17. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    After chopping the top, the windshield area seemed too squinty and there was too much crown above the windshield which made the car look top heavy, so I took the idea from the Matranga Merc and sectioned out a piece above the windshield. Basically, the 1” of metal under the tape will be removed and the top of the windshield area slid up into the roof to open up the front glass and make the top visually line up with the top of the side window opening.
     

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  18. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    Here it is whacked out - scary!
     

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  19. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    And a shot after carefully welding it 1/2” at a time to keep from warping that thin and unsupported metal in the roof. The patience in welding paid off as it needed very little filler to finish it.
     

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  20. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    And, finally a shot to show how it turned out.
     

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  21. OGNC
    Joined: May 13, 2003
    Posts: 1,194

    OGNC
    Member Emeritus

    This thing is going to be really cool when you get it all finished up! Wanna do a 42 pickup next... J/K
     
  22. daign
    Joined: May 21, 2002
    Posts: 519

    daign
    Member
    from socal

    One of the best posts in a while. Awesome Cleatus. Love how you attacked it all yourself. One of the most involving chops I've seen.

    Great job. Did you get any pictures of it at Paso? I've yet to see it complete...

    -Dane
     
  23. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 8,394

    manyolcars

    That is Great. About how much time did this take? The roof, chop, windshield, etc-
     
  24. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    Here's a shot of the car at Paso Robles. I just barely got the car running in time to make it, but Paso was my goal for the last year or more, so I was a maniac during the last few months trying to get it driveable (thanks go to elPolacko for helping me solve my brake problems).
     

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  25. Elrod
    Joined: Aug 7, 2002
    Posts: 3,563

    Elrod
    Member

    Oh man!!! That green car is this??? SHIT! Congratulations!!!!

    [​IMG]
     
  26. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    Manyolkars, it is hard to calculate how much time it took me to chop, I would work on it for a while and then when I was unsure of the next step, or just burnt out, I would work on some other part of the car for a while. I can say this car took up a most of my free time over the past 4-1/2 years. Thanks to my wife for her understanding and support!

    Another shot from Paso. Eventually it will have a hood - I just have not got that far yet, since the hood will need to be widdened and modified to match the 37 Caddy grill I swapped into the front (that was a whole 'nuther huge ordeal changing all the front sheet metal to make that work).
     

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  27. Hellfish
    Joined: Jun 19, 2002
    Posts: 6,474

    Hellfish
    Member

    that car is awesome! and you're an amatuer? you must have natural abilities! I hope my 48 turns out half as good.
     
  28. DrJ
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 9,418

    DrJ
    Member

    That's a beautiful top line.
    Great work!
    Especially moving the windshield up into the turret.

    I'd like to see a detail of where the "A" pillar door-window frame stops and the roof frame addition starts and how the door glass fits regarding a weatherstrip and what the glass "stops" against, or whether the glass still goes up into what was the door-window frame channel (which would require opening the window before opening or closing the doors)
    Or does it not have door glass?
     
  29. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    No side glass yet Doc, but I am beginning working on that now - have put a lot of thought into it all as I went tho' and I think it will work out fine.

    It will still have wing windows and the new door frames I am making will stay up while the glass rolls up and down inside them. I will make them so they just clear underneath the roof when sutting the doors and come to touch a rubber gasket that will just barely hang down from inside what was once the tops of the doors.

    The 1/4 glass will slide into a channel and have a curved leading with a frame around it to match the one for the doors - sorta like the Metranga car - but a little different.

    Here's the only photo I have on hand of the area you are requesting:
     

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  30. burndup
    Joined: Mar 11, 2002
    Posts: 1,938

    burndup
    Member
    from Norco, CA

    OH, HELL YEAH!

    Badass.
    Liar, that CAN'T be your first chop! [​IMG]
     

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