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Projects Building My First Roadster in San Francisco

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by J.Ukrop, Sep 7, 2020.

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  1. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
    Posts: 2,222

    J.Ukrop
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    Even though it's the middle of the week, today was a big day for Version 2.0. Why is that? Because we got parts.
    IMG_7643.jpg
    While we were setting up the front shock mounts, David and I realized that the car leans hard to the driver's side. Upon closer inspection, we discovered that the front spring was too narrow, making everything lopsided. While I was back in Michigan, I gave Posies a call. Before the phone could even ring, a sales associate was on the other end. I mentioned that I needed a 31.5-inch, reverse-eye Super Slide spring, but they were out of stock everywhere.

    "Is your build going to be traditional?" he asked. "Of course," I replied, listing off the parts I'm using. He recommended their rolled and tapered spring, which has the modern delrin sliders but an early look. He then took down my information and got the order going. Today, it arrived.
    IMG_7788.jpg
    I have a good feeling about this one. It should be easier to install, considering that we had to really stretch the current one to fit. As you read this, the white paint is drying. Can't wait to get it on the car.
     
  2. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
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    Earlier this week, Yama invited me to a drift event at Sonoma Raceway. I was excited to go. Not long after, we realized the race was canceled. I had it in my mind that I wanted to get out of the city so, in the late afternoon, I formulated a plan.

    Longtime readers of this thread know that I've been on the hunt for front brake drums with hubs since the start of Version 2.0. A few weeks back, @Jeff34 mentioned that he had a friend, Dave, who was looking to move some brake parts down the road. This afternoon, I called Dave to ask if he still had the lot. He said he did. After confirming that they're within spec with his 1950s Bear brake gauge, I let him know I would be over before dinner.

    Driving up to his house in Santa Rosa, he immediately greeted me with a smile. The sun had started to set, casting golden light across his lawn. The familiar sight of a Model A wire wheel as a hose reel confirmed that I was in the right place. On our walk towards the back yard, I learned that Dave has had a lifelong fascination with early Fords, and he's an active member—and judge—in the area's Model A club. Both he and his wife have toured extensively in their A's.

    With a cold beer in hand, I loved hearing his stories of visiting National Parks, rebuilding his '28 Model A pickup, and driving his flathead-powered '41 Ford stakebed in San Francisco's SOMA (South of Market) neighborhood back in the 1970s. He's an absolute wealth of knowledge. As we were winding things down, I mentioned that I wish I would have met him while building Versions 1.0 and 1.5 of my roadster. He agreed, but told me I'm more than welcome to return whenever. IMG_7791-1.jpg
    The story goes that these brakes sat in an attic for the better part of 50 years. With some sandblasting, turning and test-fitting, they'll be ready. IMG_7792.jpg
    I'm so excited to finally have these in my possession. I'll keep you posted on their progress.

    Okay, well it's getting late here. I'll be back with more updates tomorrow.
     
  3. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 14,044

    Tim
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    from KCMO

    Fantastic man!
     
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  4. Congratulations on the drums score!! And as a bonus you celebrated with some In N Out!! Life is good!!
     
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  5. Jeff34
    Joined: Jun 2, 2015
    Posts: 593

    Jeff34
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    IMG_0008.JPG Glad the drums worked out for you, Joey! Dave is a character, and has a TON of Ford knowledge. I remember the day he and his wife came to inspect the '30 Ford dump truck I sold to him. I had no idea they were Ford judges. They were crawling under the truck looking for numbers. They were excited that the detents on the timing and throttle levers were still there. They tried to get it running to drive it home, but eventually had to put it on a trailer.
     
  6. A Boner
    Joined: Dec 25, 2004
    Posts: 6,692

    A Boner
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    Did Posies suggest how many leaves would work the best for your roadster?
     
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  7. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
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    Thank you! With a mini road trip, rusty parts in the passenger seat and an In-N-Out burger in hand, I was really living the hot rodder's dream.

    That's incredible. It was so fun learning about minute differences between different A's from him. Nice truck, by the way!

    They recommended this particular spring for a flathead application. If I were going with a Hemi or something heavier, they mentioned a different line of transverse spring (1001 Heavy).
     
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  8. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
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    I spent this afternoon smoothing out a few parts on the headlight bar and painting the spring in the driveway. I'd like to finish both of those tasks tomorrow.

    I can feel the project gaining momentum. Over the past few days, I've gotten a whole lot of good stuff in the mail. I'd post photos of it all now, but it's too dark out.
    IMG_7800.jpg
    So, I'll close with this snapshot from earlier today. We now have shocks, and I couldn't be more excited!
     
  9. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
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    51504bat
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    Another version of a higher headlight bar posted this morning on the Friday Art Show. headlight bar.jpeg
     
  10. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
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    Tim
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    from KCMO

    That’s the roadster from the cover of pat ganahal lost hot rods ( one or two I can’t recall with out going to look)
     
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  11. flatout51
    Joined: Jul 26, 2006
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    flatout51
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    Was that called "The Unknown Roadster"? Or something like that.
     
  12. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
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    Tim
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  13. corncobcoupe
    Joined: May 26, 2001
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    corncobcoupe
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    Joey,

    This is your lucky day !
    Call me today.
    Sent you a text as well.
    Cob
     
  14. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
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    J.Ukrop
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    Me: I just need to swap the front spring and install the front shock mounts and the chassis will be finished!

    Later that day:
    IMG_7862.jpg
    Looks like the front passenger frame rail is bent. Not ideal. Full update happening soon.
     
  15. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,711

    Six Ball
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    from Nevada

  16. trad27
    Joined: Apr 22, 2009
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    Yikes, hope all is well and nothing a little porta powering can’t fix.
     
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  17. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
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    Tim
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    No hill for a stepper ;)
     
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  18. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
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    Hopefully it'll just be Version 2.0!

    One has recently been added to the arsenal, so hopefully that'll do the trick.

    Thanks, Tim! We will figure it out.
     
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  19. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
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    Tim
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    from KCMO

    Nothing that hasn’t been done a trillion times. You’ll have it fixed before your bike ride to lunch ;)
     
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  20. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
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    Sidebar 32.X: The Right Way
    IMG_7842.jpg
    Things have been moving along smoothly on this project. Every time I go to the shop, we're able to check an item or two off our big cardboard list. Last Saturday, I showed up with a very clear plan of atttack. It went something like this.

    1) Disassemble front end and swap in new front spring
    2) Fill one more hole in the frame where the driver's side shock mount will go
    3) Mock up final shock mount position
    4) Install all four shocks

    Bonus: bolt-on headers with new stainless hardware?

    That would then close the door on chassis fabrication, other than the steering box and pedals. Sounds simple enough, right?
    IMG_7845.jpg
    Before we dive in, here's one of the day's visitors. David did a great deal of work on this survivor Model A. IMG_7846.jpg
    The throttle linkage is a signature di Falco piece.
    IMG_7848.jpg
    The chrome trans is a work of art.
     
  21. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
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    Tim
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    Lots to look at there!
     
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  22. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
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    Pardon the interruption: it's been quite the afternoon.
    IMG_7851.jpg
    To kick things off, I removed the front suspension. We then swapped springs and realized that, although it went on easier, it did not make a difference. We measured, measured and then checked again. It was at that point that we realized that the passenger side frame rail was bent. My heart sank. How could that be? We checked everything when it was a bare frame. What could have changed?

    There was no other choice: we had to tear it down to straighten the frame.
    IMG_7853.jpg
    Much to my surprise, I had the whole thing torn down in less than 30 minutes. To quote my old boss Steve Coonan, "Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want." I will say that throughout the course of this build, I've gotten pretty proficient at taking this thing apart.

    Right around this point, David's longtime friend Jerry came by the shop to say hello. Without asking what we were doing, he asked if we needed any heavy duty four-inch I-beams. "You know what?" David said. "Those would be perfect. Let's go get them."

    With that, we took a field trip to Jerry's house. Jerry is lifelong hot rodder and an extremely skilled machinist. He's lived here since 1972, and his garage is perfect. Everything in there has a story. My favorite was the floor jack that he traded a 1940 Ford coupe for. "I still have the jack!" he said, pointing to it. "Seriously?" I asked. "Really. That's it right there!"
    IMG_7859.jpg This is his Deuce pickup, which still wears its two-tone paint from the late-'60s.
    IMG_7861-1.jpg
    After our visit had wound down, David and I returned to the shop with a truck bed full of heavy metal.
     
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  23. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
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    IMG_7863.jpg
    For the rest of the afternoon, we focused on building a frame table. We made sure everything was square, and we made a centerline out of string. Next time I'm at the shop, we'll use every trick in the book to whip it back into shape.

    ***
    It's hard to pinpoint what it was about this frame issue that took the wind out of my sails. In retrospect, it was because I felt like we were getting so close, and Saturday was going to be a relaxing day of simply bolting things together. But this isn't a kit car. It's not a mail-order car. It's a traditional hot rod built out of dozens of 1920s-1950s parts that were never meant to go together. It's not supposed to be easy.

    As I was tearing down the chassis, David volunteered to get lunch.

    "How are you doing, Joey?" he asked.
    "Okay, I guess," I replied.
    "This is one of those times that all we have is our positive attitude," he said. With that he slipped into his yellow roadster, fired up the flathead and drove out into the world.
     
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  24. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
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    Intermission: The Road to the Roc
    4M5A3976.jpg

    I'll be interrupting the build progress this week, because I'm on the road to the Gathering at the Roc. Last night, I took the redeye from San Francisco to Detroit. Earlier today, Dave Gray and Colton Leigeb picked me up from my brother's house in Lansing. IMG_7912.jpg
    From there, we got rolling. It's going to be a hell of a trip, and I couldn't be more excited. If all goes to plan, we'll be in Oklahoma by Thursday. If you're going, please let me know so we can meet up! In the meantime, stay tuned to Ridetech's Instagram (and mine too) for all sorts of updates. 4M5A3950.jpg
    And yes, I am taking plenty of notes for my car's future road trips.
     
  25. Joey.

    I know exactly how you feel. I think most of us do. It's probably just my poor planning, or complete lack of formal training, but it seems like every huge build I've done has these types of moments. On my 67 GTO it was when the clutch with 300 miles on it started slipping. My black truck was when the Winfield banger wouldn't run. If I've learned anything, it's unexplained things happen.

    Because of this I've learned not to expect "easy days"... ya'll know what I'm talking about. You were about to be finished with a major milestone. You thought that day was gonna be easy, and when it's all said and done, you got your ass kicked and the thing is in a million pieces. And you're back to square one. We've all been there.

    I know how much it sucks, but this is a moment of greatness unfolding. This is when you separate the hot rodders that do from the hot rodders that don't. The difference between a pile of someday parts and a running hot rod is overcoming these obstacles one by one. You're gonna overcome this obstacle. And one day, sooner rather than later, it's just gonna be a bump in the road of the story of your car.
     
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  26. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,711

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    My roadster frame had a bent horn. Leroy & Bruce clamped it to the chassis table applied a bit of heat & a little pressure and it remembered how straight it used to be. No big deal. It's just metal. It's soul purpose is to be shaped, re-shaped, or melted down and made into a new shape.
     
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  27. Shutter Speed
    Joined: Feb 2, 2017
    Posts: 902

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    Well Joey, lemme tell ya about the week I’VE had...

    Weekend before last I returned from a 2 week drive-about of the Eastern Canadian Maritimes. (OT car). Returning to East Central Brrmont, I found I’d brought Covid home with me. Crap! Settling in for a 5day isolation and some super meds, I was bummin till the Postman dropped TRJ 85 in my box! Things were looking up as I dove in, reading every word front to back as usual...till I got to page 14, and there’s your smiling face talking about your First Roadster Build!

    I knew you’d been searching for quite awhile, and decided I better check your build thread here. So, 88 pages later (which got me joyfully thru most of last week!) I feel I know you and your Machine pretty well. You relived a lot of the ups n downs of the past 10 years with me and my BNGR.

    Now that I’m caught up, I realize I’ll hafta wait a day or 3 for new updates. But that’s ok. I can get back to #85! I know Roadster 1.0 is water under the bridge, and you are immersed in 2.0, but a few questions came to mind early on in your thread:

    1) I’m curious why you never swapped a higher compression head while you were hopping up? (Or did you and I missed it?)

    2) Did you ever put shocks on it? (same note as above...remember, I’m feverish!)

    and 3) Is your body as wonky as your “as painted” paint job makes it appear? Hard to tell if it’s all wrinkled, or just an illusion. (I realize body condition was a low priority for pre-war Hoodlum Racers looking for a cheap enclosure, and I’m all for that..don’t look closely at mine!)

    In summary, I can’t tell you how enjoyable you’ve made my plague experience! Thank you!
    And I gotta say, your H.A.M.B. friend’s painting of 1.0 on the street with the foliage is crackers!

    Now I’m goin out to the barn and paint BNGR’s firewall Almond!
    Best of Luck Joey!
    Art
     
  28. 303racer
    Joined: Aug 23, 2006
    Posts: 541

    303racer
    Member

    If I can ask, what degree did you set your rear crossmember at?
     

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