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Technical Buying other people's old hot rods

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Duellym, Mar 21, 2017.

  1. Toqwik
    Joined: Feb 1, 2003
    Posts: 1,308


    You have to remember there was a time before there was the Internet. You learned from talking to the older guys or the old timers. You then went home and figured out how to make it work with what you had. I couldn't begin to count how many cars my uncle built but it was a bunch, and he never bought a new part or ordered something, it was go down in the bottom and look through the cars until you found something that worked.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  2. Learning how it was done by watching others, looking at the cars that were fabricated at the time...I was 6 and watching my Dad, Uncle and teenage cousin putting a 265 / powerglide in my great grandfathers 32...don't remember much but I remember a lot of gas welding and cussing...and I saw a lot of bubblegum welds ( I remember asking if a weld was strong just because I saw so much fire ) dad told me those were Wayne's ugly cousin welds, ugly but strong. As I look at these new "Rat Rods" I see at times really unsafe fabrications but they remind me of days past where we accepted such as the norm. Isn't it great to have the H.A.M.B. Where we can find a correct way, state our needs, get suggestions and then receive hell, fire and damnation for what we actually did? I'll look at a well executed "Rat Rod", great fab skills and still not understand why it was done, but at least the skills of the backyard builders have references now that are far above our heroes from 60 years my point? Thanks to technology, when we find older builds we are at least well read enough to identify errors of some builds...

    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    31Vicky with a hemi likes this.
  3. As a 15 or 16 year old if my home built pile made it out of the garage and to the end of the driveway I considered it a success.
    By the time I was 17 or 18 I made enough improvements that I could even go over state lines and make it back.
    Still not a totally reliable car and my skills, tools, and car knowledge were still lacking.
    Money also being a huge factor.
    Back then a circle of gear-head friends or possibly joining a hot rod club got us out of many a mess. We learned from others.
    Yes, some of my build back 45 or 50 years ago are pretty embarrassing by today's standards.
  4. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 6,836


    In my time I have bought a few used Hot Rods/Cars and made them mine, but nothing as crude as you pictured, backyard engineering has improved through the years I believe, Everyone starts somewhere, have at it ! You surely can improve it, being a young man you have time to learn, suggest you stay in school, think about your future, career wise, the car hobby is fun, but IMO, your future/school/trade should be #1 on your priority.
  5. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 6,129


    Here's the home-made engine mounts that were on the '36 3W I bought about 6-years ago. They had been made & installed a year or two before I bought the car. When I saw them, I decided to completely tear the car apart. I guess crappy and unsafe "fabrication wasn't just done back in the day..........


    The37Kid likes this.
  6. We did the same thing then as we do now. We make it up as we go. When there is no book or web site to learn from you have to rely on your old noggin.

    I have a little scrap of paper that my granddad stuck in a carburetor on an old heap that I was having trouble with when I was in high school, I have carried it all over hell's half acre with me. it is simple it just says, "thiMk."
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
    wicarnut and Revived 265 like this.
  7. Wheeliedave
    Joined: Jan 6, 2011
    Posts: 214


    36 3 Window: I knew a guy by the name "Norm Grabowski" who built the "Kookie T". Who is this Brabowski guy?

    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  8. I tried to get into Home Ec. They figured it out and wouldn't let me. Tried automotive shop too, only the upper class kids got into auto shop, no hoods allowed.
    But I did get into Ag Shop which was a blast. I actually had a key to the Ag Shop stating when I was a freshman. The teacher was a young guy and liked me for some reason. I could use the shop from about 0-dark:30 'till before the janitors showed up in the morning, as long as I didn't tear anything up or get caught.

    My first engine swap was in a '23 T. my buddy Helms showed up @ about 1 in the morning on a Saturday. He had stuffed a big block MOPAR between the rails, with an auto and an Olds rear. Some where old hot rod parts and some were just scabbed together crap. The B/B was on 4x4s and held in with a chain. He wanted to go for a ride in his new hot rod. I was still living at home and Mom was throwing a fit. it was bucking and snorting and waking up the neighbors.

    We ended up at the Ag Shop for the weekend, figuring out how to get everything bolted in. Good times. ;)
    falcongeorge likes this.
  9. hedg12
    Joined: Feb 1, 2009
    Posts: 46


    Growing up in farm country we saw this kind of thing often - engine swaps were more often done out of necessity than desire for more power. Some guys were better at it than others.
    As a kid I once helped a friend change a transmission in an OT early 70's Dodge pickup. The truck had a Buick 455/TH400 that was pulled from what was once the family car. The original engine in the Dodge threw a rod and the Buick wasn't used much anymore, and they needed the truck more than they needed the car. I'm not sure of too many details of the swap, but I remember the ends of the driveshafts had been cut off and one slid into the other and welded at the proper length, and there was a 1 inch chunk of oak being used as a spacer between the transmission mount and the cross member. It was crude, but it worked surprisingly well. The last I heard it's still being used 30 years later.
  10. jetnow1
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,805

    from CT
    1. A-D Truckers

    A buddy had an off topic 70 ish Plymouth Full size convertible with a slant six and a 3 speed on the column. Special order salesmans car, don't know how he wound up with it. He blew up the 3 speed
    could not locate one that matched- imagine that. Turned up a duster that had a 4 speed, we swapped that in. The shifter would not fit due to interference from the crossmember, we turned the shifter arms
    upside down and notched the crossmember to fit the trans in. This put the shift pattern so second and fourth were away from you and first and third were towards you. He drove that way till the doors would ne close anymore- remember the notched crossmember in a convertible? We all were young and stupid, those of us who were lucky never grew up.
  11. Gotta love all the traditional tig welds.:rolleyes:
  12. Russell Meredith of Northrop Aircraft perfected the process in 1941.[7]Meredith named the process Heliarc because it used a tungsten electrode arc and helium as a shielding gas, but it is often referred to as tungsten inert gas welding (TIG)

    So who was Russell Meridith

    Russell Meredith

    Inventor of Gas Tungsten Arc Welding

    Russell Meredith was born in 1901. His interest in welding began while he was a pipeliner for the Southern California Gas Company. Later, while working for Warner Brothers Studios in Hollywood he repaired cars that were banged up from movie chase scenes.

    In 1934 Russell joined Lockheed where he worked for 35 years. During that time he was assigned to figure out how to weld magnesium for Dr. John K. Northrup's XP-56 airplane body.

    In 1942, Meredith was issued US Patent 2274631 for the process originally named Heli-Arc welding and now known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding.

    Copyright © 1987-2017 - All rights reserved.
    The37Kid, SEAAIRE354, rod1 and 2 others like this.
  13. Has anything changed today? Im 30 now and cringe at some of what me and my friends did in high school. I had a cobbled together 78 Caprice that played loud music and did mean burnouts and my friends mostly drove imports. What was the same is we used what money we had to modify our cars and learned by trial and error. I'd like to believe that's how most rodders got their starts
  14. Sheep Dip
    Joined: Dec 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,572

    Sheep Dip
    from Central Ca

    Yes we did.....we also got to tune-up and do brakes on all the teachers cars
  15. Shop wasnt offered in my high school. I think only one school in the county even offered it
  16. Auto shop was available at my high school 2yr vocational school and I wanted to take it for 11th and 12th grade. My dad a mechanic had a talk with me and spoke spoke life and encouragement into me. I trusted him, and he said that I already knew all the materials they would cover, that I could teach them some so take the welding 2yr at high school.

    Luckily for me the welding shop teacher had no mindset to simply just produce a crop of welders, he made a crop of fabricators. 1/4 of the time was spent on welding and 3/4 of time spent on reading prints and fabrication. My senior class project was a floor jack :) Oh and my car ran and looked better that the auto tech guys cars.
    LOST ANGEL and SEAAIRE354 like this.
  17. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,165


    Anytime I by a modified car I go all over it. Just checking all systems, bolts etc. Found some hardware store all thread swapped in place of a leaf spring bolt, that was scary.
  18. Third DodgeBrother
    Joined: Apr 18, 2009
    Posts: 193

    Third DodgeBrother

    There was a thirty seven Ford pickup, another person's old hot rod, that I didn't buy. He was one of those who used what was "available." Turns out, he lived next to the railroad tracks. The frame was almost completely rusted away, so he used railroad rails, in parallel, to "stiffen" it! All the mounts and brackets were built from spikes, or the bars they use to hold the rails together! Not a good deal at a tenth of his original asking price.
  19. Now a days there is a growing religion regarding crap welds and wooden cross members. It's called "The Patina Cult Homage To The Past" and they are zealously working to make their beliefs the HAMB requirement and creed.

    The above passage is an attempt at humor and does not refer to any particular person, living or dead. I apologize if I have stepped on anyone's foreskin.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017
  20. Duellym
    Joined: Feb 28, 2016
    Posts: 283


    I never really got that whole rat rod thing, I mean I thought they were cool but making something look like you spent no time on it and slapped it together with whatever isn't gonna get me impressed. Personally I like things that look like some effort and thought was put into building it.
  21. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,939


    I dunno, we did some pretty sketchy stuff when we were just kids learning our way. And this was in like, 2000-2005. Some stuff worked better than others, but you can't make an omelet without cracking a few eggs.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  22. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,816



    It was a matter of trust in who you believe is/was a good mechanic with building skills that go along with your own vision. Not everyone can build a car, convert it to a hot rod, or at least maintain it. But, back then, it was trial and error. Once you maintained that momentum. The builds kept getting better. YRMV


    Plus, if you could order the exact part for the exact car mod, then your mechanical skill was all that it took to put the puzzle together. Most of our friends knew who they could ask to do some mods on their cars. Looking at the weekly show at the neighborhood drive-in parking lots does a lot for confidence. Also, you were able to see how good the build is when the car rolls into the back row, car show. Yes, there were some that were thrown together and others that took time and skill to get it done right. For some, it was their money to be spent, so there were many choices just sitting or driving through the lot.

    As for our own skills, it took some nerve to do a mod on a friend's car, knowing that if it turns our badly, you were to blame. But, if another person asks you to do a modification to their car, your whole reputation is on the line to do the best job possible, and then some...
  23. i think he was Norm's illegitimate half brother
  24. khead47
    Joined: Mar 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,760


    Back in the 60's I had a 56 Ford that ate transmissions for some odd reason ! Bought a 57 junker for the trans and put it in the 56. Problem came when it was time to install the crossmember. Nowhere to be found ! Musta went to the junkyard in the trunk of the 57 ! Shit ! Well, being young and dumb I figured I could fab a member out of a 2x4. Bad idea. Cruising I-94 in the fast lane all hell broke loose. Driveshaft, trans, and bellhousing ! Live and learn.
  25. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,939


    This thread is somewhat related to the recent thread about the "etiquette of the survivor". We all did some marginal work when we were learning how to work on cars, but the reality is that over the decades, the game has changed and what was considered acceptable build practice then is not acceptable now. That comes from improvements in tooling and larger accessibility to well equipped home shops, widespread ability to obtain knowledge through the internet, but also a top down improvement in build quality. Guys like Foose, Troy Trepanier, Rob Ida, etc. have set the bar higher and higher, and though most mortals will never achieve their level of quality, the rising tide lifts all of the ships.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    SEAAIRE354 likes this.
  26. bangngears
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 950

    from ofallon mo

    When i bought my 32 5w it had a 289 4 speed in it. Rear cross member was a 1.5' wide 1/8" flat stock welded to running boards, and frame on both sides. That was it. Could not believe it.

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