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Fabric Covered Car Bodies?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Drive Em, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. Tnomoldw
    Joined: Dec 5, 2012
    Posts: 1,563

    Tnomoldw
    Member

  2. KFC
    Joined: Jul 17, 2008
    Posts: 369

    KFC
    Member
    from UK

    Rolls Royce phantom , by mulliner using the weyman principal 4 men could lift the body easily

    [​IMG]

    The fabric is original from 1929.

    A lot of bodies get recovered in "ever flex" the fabric for vinyl roofs
     
  3. blue 49
    Joined: Dec 24, 2006
    Posts: 1,238

    blue 49
    Member
    from Iowa

    A friend of mine flies fabric covered airplanes and has good luck with acrylic enamel and flex agent as a topcoat. Another friend is planning to build a fabric covered tear drop trailer.

    Blue
     
  4. Hefty Lefty
    Joined: Apr 30, 2013
    Posts: 170

    Hefty Lefty
    Member

    Certified aircraft fabric covering systems are now insanely expensive, due to certification costs, a finite and, no pun intended, shrinking market, and that old semi-legit bugaboo product liability. Some homebuilt aircraft guys have evolved homebrew solutions for experimentals but they tend to keep their secret sauce on the down low.

    Of course modern basecoat/clearcoat auto stuff is expensive too, but not as much as the combined cost of fabric, stitching materials, and the dopes and other materials for aircraft fabric. Of course cars don't have as much surface area as a light aircraft but, I heard a recent quote of twelve grand to refabric a Maule which has fabric fuselage and metal wings if I remember correctly. It's been years since i was involved in aircraft. (I have an A&P license but never used it, not in over 20 years.)
     
  5. Hefty Lefty
    Joined: Apr 30, 2013
    Posts: 170

    Hefty Lefty
    Member

    A lot of old twenties and thirties European cars and a few over here were fabric. I seem to recall it being banned for racing over there due to flammability in the 30s.
     
  6. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 4,004

    Ned Ludd
    Member

    I just came across this rather radical example:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    1926 Renault 40CV, bodied thus for some or other record attempt.
     
  7. I have exactly this kind of speedster nearing completion for the Race of Gentlemen...

    Stay tuned for a build thread. Model A chassis and cowl, steel framed fabric covered body. Aluminum framed fabric covered Zeppelin tail.

    Using Ceconite type shrinkable fabric, glue, and UV protecting sealants.

    Fun Stuff with interesting shapes possible.
     
  8. Here's a my speedster cockpit, 1" steel tubing covered with aircraft cloth system.
     

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  9. Kume
    Joined: Jan 23, 2010
    Posts: 861

    Kume
    Member

    Lots of fabric body austin 7s in NZ.
     

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  10. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 4,004

    Ned Ludd
    Member

    Here is an interesting sort of "utility coupé" I came across while looking for something else:
    [​IMG]
    1927 Mercedes-Benz. I'd been playing with an idea for a four-door with a very similar rear treatment.
     
  11. mustangsix
    Joined: Mar 7, 2005
    Posts: 1,296

    mustangsix
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  12. While it is true that the older methods of fabric covering (i.e. dope and linen, or Ceconite, a trade name) are quite flammable; a much newer covering, based on rayon or polyester, will not sustain flame. Probably the best known of these newer systems is Stits. Stits calls it's product PolyFiber.

    I've used the process several times over the last three decades (virtually all on aircraft). It not only lasts much longer (practically forever) than dope and linen; but, it is far more pliable. It seems to stretch like rubber.
     
  13. Saw that car in the flesh at Retromobile a few years back - it has a huge presence and is very impressive indeed
     
  14. In about 1950, John Steers had three months off work and wanted a project. He bought a Model A, mounted the engine and transmission to a very short driveshaft and sat forward of the drivetrain. Covering the whole car with a dope and fabric skin was the simplest way to build a body. He drove it a few times and then sold it. Some time later these boys took credit for building the car. There are no other pictures of the car in family albums.
     

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  15. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,080

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    When I had my shop, I built a quick framework of 1/2" EMT (conduit) the shape and size of a 1950s CAE Sprint car. Plan was to cover it in heavy silk and dope, (model airplane style)

    A young customer talked me out of it, don't know if he ever finished it. (I welded him up a chassis from 1.75" round tubing...he had a '36 Ford 'I' beam and rear end, open drive conversion, and a dual carbed Datsun 4-banger/4 speed.)

    I started a similar project here, 10 years ago...'27 T rails, '37 tube, '36 rear...and one of my HOT 2 liter BMW four bangers (grand piano pistons, TI head, dual side draft Webers)
    and 4-speed from '73 2002...and an old Schroeder center steering.

    Imagine that drifting thru corners in the dirt streets of Atwater...
     
  16. carmuts
    Joined: Jun 17, 2009
    Posts: 874

    carmuts
    Member

    If you do something like this use Poly-Stits. A much easier to work with system the the old Cellulose Acitate Buterate. Rod
     
  17. Here's my fabric-covered, Zeppelin-tailed, 29 Model A speedster, on the beach in Wildwood NJ for the Race of Gentlemen.

    Cockpit frame is 1" square steel tubing. Tail is hand formed aluminum. Both covered with FAA approved EcoBond, EcoFill, and Ceconite cloth.
     

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  18. papajohn
    Joined: Nov 2, 2006
    Posts: 847

    papajohn
    Member

    I have considered doing a carson-like top using metal conduit and fabric. Light weight and easy to remove.

    Posted using a number two pencil on a paper napkin.
     
  19. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 4,004

    Ned Ludd
    Member

    Posted on the Cyclecars thread:
    [​IMG]
     
  20. terrarodder
    Joined: Sep 9, 2005
    Posts: 1,101

    terrarodder
    Member
    from EASTERN PA

    My neighbor has a 23 Studebaker hearse with a fabric covering on the body.
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  21. banjeaux bob
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 5,876

    banjeaux bob
    Member
    from alaska

    A fabric bodied special in the U.S..
     

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  22. modeleh
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 380

    modeleh
    Member

    The Canadian built Brooks steam cars of the 20s had fabric covered bodies. A handful of them have survived.
     
  23. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 4,004

    Ned Ludd
    Member

    Very tidy:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Chassis:
    [​IMG]

    I've long found the North American steam revival of the early to mid '20s fascinating.
     
  24. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,147

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    An old timer told me there was a fleet of Brooks taxicabs in Toronto in the twenties. This struck me as a good use for steam cars. It took advantage of their reliability and easy driving qualities while minimizing the problem of long warmups. Also a steam car can sit idle at a taxi stand for long periods better than a gas car.
     
  25. Choptop
    Joined: Jun 19, 2001
    Posts: 3,303

    Choptop
    Member

    art himsl's zeppelin

    [​IMG]
     
  26. banjeaux bob
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 5,876

    banjeaux bob
    Member
    from alaska

    Senechal monoposto
     

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  27. there's an article in the December 2013 issue of Hemmings Classic Car magazine
    entitled "Cars of Cloth".....regarding some of the coachbuilt classics, including some nice pictures. Starts on page 52. I couldn't find the article on the net to do a link.
    Thought maybe some of you subscribe to it.
     
  28. Big Ayers
    Joined: Nov 26, 2013
    Posts: 37

    Big Ayers

    One of the Batmobiles was coverd in a fuzz / velvet type covering
    due to stress cracks in the glass
     

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  29. I remember seeing that one. It was at the Cow Palace in Calif. It was covered in flies. Must have thought it was a big cow. When I was young I had a bicycle covered in that spray on fuzz.
     
  30. banjeaux bob
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 5,876

    banjeaux bob
    Member
    from alaska

    Then there is this Velorex kid's car.I can't tell if it is pedal powered or has an electric motor.
     

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