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Projects Flashback50 front end redesign and implementation

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Bertolasi, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. Bertolasi
    Joined: Aug 19, 2012
    Posts: 215

    Bertolasi
    Member

    I think it is time to start the build threads for this project. Some interest has been expressed in replies to various posts I have made trying to find a proper part or procedure from other HAMB members, and I really appreciate all the help that HAMB members have given me, so here it goes.
    We are calling this project Flashback 50 as the results should bear some resemblance to my first 50 Ford customization project which I started in 1954 at age 14. I had acquired a 50 Ford and decided to do some customizing and mechanical upgrades while I waited for my drivers license. That project body work was based on epoxy resin bonded fiberglass which was commonly available in the old days with all body work done in the yard next to my house. The results, in 1956 became my daily driver till I went into the Air Force in October of 1958. I had replaced the original 6 cylinder engine with a 1952 Mercury V8 which I had done some porting and relieving and fine tuning in general so it was a fast car as well as a good looker. I sold the car and understand that within two years the guy had crunched it up a couple of times and sold it to a local race driver to use on Saturday nights for the main races. That car, in the following pictures, was first of four customs that I had a reasonable part in before life got too busy.
    50 Ford first build.jpg Well, here I am 57 years later, retired from a 60 to 70 hour a week job and needing something to help me readjust to a normal life. After 6 months of driving my wife crazy I was reintroduced to the vintage car activities of others in this area and decided to look around. I joined the HAMB and in a few months found the Lakewood 50.
    Lakewood  50 LF.jpg

    Lakewood 50 RR.jpg
    We planned to work systematically from front to back replacing all metal that was rotten or too tangled from previous damage to be worth straightening and filling and then commence with the custom modifications that were the goal of this project. Before sending the car to the body shop, I was busy working on design and implementation details for the front end. The original car had a 53 Chevrolet grille bar and the old George Barris style ominous mouth treatment. I wanted to stay with a toothed grille but with a less prominent center grille bar. I chose the 57 Corvette grille for this project with the intent of building style matching parking lights into frenching buckets on the grille/headlight centerline intersections. With the car partially tore down, I borrowed a 56 Corvette grille from the body shop that was to do the major restoration work and did some show and tell exercises to see how much and how different it would have to be. I decided that the grille bar and teeth would work fine but the chrome surround trim would not. It seemed that it would be better to make a form for creating the grille surround and chrome trim pieces that will bolt in to maintain serviceability of the radiator, transmission and AC heat exchanger cores. By creating a custom surround trim arrangement it would be possible to make a more integrated transition between the peaked hood shape of the Ford and the rounded base shape of the grille. It was clear that the Corvette surround trim would stick out reasonably at the sides but would be difficult to merge into the body metal around center since it would be well under the lip of the hood, even if we rounded the hood a bunch. The following pictures were taken while we were figuring out the shape and form needed for this work.
    SA50018.JPG
    SA500027.JPG
    IMG_20121004_145634.jpg
    While considering those factors it seemed that the chrome surround trim should not be as heavy as the trim on the Corvette was since there would be other items of significance in the front and the heavier chrome trim would seem to distract from the grille teeth effects and isolate them instead of integrate them. All that in mind I started on the layout and design of the grille surround and a pattern on which the grille surround and surround chrome trim could be built and checked.
    grille surround hz.jpg
    grille surround vt.jpg
    SAM_0090.JPG
    grille surround plug and form 5.jpg
    SAM_0101.JPG
    At this point in the project it seemed we needed some concept sketching to make sure everyone was on the same page and getting the same image in their mind.
    original grille sketch.jpg

    And, as soon as I drew the hooded headlights I realized that there would be some issues with the conversion from frenched to frenched and hooded so I continued the concept sketching to try and express the desired results as an image instead of a lot of hand waving.
    front fender style sketch red.jpg
    \
    For parking lights I wanted to continue the toothed style and found some truck marker lights that did a reasonable job of transitioning while keeping the style. I had to make some conversion plugs to get the two brightness levels out of a marker light but that worked out well and then I found some universal sockets for dual circuit bulbs that fit the frenching bucket perfectly
    SAM_0060.JPG
    SAM_0061.JPG
    The car was moved to the garage and basic recovery and restoration work began. Finally, after a few months of intense body panel replacement and basic restoration it was time to tackle the front end and see if the wooden pattern and all that sketch work would pay off. The surround shell, to be welded into the body metal, was built up on the pattern, mounting brackets for the grille bar spotted on the shell and the entire assembly clamped in place and some trial bridge pieces formed and placed into position, to see where we were with the whole idea.

    The initial results were gratifying so work commenced to finish up the mounting brackets, form the bridge pieces, weld them into place, and grind off the weld beads in prep for final finishing and prime work.
    SAM_0696.JPG
    SAM_0375.JPG
    SAM_0855.JPG
    SAM_0847.JPG
    SAM_0848.JPG

    While this work is in process, we are also trying to work our way through the hooded and frenched headlight stying and metal forming. A couple of attempts at stick building did not seem to be yielding the results we were expecting so we did some research and decided to try some 1955 Chevrolet headlight hood patches. It seems that with some mild modification work these will bring the proper form and attitude to the headlight hoods.
    SAM_0814.JPG
    I will return with updates when the headlight hoods and parkling light buckets are in place.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
    scotty t, Gotgas and kidcampbell71 like this.
  2. Looks interesting so far. Looking forward to seeing more progress.
     
  3. Looks like the Kerry Hoperstads garage.
     
  4. Bertolasi
    Joined: Aug 19, 2012
    Posts: 215

    Bertolasi
    Member

    Thanks for your interest. Yes the complex metal bending is being done at Hopperstads as he has the 'pulling' and forming tooling to create bead rolled strips with variable radius bends following over 'peaked' (V shaped) contours. Once the metal pieces are fitted into place the car will return to Andy (Suicide Axle Rod and Kustom) for continuation of the fill, blend, prime, and paint work.

    A more detailed story of this project is available at the following link
    http://s1291.photobucket.com/user/RBertolasi/story/81123
     
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  5. daddio211
    Joined: Aug 26, 2008
    Posts: 5,994

    daddio211
    Member

    Wow man, too cool!
     
  6. Bertolasi
    Joined: Aug 19, 2012
    Posts: 215

    Bertolasi
    Member

    8-22-13 Thanks to you that have shown interest in this project and hope that I am not getting too detailed. We have made some progress with 55 Chev hood patches to clean up the headlight styling and VW MT52 hood latch to resolve the 'oops my hood flew up' problem. The hood patched had to be 'split on the ridge line so that they could be properly mated to the fenders and then welded back together. They also had to be 'squeezed' a bit to reduce the diameter of the opening to match the merc frenching rims OD.
    HL hood alignment check 3.jpg
    HL hood alignment check 5.jpg
    hood latch location check.jpg
    We will put a 'push button' in the wall above the grille surround ledge and extend the safety catch arm below the latch deck so that it can be operated by the pushbutton when reaching under the lip of the released hood. The lower latch assembly will be recessed mounted to keep the lines clean. Plate has been made to accommodate the recessed mount.
    flush mount plate for hood latch.jpg
    Today we started working on a dual operator arrangement for the trunk so that it can be opened by the remote (solenoid popper driven) normally but if the battery fails or car is in storage without battery it can be opened by a 'pull cable' release which will have it's operator in the gas door pocket.
    trunk latch components.jpg
    Next update will be when the headlight hoods are done with rough in and the trunk assembly is complete and ready for installation. Bob
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017
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  7. Doctor Detroit
    Joined: Aug 12, 2010
    Posts: 1,004

    Doctor Detroit
    Member

    Nice job on the metal work, the sketches, etc... I enjoy seeing pictures of the process in addition to before and after.
     
  8. beyond static
    Joined: Apr 3, 2011
    Posts: 136

    beyond static
    Member
    from Louisiana

    Progress is looking great! You wouldn't happen to want to sell the grill that the car came with would you?
     
  9. lukey
    Joined: May 27, 2009
    Posts: 668

    lukey
    Member

    That's cool! I'm going to learn alot from this thread, most of which will help on my project. GET TO WORK, I NEED TO SEE HOW SOME OF THIS IS DONE!!!!
    Seriously tho, looking good!


    -LUKEY-
     
  10. Very nice work. What is the latch source?
     
  11. Bertolasi
    Joined: Aug 19, 2012
    Posts: 215

    Bertolasi
    Member

    Beyond Static, I sold the center grille bar (54 Chev w extra teeth) early summer. I still have the 51 Ford upper surround pieces and the 50 Ford Parking light assemblies (complete) as well as the lower stainless piece from the front end and some other things from that car (Fulton visor, blue dot taillights, etc.) to sell and will post those in the next week or so. Thanks for asking and let me know if you are interested in any other parts. Bob
     
  12. Bertolasi
    Joined: Aug 19, 2012
    Posts: 215

    Bertolasi
    Member

    Doc. Just took a look at your build site,,,,, WOW ,,,, your car is stunning! I no longer have the facility to do body work so I am working with Andy Didio of Suicide Axle Rod and Kustom ( Suicideaxle.com ) nearby. I really wish we had gone into this with a 'body off' approach like you did as we have spent way too much time working around some 'issues' that would have been dealt with more directly if body off. The 49 that I bought has a V8 but some lunkhead let the car sit in a farm yard with the plugs out! I'm not sure if we can bring it back to life but will give that a try when the Flashback project winds down. More detailed images can be seen here:
    http://s1291.photobucket.com/user/RBertolasi/story/81123 Thanks for your interest. Bob
     
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  13. Bertolasi
    Joined: Aug 19, 2012
    Posts: 215

    Bertolasi
    Member

    Cool57 Latch upper assembly from one seller and lower from another but both on ebay. Just dial in VW hood latch and you will get a listing for two different types that were common for Jetta, Golf and Cabriolet. The MK2 version is what I went after. Bob
     
  14. Hdonlybob
    Joined: Feb 1, 2005
    Posts: 3,821

    Hdonlybob
    Member

    Always have loved Shoe Boxes....and yours is looking mighty fine !!
    Keep us in pics and updates.
    Great job...
     
  15. Bugguts
    Joined: Aug 13, 2011
    Posts: 608

    Bugguts
    Member

    Subscribed. Cant wait to see more!
     
  16. Bertolasi
    Joined: Aug 19, 2012
    Posts: 215

    Bertolasi
    Member

    Thanks guys for all your interest and comments. Here is the progress from this past week.

    The 55 Chevy headlight hood patches were split, inner portions welded to the merc rims and then the outers were welded back to the inners and to the fender. The extension patches were formed, fit, and welded into place
    hl hood patch pieces in place.jpg
    Then the seams were welded up and the fender 'crease' was forcast to the new hood area and formed up with weld bead and grinding.
    hl hood extension of fender crease.jpg
    The outer panel was contoured and ground to make a small 'flap over' area in the area just behind the headlight rims where the fender had a more aggressive roll in.
    hl hood outer blend.jpg
    We had a discussion about how to terminate the inner lip of the hood and more or less agreed that gentle convex contour was better than defining crease line or other ideas. That will be taken care of when Andy does all the final fill and prime work.
    hl hood inner blend.jpg
    The final look as we left this project for the day was very 'inspiring'.
    hl hood stepback view.jpg
    We have also made some progress on the 'mechanism' to mate the trunk popper with an emergency manual pull cable for the latch release and I should have final views of that for the next update. Regards, bob
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017
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  17. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 6,517

    19Fordy
    Member

    You've come a long way since age 14. Headlights remind me a a '55 Chevy and '57 Ford combo. Looking good. Please keep posting progress pics.
     
  18. marshallal
    Joined: Oct 6, 2009
    Posts: 37

    marshallal
    Member
    from amherst ny

    Hi.. I like what you are doing with the vette grill..most dudes do not go that far, or do some thing weird. Looks great...the 50 you had back in the day looks like the car james dean ran into. My 51 ford has the 55 pontiac mouldings. It has been in 7 kinds of primer over the last 25 years. I don't know what color i want, and lots of other cars came first...marshall
     
  19. Bertolasi
    Joined: Aug 19, 2012
    Posts: 215

    Bertolasi
    Member

    Marshall, thanks for the comments on the grille. This time I am trying to do it right. On the original car I simply formed chicken wire over the grille bars (and to bridge the gap where the bullet protruded through the straight line upper path) and then formed fiberglass on the chicken wire so there was no 'bottom' shape to the original opening. 55 Pontiac side trim question. Is your car a 2 door and if it is, did you have to shorten the rear quarter trim piece. I don't remember doing that on the original car but we had to cut off about 8 inches from the current trim set rear quarter pieces. I am quite sure that 50 Fords do not shrink with age (like old guys like me do) and I found a parts site that listed several models of 55 Pontiac that had that trim and they all seem to use the same part number so I am still trying to figure out what's different. We are mounting in the same positions (door piece and follow thru to quarter piece) as best we can see from the pictures. I was a mechanic in a truck garage in the old days (no child labor laws for me) and may have had someone help plug and weld them shut after shortening but just don't remember. Regards, Bob
     
  20. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 6,517

    19Fordy
    Member

    Attached Files:

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  21. Bertolasi
    Joined: Aug 19, 2012
    Posts: 215

    Bertolasi
    Member

    That's a clean set of lines! Where did you get the bumper bars, production car or custom built? Taillights from Buick? Did you have to contour the fenders to match the width of the taillights or were the taillights that good of a fit from the getgo?
     
  22. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 6,517

    19Fordy
    Member

    Here's post by Ron Staples. I don't know if he sold it. Send him a PM and I bet he can tell you all you need to know. I believe the 49 Buick tailights were an easy fit and the bumpers are Corvette. So was the grille. I remember there were old magazine clippings and photos that came with the car when it was for sale. The car was painted Candy Tangerine when owned by Dean Bordner many years ago. Ron knows the history for sure.
    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=659487 and
    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?p=401661 and
    http://www.customrodder.com/features/0703cr_1950_ford_coupe/viewall.html
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013
  23. Bertolasi
    Joined: Aug 19, 2012
    Posts: 215

    Bertolasi
    Member

    Thank you very much. I have already learned a lot just reading the links that you provided. I will follow up with him. Regards, Bob
     
  24. Bertolasi
    Joined: Aug 19, 2012
    Posts: 215

    Bertolasi
    Member

    With the headlight hoods pretty well under control it was time to go after the rest of the configuration of the hood latch and air baffle. After several discussions we decided it was best to 'flush' mount the lower latch part and move the pull cable stuff underneath. Looking again at the 'dress' panels Kerry and Wayne decided to 'drop' the original plan and expand to a full 'apron' concept. As it had to be removable for access to the radiator, transmission cooler, A/C heat exchanger they worked out mounting and trimming options to make it a 'swing out' type mount. Following are some pictures of the most recent work, taken this morning.
    album latch set.jpg
    album hood lock.jpg
    air baffle - dress metal going together 9-9-10.jpg
    album hood latch.jpg
    Some dress pieces will be cut and fit around the hood latch (upper) to clean up the details for the mounting as well as 'beef' up the cross brace.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017
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  25. Bertolasi
    Joined: Aug 19, 2012
    Posts: 215

    Bertolasi
    Member

    Thanks for all you interest, pm's and emails. Yes, I would be willing to rent out the patterns used to form the custom surround and chrome trim ring insert to the surround, for the 57 Corvette grille. There are two patterns, one for the body metal to be formed to fit (block to the right)
    fbp 10 rot.jpg
    and the other for the chrome trim ring insert to be formed on. Kerry decided it was easier to use the chrome trim ring pattern to make the surround shell and to get the ring insert shape. I think that there was some interest along the way on the rounding of the center 'point' of the grille outline. We decided to set the pattern to 12 inch radius and transition the peak of the hood from the original 'sharp' point to a matching radius at the bottom of the filler (filling in where the bullet relief used to be). That, in our minds, made the transition from a rather pointed center of the grille to a rounded and better blending transition to the uniformly curved Corvette grille. Bob

    Please send a pm if you want to pursue such arrangement. Regards, Bob
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017
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  26. Bertolasi
    Joined: Aug 19, 2012
    Posts: 215

    Bertolasi
    Member

    Thanks for all your interest. Here are some shots that explain where all the air shroud / vanity cover stuff is going.
    First, front view of shroud assembly mostly together (left side fill piece was pending decision on hood prop rod which was made this morning).
    front shroud view of progress.jpg
    From the rear you can see that the radiator cap is now accessible in the recessed area cut into the top band.
    front shroud back view of progress.jpg
    From the side it all starts to make for a clean front area with hood up.
    front shroud side view of progress.jpg
    Not a lot left to do on the shroud but will finish up with rear skirt pieces. This picture is Wayne holding one of the pieces into place for fit test.
    front shroud back fill panel fitting.jpg
    The hood latch area is now filled in and the last detail to be executed is a hole for the hood prop rod (will be on center line between the latch assembly and the front ledge of the hood) to fit into. We will remove the old prop rod mount/pivot hole in the radiator side shrouds and the new rod will locate into the plunger hole of the hood latch receiver plate.
    hood latch area fill in progressing.jpg
    That's it for this update. Thanks again for all your interest. Bob
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017
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  27. daddio211
    Joined: Aug 26, 2008
    Posts: 5,994

    daddio211
    Member

  28. Bertolasi
    Joined: Aug 19, 2012
    Posts: 215

    Bertolasi
    Member

    Just had to add a couple of pictures from today's visit. Went to the shop to work out some details for the dual trunk latch (popper solenoid and emergency manual release) and found out that the fill ins for the air shroud had been finished and thought I would take a couple more pictures before the fill and prime coats go on. There is only a bit of metal left to put in the fender to cross brace area so that the 'gap' between the brace and air shroud is not so evident.
    shroud front side complete.jpg
    shroud back side complete.jpg
    Before the car goes back to Andy for the fill, blend, and prime work we will add some tabs inside the Merc rims and punch tapered holes in the new chrome rims so that the (once and forever grab clips will not be needed to hold the rims in. I found out that the headlight could be replaced through the Mercury rim opening if the chrome dress rim is removable and that also means that adjustments of the headlight aim can be touched up as required instead of one set and hold off till new clips can be found.
    That's it for today. Regards, Bob
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017
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  29. 60 Belair
    Joined: Feb 19, 2006
    Posts: 747

    60 Belair
    Member

    love your metal fabrication you have a great eye.

    Andy
     
  30. [​IMG]with the hood peaked and the first headlite treatment. we also welded the hood and repeaked the front of the hood. the grill opening all top stock 53 chevy lower pan hand made as well as the insert area
     
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