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Hot Rods How do you get the stance right??

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by mikec4193, Oct 8, 2019.

  1. HI Hambers

    I have been observing old cars for we have all seen some guys built stuff that just doesn't look right...I have built or should I say attempted to build stuff that when you roll it out of the garage just doesn't look right...and I end with something I wanna take out back and shoot it and dig a shallow grave and forget about it...

    I am thinking about collecting parts for an open type roadster car to build...

    Do you guys have a system down to get "the look"...

    I have seen guys cut out wooden tires to mock stuff up...

    I have seen wooden blocks under frame rails to mock stuff up...

    I even have bought a Vern Tardel book for the highboy model A way to build something...

    Is there maybe another book that explains or are there tricks that you guys use to get "the look"...

    I don't wanna take something out back and bury it in the backyard is too short and I only wanna build it once....

    Any insight would be a wonderful thing


    I have attached to this a picture of the one I tried to build and failed at miserably...please don't laugh

    Attached Files:

  2. KevKo
    Joined: Jun 25, 2009
    Posts: 395

    from Motown

    First, you have to know what you want. You have to be able to visualize it in finished form. Then work towards that. Know what size wheels and tires you want to run. I have wooden wheels on my current project. I mocked up my frame with solid pieces in place of the shocks. So ride height was set.
    Flathead Dave likes this.
  3. LM14
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 1,832

    from Iowa

    The first thing I do on a project is decide on tires and wheels. Everything you do is based on them. I buy the actual wheels I’m going to use and the size of tires. Tires can be used junk yard or new. Very small cost compared to the overall cost of a build and they set the theme for everything you do.

    I have built with the frame blocked in place until I get the suspension roughed in. Once it’s rolling I replace coil overs with the adjustable setup pieces Speedway sells. I will even tack weld bar stock between the frame and lower control arm. Only needs welded on one end if the other end rests under the frame or on top of the suspension.

    I tack everything together to the point of being a roller then roll it outside for a good look from a distance and all angles.

    Nobody can tell you how to get “the look”. That’s different for everyone.
    gnichols likes this.
  4. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 44,382


    I found a neat trick....copy someone else's car that looks right. Spend a lot of time looking at other cars, and pictures of other cars, and figure out what it is you think looks really good. Then get a good side view picture of it, and base your build on that picture. Blow up the picture to a large size, to scale. This takes a little bit of old fashioned drafting skill.
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  5. oldiron 440
    Joined: Dec 12, 2018
    Posts: 1,290

    oldiron 440

    The "look" is subject to interpretation and can be a fail to one guy and a hit to the next. You need to have several different examples of what your after before you start so it's defined.
    The "look" can be settle or radical it's completely up to you.
  6. dumprat
    Joined: Dec 27, 2006
    Posts: 2,396

    from b.c.

    How do you make a statue of an elephant? Get a big block of stone and cut off everything that doesn't look like an elephant.

    There are certain things that are just wrong right out of the gate.
    Too much rake, or reverse rake.
    Too small or large or a tire
    Hood stretched to far rather than set the engine back.

    It is simple, but people comprise over and over and end up with ugly.
    Flathead Dave likes this.
  7. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 3,953

    Hot Rods Ta Hell

    Yep, find a finished version of the car you're building that looks spot on (in your mind) as far as stance and follow along with the parts and setup. Make fine tunes to suit your desires. Magazine and internet features usually spell out chassis components used, wheel size and offsets, right down to tire sizes.
    Show cards at shows do the same. Use your eyeballs, take photos and if the owner is around, strike up a conversation. You can also ask how their set up rides. Most folks are dead honest and will tell you any changes/improvements they'd make to their components if they were doing it again.
    My motto; "Learn from other peoples successes and mistakes". If you don't, you'll end up with a garage full of cast off parts that you'll have to unload-probably at a loss.

    Your proposed Hiboy Roadster should be straight forward. There's already a decades old "proven formula" that most follow with essentially the same size tires, dropped axle, dropped crossmember, pinched rails, etc. Look at enough of them and you'll soon be able to look at a picture of one and be able to call out what was used...
  8. A lot of good information, there are different approaches for different era's, I noticed you had Z'ed the front of your frame, I prefer to do the lowering with flat front cross members, reversed springs and dropped axles.

    I for one have never Z'ed a frame,

    Do a search and find a thread about trucks and look for one that sit's the way you would like your truck to sit, send the owner/owners a conversation and don't be afraid to ask questions.

    The photo say's rat rod and if that's what you want to build your on the wrong site but if you want a traditional hot rod I'm sure you will get all the help you need. HRP

    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
  9. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 3,939

    from red oak

    Cut and paste. Or use a picture of a car and cut and tape with a razor. And use white out. Then build it by trial and error. Scan0751.jpg
    BigO likes this.
  10. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,578

    from Tampa, FL

    There have been other threads on this, so do some searching. A few things..

    - what is the minimum ride height you think you can get away with?
    - how tall are the frame rails?
    - that gives you the height to the bottom of the body or doors.
    - rake? 1-2 percent is all you need in most cases. Set the chassis on blocks at ride height.
    - as mentioned above, you need to have some builder wheels and tires that are the exact size you want on the car. Use the car on blocks to help determine this. When you have them, use them to mock-up the car and see how it "looks". Whether they are all the same height or not, ie bigs n littles, makes no matter at this point. Taking pix of other cars and taking notes helps a lot here. Be sure the tires and rim sizes, and offsets are correct.
    - for the front and rear wheels, what is the diameter or height? Cut that in half and subtract another 1/2" for "tire squish" when the weight is on the tires, and that gives you the height of your front and rear axles. In the rear, it also helps tell you determine how wide your diff needs to be and how much you might need to Z or C notch the frame (minimum 3.5" for suspension compression clearance and a rubber bump stop). Unless you aren't changing the front suspension, no further worries there unless the frame might now be at the wrong height - you'll have to adjust it if necessary, too.
    - It's a big puzzle, take you time and finger it out best you can before spending $$ or cutting stuff.
  11. error404
    Joined: Dec 11, 2012
    Posts: 229

    from CA

    trial and error here. It's not always the most efficient way to do it, but I kind of take the brute force approach, just trying until I like it.
  12. RJP
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,287

    from PNW

    Jack stands, floor jacks, the wheels and tires your gonna use and a really comfortable chair. start adjusting till you get the stance the way you want it, using liberal amounts of seat time in that comfortable chair studying each adjustment. When you're happy, get your ass off the chair, and leave for a day. when you come back, if you still like it, start measuring, measure some more, re-measure, measure again, (did I mention measure?) then start cutting, welding, and fabricating till you get it done.
  13. 34Larry
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 1,068


    What, Jim (squirrel) said. I knew the look I wanted after deciding to go "hi-boy". I started my decision making by attending the big shows like Good guys and making notes about just about everything IE: Tire size both front and rear, what motor , (for weight, ((chev sb or bb, hemi, ford sb or bb) Mopar and so on. I literally carried a tape measure and a good camera with me on these expeditions. I also had almost 1500 Hot Rod, Car Craft, Popular Hot Rodding magazines from the mid 50's I went through looking at what was out there at that time. (This is how I found my cars history from the day it was started in building as it was in 3 of them.) Mine was a little out of the ordinary as it was Jag suspended but my first attempt with the tire size was spot on. Some adjustment was necessary and easily accomplished with the adjustable shocks in the front. It also was necessary to fab a new rear cross member with a 4" kick in it and "C" the frame to get the rear tires in the right spot vertically. The front was tweaked even more when the Hemi came along. Admitably a I was blessed with a good deal of luck, but it worked out. I'd still like a little more rake in the front, but I'll settle for where it is.
    Good luck with your project, just take your time, and continue asking questions.
  14. Easy. Rear tires fill the fender profile, raise the front end 'til no part of the wheel is in the fender well!

    Side 2.jpg
    Flathead Dave likes this.
  15. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 5,204

    jimmy six

    You look down at your feet and if then are both flat on the ground, you've got your "stance" right... I however like an nice slight rake to to the front , about 1-1/2" down. Rear stock height.
    Moose on the the Photo Shop thread made me a believer.
    lowrd likes this.
  16. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 9,855

    Atwater Mike

    Be sure when you set it up that it will ROLL, and you can roll it outside.
    Inside the garage may look 'just right', but roll it out where there is some real 'perspective'. The difference being...well, you'll be glad you did!
  17. Hi HAMBers

    I am looking for a stance that others will appreciate...I can't go on what I like...I need a stance that will sell when I get tired of the old school hot rod stance seems to be a very marketable item...

    The rat rod I built...well I was just not thinking I guess (I had only been sober for a year or so when I built it) did sell eventually and I was thankful to see it go...the kid who bought it put a big block Chevy in it and he is still driving it (not sure how much but he is driving it)...

    I guess I better get use to a lot of chin scratching and much contemplation time too...I am not a good thinker...I am more of "Get R Done" kinda guy...this sport takes a lot more thought than I am use to...

    thanks for all the insight folks are awesome...
  18. I did exactly what squirrel said- I looked at countless cars like mine and picked out aspects of them I liked or didn’t like- asked the owners questions and took notes. Then combined what I wanted into my own unique combination of ideas stolen from everyone else. I also taped a snap shot of a pro built car I liked onto the side glass of my hulk while I worked on it ..for inspiration
  19. Flathead Dave
    Joined: Mar 21, 2014
    Posts: 2,540

    Flathead Dave
    from So. Cal.

    I looked at a bunch of other builds and found a lot of what I like. I'm done with the jacked up rear end (unless I build another muscle car/street rod). I don't street race anymore or cruise for showing off and making noise. I do like the noise...
    I tend to like the flat level with the ground look. Low and level.
    I would suggest what the other's have been saying. Look around to see what you like and go from there.
  20. That truck has gotta be a troll joke right?

    How do you get it right ?
    So what the hell does right mean to you or to the next guy? Two guys may agree and say wow that’s just about right But See two completely different things In the same damn car.
  21. Let the weeds grow up another foot or so and it won’t look so bad
  22. I don’t give a shit what your building, drawing, planing, organizing, designing, rearranging,,,,
    if you can get as close as you can to the golden ratio it’ll look better than anything else .

    Now if You really really really want something to look good and have people stare,,,
    study the Fibonacci sequence while you’re at it
    Just Gary likes this.
  23. bschwoeble
    Joined: Oct 20, 2008
    Posts: 463


    Please, please don't build anything resembling the style of that truck.

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