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Projects Jumping in the deep end

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by trevorsworth, Aug 4, 2020.

  1. trevorsworth
    Joined: Aug 3, 2020
    Posts: 600

    trevorsworth
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    I’m expecting to spend $500-1000 on a cab, which I have set aside for that purpose. The problem is what I keep seeing is completely junked - smashed, rotted out cowls or just the top halves of cabs etc. for way too much money. It feels like the usable stuff has either been snapped up by rat rod types or restored.

    What confuses me is the price gulf between loose, even bad parts & restored/survivor cars. $2000 for a roached body on a crooked frame or $8500 for a previously restored, running car? I should just finance one and hot rod it!

    I expect to pay more over time for parts than the car is worth - that's normal, I've been there & done that with all kinds of antiques. But the prices I'm seeing for functionally unusable junk are just insane.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2020
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  2. 1934coupe
    Joined: Feb 22, 2007
    Posts: 4,433

    1934coupe
    Member

    Trevor so many times I faced the same dilemma, and not wanting to owe money turned up being the wrong choice for me. After all these years and countless cars I learned my lesson. $8500 financed over 36 months is under $300/mo. Drive now and make payments or build for 3 years, wind up with the same cost and drive it in November 2023.

    Pat
     
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  3. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,690

    J.Ukrop
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    I know the feeling. It doesn't matter where you look, prices are sky high. That being said, there are some needles in this digital haystack. While looking for my roadster, I scoured every avenue possible for months and months.

    Where all are you searching? Every day, multiple times a day, I check the H.A.M.B. classifieds, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and Instagram (#partswapper is a good place to look). I also try NextDoor, and EstateSales.net, because, well, you never know. Wherever I am in the world, I always stop at garage sales. Occasionally, I'll inquire about hot rod and motorcycle parts when it seems like there could be potential.

    It sounds super simple, but did you put want ads on your local Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace? What about on the H.A.M.B.? If anything, they can help open up a dialogue about parts, vintage tin and similar topics.

    Lastly, if you see anything out West that you're interested in, let me know and I can either check it out or help you find someone who can. Just like everyone else, I want to see this A-V8 happen!
     
  4. trevorsworth
    Joined: Aug 3, 2020
    Posts: 600

    trevorsworth
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    I keep an eye out on HAMB, FB, CL, NextDoor and also a local auction site that handles estates. When people have multiple old rides in the backgrounds of listings, I sometimes message asking if they have any A stuff, and have found some parts I needed that way. I do have want ads up all over the place and have even stopped in at random hot rod shops just to ask if they knew anyone. Made some contacts that way, too, but so far no dice on any body parts. There was a guy that wanted $500 for a cowl shell... $250 for a gas tank... and $200 for a firewall.

    I have half a mind to make up some business cards and start leaving them with folks at car shows.

    I'll let you know if I see anything out your way! I'm trying to avoid paying freight, but maybe something will work out to where it makes sense to freight it.
     
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  5. sdroadster
    Joined: Jul 27, 2006
    Posts: 366

    sdroadster
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    Early on in this discussion, I suggested you buy a older restored car, and hot rod it. It's cheaper in the long run, and chances are you wont give up, and lose interest.
     
  6. Maybe change directions a little on your Hunt. Find as many local Car Clubs as you can and talk to the locals that have been doing this for decades, they know where the Gold is. Seems every where I go there is a chapter of the Model A guys along with Early Ford V-8 guys. They generally are willing to give a Guy some help (like with your dist.) but not to open to Guy's just hunting for there parts. Asking the right questions will turn up someone that says, " Ya old Fred had some of that stuff but he hasn't been around for a while" I heard his health had taken a turn. And there ya go. For the most part it's about finding the combination and not coming off like a wise guy. I'd say most of what is now the "Old Guys" (like me) really are Hot Rodders at hart and not so much Restoration guys. We just are NOT into the R-R stuff. Our stuff going to a good home is often a conversation in our group settings. I know it's moved way up on my list.
     
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  7. trevorsworth
    Joined: Aug 3, 2020
    Posts: 600

    trevorsworth
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    At the time I kind of palmed it off as I didn’t want to owe money on my hot rod. But I think it’s probably the way to go, once I get into a better paying job.
     
  8. trevorsworth
    Joined: Aug 3, 2020
    Posts: 600

    trevorsworth
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    Is there any significant difference between 37-38 front brakes and later brakes, or any reason not to mismatch generations from front to rear? Asking because I can get a pair of loaded '37 front backing plates for about $80. I have round spindles from a '37 axle. My rear brakes are '40.
     
  9. flatford39
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 2,746

    flatford39
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    37 38 brakes are mechanical. Not hydraulic. 39 and up are hydraulic. You need 39 and up backing plates or F-1 truck brakes with the bendix adjustment.
     
  10. trevorsworth
    Joined: Aug 3, 2020
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    trevorsworth
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    Ad said hydraulic lol. Good thing I didn't impulse buy them. Thanks for the tip.
     
  11. flatford39
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 2,746

    flatford39
    Member

    Really need to see a picture of what you are looking at. Somebody may have put 39 backing plates on a 37 38 car and converted to hydraulics. Do you see a wheel cylinder anywhere?
     
  12. trevorsworth
    Joined: Aug 3, 2020
    Posts: 600

    trevorsworth
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    Here is a picture. I don’t know enough to tell one from the other. I see the wheel cylinder but it could just as well be mechanical. I wouldn’t know what to look for.

    2D74DFED-B49B-4B9B-A2C6-2EBCEF0A2271.jpeg
     
  13. flatford39
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 2,746

    flatford39
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    That's mechanical.
     
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  14. trevorsworth
    Joined: Aug 3, 2020
    Posts: 600

    trevorsworth
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    Thanks. Now that I know what they look like it'll be easier to find what I need.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2020
  15. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 16,705

    alchemy
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    That's not a wheel cylinder up there. There is a cam inside that small housing which pushes the short rods outward. Same principle downstream of the levers, but upstream it uses a cable instead of hydraulics and rubber cups. None of the parts other than the spindles will be useful on 39 or later hydraulic brakes.
     
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  16. RodStRace
    Joined: Dec 7, 2007
    Posts: 2,521

    RodStRace
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    Lots of stuff can be found by searching for images and comparing the results so you can ID the parts.
    Here is a 39 backing plate image (front and back) from the HAMB (already sold)
    Notice the "T" shaped detail and it will pop out when viewing a lot of older rods.
    These are not self-energizing, so are not as effective.
    https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/4-1939-ford-car-juice-brake-backing-plates.1127481/

    and an F1 backing plate grabbed from the net.
    These are self-energizing, (note that the bottom of the shoes are connected to each other, not resting on solid parts of the backing plate) so will provide more braking.
    [​IMG]

    Also, brakes are important!
    You can pick up old crusty stuff and rebuild it, but I always try to find a new part so I know what I'm saving by going the rodder route and refurbishing old stuff. The old stuff is great, but if it costs more than getting brand new compatible parts, you have to figure on why you are putting in more time and money for the same result. A historic restoration requires using the original as much as possible, but if you are building new, at least price out what is available. This kit is expensive, but you get everything. Also, now you know all the parts you need.
    https://www.speedwaymotors.com/Bend...r-1937-48-Ford-Spindles-12x2-Inch,418676.html
     
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  17. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 16,705

    alchemy
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    Just to add to RodStRace's post, that pic is a repro Lincoln style backing plate, not an F-1. The F-1 are 11" and the Lincoln are 12". They look similar from this side though, and they will both mount up to 37-48 spindles with slight mods.

    I like to use the original stuff if I can find it in good condition. I've found some new production wheel cylinders and brake shoes have misplaced holes so things don't line up. They aren't machined correctly.
     
  18. RodStRace
    Joined: Dec 7, 2007
    Posts: 2,521

    RodStRace
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    Thanks for the correction, alchemy! I am not very knowledgeable on the nuances of some of this stuff.
    I also agree that you must consider the quality of reproduced parts VS original when comparing.
    Price is what you get for what you pay, in all aspects!

    and of course, there are a ton of threads on all this stuff here on the HAMB to search for also.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
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  19. trevorsworth
    Joined: Aug 3, 2020
    Posts: 600

    trevorsworth
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I had been googling pictures but honestly it is hard to find comprehensive breakdowns that answer questions like this for complete novices like me. I can compare visually but I would have had no idea that drum was mechanical as I just don't know what to look for.

    This stuff is common sense to yall but to me it's rare knowledge and I'm not even sure how to phrase some search queries so again I greatly appreciate the patience and clarity. I have mapped out what I need for the front axle now.
     
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  20. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 16,705

    alchemy
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    Show us your map and maybe we can tell you if you'll get there. Maybe we can help you not get lost. There are lots of ways to get a low cost hot rod built, but there are also lots of parts out there that will lead you down the wrong path.
     
  21. trevorsworth
    Joined: Aug 3, 2020
    Posts: 600

    trevorsworth
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Here's my roadmap so far. The front end is pretty much my priority right now since I can at least get that bolted on to the frame. I can't do anything else really until I get the engine in the frame, and for that I need a cowl.

    Here's what I have on the front end:
    • Stock Model A axle with '37 spindles
    • Speedway kingpin kit
    • Complete F1 steering column from the pitman arm to the steering wheel
    • Speedway reverse eye front spring + shackles
    • Stock perch pins
    • Two great, stock A wheels with new tires and tubes
    Here's what I'm planning to complete the assembly with:
    • Stock A tie rod
    • Stock A drag link
    • Stock A wishbone, unsplit
    • 39-48(?) Ford car or truck brakes. Planning to rebuild old.
    • Shocks?
    • Support spacers to prevent my wire wheels from cracking
    I'm already aware there won't be enough room for the steering box in the factory location so I will have to get creative with that. That will be a whole separate rabbit hole for after I get a cowl & all 4 wheels on the chassis.

    As for the rest of the car...

    I still haven't welded up the spring hangers for the rear end. That '40 rear end is bordering on being scrap metal. Until I can get the stuck drum off (and believe me I have been trying) I won't be able to fully assess it. I have a stock A spring and am planning to build the car at stock rear ride height and adjust from there as necessary. I will have to shorten the torque tube, drive shaft, and radius rods.

    I need to replace the water pumps and eventually the distributor but that hopefully that will be it for the engine. The vacuum advance is still not really right but it's working better than it was and probably well enough to putt around.

    I need a radiator. There is no way I can afford to drop almost $1k on a brand new radiator so hoping to find a used one that will fit inside an A radiator shell.

    I know I need to change out the transmission. I was offered a '38 top loader. I think this transmission should be adequate. If I understood correctly, it will not bolt straight up to my engine and I will have to change out the bellhousing for a 49/50 Mercury bellhousing.

    I would like to find a complete body for a decent price but I think that's a pipe dream. Right now I am trying to get a 1930/31 cowl or at least a firewall so I can get started on locating the engine in the frame. I am planning to retain the cowl gas tank because I want to be able to make full use of the already limited bed.

    From what I understand I should be able to use a cowl from any hardtop car - truck, tudor, fordor, coupe or sport coupe? A late 31 recessed firewall is preferable for my application.

    So far the only cowl I have seen for sale within my range (250ish miles) has already been scavenged for patch panels for a different cowl, the windshield pillars have been cut off, and it is missing the gas tank. The guy wants $450 for it. I think that is too much. I was expecting to pay about that much for a decent cowl with a gas tank.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
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  22. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 16,705

    alchemy
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    For your kingpin kit, make sure it's a nice original bushing style, not those goofy roller bearing style.

    Make sure the spring is the proper width for a stock axle. Many guys buy the wrong width and wonder why things don't fit.

    The 38 trans will be fine. The bellhousing ring you need is either a stamped steel one from a Merc, or a cast iron one from any 49-53 F-1 pickup. Not from a big truck. I'd recommend a clutch and disk from a 40 Ford (9"). Might require a redrill on your later flywheel, but they could do that easily at the machine shop when they put a fresh surface grind on it.

    I don't know why you think you need a "recessed" 31 cowl. The only recess is a small indentation around the gas line valve (see pic below). It doesn't give extra room for the engine.

    If you were in Iowa I could point you to a half dozen decent A and T bodies for great prices in my brother's garage. Is a road trip worth it? If you have a pickup truck and a couple days it can be done. A decade ago some guys from Austin Speed Shop came up here and bought an A coupe body (see pic below) from us and loaded it into their pickup truck. I think they had enough fellas to drive that they never even stopped overnight.

    https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/28-29-ford-tudor-body.1114828/#post-13779056

    https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/26-27-t-coupe-body.1114831/#post-13779052


    Frank.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2020
  23. RMONTY
    Joined: Jan 7, 2016
    Posts: 2,187

    RMONTY
    Member

    That's just 13.5 hours Trevor! A couple of days driving and you are in business. Let me know when you are ready to hit the road and we will go for it! I am actually making a solo trip/drive to Happy Jack, AZ leaving on Christmas Day to pick up a 20' flatbed trailer a guy is giving me. Nothing like a good road trip adventure to add to the story of the hot rod you are building....
     
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  24. flatford39
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 2,746

    flatford39
    Member

    I know others have mentioned it in the past but please purchase Vern Tardells "How to build a Hot Rod". It's not perfect but there is a ton of info in there that is worth the price of the book. You won't regret it.
     
  25. trevorsworth
    Joined: Aug 3, 2020
    Posts: 600

    trevorsworth
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    Come to think of it, I ordered a copy from ebay & it never showed up. Totally forgot about that...
     
  26. trevorsworth
    Joined: Aug 3, 2020
    Posts: 600

    trevorsworth
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    Re; recessed firewall, just regurgitating information I was told there. I still don’t have enough hands on experience for that to be “common sense” to me. Now I know! I figure I’ll still be learning basic shit like that well after I’m on the road, so I’m not embarrassed... just happy to be on a straighter course now.

    I’m not at all opposed to a roadtrip but it’s a question of “when”... I work for a big retail chain and they are not nice when it comes to time off & almost never give me two in a row. If the price was good I would be willing to eat the write up for no showing. ;) But I do have to consider missed work days in the “price.”
     
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  27. rusty valley
    Joined: Oct 25, 2014
    Posts: 2,428

    rusty valley
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    the late 31 "indented firewall" sucks. better off with the smooth earlier unit
     
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  28. Jrs50
    Joined: Jun 4, 2019
    Posts: 194

    Jrs50
    Member

    There is a guy in Boyd off Hwy 114. He has some old stuff sitting in his yard. I don't know what he has ( or if he even has anything you need) I have never stopped but just see it driving past. I have seen him post stuff on FB but not often. Might be worth your time to go by when you have some time. He might have some leads.
     
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  29. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,690

    J.Ukrop
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  30. trevorsworth
    Joined: Aug 3, 2020
    Posts: 600

    trevorsworth
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    That looks really very solid. California is out of my roadtrip range, though. :(

    Wonder what a car hauler would charge for that distance?
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2020

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