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Just wondering..why chop?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 56don, Jun 30, 2013.

  1. i think the average head is 8 - 14 inches that should be about the right size for a average hot rod windsheild....... just my 2 cents
  2. Bodey
    Joined: Feb 22, 2008
    Posts: 25


    So should this coupe be chopped?

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  3. DB,I consider you a leader not a follower!

    Interestingly enough there are no rules in hot rod building and we all build what we like,,you have the ability to pull off fantastic builds with what is considered radical chops and I appreciate what you build,,but you said it it's not the norm.

    I like it but I'm one of the old guys that in this stage of my life need more room to stretch out! :D HRP
  4. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 9,991


    In High School I had a 33 Packard and a 34 Ford. (Yes, I know I'm old) The Packard had a "Chopped" look compared to the Ford. Cads and other high end cars had lower looking tops than Chevys and Fords. In the 50s and 60s many of the high performance versions of standard cars had lower tops. Think about the Falcon sprint and the standard Falcon. Volvo's even. Naturally high speed cars would want to reduce frontal area. And naturally hot rodders and customizers want to look like faster, more expensive cars,
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2013
  5. harleycontracter
    Joined: Aug 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,968


    It's all about the look baby!!! I guess I got a rat rod too or is it a Bonneville weekend drag car cut down for speed. lol You build what you like and I like both looks

    Dreddybear great pic by the way !!!

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  6. I've got about the hardest chop I've ever seen on a Merc.
    Radical some may say (7"). Why? Simple, I like the look.
  7. fastrnu
    Joined: Feb 26, 2009
    Posts: 739

    from shelton,wa

    Oh sorry! Here I will also dive in.
    We chop or don't chop for the same reason we lower, raise, rake, smooth, channel, french, deck. Sometimes big wheels or little wheels. Maybee even big n littles. Some even paint them. Keep the bumpers or loose them. How about a nice section job. Custom paint? We are hot rodders for a reason. Our cars reflect what we like. we have crazy visions that keep us awake at night until we go out in the garage and make that vision a reality. We build them as an extension of who we are. Some of us are limited or pushed by our skill level. My first chop was just because I wanted to have a chopped hot rod. My TT sits tall because my other truck was chopped. Its all personal expression. With over 150,000 HAMBsters on here there are 150,000 different levels of skill and personal expression. You find the common denominator and let us know. Meanwhile I will spend my time actually building and driving the cars that I have built to the way I want. Simply because that's how I wanted them. That's what Hot Rodding is about isn't it?
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2013
  8. This is a good answer to the original question.

    It does seem now that the top chop is on everyone's checklist regardless of whether the beauty of the car will benefit from it. Some cars that already have great proportions get chopped because it is a "must" and the looks of the car suffers from it. Some cars have too large of a "greenhouse" and really cry out for a chop. Those are the cars that can really be positively transformed.

  9. christopher 78
    Joined: Jun 24, 2012
    Posts: 136

    christopher 78

  10. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 27,829


    Custom body builders were into chopped tops in the 1920's & 1930's, they just look good if done right. Bob [​IMG]
  11. I think the '32 PB Plymouth probably inspired a lot Deuce guys to grab the old hacksaw,,it looks like it came from the factory with a chop. HRP
  12. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,222


    Chopping on a huge scale was around in the mid 1920's, and the story was discussed on hamb a few years ago:

    I think it was E.L.Cord, before he became famous, was hired by an oddball make car manufacturer, to sell 1200 new, but outdated cars that the company could not sell. He ran the 1200 cars back through the body department to get the roofs chopped, and all 1200 cars did sell.
  13. COUPES
    Joined: Feb 24, 2013
    Posts: 171

    from England

    39-40 Merc coupes need chopping!! Not many guys wear tall hats now when driving.
  14. Fogger
    Joined: Aug 18, 2007
    Posts: 1,514


    When my 3W was wrecked in '99 I took it to a friends shop to straighten out the sheetmetal. He asked me if I had ever considered chopping the top that now was the time. My '32 body wasn't perfect and at one time had been a dirt track car so I wasn't cutting up a pristine car. I spent hours with photographs, cutting them up and approximating different amounts of chop. As Rich Fox stated, I determined that the early luxury cars had the proportion I was looking for and decided that a 2" chop would correct the 3W's overall look. After it was done I couldn't be happier, to me it looks right. On my '32 high boy Roadster I cut it 3" and laid back the windshield. It also looks right to me. So it's just a personal decision and I'm pleased with both of mine. I'm also over 6' and have no issues with head room of vision, both cars are as comfortable as they were before the chops.
  15. Driveway builder
    Joined: Jan 17, 2013
    Posts: 484

    Driveway builder

    A chopped car just looks "bad ass" to me. My model a looked great when I first built it... till I parked next to one at a show with a nice chop. The next weekend got out the saw and made my car look so much meaner. Also, chopped my 52 Chevy which I drove for 5 yrs before finally getting the balls to make the first cut. I couldn't be happier with how much better my Chevy looks now. To me a car isn't finished till you take a big piece of metal out of the window posts!!! :)
  16. urbanriot
    Joined: May 17, 2011
    Posts: 42


    I like em both ways - quite into my un-chopped coupe at the moment but if I wanted to I would not hesitate to whop a few inches out of it.
  17. Yes, I think those 32-34 Dodges and Plymouths have a great look with the low roof line.

    Well, can't stay on here all day, I have to go cut something.
  18. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,434

    Atwater Mike

    I've been "into this" since 1953. I chopped my first car myself, a '36 Three window coupe.
    5-1/4" in front, 6" in back. (I had made some cutting errors with the hacksaw at 4", no way to go but down.
    It looked 'beautiful' when I set the lid down, so I welded most of it up...but when I did the doors (upper frames) it got that Pierson Bros look.

    My Mom about shat. "Why'd you 'cut it down' so low?" she asked.
    I just stirred my feet in the gravel..."So everybody could tell it was chopped!"

    It was an Archie Comics moment.

    But an elder gent that was restoring a Deusenberg Phaeton had me over to see some of the finer arts...He was silver soldering some finish work, a real master.
    I remarked that the windshield looked 'chopped', and he said "Yes, many of them were done like that afterward. It was a 'Dealer Retrofit', standard was 2" (or 2-1/2", can't remember now) then the soft-top cars got sent out to 'Top Shops' to get the canvas refitted, and bows 'cut down'.

    I said, "Huh...Thought hot rodders invented that..."
  19. oldsman41
    Joined: Jun 25, 2010
    Posts: 1,282


    some cars just look better chopped i have owned a couple of chopped ones. just bought a 51 2dr merc unchopped its going to stay that way.
  20. 33sporttruck
    Joined: Jun 5, 2012
    Posts: 532


    Hey Don, I really like this thread and there are a lot of reasons to "Chop" and there are some "Very Good Reasons Not to Chop". Overall Body Design !!!
    I tend to think less is better and a subtle chop sometimes really makes a good body design even better. Radical Chops I think should be for the Altered Classes or The Salt Flats.
    If I can keep my crippled old butt in the garage long enough, I plan to chop my 33 Chevy Truck 1 and 1/2 inches. Not very Much at all !!! It just aggravates the hell out of me that the door hinges are not equally spaced center to center.
    It is a lot of trouble for such a small chop but I just want to clean up the door hinge spacing....................................... Jeff
  21. yetiskustoms
    Joined: May 22, 2009
    Posts: 1,930


    Some cars just need help with the purportions. Its all about flow and balance in my book. Less is more in most cases. My 54 Plymouth had a pretty offending roofline before the chop. Now it looks better.[​IMG]
  22. dadseh
    Joined: May 13, 2001
    Posts: 526


  23. joeyesmen
    Joined: Dec 24, 2010
    Posts: 476


    Mine is not chopped . . . but everyone at least thinks about it . . .

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  24. cosmic12
    Joined: Oct 16, 2011
    Posts: 422


    On some cars I just can't believe they came with such ugly roof lines.
    Sometimes just a little bit makes all the difference in the world.
    My 52 before and after, I think it all just flows so much better.

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  25. brady1929
    Joined: Sep 30, 2006
    Posts: 8,529


    It's all about proportion. It just looks better.
  26. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,906

    need louvers ?

    Ya know, sometime in the mid nineties I thought, "gee it sure would be cool to see real Hot rods being built again, fenderless, chopped, even channeled maybe"... These days I find myself saying "gee I wish more guys would start building more resto kinda cars with fenders and stuff". I have always thought if you are keeping the fenders, with very few exceptions that an early Ford looks best with it's top stock height. If your building something fenderless, it implies "race car" or "hot rod" and therefore is looking for an aerodynamic advantage so chop away. Personally, these days I wouldn't set out to chop a nice body. There are so many that have been butchered already and lfet partially done that I would look for that deal and fix what's out there first.
  27. dano1930
    Joined: Feb 10, 2013
    Posts: 58


    I dont know why there were guys baggin on this thread at the beginning, im just a young hot rodder building my first "proper" hot rod and ive actually learned a lot of cool info from this thread, thanks
  28. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 4,201

    Ned Ludd

    I asked a very similar question about two years ago, and got much the same response from some guys. My reply at the time to "If you need to ask," etc. was, "... I do know the answer. I entirely get it. But it's occurred to me that my answer might not be the same as other people's answers, hence the question." I think that's what the OP is looking for, too.

    It's something that occurred to me; I'm not sure if early top-choppers thought it through this way, though. Human anthropometrics are the same for a large car and a small one. The proportions of the human figure are common to both; and therefore a large car will require a proportionally smaller passenger cabin than a small car, even allowing for more generous accommodation. Reducing the height of a small car's greenhouse brings its proportions closer to that of a larger car, even though it remains a small car as should be obvious when it is parked next to a large car.

    It works the other way around, too. The challenges in preventing a truly enormous car from appearing gross and ungainly are perhaps even more onerous. It is a testament to the skills of Jean Bugatti, Henri Binder, Kellner, Park Ward, etc. that the Bugatti T41s don't look quite as big as they are.
  29. Larry W
    Joined: Oct 12, 2009
    Posts: 732

    Larry W
    from kansas

    it's righteous.

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