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Leatherback to Steelback – Vicky's Got Curves In All The Right Places...

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by D-Russ, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. My car, a 31 Vicky, was what's known as a leatherback. That means that the entire top and C-pillars were once covered with vinyl, canvas, maybe even leather, I'm not exactly sure. Doesn't matter though, because I wanted a steelback, which has a top more like that of an A coupe.

    The leatherback body is a bit different from a steelback – the rear window opening is unfinished because the top material wraps around the opening and is attached to the wood inside, and there's no body line behind the rear of the quarter windows because the top material wrapped around the C-pillars and attached to the wood just behind the windows.

    This meant I had to source the body lines for behind the quarter windows and a rear window section and graft them in. I'll start with the body lines on the C-pillars. Here's a pic of the area behind the windows after a 2-1/4 inch chop:


    I bought a set of 32 fordor sedan body lines from a guy from Texas here on the HAMB – sorry dude, I cleaned out my PM box and I don't remember your name.:eek: When I bought them, I didn't realize that on sedans, the body lines curve forward at the bottom. Hmmm, what to do?




    The solution was easy – I cut them in half and switched the tops from side to side.



    I had to pie cut the tops to tighten up the radius of the curve a little.


    Then it was a simple matter of cutting out the old metal and fitting and welding in the new piece.




    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017
  2. pwschuh
    Joined: Oct 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,199


    That's some nice fabrication right thur.
  3. lockwoodkustoms
    Joined: Dec 22, 2005
    Posts: 3,910


    Dave, this car is going to be one hell of a ride when you get finished. I am still gathering parts for mine and won't be at it for a while. But I have to say I like watching you and now Plowboy's builds. I have a Crazy Caddy to build first and then the Vicky

    ~~ Lockwood
  4. Strange Agent
    Joined: Sep 29, 2008
    Posts: 2,879

    Strange Agent
    from Ponder, TX

    Looks good to me. Nice job.
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  5. Docco
    Joined: Mar 23, 2007
    Posts: 286

    from Ippy

    What a difference that body line makes, must look waaaay better from a distance.
  6. Your creativity is amazing! You have been holding out posting TWO killer threads in one day!!!
  7. i agree!!! top notch!!!
  8. helmsville
    Joined: Mar 4, 2007
    Posts: 363


    YA! it's freaky the talent that is on this site.
  9. Great work, I still struggle with dent removal!
  10. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 26,004


    Selling my '32 Vicky project was the right thing at the time, and I'll have another some day. Thanks for the update on yours, it sure is progressing nicely. Bob
  11. ken1939
    Joined: Jul 5, 2008
    Posts: 1,546

    from Pittsburgh

  12. Howeird46Chev
    Joined: Nov 9, 2008
    Posts: 225


    I know why you're so smart. Cause you work on hot rods and live in Richmond,Va. Looking cool ,keep up the good work.
  13. Terry O
    Joined: Oct 12, 2004
    Posts: 1,060

    Terry O

    Nice work Dave. That little Vicky is lucky to have fallen into your capable hands.

  14. 29paul
    Joined: Dec 30, 2007
    Posts: 267


    Great job looks A+ You should do some work on a firewall like a 29 or something like that.:D
  15. silversink
    Joined: May 3, 2008
    Posts: 912


    I was at Wescot motors in Boring Oregon the other day and the had a leather-back just like yours and i think the wanted 15000 for it , oh I forgot to mention that it was just the body.
  16. roosters hot rods
    Joined: Oct 21, 2006
    Posts: 1,778

    roosters hot rods

    looks great.....nice metal work.
  17. enemy2fashion
    Joined: Nov 2, 2008
    Posts: 30

    from USA

    looks TITS... details
  18. Wow- more nice work, Dave.
  19. Plowboy
    Joined: Nov 8, 2002
    Posts: 4,251


  20. KreaturesCCaustin
    Joined: Sep 3, 2008
    Posts: 1,258

    from Austin, TX

    Very nicely done. It takes vision and talent to pull off something like that. Kudos!!!
  21. Thanks for all the positive feedback guys, it really keeps me motivated. And Paul, I'm happy to help you out with your firewall, we just need to figure out a good time.;)

    Now, here's the second installation of my leatherback to steelback conversion.

    The Vicky came with a rough unfinished rear window opening with plenty of rust in the belt line. Apparently the top was holding water for many years.


    I found a rear window section on Ebay – I think it was from a fordor, but I'm not sure. I bought it because the bead around the back window was bigger at the bottom so it would match the side windows. On original steelback Vickys the bead around the back windows is of equal thickness all the way around and it doesn't match the side windows. Go figure.


    I chopped it 2-1/4 inches before I started fitting it.


    I had to cut out the rounded bead in the wooden framework that runs around the window so the finished steel opening would fit through it. Once it fit into the opening in the wood framework, I marked the position with a Sharpie.


    I braced the top and cut out the old window section.



    Then I just tacked it in. Since the original belt line bead was rusted out, I used some of the belt line from the new window section to fill the gap.



    And here's the rear window grafted in.


    Now all I need to complete this conversion is a set of drip rails. I'll take Model A or 32. Anyone? Anyone?
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017
  22. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 5,895


    Vision, creativity, innovation and skill - you got 'em ALL, brother!!

    Beautiful workmanship.
  23. Dave,
    Any pictures of how you filled in the stock drip rail grooves- the ones that go diagonally upward to the top rear corners of the body?
  24. KreaturesCCaustin
    Joined: Sep 3, 2008
    Posts: 1,258

    from Austin, TX

  25. If I understand you correctly, the holes you're asking about weren't for drip rails, they were holes for the tack strips in the original leatherback top. Most of those holes went away when I put in the new roof section and I just cut a 1/2 inch wide strip of 18 gauge sheet metal, bent it to the right curve by hand and welded it in to fill the rest. There was no need to cut the old metal out because the holes for the tack strips were recessed into the roof about 1/8 inch, so I put the new metal right on top of the indented channel. The end result is flush with the roof skin.
  26. Mart
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 3,632


    Nice work. I didn't even realise the body had been modified until you showed what was done. It all looks right at home.
  27. THATS AWESOME!...glad to see her comin along...More progress pix please!
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 1,527


    man that thing is going to be awsome!!!! great work
  29. Well, I've finally completed the last step in my leatherback to steelback conversion – the drip rails. For a factory look, I decided to modify a set of Model A Tudor drip rails to fit the Vicky. I traded Jackandeuces an illustration of a car he built for a nice original set. Thanks a ton Jack!

    The driver's side was really solid, but the passenger side had some rust pits and holes to weld up. Once the rust was repaired, I gently bent them into shape by hand so they followed the contour of the roof. To get the downward curve in the front, I pie cut the end, bent it into shape and tacked it together. Next I drilled holes in the flat part every four inches. Then I clamped them on and plug welded them on through the holes.

    Here are a few pics:




    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017
  30. 29paul
    Joined: Dec 30, 2007
    Posts: 267


    Looks first class Dave when that vicky is done it will be one of a kind.

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