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Nailhead on Model A Chassis?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by nolan.martin, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. nolan.martin
    Joined: May 31, 2012
    Posts: 21

    nolan.martin
    Member
    from Louisiana

    I recently purchased a '31 Coupe before I deployed to Afghanistan. I'm trying to figure out what I need to do when I get home in January. The original frame is boxed and complete, just needs the powertrain. I have seen Rolf's '32 frame with the Nailhead and the extent of the fabrications he still had to make with the longer frame. Has anyone put this engine on the original frame? I have looked around and can't seem to find one. Please post pictures. Thanks H.A.M.B.

    Nolan
     
  2. Bib Overalls
    Joined: Aug 3, 2001
    Posts: 4,071

    Bib Overalls
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Nailheads are long motors. If you use one there are two choices; stretch the frame or indent the fire wall. I think Rolf did both.

    Model frames are very simple and easy to fabricate out of rectangular tubing. You may find it easier to make something new and set the boxed Model A frame back for another project.

    When I was in Vietnam (65-66 & 69-70) I passed a lot of time designing and building hot rods in my head. A great diversion when you are able to relax.
     
  3. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    Member
    from florida

    Bib is right, there are only so many inches between the firewall and radiator on an A framed car, which is why lots of guys use the 3 inch longer Deuce frame for these kinds of swaps.

    I have a model A frame under my 27 and the sbf engine sits a good 4-5 inches under the firewall. I had to tunnel it that far to get it to fit, and I bet the Buick isn't any shorter.

    Stay safe over there and thank you for all you are doing.

    Don
     
  4. Canuck
    Joined: Jan 4, 2002
    Posts: 1,047

    Canuck
    Member

    Check a old post of mine, labelled, I think, "It's a roller" and I think a subsequent post, all under my name. Or for everything in one spot, : http://a425coupe.shawwebspace.ca/blog/ "

    Show shots of fitting a nailhead/SP400 in a 30 coupe on a stock dimension frame. Car is being set up to run fenders and a stock hood.

    Engine had to be offset 1/2" to passenger side. Firewall on 30 reversed and then recessed additional approx 4" behind engine. Block hugger headers. Driver side exhaust pipe exiting headers had to be dished to clear steering. Passenger side header clears hood by about 1/4" so should gaurantee burned paint. No room for side steering box. Don't know how you would fit a clutch pedal in.


    It can be done, just a little extra work but not something you will run in to at every street corner.

    Any questions, let me know.

    Canuck
     

  5. nolan.martin
    Joined: May 31, 2012
    Posts: 21

    nolan.martin
    Member
    from Louisiana

    Guys, thanks for the advice. Here is my dilemna. I purchased this car about a week before I deployed (knowing absolutely nothing about Model A's and have been pretty much learning from in Afghanistan).

    The car is in great shape, but sitting in pieces. The frame is boxed, coil overs in the rear, 8" rearend, disk brakes. No engine or transmission when I purchased the car.

    Also, in typical fashion, I rushed into purchasing a 351W before I truly learned about building time period vehicles (or close to it).

    Looking back, I wish I had purchased a body, bought a '32 Frame and a 409 Nailhead.

    So I guess what I'm looking for is some confirmation on which route I should take.

    Do I keep my stock frame and attempt to make my 351W look retro? Or do I piece the frame, buy '32 rails, sell the engine, and most likely have to rebuild another engine???

    Decisions, Decisions.

    Thanks,

    Nolan
     
  6. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    Member
    from florida

    Only you can answer those questions, Nolan. 100 guys will give you 100 different answers, which is why almost every car you see at a show is different from every other car.

    But let's look at the options. If you use the model a frame you are going to have an engine room that originally held a short flat 4 motor, and any V8 (except maybe a sbc) will require some firewall surgery to get it in there. Even the sbc may need some firewall notching for distributor clearance.

    The Deuce frame has a 3 inch longer wb and that room will be gained in the engine compartment, and that extra room really helps. I have seen model a bodies on a Deuce frame with Buick engines, and it can be done, but even those sometimes take some firewall flattening to get it in there.

    As for the Ford 351, if you use the model a frame you will run into the same length issues and also possibly some steering box clearance issues. I have a 331 sbf in my 27 with an A frame and the sbf just clears my steering box (f100 mounted in stock location). And my motor sits 4-5 inches under the firewall, even using a Ford Racing short water pump setup. Some will say the sbf 302-351 isn't a traditional engine, and in some respects it isn't, but I like the one in mine just fine.

    So, if you want to use the Buick, my vote goes for the Deuce frame. Rails can be bought for about $ 700 and with a couple of A crossmembers you will be at about $ 1000 or less. Then you could build the proper X member to work with your motor and trans setup.

    But that is only one way to go, and it may not be exactly what you have in mind.

    Don

    This chart might help you in your decision making.

    http://www.carnut.com/specs/engdim.html

    As you can see, there are other considerations besides length, like if the starter is on the right or left, sump position, etc. It also points out why the sbc engines are so "overdone", they are just such compact little mothers, and the starter and sump are in the best place possible.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
  7. Lamb
    Joined: Jan 20, 2010
    Posts: 87

    Lamb
    Member

    Nailheads are plenty long, my 322 would be well and truly burried in the firewall to run stock dimensions ('28/29 A). I am setting my cowl back and recessing it to fit my stock A chassis.

    Great job with yours Canuck!

    also a 409 isn't a nailhead size? perhaps you mean 401.
     
  8. chopt top kid
    Joined: Oct 13, 2009
    Posts: 959

    chopt top kid
    Member

    Originally I planned to build my coupe on a boxed Model A frame, but plans change, and I decided to sell off the parts I didn't need and build the car on '32 rails. the coupe is presently under construction...
     

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