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Projects Resurrecting a 27 T roadster

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by rjgideon, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. rjgideon
    Joined: Sep 12, 2005
    Posts: 547

    rjgideon
    Member

    Finally decided to do a build thread for my 27 Model T roadster.

    I have been gathering parts for a good year and a half or so, although there was a big move from Iowa to Texas in the middle that put things on hold for a bit. When I was in Iowa, I bought some 2 x 3 x .120 wall tubing for a frame, a rear axle, and a complete '40 Ford front suspension (brakes, hubs, axle, spring, and unsplit wishbone).

    Then the move happened and we had a son, so things went dormant for awhile.

    I picked up the body at the end of April, '13 at Pate Swap meet. I was looking for a glass one, honestly, but as I was speed-walking along on mile 2 (that swap meet is huge), I spied this little beauty. It was stacked up on a trailer hidden by some '70s Chevy truck front clips, but I saw the cowl and knew what it was. This body is pretty rough, someone hacked the left subframe with a torch at one point and the right side had cancer from being left in the dirt. Looks like it was channeled at one point as well by a few torch cuts. It wasn't much, but the turtledeck sides were there so I struck a deal for it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I began working the frame rails based on Bob Hamilton's video. I love the looks of a T, especially on '32 rails, but I decided to go low buck for now. I worked over the summer cutting and welding the rails so that they will flow with the subframe/body lines.

    I was checking out everyone's favorite auction site and found a solution to my rotted subframe rails. The problem was that this other body was in South Dakota. Long story short, I travel for work and build up travel rewards, so I cashed in some airline miles and flew up on a one-way ticket and packed the roadster into a rented minivan and drove it home a couple of weekends ago.

    I couldn't be happier with the rails, except there is one portion on the passenger side I am still going to have to make that's about 10" long. I figured that it's much easier to build 1' of subframe than 4' of it.

    [​IMG]

    Current status is that I am still working on the frame from the rear forward. I am working on the rear kick of 6". The plan is to reuse the front '40 spring for the rear suspension with custom built ladder bars. The front frame rails will end at the grille shell similar to a Rolling Bones car. I really like the look of Pete Chapouris' car he built for his dad, SIROD2, which also has a '32 grille right at the front.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So, that's where I'm at. This will be a long-term build as I do travel during the week and only get to work on things for 3-4 hours on the weekend (nap time for the kids).

    There are a ton of T's being built right now on the HAMB, so that has been very inspiring.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2014
  2. scotts52
    Joined: Apr 7, 2008
    Posts: 2,425

    scotts52
    Member

    So you now have 2 bodies to build? One for you and one for the misses right? lol. You could race each other.
     
  3. rjgideon
    Joined: Sep 12, 2005
    Posts: 547

    rjgideon
    Member

    No, unfortunately I am going to have to piece one decent body together along with a bunch of patches from Howell's. I like the way you think, though.
     
  4. Looks like a good start!
     

  5. Christom
    Joined: Nov 3, 2011
    Posts: 217

    Christom
    Member

    This is going to be cool. Nothing like setting the frame and body up on your work stools to get the motivation flowing! Soon all you'll be able to concentrate on will be that car! Thinking about the next job on the car while you should be thinking about work etc.....Yep been there done that!
    Looks like you're on your way to having a fun build - then drive!
     
  6. I'd order the patches from Mac's. Howell's makes them, but they are slow to ship if you buy directly from them. A lot of guys have had problems lately.
     
  7. fab32
    Joined: May 14, 2002
    Posts: 13,985

    fab32
    Member Emeritus

    Keep us up to date on this one. After '32 Fords my favorite traditional build is a '26-'27 T on '32 rails. The fact your making your own rails doesn't diminish the build in any respect.

    Frank
     
  8. Looks nlike a great start! I love the '26 '27 body style. What will ya do with the left overs? Hint. Hint.
     
  9. bambbrose
    Joined: Dec 29, 2008
    Posts: 226

    bambbrose
    Member
    from So. Utah


    Subscribed. Building a 27 roadster also.

    Paul and I are thinking the same... I could use some leftovers, particularly subrail related :D My sheetmetal shop doesn't stock 11 gauge and the U-channel in the rail is too tight of a bend for the press.
     
  10. rjgideon
    Joined: Sep 12, 2005
    Posts: 547

    rjgideon
    Member

    If I have some leftovers, I'll be happy to share. I took a look at bambbrose's build blog, wow, that is kind of making me feel lucky to have to the bits that I have.

    RichardD, I figured that I would make a bulk buy next year at Pate, they were there this year with a trailer full of sheet metal. Since Howell's is in our great state, I wouldn't hesitate to drive there and see if they allow it. I'd rather pick up the pieces instead of trusting shippers to not bend it all to hell.
     
  11. bambbrose
    Joined: Dec 29, 2008
    Posts: 226

    bambbrose
    Member
    from So. Utah

    I'm a glutton for punishment I guess!

    I need to do an update. I've come a long way.
     
  12. I drove out to Howell's a couple times, great guys, gave Louie and I a shop tour. Sometimes they get busy and shipments run late. Just saying.
     
  13. Just Jones
    Joined: Jan 11, 2005
    Posts: 928

    Just Jones
    Member

  14. rjgideon
    Joined: Sep 12, 2005
    Posts: 547

    rjgideon
    Member

    I wish I did have an update. The project has been on hold for a little while now. I was planning on going to Iowa to pillage a 1964 Chrysler of its big block and pushbutton auto in June. Work had been crazy busy and my wife is scheduled for surgery in June, so that trip is on hold. Just a whole lot of life smacking me in the face all at once. I will update again once I make it up to Iowa later this year.

    I really need the engine and trans so that I can make sure the front crossmember is put in with enough room. I don't want to cut up the firewall if I can help it.

    The other thing is that I think my frame rails aren't as square as I would like, so I will probably cut the rear crossmember out and resquare it again. Those curved rails make things a little more tricky.


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  15. rjgideon
    Joined: Sep 12, 2005
    Posts: 547

    rjgideon
    Member

    I fixed the images after the move to the new site.

    Over the winter I did a little work on my front axle. Spent some time getting the old spring off the front and splitting the wishbone with Speedway bungs. I just have it tacked together waiting to get my engine from Iowa still so I can mock in the front crossmember.

    I have been busy acquiring tools and some more parts. Picked up a Sanborn 60-gallon air compressor off Craigslist. Went to Pate Swap Meet again this year and picked up two sets of perch pins to move the spring behind the axle, Rolling Bones style. Also grabbed the bun panel patches from Howell's booth while I was there.

    Picked up a rear axle and a spare transmission from Craigslist as well. Hoping to travel to Iowa sometime in July for a weekend and pull the engine from my parts car and that should be the last piece of the puzzle so I can do a mockup and then get my frame finished.
     
  16. bambbrose
    Joined: Dec 29, 2008
    Posts: 226

    bambbrose
    Member
    from So. Utah

    Interested in your opinions on the quality of the howells bun panel patches. I've got them on my wanted list but if the quality isn't the best, I was thinking of just trying my luck on building them from scratch. Post more pics when you get around to mockup. Can't wait to see you dig in.
     
  17. rjgideon
    Joined: Sep 12, 2005
    Posts: 547

    rjgideon
    Member

    The panels look pretty good, they have extra material at the bottom to fold under the subframe and everything. With that curve, I think it would be more than $85 of time to try and reproduce on your own. There was a post on here where a guy did make his own patches with the help of an Astro van hood curved panel or something like that, which could be an option.
     
  18. Mindover
    Joined: Jan 18, 2009
    Posts: 1,625

    Mindover
    Member
    from England

    Subscribed! the body looks pretty good considering! I will be watching this, photos may help me with my scratch built body. Looking forward to the build.

    David
     
  19. Im a sucker for these little roadsters so im in. JW
     
  20. rjgideon
    Joined: Sep 12, 2005
    Posts: 547

    rjgideon
    Member

    Wow, David, it's an honor. I have owned your DVD for a couple of years. I am amazed by your work.
     
  21. TubbyT
    Joined: Jan 22, 2014
    Posts: 3

    TubbyT
    Member
    from Dallas,Tx

    I had to subscribe to your build. I recently picked up a '26 Touring model that in slowly rebuilding in my garage. If you do use Howell's, let me know how the parts fit. I've heard mixed reviews, but it would be convenient to drive down from Dallas.


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  22. Mindover
    Joined: Jan 18, 2009
    Posts: 1,625

    Mindover
    Member
    from England

    Thanks. I'm looking forward to your build. I am stuck on mine at the moment because I have so much work to do for customers.

    David
     
  23. rjgideon
    Joined: Sep 12, 2005
    Posts: 547

    rjgideon
    Member

    Finally an update. The 1964 Chrysler at my uncle's house was crushed after sitting for 12 years (can't blame him too much). I was able to find another 361 big block on a Facebook swap meet page for a killer deal.

    The engine is a runner, but is cracked externally between the water jackets. I have a DHC-2000 torch, so I will try to get the block welded up. Even if that doesn't work, at least now I have a block to use for mocking up the rest of my frame.

    ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1405369642.743333.jpg

    After getting home late last night, I couldn't wait to see what it would look like with the intake and carbs I've been saving for this project. Just set the pieces up there for a quick picture.

    ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1405369807.160399.jpg


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  24. rjgideon
    Joined: Sep 12, 2005
    Posts: 547

    rjgideon
    Member

    With the new engine, I was able to make my final measurements and get my front crossmember welded in.

    I found that my rear crossmember welding had twisted the frame a little bit due to distortion and the frame wasn't square enough. I was off about 1/2" between the X measurements. I cut the crossmembers free and then spent three hours measuring, leveling, squaring, and tacking everything back together. Now it's off 1/8" between the X measurements, so I guess that's 1/16" out of square.
    ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1405887373.268768.jpg

    Now that I had it tacked, I set the transmission in there to get a look at where the K member/trans mount will be. With the trans sitting there, I couldn't help but throw one of the cowls up there too.
    ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1405887598.451484.jpg

    The cowl was set on top just to see how tight the clearance will be. As the trans drops between the frame, the cowl will slide forward about 4".
    ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1405887617.634603.jpg

    You can see how the frame rails bend with the body. It took some work to get to this point, but it has been fun seeing it slowly take shape.


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  25. bambbrose
    Joined: Dec 29, 2008
    Posts: 226

    bambbrose
    Member
    from So. Utah

    That bellhousing makes the little roadster body look so tiny!

    Care to elaborate on how you shaped the frame rails? I'm looking at building my own frame instead of sourcing A-rails for my project now. I've been looking at 2x5" tubing and will need to put some curvature in the rear section, plus I wanted to pie-cut the front to give some taper and front horns.

    Also what front crossmember are you using?
     
  26. rjgideon
    Joined: Sep 12, 2005
    Posts: 547

    rjgideon
    Member

    I shaped the frame rails using Bob Hamilton's techniques with a portable band saw and come along. I think I made seven cuts to each rail. I bought a well used Milwaukee portable band saw off eBay, and that thing really helped me a ton. Bob shows how to do it in his DVD. Not coincidentally, Bob's the same guy that is building @daddio211 's frame and it has the curved look to the frame rails as well.

    I used 2"x 3"x.120" because that's what the supplier had on hand when I bought the material almost four years ago. I wanted 2x4, because in my opinion T's look better with a thicker frame, and of course it doesn't get any better than a '32 frame. A 5" width on the frame would give that look for sure.

    The front crossmember is from WelderSeries. It's good quality, 3/16" steel and the rear tabs came pre-bent and it had the hole for the spring punched already. All I had to do was run a weld across the back and then weld in the little straight piece.
     
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  27. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,800

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    5" 'height' on side rail looks good, '28-'32 Chevy rails measure 5". One of my favorites. Model A & T bodies.

    I've used '24 and '25 Dodge rails for the thick cross section. ('27 T roadster body) Some trimming, and reshaping are necessary, (rear horns get trimmed off 14" or so, then kickup gets raised from its original rise. Then flattened out at the top, effectively shortening length and raising 'kick')
    At the firewall, rail gets shaped forward, a 38" slice each side. Plenty of metal to work with, Dodges were big cars! As frame gets 'shaped to profile', it's all worth it.
    Done 4 so far, but now eldest son (richinsanazay) has gone to work on some 1.5" X 6" .095 rectangular tube...says he'll put that plasma cutter to work sculpting a pair for his '25 tub.
     
  28. daddio211
    Joined: Aug 26, 2008
    Posts: 6,002

    daddio211
    Member

    @bambbrose The offer still stands. Come over anytime and we'll go to Bob's. The guy is a WEALTH of information and always welcomes guests. There are two completed chassis in the shop that were built by pie cutting rectangle tubing. There's another one running around town, too. Call me at 668-1401.

    Great work RJ!!!

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  29. rjgideon
    Joined: Sep 12, 2005
    Posts: 547

    rjgideon
    Member

    I have been idling on this for a little while. I am only allowing myself about $50/month for supplies and parts due to other priorities: kids, living, and becoming debt free. So, I bought some steel for the rear ladder bars this month, October's purchases are going to be the clevises and bushing ends to build a P&J style set of ladder bars.

    While I am waiting around for October, I was cruising the HAMB yesterday and saw @1/2done 's thread on his '40 coupe and @titus 's new '32 coupe thread. Those really inspired me to get out and tackle some of the sheet metal work that I've been putting off.

    I spent a few hours heating up rivets and pulling panels apart and then focused on getting the rusted hinge screws out of the South Dakota body. Now I can focus on separating the cowl sheet metal from the firewall and subframe braces. Once the cowl and firewall are off, I can focus on cleaning it all up and getting it primed so this car can live another 87 years.

    Back of the body, seat riser, and hinge plates removed:

    This body has a roached upper cowl with a bunch of dents and cracks. The lower section of this one will be used for patches on the other rusty cowl.

    Rivets are marked with chalk so I can drill them out to separate the cowl and firewall from the subframe.
     
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  30. rjgideon
    Joined: Sep 12, 2005
    Posts: 547

    rjgideon
    Member

    Little more work today. Now have both cowls and firewalls removed from their subframes.

    Going to use the top of the original body's cowl to patch the South Dakota body's cowl. I just have it set on there right now, more body work to come.

    ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1411868091.246993.jpg

    Then, I started working on getting the subframes patched together. The front section is from the SD body. The back half is from the original Pate swap meet body.

    ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1411868549.358405.jpg


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