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Shoebox Ford Mild Chop

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 49Flatty, May 15, 2013.

  1. There is an interesting story behind this build. I believe every car needs to have a good story behind it. A good story can give a car a life of its own. I’d like to just start this tech thread by throwing up a bunch of pictures and tell how to do it but I believe we might need a little more insight of what went into this chop. The adventure of doing such a job should not just include the destination but the trip getting there.

    Here is a link to the full story: HISTORY


    Here is the readers digest version:

    This particular Shoebox Ford has been in my family since 1959. My uncle bought it from the original owner. A few years later, my uncle was killed in a car accident in another vehicle. My dad, then 15 inherited the shoebox as his first car. He drove this car to high school and when he came back from Vietnam. He also dated my mom in it. My dad parked it when I was born and we picked up it from storage when I was 11 years old. It was my first car and it has been through hell and back with me.

    For years, I had wanted to chop this car. I could not make up my mind what kind of chop I wanted. There are so many styles that range from mild to extreme. I didn't want and extreme chop where the back window is completely laid down. That is not my style. I always loved how these cars were originally advertised. They looked like they were chopped right at the factory. Of course this was done to make them more appealing. That is what I wanted this car to look. I wanted it to look like it could have come from Ford this way.

    Here is an example:

    74752_458174597551312_240352848_n.jpg
    There were some things I was concerned about. Most of the time after these cars are chopped, the metal above the windshield is (forehead) is no longer in proportion to the amount of glass. The other was adding metal to the C-pillar. This can also add unwanted angles to the back flow.

    I’m sure you all have seen it. To some this is normal. It is part of a chopped car. I just don't like it.

    It took a lot of planning and visualizing, but the process was relatively easy. So sit down, grab a drink and follow along as we cut up my Shoebox Ford.

    Let’s start off with a couple of original pictures.

    1965
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    1985
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    1989
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    1992
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    1994
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    Now that you see the different transformations this Shoebox has gone through, let’s begin.

    Let’s talk a little about panel alignment. If you start off with a twisted body, you are going to end up with a twisted chop. Don’t even attempt to make one single cut until you know your body is correct. If you need floor work and rocker work, fix it first, then do the chop. Also make sure you have a fresh set of body mounts installed. Back in 1992, Dennis Carpenter was not making any kind of body mounts or cushions. The ones I removed were deteriorated so I have nothing to go by. I created my own from used tire sidewalls. What seemed like a great idea back then gave me headaches for 20 years. I could never get the doors to align or the fenders to look right and the body creaked. Taking a look at a new set of reproduction body mounts well explain why.

    Here are the ones I made:

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    Here is what a new should look like:

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    The one under the firewall mounts are even thicker!

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    No wonder I could never get the adjustments right! I even bought a set of doors in 1993 to see if they would fit better. They didn’t but I left that set on the car. I kept the original doors just in case.

    Do yourself a favor, buy a new set of mounting pads and replace them. You will thank us later.

    As you can see from the following picture, once the pads were installed, the original doors fit better.

    Here is what we are working with:

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    We took some measurements to build a good bracing system inside the car.

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    Covered up items that could get damaged from sparks

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    Start the bracing:

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    Last edited: Oct 27, 2015
  2. We created a unique adjustment tool built into the bracing to allow us to put the roof where we wanted:

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    Next comes the removal of any surface paint that might get in our way

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    Mark the centerline of the roof so that it can be centered once it is cut loose:

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    Then start outlining cuts to be made the back glass:

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    Next comes cutting the package tray loose from the roof.

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    And the inside bracing

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    Last edited: May 15, 2013
  3. Make a slice across the b-pillars about 3/4 of the way down:

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    Now make some measurements on top of the B pillar so it can be cut the same on both sides.

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    Make your cuts

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    And remove the B-pillar

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    There is combination of different panels meeting up at this area. It will be easier if you can locate a donor roof to patch these areas up later on.

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    The next cut is the on top of the back window all the way across – Note the centering line.

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    The following is where we will eliminate the awful forehead syndrome most shoeboxes get after a chop.

    Mark your line on the top half of the windshield.

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    Carefully cut one along the line and do not go too deep

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    Raise the trimmed panel up a little and tack the middle



    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017
  4. Go ahead and cut the tops of the doors off and set them aside.
    Since the back is cut loose now, you can use the telescoping metal to find tune the height of the roof. (And yes, that is 1:28 AM on the clock on the wall...)

    [​IMG]

    Once you have the back where you want it, tack the telescope and then cut the front A pillars in half.

    Now remove the top and take it the workbench

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    The roof is the workbench now and ready for it forehead operation.

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    Using a cut off wheel, we cut a line across the overlapping metal. This method leaves a nice line that will line up ready for welding.

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    Making a couple from behind will allow you to pull the panel off completely

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    File off the sharp edges and cutting burrs and reinstall in its new location

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    Once in the correct position, tack it in place

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    The strip of metal above the cut line is the amount of metal removed, not much but will make a world of difference

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2013
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  5. Take a break, take a look at what you have accomplished and start thinking about how it is all going to go back together. You will need some help at this point to decide how much of the A pillar you are going to cut off. Have two people hold the roof at a point where you thing it will look the best to you. Once you are happy, mark it and measure out the same amount on both sides. Be careful, too much and you will be making a Bonneville Salt Flats racer. Once you decide, it is time to put the roof back on.

    [​IMG]


    The next step is an important one and makes for a better union and a much stronger point. I have seen where the A pillars are butted against each other and then just tacked and welded together. If the car were ever to be in a situation where it flipped over, the roof would completely break off at that point offering no protection what so ever. We have drilled holes the remaining portion of the A pillar still attached the body. The small piece you took off the A pillar will be used to make the union.

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    Once cut to the desired height, drill 4 holes in the A pillar where they will butt together.

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    Let’ see how it looks so far:

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    The A Pillars taper a little going down so a couple of relief cuts will need to be made at each corner and vertically down the pillar to get the edges to line up.

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    Here is a better picture to show all the cuts made:

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    Last edited: May 15, 2013
  6. Next is the rear roof section. The roof has essentially moved down and forward. The rear section that was left is place does not line up the front section.

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    Before we cut anything else off, we need to brace the rear window opening

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    Then we will need to cut half of the package tray out.

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    Next to each rear corner, cut this section right above the drip rail.



    [​IMG]

    Once those sections are off, finish removing the rear section.

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    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017
  7. This section will be sliding into the front section. Keep moving it until it looks right and keep mind of the center line you made before.

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    You will note the edge of the drip rail area will want to bow out. You will need to make some relief cuts along the area to release the tension.

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    Once you have the roof where you like it, tack in place

    [​IMG]



    You will note that the back window is also now sunk into the body about an inch or so.


    Take note of the side angles of the C-pillar and A-pillar. Make sure they match, it will give the car a much cleaner look.

    You can start on the quarter window corners next. This picture shows how much we cut out with the corner. It will make it easier putting it back together cutting it this way.

    [​IMG]

    Insert back into the body and see what needs to be cut to get it to fit.

    Start trimming to fit and you should end up with this:

    [​IMG]

    Do the same for the other side and we can get started on the B-pillars.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2015
  8. Start by placing the previously removed B-pillar and see what where the body will need to be cut to fit the sectioned piece. We opted for straight B pillars because we are looking for the stock look, if you decided to do canted B-pillars, the procedure would be a little different.

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    Cut the bottom edge of the previously removed pillar to match the height

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    Then make a relief cut on the B-pillar still attached the body. You will have cut the front and the backside in order to get the angle correctly.

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    Keep sanding the edges until you get it where it needs to be

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    Once you are happy with the fit, tack it in place

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    Closing the door, you can see the difference in angle the pillars now have.

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    The doors will need the same relief cuts before you install the door tops

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    [​IMG]



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    Last edited: Aug 5, 2016
  9. I had another set of doors that I had been saving for this chop to use for parts. They came in handy when making the upper door frames. Since the frame is essentially lower now, the top of the doors are also now longer. We took the back half of one set of doors and the front of the extra set. We cut both ends to where they were the same with and trimmed them to complete the door frames.

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    Last edited: May 15, 2013
  10. Next it’s time to make the catwalk panels. Poster board will be your best friend here. Keep cutting and fitting until you get a basic shape you can work with.

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    Then transfer it to a metal sheet.

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    You want to get a good angle that will blend in with the decklid and back window so that it creates a smooth transition.

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    The side pieces are next. Do the same as before. Trim, trim, trim until it feels right then transfer it to metal.

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    This end pieces will need to be shaped to fit the body. Once you are happy the shape, tack them in place.

    There are two sections that were left open right above the door

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    We happen to happen to have a salvage yard close by to me where we knew they had a shoebox with the crushed roof. They graciously allowed us to cut a section of drip rail. We trimmed it to fit and tacked them in.

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    Last edited: May 15, 2013
  11. Unfortunately we were not able to complete this chop before the tech week deadline but we did end up with the profile we were looking for and did not end up with the typical chopped roof forehead that is miles tall, a rear sunken window, elongated C Pillars and a weird looking quarter glass. We ended up with exactly what I wanted, a chop that could have came from the factory.

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    AND ONE FINAL COMPARISON SHOT:

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    Last edited: May 19, 2013
  12. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 21,934

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    great tech - pic of my old '51
     

    Attached Files:

  13. Anderson
    Joined: Jan 27, 2003
    Posts: 6,445

    Anderson
    Member

    I love the way you handled the windshield but much prefer elongating the c-pillars and leaning the window down more in my idea of the "perfect" chop. Good fab work all around!


    Posted from the TJJ App for iPhone & iPad
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2013
  14. Friend that is great work.
     
  15. Nice work around the windshield, worth the extra effort.
     
  16. choptvan
    Joined: Mar 19, 2010
    Posts: 2,161

    choptvan
    Member

    shameless bump...
     
  17. Scratchbuilt
    Joined: Jul 19, 2010
    Posts: 155

    Scratchbuilt
    Member

    Cool. Nice chop on the window's .

    On mine i flattened the roof crown a lil over the C pillar / rear screen maybe an inch or slightly more , to create a more gradual flow.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2013
  18. 40streetrod
    Joined: Nov 11, 2007
    Posts: 477

    40streetrod
    Member
    from nj

    nice fab work. but the way I see it (who cares about my 2 cents) is the back of the roof is sticking up in the air (hump) and doesn't flow. that's why you slit the roof in about 3 places and lay the back glass down.
     
  19. 64Fairlane408
    Joined: May 14, 2013
    Posts: 53

    64Fairlane408
    Member
    from Katy, Tx

    Nice chop... Thanks for all the details.
     
  20. skinnydude
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 170

    skinnydude
    Member

    Well congrats is in order, yes you guys pulled it off. the extra mile you went is splicing all small parts really paid off. you work man ship is excellent . for thought and quality another plus . GREAT JOB WELL DONE . thanks for the great pictures and explanitions once again great post. skinnydude
     
  21. daddio211
    Joined: Aug 26, 2008
    Posts: 5,987

    daddio211
    Member

    I just read that Ryan extended tech week through Monday. That gives you about 82 hours to finish this thread right! :D

    Sent from atop my toilet using the TJJ app for Android.
     
  22. NOW I know I will never attempt to chop my shoebox. Great photos and the finished product looks smooth, but how many hours went into all this :eek:
     
  23. TULSA
    Joined: Sep 27, 2008
    Posts: 658

    TULSA
    Member
    from Tulsa

    I agree. Great job on the fab skills but its far from being able to be called the perfect chop. Just doesn't flow at all. Too boxy.

    Sent from my DROID device using the TJJ mobile app
     
  24. Mudslinger
    Joined: Aug 3, 2005
    Posts: 1,964

    Mudslinger
    Member

    Lots of work and thought but no flow.
     
  25. choptvan
    Joined: Mar 19, 2010
    Posts: 2,161

    choptvan
    Member

    wow. Is anyone noticing the fact that the car is sitting up in the rear? Well anyway, thanks.
     
  26. choptvan
    Joined: Mar 19, 2010
    Posts: 2,161

    choptvan
    Member

    Well that sux! Wish I had known sooner! Oh well. I am far to busy now. NO biggie. Thanks though. I really do appreciate it.
     
  27. It's interesting to see the different reactions from people.

    I have seen SO many chopped Shoebox Fords that to me had horrible flow or odd angles to each section that was touched. Windows shapes completely out of shape, etc, etc

    To me, a chopped car should enhance the factory lines or rather create what the factory did not do. If you notice most sales advertisement back then showed a chopped version of the vehicle, not the actual vehicle.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2013
  28. swissmike
    Joined: Oct 22, 2003
    Posts: 1,268

    swissmike
    Member

    I agree. It looks like a squished stocker due to the fact that the roof came down equally in front and back and rear window didn't get laid back.

    Thanks for posting the pics. You do nice work and I hope YOU are happy with the look of the car. That's all that matters.
     
  29. daddio211
    Joined: Aug 26, 2008
    Posts: 5,987

    daddio211
    Member

    For what it's worth I think it looks great. I'm so tired of seeing overly chopped shoeboxes. It looks like they've been chopped with no concern or consideration for proportions.

    How much did you end up moving the windshield up? It looks like about three quarters of an inch. It's a great move, and gets rid of that Frankenstein look so many cars have.

    Sent from atop my toilet using the TJJ app for Android.
     

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