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Projects The Chelsea Auto Parts Coupe re-build

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by jefscoupe, May 7, 2012.

  1. jefscoupe
    Joined: Apr 19, 2006
    Posts: 294

    jefscoupe
    Member

    Cheeze and rice! Has it really been 33 years since I bought this old hot rod?
    It has and I don't know where the years have gone, but they have; in the blink of an eye.

    The Chelsea Coupe was owned by Jack Friend of Memphis, TN back in the early 50s until he sold it in the mid 60s or so.
    It's had a couple magazine appearances. Once in Rod and Custom July 54.
    [​IMG]

    And again in Rodder's Journal (I forget which number at present)
    [​IMG]

    Two page spread, no less. Colorized by Rik Hoving (sorry if I mis spelled the last name)
    The name Chelsea Coupe comes from Rik and the Rodder's Journal article.
    Jack just called it "The Coupe".
    He drove it on the street and raced it regularly and was a founding member of Rodders of Memphis.
    [​IMG]

    He showed it locally and won awards.
    [​IMG]

    Repainted it in the early 60s. (colorized B/W photo by me using patches of color I found on the car)
    [​IMG]

    But he eventually sold it and it was driven some years by the next owner, the race flathead was removed and a stock 48 engine was installed.
    Then it sat for many years next to his house.
    Until April of 1979 it showed up in Auto Trader.
    [​IMG]

    I knew the car (but not its history at that time) and went and bought it that day.
    [​IMG]

    I got it taken apart
    [​IMG]

    I happened to meet some older (than me) car guys and showed them the picture of it.
    They knew the car and told me who owned it back then and where he worked.
    (Chelsea Auto Parts) I stopped there but he was gone for the day.

    A 20 year old with a low paying job and limited space just couldn't do much right then.
    So, It got moved to my Dad's barn for 10 years.
    I found myself in the area of Chelsea again and stopped.
    Jack had just left but I left my phone number and he called me.
    He came out to see the car. He wanted to buy it back but I had my heart set on building it.
    He gave me some pics, told me about the R&C article and other stories about the days when he owned the car.
    That gave me a boost and I had a better job by then too.
    So, I got it out of my dad's barn and took it to Jackson, MS to have it dipped.
    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately, in those years I'd let the original (unboxed) frame, front axle, wheels and stock, stuck flathead get away.
    Undaunted and with the help of another streetrodder friend at work, I built my own frame from plans he had let me copy.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'd gotten married by then and living in a mobile home, I didn't get much time to work on it. These shots are in my dad's shop, taken about 1990.

    [​IMG]

    In the meantime, my wife and I were having a house built and the next year my shop got built and the car came to its forever home.
    [​IMG]

    I did more to the chassis, bought a front axle, crossmember, made a 4 link set up for the rear, installed a front 4 link kit, Mustang steering box and other stuff I'd traded a 55 Chevy for, made my own disc brake brackets and got it rolling.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Installed a couple patch panels, replaced the rotted wood with steel and got the doors hung again.
    [​IMG]

    Wow, no gray hair! Oh wait....HAIR!:D

    I bought a 400 Pontiac engine from a friend and installed it with a Muncie 4 speed.
    I got a full size grille because the sectioned one just didn't look right.
    And, Walker radiator in Memphis didn't think that small rad would cool that big Pontiac sufficiently.
    I do still have the original one though.
    I made a new firewall, since the 2 x 4 tubing I used for the frame left a gap between the original firewall and the top of the frame.
    I fabbed up some new headlight mounts as well. Same style, but I brought the headlights down and in toward the grille to cut down on the "bug eye" look (refer to pics at top) and to keep them from hitting the tires during cornering. (there are rubber marks on the headlights)
    And that's pretty much where I'm starting from now.
    [​IMG]

    Regrets: Jack passed away before I could get the car back together.

    That's about as concise as I can make it.
    So, after another several years waiting, I'm back to work.

    I started out by fabbing up some sub frames for the body.
    (saw that here on the HAMB)
    Since the entire floor was cut out, there's nothing back of the doors to mount to a frame.
    [​IMG]

    They are still in the fitting stage in this pic. I tacked them into the body this afternoon.
    At the front of the doors I'll install these.
    [​IMG]

    Once I have the body mounts on top of the frame, I'll cut out what's left of the original floor under the doors and under the frame.
    I'll have to cut that off before I can get the body off.
    But I wanted to use them to get the body straight and even with the frame rails.

    I've ordered a TKO600, bellhousing, flywheel, clutch assy and all from Keisler.
    We're going to Pigeon Forge next week to a TriFive show and I'll pick it up then.
    The Poncho will be coming out and a 351C 4V out of a 72 mid size will be going in with the 5 speed.

    Future plans are to make it traditional-looking but with some modern features. As if it picked them up through the years.
    It'll have steel early 16 inch Ford wheels with 29-30" tires on the rear and smaller on the front. The pic above in red with the little boy looking at the car is on my desk top at work. That's my dream.
    It may be red, it may not, but it sure won't be that chartreuse color.

    I intend to keep this going this time. Wish me luck.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
  2. swifty
    Joined: Dec 25, 2005
    Posts: 1,568

    swifty
    Member

    Yes I'll wish you luck with your build. You're already lucky that you kept the body all those years unlike many on here that have sold off 32 stuff then regret it forever. Now that you've started back on it keep at it until it's finished.
     
  3. jefscoupe
    Joined: Apr 19, 2006
    Posts: 294

    jefscoupe
    Member

    After this many years, I should have built a dozen cars (at least) by now.:confused:
     
  4. Pete
    Joined: Mar 8, 2001
    Posts: 4,463

    Pete
    Member

    This by far one of my favorite cars!! The Rodders Journal pics were awesome!
     
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  5. jefscoupe
    Joined: Apr 19, 2006
    Posts: 294

    jefscoupe
    Member

    I got a little more done to the coupe.
    The mid body mounts.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And the old Poncho out. And a couple ads placed on Racing Junk to see if I can sell all this stuff.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'm going to borrow a friend's plasma cutter and cut the bottom lip off the body next.
    But that'll be week after next. We leave for Pigeon Forge in the 55 on Wednesday the 16th.

    [​IMG]

    Gonna do some tri-fivin', pick up the TKO for the coupe and I plan to make time to look at some F100s. (F100 nats)
    Lot's to do.
    Mountains? Oh yeah, there are mountains too.;)
    I love to go up in the mountains.
    I live in the upper MS river delta. All our hills go down.:D
     
  6. jefscoupe
    Joined: Apr 19, 2006
    Posts: 294

    jefscoupe
    Member

    OK! After a short illness, a trip out of town and a bunch of pounding and head scratching, this is all I've gotten done.
    It's going to be part of the floor just to cover the frame rail and will be welded to the door opening. Nothing structural, but will help close in the cockpit area.

    [​IMG]

    It looks OK at least in the pics. It's not smooth.
    I tried to make as many mistakes on this piece as I could. And I made plenty. But this is a practice piece.
    One is I cut the piece too narrow which made the sides and top short.
    Another is not holding the line straight enough when I used the bead roller to roll the offset for the "reveal".
    Yet another is trying to smooth out the top with the planishing hammer.
    That just made it worse...
    But, practice and more practice, right?
    A motor drive for the bead roller would be nice.
    Maybe I can talk the wife into cranking it for me while I guide it.:sign0020:

    [​IMG]

    I just kind of "eyeballed" the radius. I'll make a template for the real ones so I can match both sides.
    The idea was to simulate (not copy exactly) the reveal on the original 32 frame sides.
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  7. low budget
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 5,444

    low budget
    Member
    from Central Ky

    Lookin forward to seeing this one Jeff, Just keep on, keepin on;)
     
  8. crashgravis
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 211

    crashgravis
    Member

    [​IMG]

    everytime i see one of these old adds , i just shake my head .
     
  9. SaltCoupe
    Joined: Jun 10, 2010
    Posts: 2,377

    SaltCoupe
    Member
    from Indiana

    Very cool car...love it!
     
  10. jefscoupe
    Joined: Apr 19, 2006
    Posts: 294

    jefscoupe
    Member

    My trans is due in today!
    (Keisler TKO 600 5 speed)
    I can finally put the engine in!
     
  11. brady1929
    Joined: Sep 30, 2006
    Posts: 8,020

    brady1929
    Member
    from Mesa, Az

    great hot rod
     
  12. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,501

    gnichols
    Member
    from Tampa, FL

    Now there's some history for ya. Thanx for sharing, Gary
     
  13. jefscoupe
    Joined: Apr 19, 2006
    Posts: 294

    jefscoupe
    Member

    Finally got my trans. etc.
    Keisler Tremec TKO 5 speed, bellhousing, flywheel, clutch, yoke, etc.
    Gonna be broke for a while now...:rolleyes:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And it's already mocked up (sorta) in the car!
    [​IMG]

    I have to make motor mounts and redrill the trans mount, but that'll be tomorrow.
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  14. swifty
    Joined: Dec 25, 2005
    Posts: 1,568

    swifty
    Member

    I was nearly going to post last night and ask what engine that TKO was going behind as I couldn't see anything in your thread apart from the fact that it wasn't the Pontiac. Happy to see that it's not an SBC as I love to see different engines used in rods. Engine details?
     
  15. jefscoupe
    Joined: Apr 19, 2006
    Posts: 294

    jefscoupe
    Member

    No Chevy. 351 Cleveland 4V.
    [​IMG]

    It came out of this truck.
    [​IMG]

    I still got it too. It's got a fulie 302 and AOD in it now. Yet another project...


    Now if I just had an 8 stack injector or 4 Webber set up for the 351.:D
    But that's another 3-5K! :eek:
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
  16. jefscoupe
    Joined: Apr 19, 2006
    Posts: 294

    jefscoupe
    Member

    Hi all.
    I didn't get lost, but I did get a little side tracked.
    I finally got the engine mounts made and the engine/trans sitting in the chassis.

    [​IMG]
    I made them first out of 3/16 plate and knew it was too thin, but...
    So I had to wait until I could get some 1/4".

    [​IMG]

    I'd have never thought it, but the Pontiac motor cleared the firewall.
    This Cleveland...well I'll have to mod the firewall a bit.

    [​IMG]

    I also got my rockers made. Not welded in yet, but they're nearly ready to weld.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I guess next I'll put the doors and deck lid back on and align everything.
    Then, I can make these part of the body.
    After that, I'll mark for the body to frame bolts and get the body bolted down.
    Then I'll tackle the floor.
     
  17. jefscoupe
    Joined: Apr 19, 2006
    Posts: 294

    jefscoupe
    Member

    A little more progress to report...finally.
    But instead of floors, I decided I needed to get the firewall back in place.
    After having to set the Cleveland engine back much further than I anticipated, the once nearly completed firewall had to be modified.
    I didn't have to start completely over, but instead of the firewall kicking forward on the bottom half, it needed to kick back.
    I cut just above the old bend and was able to get it in the brake to bend a flange to the rear.
    I was able to find the left-over material from before to use to rebuild the lower half.
    The "frame" sides had to be remade, but luckily, I'd made the frame in 3 pieces, so I just cut off the old and made new. A new lower panel was cut out and tacked in with everything clamped in place on the car.
    I didn't get step by step pics...sorry.
    But everything was templated and cut.
    I broke a flange along one side of each of the frame sides and used the shrinker to set the curve to match the body.
    The new lower half of the firewall I lapped over the top on the inside along the break, not the best way, but that's how it goes sometimes.
    You can just see the seam and some tacks in the pic. below.
    It's underneath on the outside and once it's welded, ground and probably filled a bit, it'll be fine.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You can see above that the new, lower side pieces had to be made wider because of the kick back. Still a little more welding and finishing to do.
    I have to go get some more 75/25 Monday.

    Installed with the weather strip in place.
    [​IMG]

    Clearance at the head is close. I can just get my fingers between.
    [​IMG]

    A view from the inside.
    [​IMG]

    This modification, though, allowed me to do a better fit at the bottom sides.
    The others came out a little short.
    I left a little material at the back of the side pieces to bend out to close the gap between the body and frame.
    [​IMG]

    Now I can get back to work on the new floor.
     
  18. jefscoupe
    Joined: Apr 19, 2006
    Posts: 294

    jefscoupe
    Member

    Finally got some more time for the coupe.
    Today I figured out how to get the body off by myself.
    I screwed 4 of these into the 2 X 12 ceiling joists.
    I welded the end just for good measure, but the body is not that heavy.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Then it was just a matter of ratcheting it up.
    [​IMG]

    I actually had the whole car on stands, so it wasn't so far to raise it, really.
    Then I just let the chassis down on the ground.
    That allowed me to get to the marks I made for the body mounts in the frame.
    I drilled with a step drill and then hammered the flange nuts in, flange up.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Then welded and ground them down smooth.
    [​IMG]

    Well, smooth enough. I didn't want to grind off all my weld.
    [​IMG]

    Now it's ready to go back on the frame and be bolted down for the first time in 33 years!
    [​IMG]

    NOW...I think I can start on the floors. A friend of mine is going to let me borrow his plasma cutter.
    That'll make cutting the 4 X 5 18ga sheets much easier to manage.
    Still looking for a set of 16 inch 40-47 Ford wheels...that aren't over priced...
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  19. James12
    Joined: Jul 23, 2012
    Posts: 4

    James12
    Member
    from canada

    Hi guys am ever want to know about Chelsea auto car parts it get it in this forum its really informative.And I'll wish you luck with your build. You're already lucky that you kept the body all those years unlike many on here that have sold off 32 stuff then regret it forever.
     
  20. jefscoupe
    Joined: Apr 19, 2006
    Posts: 294

    jefscoupe
    Member

    Thanks James.
    This has been my "dream car" all these years.
    I wish I hadn't gotten rid of some things.
    Hindsight is 20/20 they say.
    If I'd only known then what I know now.
     
  21. jefscoupe
    Joined: Apr 19, 2006
    Posts: 294

    jefscoupe
    Member

    A buddy of mine brought me his plasma cutter yesterday but,
    I had to go to my Dad's and didn't get a chance to try it out.
    I did today though. What a machine! I'm going to have to get one.
    I decided to cut the "big" piece first. Just some measurements and a straight edge to get the initial cut.
    Then set it in the car and did some nipping and tucking and voila!
    [​IMG]

    The beginnings of a floor!

    [​IMG]

    There will be a couple braces run across for the seats and probably some bead rolling in key areas yet to be determined.
    I have to go put a gas tank in my Dad's mower tomorrow, but that'll (hopefully) free me up for the rest of the week and weekend to get more done.
     
  22. jefscoupe
    Joined: Apr 19, 2006
    Posts: 294

    jefscoupe
    Member

    I'm getting things done a bit at a time.
    But progress is progress.
    Today, I made a make-shift hammer form to create some humps to clear the
    forward rear 4 link brackets.
    The top of the brackets were above the floor about 1/2 inch.
    [​IMG]

    I cobbled together some found objects and material. Drill/tapped some holes and voila!
    [​IMG]

    I aligned it to my marks and clamped it in place. Then started hammering.
    The rounded head punch I used is to the right.
    I snipped the vertical lip along the lines and bent it back straight to form the bump. Then hammered it back to for the lip again.
    [​IMG]

    Here's the results.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And the clearance underneath
    [​IMG]

    And above, looking forward.
    [​IMG]

    The rear rail for the seat will mount just at the ends of the humps.
    I wasn't sure I could do this with 18 ga steel, but it worked like a charm.
    And before someone has a cow, the cross brace shown above does not hit the upper link.
    Though, I'll probably notch it anyway.
    But my arms feel like rubber now...:rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012
  23. jefscoupe
    Joined: Apr 19, 2006
    Posts: 294

    jefscoupe
    Member

    Another little bit done.
    Today, I roughed in the rear floor.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The cardboard is a pattern for a gas tank. However, in looking around, I may go with a Coyote-Gear 11 gallon spun aluminum tank.
    They come with baffles and I can get one with a sending unit neck for around $260.
    [​IMG]

    Any issues with aluminum vs ethanol in the gas these days?
     
  24. BAD PENNY
    Joined: Aug 22, 2011
    Posts: 1,244

    BAD PENNY
    Member
    from mass

    A quick story...a guy I know has a cottage on an island up in N.H. He hops in his boat for the trip over and the boat's running crappy. So he decides to fill the 100 gallon tank with fresh gas. It's still running bad, so when he gets to his dock he flips up the engine cover to check the motor and the whole engine well is 6" deep with gas !!!! The crap rotted a hole in the alum. tank. Just shit luck the bilge pump din't kick on cuz he'd been blown sky high.
    I don't know how old the tank or boat was but....
     
  25. jefscoupe
    Joined: Apr 19, 2006
    Posts: 294

    jefscoupe
    Member

    I've heard a couple stories like that now.
    Guess I'll start thinking about stainless.
     
  26. jefscoupe
    Joined: Apr 19, 2006
    Posts: 294

    jefscoupe
    Member

    Another update finally.
    After a lot of template cutting and recutting, I came up with my front floor pans and toe board.
    [​IMG]

    At the lines you can see at the ends (sides?) of the toe board, I'll fold down to add strength along the edges there.
    I want to be able to remove the firewall, so I'll have to screw it along the top and bottom.
    There is a body mount bolt under each side that I'll have to be able to access.
    The floor has a 1 inch lip that bends up and goes behind the toe board.

    Now I need to start rolling some beads.
    If I can figure out a pattern. Shouldn't take much as small as the panels are.
    Probably a few straight, parallel beads in the toe board running up and down, and perhaps across the body on the floor panels.
     
  27. jefscoupe
    Joined: Apr 19, 2006
    Posts: 294

    jefscoupe
    Member

    After a couple months of "gotta-dos", a vacation trip and other "life job stuff" I finally was able to do some coupe stuff yesterday between checking out the brakes on my wife’s and mother in law’s cars. Both checked out fine BTW.

    But, the coupe work consisted of making the beginnings of the steering shaft/column.
    I decided that I need a steering column before I continue with the floors.
    So I can position the pedals and know where, how big, etc to make the holes in the toe board.
    The early Fords didn’t have the spline for the steering wheel that modern cars have. They just had a taper and a woodruff key.
    As is the case with this 34-35 banjo wheel I picked up some years ago.
    [​IMG]

    I also have the 40 wheel that was in the car when I got it.
    [​IMG]

    I can swap them around as I like once I'm done.
    Figuring out the taper angle was a bit of a guess. I had a piece of an old shaft that had the taper on it, but it was pretty rusty and pitted.
    I took it to work and put it on an optical comparator to measure the angle. I came up with 5 deg included.
    So, I drew up the shaft with some 5/8-18 threads on the end on the CAD/CAM system we have (during break and lunch time, of course).
    I waited until I had a job on the CNC lathe which, turns out, I didn’t have long to wait.
    The job just happened to use the same material diameter and tooling I needed for my steering shaft.
    I got done with my real job right at quitting time Friday, so I threw in my G-job (scrap 17-4 SS from the barrel) and turned the end with the taper and threads.

    I took it home to check it on the steering wheel and it seems 5 degrees was not exactly right. It should have been more like 3-4 degrees.
    Knowing Ford, it was probably something like 3 degrees 45 minutes or something equally as odd.
    A couple degrees makes a big difference on something like that.

    [​IMG]

    So, I put it in my little Atlas lathe here at home and massaged the taper a bit and it fits really well now.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Just have to put the key-way in for the woodruff key and the top end is done.
    I plan to adjust my CNC lathe program to the correct angle and I'll have a file of the G code program for anyone that want's a copy.
    I will need to use a U-joint to connect it to the steering box and make the column to house the shaft.
    That's another post.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
  28. jefscoupe
    Joined: Apr 19, 2006
    Posts: 294

    jefscoupe
    Member

    After looking over my CAD model, I noticed I had drawn the taper for the steering wheel at 7 degrees included.
    I re-did it at 5 degrees and it was too small at the big end. So, I'll do another (when I get time) at 6 degrees and see how it fits.
     
  29. jefscoupe
    Joined: Apr 19, 2006
    Posts: 294

    jefscoupe
    Member

    Here's the beginnings of my steering column.
    It's a piece of 1 1/2 dia exhaust tubing.
    I had a muffler put on my truck the other day and the muffler guy swaged it up for me so that it matches the diameter of the back of the steering wheel.
    [​IMG]

    I still have to get some bearings to go in the top and bottom.
    Probably will have to turn some bushings to fit the tubing with a bearing pressed into it.
     
  30. good work. i have to ask, the ad says "asking $1500" what did you have to give for it? hard to believe what some of these cars sold for, although, what ever it was i'd bet it was a stretch for a 20 year old kid.
     

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