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Hot Rods "The Texas Playboy"... '32 Ford Street Roadster...1959 style.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Bass, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. Bass
    Joined: Jul 9, 2001
    Posts: 3,327

    Bass
    Member
    from Dallas, TX

    This all started innocently enough.

    But…somewhere along the way, what was supposed to be a quick, throw-it-together-and-sell-it project somehow transformed into a chromed-out, show quality, period correct, late-50’s style street roadster. And now it’s being prepared to go to the GNRS.


    Part 1: Backstory, Idea, and Fabrication.

    I'd gone to the GNRS in 2008, and stopped to talk to Chuck at Brookville Roadster...and the next thing you know I'd ordered a new '32 Roadster body. I had an idea in my head for a car I wanted to build, and it was to be based on a '32 Roadster. So when Chuck made me a good deal on a body, I couldn't pass it up. I probably should have passed it up and used the money on one of my other projects, but the thoughts of deuce roadsters dancing around in my head made me weak.

    Fast forward 5 months later at the LA Roadster show, and the body was ready to pick up.

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    As you can see from the writing scrawled on the cowl, the one in front here was mine. I’m still not exactly sure how I managed to scrounge up enough money to pay for the body, but I did, and I got it loaded up and headed back to Texas.

    Here we are in Needles, CA on the way home. It was about 115 degrees outside that day, if I remember correctly. My shoes were sticking to the asphalt as I went inside the gas station.

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    After I got it home, the body had to sit for a while. I had a particular car in mind that I wanted to use the body for, and I didn’t want to start that project until I finished my ’29 Coupe and my ’29 roadster. So it sat…patiently…and waited.

    Fast forward again to March 2010. I was working in the shop and got a call from a good friend, telling me that he was planning on selling his ’32 5-window, and he wanted to know if I was interested. I was familiar with the car, and the next thing you know I’d made a deal to buy it. However, in order to buy it, something in my stash had to go…and yep, you guessed it…that something was my Brookville ’32 Roadster body.

    Rather than just flip the body, I decided that I would build a chassis for it first, and take the roller out to the LA Roadster Show swap meet to try and sell it. I told a few people about my plan to throw the roadster together and sell it, and one of those people was Steve Ernst.

    Right about the time I got an opening to get started on the chassis, Steve came over to the shop and made a deal on the car. Not only did this save me from having to carry the car out to LA, but Steve also decided that he wanted to take the car further than just a roller, which sounded fine to me.So after going over the components that I’d already selected for the car, and talking about the style of car that Steve really wanted…it was apparent that the car was going to be a late ’50s style hot rod.

    The Nitti Roadster would serve as inspiration…although I’d add or change a few things to give the car a persona that could have been created in the late ‘50s…specifically 1959.

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    Fortunately, the parts I had already acquired would fit this style of car perfectly…and I was finally able to get cranking on building the chassis.

    First up was the frame. I had planned on building a replica of a stock deuce frame, based on American Stamping rails, but using original Ford crossmembers. That was still the plan, but I deviated slightly from a factory deuce frame by using Model A front and rear crossmembers, along with an original ’32 K-member.

    Here is the beginning…marking the frame rail to attach the K-member.

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    Once the spreader bars and K-member had been located, the front crossmember was next. I ended up modifying the Model A front crossmember by taking a pie cut out of the ends so that it would fit in between the ’32 rails. I used a factory ’32 front crossmember as a template, and matched the Model A crossmember up to it. In the photo below, the ’32 is on top, original Model A on bottom, and the modified Model A crossmember is in the middle.

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    Mocked-up...

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    Since the frame was to remain unboxed, I wanted to use a torque tube and early Ford banjo rear along with a Model A rear spring. I settled on a ’41 Ford rear, which required no modifications, other than the addition of lower shock mounts.

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    And although the frame wasn’t getting boxed, I decided it would be a good idea to reinforce the frame above the kick-up, just as Ford did in late ’32. I made a template of the factory reinforcement in an original ’32 frame I have, and cut out some plate to weld into the kick-up. This also gave me a good spot to weld in the Model A rear crossmember.

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    Moving ahead, here’s the first engine mock-up, with the firewall, radiator and grille in place as well.

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    The transmission I’m using is a ’39 trans that I bought at the Pate Swap Meet. It was in amazing condition when I pulled the shifter top off, and didn’t require a rebuild. It attaches to the small block with an older Offenhauser adapter.

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    The torque tube came from a ’39 Ford also, and here I’m checking the length before welding it up.

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    Since I wanted the frame to appear to be an unmodified original ’32 frame, I went through the trouble to put all the original style rivets in place…although everything was tig welded rather than actually riveted together.

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    So here we have the frame, nearly completed…with the motor mounts up next.

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    In trying to replicate an original deuce frame, there’s not a whole lot of room for creativity. But the one area I was able to cut loose a little bit was on the motor mounts. The car was slated for a ’57 283 with no side-mount bosses on the block, so I had to come up with a way to mount the front of the engine to the front crossmember. I chose to use a set of factory ’55 Chevrolet front mounts, but replaced the pedestal stud normally used with these mounts with a grade 8 bolt to remove some height. The transmission uses a factory ’32 trans mount, so there wasn’t really any leeway on engine placement.I started by making the plates that would weld to the front crossmember…

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    …and then welded them in place.

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    Now comes the tricky part. I wanted to add something to reach over to the frame rail and support the engine mount, and I thought this would also be a good way to tie upper shock mounts in at the same time.

    Here’s the template:

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    And here’s the result.

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    This plate ties into a piece of 3/8” plate that I drilled and tapped for the F-1 shock mounts to bolt into, through the frame rail.

    [​IMG]

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  2. Bass
    Joined: Jul 9, 2001
    Posts: 3,327

    Bass
    Member
    from Dallas, TX

    Back together…

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    …and gusseted underneath.

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    As I mentioned, the upper shock mounts are original F-1 pickup. I ended up shortening them so that I could run a short front shock.

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    The bottom of the shock mounts to tabs that are welded to the split ’32 wishbones.

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    For the rear shocks, I first made a simple upper mount using an aftermarket shock stud.

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    And for the lower mounts, I cut up a pair of scrap Model A wishbones, welded that to a tapped length of 7/8” DOM, and then welded that to the banjo rear.

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    I had a set of ’39 pedals that I wanted to use, and I ended up cutting up the driver’s side leg of the ’32 K-member to get them to work. The master cylinder mounts directly to the backside of the K-member, and bolts into the pedal assembly. Here’s a shot of the modifications to the K-member.

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    Now with all of that taken care of, the rolling chassis was pretty much done, and I removed the frame from the chassis jig. Here it is on the ground for the first time…

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    And with the body on it, also for the first time…

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    Next up was the engine. I’ve really grown to like early Small Block Chevrolets, especially the ’55-57 variety without the side-mount bosses on the block. And since this car was to represent the idea of a car that could have been built in 1959, the logical choice was to go with a high-winding early small block.

    I found this ’57 283 a couple years back when I was looking for a good 265 block for my ’29 Roadster, and latched onto it for later use. It was a good standard bore block, and it made a good foundation for a simple little hot rod motor. All of the machine work and balancing on the lower end was done by my friend and master machinist, Eric Carter.

    Here we’re assembling the short block.

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    The plan was to build a fairly mild hot rod 283, and that’s pretty much what we ended up with. I did however, add a few go-fast parts, including a Duntov 097 cam, ’58 Corvette (58x, 770 casting) heads (machined by Tinker's), and these Mickey Thompson forged dome pistons…

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    This little guy should have some decent compression, and it ought to be a screamer in the upper RPM ranges. I didn’t want to build a lot of torque so that the ’39 trans might have a better chance of survival.

    On the outside, I located an older Edelbrock 3x2 intake to fit the 283, and built three Stromberg 97s to go on top. I also found a Mallory dual point distributor that I converted to electronic ignition, and pulled a set of late 50’s vintage Hedman headers from my parts stash. The valve covers are rare ’56 Corvette 9-fin covers, and the engine color I chose is a ’51 Ford color named Hawaiian Bronze.

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    Here’s the car bolted together with the 283 in place of the mock-up motor, and with its lift-off top in place.

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    At this point, I felt like the car was really starting to come together.


    I had Steve order a plain 4-piece hood from Rootleib, and laid out three rows of louvers to be punched by Kenneth Reierson down in Cranfills Gap, TX.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2011
  3. chaddilac
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 13,642

    chaddilac
    Member

    Niiiiiiiiiice!!!
     
  4. Bass
    Joined: Jul 9, 2001
    Posts: 3,327

    Bass
    Member
    from Dallas, TX

    Once the hood came back, it was time to roll the car outside for a look-see.

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    It looks good both with and without the hood, don’t you think?

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    Taillights are always a tough decision, and I needed to pick a taillight that would fit the style of the car…and I didn’t want to use a taillight that was available off the shelf. Steve and I agreed on ’50-52 Buick taillights, and I was able to get a good pair of bezels and buckets from the Mayor of Wellington, TX, Bob Owens at Owens Salvage. Hi Bob!

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    The lenses are NOS, and I luckily managed to find a pair of them at the LaGrave Swap Meet over in Fort Worth.

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    Next up was fuel line and carb linkage. I made the fuel lines using compression fittings, and made the linkage using rod ends that came out of my parts stash. The guy I got the rod ends from told me they were once used on a dragster that ran here in North Texas.

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    One of the only non-period correct pieces on the entire car is the water pump riser. I decided that since I wanted to use a mechanical fan, it would be a good idea to use a riser so that I could retain a full size 4-blade fan. By using this though, there were some interference problems between the fan belt and lower radiator hose…so I added an idler pulley and gave the generator its own belt.

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    The Rajah style ends for the clear spark plug wires also came from my parts stash.

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    And here’s the engine all buttoned up…just about ready to fire.

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    I decided to fill and peak the grille shell rather than run a dummy cap. I also thought that the filled shell would better fit the style of the car.

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    With the exterior pretty much done now, it was time to get the floorboards made. I started by cutting and fitting a couple of pieces of birch plywood.

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    Made a trans tunnel, and some pieces to tie the floor together…

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    Floor all finished...

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    I felt that it would be a good idea to add some bracing to the body with the un-boxed frame. So I built this structure from 1” square tubing…

    [​IMG]

    …and also used it as a mounting point for the battery.

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  5. Bass
    Joined: Jul 9, 2001
    Posts: 3,327

    Bass
    Member
    from Dallas, TX

    Headers were next.

    I wanted the car to have exposed “lakes style” headers running under the frame, similar to the Nitti Roadster. To make them, I started with a ’36 Ford driveshaft that I cut in half. The transition from the Hedman headers to the lakes headers was fairly complicated though, because the Hedmans have a dual outlet at the collector flange.

    First off, I got it mocked up with the driveshaft tubes in place.


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    Then I started figuring out the transition from the Hedmans to the lakes headers…

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    The end flanges were made next.

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    So, here they are all finished, except for adding a place to tie in the rest of the exhaust.

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    At this point, it was time to roll the roadster outside for one last look, and then it was time to pull it apart to send the pieces out for chrome and paint.

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    Taking it apart…

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    And finally here it was, loaded on the trailer and ready to head down to the paint shop.

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    Last edited: Jan 20, 2011
  6. Bass
    Joined: Jul 9, 2001
    Posts: 3,327

    Bass
    Member
    from Dallas, TX

    EDIT: Part 2 begins with post #107 here:
    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showpost.php?p=6125482&postcount=107


    In the meantime, how's about a little music to go with the photos?

    <iframe title="YouTube video player" class="youtube-player" type="text/html" width="480" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Xfgf2TzeBw8" frameborder="0" allowFullScreen></iframe>
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2011
  7. Chris Casny
    Joined: Mar 13, 2006
    Posts: 4,696

    Chris Casny
    Member

  8. rebelrat
    Joined: Aug 26, 2008
    Posts: 448

    rebelrat
    Member

  9. Buick59
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 1,994

    Buick59
    Member
    from in a house

  10. scootermcrad
    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
    Posts: 13,071

    scootermcrad
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Wow! Pretty cool man!
     
  11. Rudy J
    Joined: Sep 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,480

    Rudy J
    Member
    1. Austin HAMB'ers

  12. selohssa
    Joined: Jun 16, 2009
    Posts: 440

    selohssa
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    That is awesome!
     
  13. 76cam
    Joined: Sep 30, 2010
    Posts: 644

    76cam
    Member

    Man that thing looks amazing gret job!!!!!!
     
  14. bluesman
    Joined: Feb 16, 2008
    Posts: 290

    bluesman
    Member
    from spring tx

    nice work bro!!!!!! i like the shit out of it.....
     
  15. bcharlton
    Joined: Sep 13, 2006
    Posts: 428

    bcharlton
    Member
    from Buffalo NY

    wow

    Great work
     
  16. Fortress
    Joined: Sep 8, 2009
    Posts: 235

    Fortress
    Member

  17. rodncustom
    Joined: Sep 24, 2007
    Posts: 1,309

    rodncustom
    Member

    I can't wait to see it.
     
  18. slammed
    Joined: Jun 10, 2004
    Posts: 8,162

    slammed
    Member

    Wow. This is some craftsmanship. The detailing is so period perfect.
     
  19. Django
    Joined: Nov 15, 2002
    Posts: 10,193

    Django
    Member

    That's bitchin Brian.
     
  20. Anderson
    Joined: Jan 27, 2003
    Posts: 6,308

    Anderson

    Time for your lunch break, post part 2!
     
  21. AWESOME build like usual... what type of water pump is that???
     
  22. fender lizard
    Joined: Jan 4, 2010
    Posts: 158

    fender lizard
    Member
    from mcallen tx

  23. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    cleatus
    Member
    from Sacramento

    Top shelf, as always.
     
  24. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 9,686

    gnichols
    Member
    from Tampa, FL

    Nice build. Crazy cool welds. Gary
     
  25. SinisterCustom
    Joined: Feb 18, 2004
    Posts: 8,252

    SinisterCustom
    Member

    Awesome....nice work. But are those pretty welds "period correct"? haha...j/k

    Say, what's the deal with the Charger????
     
  26. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 8,581

    flatheadpete
    Member
    from Burton, MI

    Lets see some more pics of those rear shock mounts on the axle bells. Cool idea.
     
  27. ParkinsonSpeed
    Joined: Oct 11, 2010
    Posts: 429

    ParkinsonSpeed
    Member

    Keep it real with some old Bob Wills........ Love Texas
     
  28. SteadyT
    Joined: Sep 11, 2007
    Posts: 483

    SteadyT
    Member

    Man, what a way to start the day to catch a Bass build thread 10 mins after it started to enjoy my morning coffee with. Bitchin car!
     
  29. Deuce3wCpe
    Joined: Aug 21, 2004
    Posts: 841

    Deuce3wCpe
    Member
    from New Jersey

    [​IMG]


    ...that top is spot on for an early hot rod...you nailed it.


    .
     

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