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Hot Rods Top chop question

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by XtechX, Mar 27, 2019.

  1. XtechX
    Joined: Jul 22, 2014
    Posts: 72

    from Edmore, MI

    Is it alright to chop the top on my 29 model A coupe while its off the frame and just sitting on my body dolly? I have the body braced up to keep everything square to the world and the doors fit well. I've noticed all the threads on here show the car on the frame when they're being chopped. So I thought I would ask every ones thoughts on doing it this way.
  2. 30-S6
    Joined: Apr 17, 2011
    Posts: 33


    I chopped mine like that and didn't have any problems.... I had the doors on it and cut it all at once. Then I put the roof back on, then the top of the doors, then fit all the trim.
  3. Personally I never do it that way. I think it's all about what you expect in the end for Fit and Finish. I know what customers expect when they are paying me and close don't get it. Doing it yourself, you can accept what ever you end up with. I learned a long time ago you don't build the walls of a House and hang the doors laying on the ground and then think they are going to fit right once transferred over to the foundation. Same rule applies to Automobiles. I know Guys do it and I can pick them out of a line up. That's why the Rat scene came on and thank God it's fizzeling out. You can do good work just like the good shops do if you just try. Don't cut corners and you'll use a lot less Fancy words during your build.
  4. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 14,732


    I'd never do it that way. Bolted solid to the frame with all doors and deck lid aligned perfectly. And, then still add X bracing welded inside.
    Pist-n-Broke likes this.
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  5. Obviously it can be done
    Your asking for potential trouble, asking for things to worry about, asking for wondering if it will work until it's on the chassis.

    The real question is what do you gain by doing it now
    Pist-n-Broke likes this.
  6. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 6,556


    Sheet metal fit and alignment is so critical that you should bolt it to the frame.
    Otherwise, you're asking for trouble.
    Pist-n-Broke likes this.
  7. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 41,391


    If its braced it does not care. Were it mine I would want it to be sitting level and be sure that it was not in a twist before I started on it.
  8. For a good Top Chop it really does start with the frame. You need to make sure the frame is straight and square. Fix any and all sub rail and rust issues that are so common with this old stuff we play with. build the whole thing and then install the body and all sheet metal, Hood, grille, trunk lid, at a minimum and level the frame front to back and side to side. Then you need to make sure the doors open, close and latch properly, and are gapped properly. ONLY After you have the doors operating as they should, the body and frame square and solid can you start with a chop.

    You have to brace everything up. front back and side to side. and tack the bracing to the floor. I like to make triangles because as my dad taught me, "more triangles makes it more stiff." this old sheet metal will move in weird ways that you never thought of, and can at time be really hard to get back where they should be. after you have it braced then you can start laying out your chop and start cutting. doing it this way is the best way to guarantee that it will come out as good as you can get it. In a weird way, you kind of need to restore it to original, before you cut it apart to make it a hot rod.

    unless your body dolly is an exact copy of the frame you are using, it will not be the same and it might all be fine on the dolly after you chop it. But it is almost a guarantee it will be off somewhere when you put it on the frame.
    Rich B. likes this.
  9. GearheadsQCE
    Joined: Mar 23, 2011
    Posts: 2,250


    If you watch Bobby Walden chop this '32, you will see how a Real Pro does it.

    You have to go to the instructional videos section.
    A 20 part series.

    After seeing this I would NEVER attempt a chop without having the body securely bolted to the frame. And the frame would have to be as perfect as I could make it first. As others have said, make everything fit before you cut anything.
    And, I would start with the doors. Make them as perfect as you can and matched side to side. Then fit the car to them.
    Pist-n-Broke likes this.

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