Archive for January, 2010

Chassis / Frame Design for the 1928 to 31 Model “A” Ford Street Rod – Part 5

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Chassis / Frame Design for the 1928 to 31 Model “A” Ford Street Rod – Part 5

 Now it came time to work on what I thought was the most difficult part of the chassis, the front suspension.  For the first attempt at this I decided to use exactly the same wheel base as the stock Model A Ford from 1928 to 1931.  The front of the frame rails already had the same shape as the stock frame.  The only difference was that my frame rails were made of 2” x 4” x 0.1” rectangular tubing.  This would make a much more robust frame or chassis.  You have to remember the original Model A Ford from 1928 to 1931 did not have much horsepower.  I will be using a stock 1986 Corvette engine with over 200hp and over 200 ft-lbs of torque.  This is a very important consideration in the hot rod frame or chassis design.  The stock Model A Ford from 1928 to 1931 also had all of the cross members riveted to the side of “C” channel frame / chassis rails.  Over 70 years these rivets loosen and the general strength of the frame / chassis will be compromised.   The frame / chassis I will be designing will not used rivets or “C” channel side rails.  All of the required cross members will be welded to the rectangle 2” x 4” x 0.1” rectangular side frame / chassis rails.  Just pick up an original Model A Ford from 1928 to 1931 and watch it flex.  The hot rod frame / chassis I am designing, using the C4 Corvette suspension components will not have the same flexing issues.

C4 Corvette front cross member stripped down and ready to have measurements taken from.  The new street rod cross member will not look anything like this.

C4 Corvette front cross member stripped down and ready to have measurements taken from. The new street rod cross member will not look anything like this.

I needed to measure everything you could possibly imagine on the C4 Corvette front suspension cross member.  The cross memeber comes out of the Corvette as a complete unit.  In my case, it was removed from a 1986 Corvette Indy Pace car convertible.  I am sure that the Corvette engineers never dreamed of seeing their cars put to this use.  Corvette suspensions used in hot rods and custom cars. 

C4 Corvette front suspension mock up for a 1928 to 1931 Model A Ford hot rod chassis / frame.  View # 1

C4 Corvette front suspension mock up for a 1928 to 1931 Model A Ford hot rod chassis / frame. View # 1

The obvious starting point would be to measure the width of the C4 Corvette front cross member at the point where the upper control arms are attached.  This measurement was slightly wider than the stock Model A Ford frame / chassis from 1928 to 1931 at the front wheel base center line.  I thought that I would mount the controls arms in a similar fashion as the stock C4 Corvette did.  It seemed reasonable to make brackets that would mount to the outside edge of the new frame or chassis rails.  This meant making the frame slightly wider.  In order to make sure this would not create a problem or look terrible when the body was mounted onto the frame, I widen the front frame and quickly lifted the body on to the frame.  At that point I realize this would all work out perfectly.

C4 Corvette front suspension mock up for a 1928 to 1931 Model A Ford hot rod chassis / frame.  View # 2.  An old Jaguar rear end coil over shock was place to visualize possible mounting schemes.

C4 Corvette front suspension mock up for a 1928 to 1931 Model A Ford hot rod chassis / frame. View # 2. An old Jaguar rear end coil over shock was place to visualize possible mounting schemes.

Now I needed to establish the front ride height.  Having the entire C4 Corvette front cross member dimensions in hand, it came time to mock up the front suspension.  Using some 6” x 6” x 0.25” angle iron as temporary front cross member for the lower control arms was created.  The width of the lower part of the cross member was matched to the inside mounting width of the lower control arms removed from the C4 Corvette.   It was assembled using c-clamps and tack welded in place.  A bracket was created for the upper control arms using angle iron.  I clamped these brackets to the top the of the frame rails.  Now it came time to mount the C4 Corvette front suspension parts onto the frame mock up and see how everything would like.  Remember, humans are very visual, and since I am a professor, I realized that most of what we learn or process would be through our eyes.  The brain tends to process the visual information much easier and faster.  This is why I needed to mount the rims with tires to the suspension and have the body sitting on the frame.  I would quickly see how everything would look.  I even used an old Jaguar rear coil over shock to visualized possible mounting schemes for it.   

C4 Corvette front suspension mock up for a 1928 to 1931 Model A Ford hot rod chassis / frame.  View # 3 showing the complete temporary set-up for the front suspension.

C4 Corvette front suspension mock up for a 1928 to 1931 Model A Ford hot rod chassis / frame. View # 3 showing the complete temporary set-up for the front suspension.

The set up for the front suspension is all very temporary, and is only used to evaluate the ride height and overall look on the hot rod frame / chassis.  

Come back next week to see how this progresses more towards the final product and finished state.  Of course you can have an advanced look at the completed hot rod frame / chassis for my 1929 Ford Roadster.  Just go the “PAGES” section new the top right of the screen and click on “Preview of the 1929 Ford Chassis with C4 Corvette suspension. 

This frame / chassis will work for any Model A Ford from 1928 to 1931.

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The 1929 Ford Roadster Body

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

The 1929 Ford Roadster Body

Part of this car hobby is coming across all kinds of deals.  The fellow that sold me the 1931 Ford, and 350 engine/transmission, happened to know somebody that had a Brookville Roadster body stored in a barn not far from my home.  We managed to contact this gentleman and we arranged a time to check it out.  To my surprise, the fellow that owned the barn where the Brookville Roadster body was stored was a local antique dealer that I had known for a few years. When we arrived at the barn, only 5 minutes from my place, we found the 1928-29 Brookville Roadster body sitting on a pair of saw horses.  Both doors and the trunk lid were missing.  The body was sitting there with no primer or paint on it.  Apparently the fellow bought it several years ago.  He knew a local fellow in our area that would work on it for him.  As time passed, so do the fellow that was working on the car.  Over time, items started to go missing.  The doors, trunk lid, the 32 dash insert, windshield, and all kinds of other parts.  All that was left was a stripped down shell.    The original plan was to buy the body and re-sell it, and split the profits with my friend.  At the time I was not really interested in the car for myself.  I felt the car was small for me since I am 6’-4” tall and I would not have the leg room.   My friend who found out about this body tried over time to make a deal, but it didn’t happen.

1934 Plymouth 4 door car - original condition - view #1

1934 Plymouth 4 door car - original condition - view #1

1934 Plymouth 4 door car - original condition - view #2 - A neat car but in very rough condition

1934 Plymouth 4 door car - original condition - view #2 - A neat car but in very rough condition


As time passed, another friend in the car club knew somebody else that was selling a 1934 Plymouth 4 door car and asked if I was interested.  As always, I couldn’t resist, and took a look at the car.   To make a long story short, I bought the car for $500.  Now I had to figure out how to get the car home.  This was a pretty good deal considering the poor shape of the car.  The inside of the car was loaded with boxes spare parts.  Already having experience selling parts from the 1930 Plymouth, I knew very quickly this car would be a money maker for me.

1934 Plymouth 4 door car - original condition - view #3 - I only purchased this car to strip out a few parts to sell and then re-sell the car.

1934 Plymouth 4 door car - original condition - view #3 - I only purchased this car to strip out a few parts to sell and then re-sell the car.

1934 Plymouth 4 door car - original condition - view #4 - The interior view of this car. Lots of work for somebody, not me.

1934 Plymouth 4 door car - original condition - view #4 - The interior view of this car. Lots of work for somebody, not me.

It was easy to load the shell of the Brookville Roadster body onto my trailer and get it home the following day.  Once at home, I made a bit of a make shift seat, and sat in the car.  Visualizing the seating arrangements, leg positions, I was able to figure out a way to make this car work for me.  I now decided this would be something to keep. 

1934 Plymouth 4 door car - original condition - view #5 - This car came with a set of 5 of these wire wheels and a brand new tire.

1934 Plymouth 4 door car - original condition - view #5 - This car came with a set of 5 of these wire wheels and a brand new tire.

1934 Plymouth 4 door car - original condition - view #6 - What I found most interesting about this car was the independant front suspension.  I thought this was pretty advanced for the time period of the car.

1934 Plymouth 4 door car - original condition - view #6 - What I found most interesting about this car was the independant front suspension. I thought this was pretty advanced for the time period of the car.

Having so many cars was not good.  I didn’t want to become a keeper of stuff.  You know the guys that keep buying and storing cars with the intention of fixing them some day.  If you stop and think about it for a moment, these guys will never get to working on these cars in a lifetime.  There simply is not enough time in a day for this, not on so many projects.  So why store all of this?  I didn’t want to become one of those guys! 

At the time, I also owned a 5.0l Mustang Cobra convertible for summer fun. I decided to sell the 1931 Ford 5 window coupe and switch the project build to the 1928-29 Ford Roadster using the recently purchased Brookville Roadster body.  It made a bit of sense for me, since I very much enjoy open air driving in the summer time and I figured out how to make a seat work for a person my size.

 

For the next few days, I started to clean up the 1931 Ford 5 window coupe.  It got a very quick flat black paint job and a hand fabricated trunk lid.  I few of the dents were removed and I put the car all together and sat it on a Model A frame.  This was all loaded up on my trailer so I could place the for sale sign on it, on the street outside of my home.  I live on a busy county road with a reasonable amount of traffic.  It sold two days later for $5500.  The fellow that bought it wanted a package deal and it included the body, fibreglass fenders, frame, 350 engine, automatic transmission, a rear end out of a Mustang, and a front axle that came with the 34 Plymouth I just purchased.  Things are starting to look really good in the finance department for building this hot rod of mine.

 

Now it seems that I have finally came up with a plan for the final build of my long awaited hot rod and dream, the 1929 Ford Roadster.

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