Archive for April, 2010

Brookville Roadster – Vintage Ford Parts & Bodies

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Brookville Roadster

If you are intending to build a 1928 to 1931 Model A Ford hot rod or even a vintage reproduction car, I would suggest that you check out the products Brookville Roadster has to offer.  You can check out their web site at:  http://brookvilleroadster.com/ .  Brookville Roadster has several steel Model A Ford bodies available.

1928 – 29 Model A Ford Roadster body (this is what I am using in my project)

1928 – 29 Model A Ford Roadster pick-up body

1930 – 31 Model A Ford Roadster body

1930 – 31 Model A Ford Roadster pick-up body

1929 – 31 Model A Ford pick-up beds.

They also have a steel 1932 Ford Roadster and 1932 Ford 3 window coupe bodies.  I have seen these at the Detroit Autorama and they are very nice.

Once you start working with a new re-production steel body, you start to wonder why you would even consider purchasing an original vintage body that is rusted out with parts missing complete with complementary bullet holes.  Sure you might find a deal and a body that is great, but those deals are getting hard to find.  To consider cutting up a perfectly good vintage vehicle and turn it into a hot rod just is not right in so many ways.  For example, today, you can purchase a 1928 – 29 Model A Ford roadster body from Brookville Roadsters for $6500.   Block sand it and you are ready to go.

I suppose you could find cheaper fibre glass bodies but that is risky.  I have seen many cheap fibre glass bodies and some as much as what Brookville Roadster would charge.  Why is buying a fibre glass body risky?  Some manufactures of fibre glass bodies have different standards or you might say they very poor quality control in the product.  For example, a simple thing like adding too much harder or catalyst to the resin will cause the product to heat up to fast and loose its shape.  If not enough harder or catalyst is used, the resin will not set up properly.  I have even seen fibre glass bodies and fenders loose their shape after they have been taken off the moulds.   Another problem would be with the laying of the fibre matt and how it is rolled out with the resin.  If the matt is not rolled out properly and saturated with the resin there will be air pockets.  This will make the body weak.  Another big problem would have to do with the consistency in thickest of the body and parts.  Quality fibre glass bodies do not have these problems, and most often will even have a metal sub-frame to support and add strength to the body 

Personally, I would rather deal with a steel body for a hot rod.  I have been considering building a line of cheap rat rods, and for those I would consider a low end fibre glass body.  It can be easily rough up and the complete project would not cost too much.  Now-a-days, folks are loosing the ability and interest in building things.  A line of economical rat rods or hot rods, however you want to call them would give interested individuals an easy opportunity to get into the hobby.  I will need to give this more thought.  For now I will stay with the 1928 – 29 Ford Roadster and come up with version 2 of my C4 Corvette chassis for the hot rod.

I must say working with new steel for a hot rod project is fantastic.  The 1929 Ford Roadster body built by Brookville Roadsters that I found had the doors, dash parts, and trunk lid missing.  The roadster body was stored in a barn for several years and had all of the good part stolen.  Having only paid $1200 for the body might have been a good deal.  Now I needed to purchase the trunk lid, doors, and dash.  These were not cheap parts.  Not only that, they would have to be shipped to me.  Luckily, Brookville Roadsters didn’t mind shipping everything to me in the mail. 

Importing parts to Canada can be expensive if it is not done correctly.  Many of the standard carriers, like UPS, FedEx, and etc… charge insane amounts of money for so called brokerage fees.  This fee they claim is what it cost them to send the tax money to the Canadian Government.  What a pile of crock!!!  I find the post office just charges me only the taxes, and a tiny handling amount.  So much cheaper then UPS or FedEx!!   So up really up with the other carriers?

At the same time, I ordered the 1932 Ford radiator shell and grille insert, and all of the windshield parts.  Once I received everything, I must say the excitement level soared for me.  The project was starting to look like a real hot rod.  My overall goal was to build a cheap hot rod, but at the same time have a reasonably polished look to it.  So far everything is on track and my expectations in the project cost are bang on.  NO OUT OF POCKET EXPENSES!  This has not been an easy task to meet.  Every single part on the wrecked 1986 Corvette Indy Pace car convertible was sold.  Not one single item was thrown out.   Not bad, re-cycling at its best.   All of the un-needed Corvette parts went all over the world.  I was very amazed at this process.

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Installing the C4 Corvette Front Sway / Stabilizer Bar in the Hot Rod

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Installing the Front Sway / Stabilizer Bar

More distractions!!

This past week has been interesting here at home. I have been working on the last few finishing touches in a small apartment we rent that is in our old Victorian house we live in. The house was built in 1868 and is an interesting old home. Nothing is simple here. For example the last tenant in the apartment destroyed the bathroom sink taps. Only a few years old, but one handle was broken off. I’m not sure how this would happen, but it does!! I purchased new ones and replaced them. That was easy. As I was lying on the floor, I leaned against the toilet cold water line. Well, if that didn’t start leaking. Off to the hardware store to pick up a replacement. I returned and replaced it. I gave the toilet a flush and noticed that the water would not shut off inside the toilet tank. With a quick look inside the toilet tank, I noticed that the float was cracked. Off to the hardware store again to pick up a new float. I decided to clean the bath tub out and noticed that the drain was plugged. With no drain cleaner at home a third trip to the hardware store was required. The drain cleaner solved the plugged drain problem. The point I am making is that a simple 15 minute task to replace a set of vanity taps in the bathroom turned out to be an afternoon of driving back and forth to the hardware store. These are just a few minor distractions that get in the way of building a hot rod. This is why you need to stay focused and determined when building a hot rod.


Let’s install the sway bar.

Now to the placement of the sway bar I removed from the 1986 Corvette Indy Pace car onto my 1929 Ford Hot Rod.   The design considerations for a IFS hot rod using the C4 Corvette suspension continues.

Originally, the front sway or stabilizer bar from the C4 Corvette was positioned towards the front of the Corvette. Trying to keep the design of my suspension for the 1929 Ford hot rod true to the design of the 1986 Corvette, I attempted to do the same. The problem I ran into was my chassis is much shorter on the front of the Model A Ford then the Corvette is. Having the front sway bar mounts bolted to the front of the Model A frame horns would not look so good. Now I needed to try a few other options. I could have easily found an aftermarket sway or stabilizer bar for the front the 1929 Ford roadster. But, that was out of the question. One of my original goals in this design was to incorporate as much of the C4 Corvette suspension removed from the wrecked Corvette in the hot rod I am building. I want this hot rod to handle like a Corvette! We will wait and see on that thought.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 1 - After a considerable amount of time determining the exact location of the front sway bar I now needed to make a few more brackets.  I cut a piece of 2 inch square tubing along its length,  and drilled the holes for the sway bar mounts.  This bracket will be sealed and have no access for nuts, so I weld a couple of 0.5 inch nuts to a couple of 0.125 inch steel plate.  This will provide additional strength.  Both the nuts and plate combination were tack welded to the "U" channel.  This will make for a nice and clean mount.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 1 - After a considerable amount of time determining the exact location of the front sway bar I now needed to make a few more brackets. I cut a piece of 2 inch square tubing along its length, and drilled the holes for the sway bar mounts. This bracket will be sealed and have no access for nuts, so I weld a couple of 0.5 inch nuts to a couple of 0.125 inch steel plate. This will provide additional strength. Both the nuts and plate combination were tack welded to the "U" channel. This will make for a nice and clean mount.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 2 - With the 1986 Corvette sway bar in place, I bolted the sway bar to the newly fabricated mount and tack weld it to the chassis.  Using this method I ensures a perfect fit and placement.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 2 - With the 1986 Corvette sway bar in place, I bolted the sway bar to the newly fabricated mount and tack weld it to the chassis. Using this method I ensures a perfect fit and placement.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 3 - Now I needed to fabricate the sway bar link mount for the lower control arms.  Using coil over shocks force the position of the sway bar back a bit so I could not used the original sway bar mounting links.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 3 - Now I needed to fabricate the sway bar link mount for the lower control arms. Using coil over shocks force the position of the sway bar back a bit so I could not used the original sway bar mounting links.

I found quickly that positioning the sway bar to the rear of the car would work. I used wooden blocks to keep the sway bar in place and to have a visual display of what this might look like. Not wanting to be too hasty, I decided to proceed cautiously and take my time with this. Over the next week, after work, and whatever else that needing doing around the house, I would go out to the shop and look at the sway bar placement. Several ideas start to form. The problem I was having was coming up with the sway bar link attachment to the lower control arm. Heating and bending the sway bar is not a good idea. If I could, the link attachment to the control arms would be a snap.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 4 - The sway bar links have be made and installed.  The link from the sway bar to the mount is made of 3/16 inch steel plate.  The lower control arm had a couple of existing mounting holes for the sway bar mount so this made the attachment of the mount easy.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 4 - The sway bar links have be made and installed. The link from the sway bar to the mount is made of 3/16 inch steel plate. The lower control arm had a couple of existing mounting holes for the sway bar mount so this made the attachment of the mount easy.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 5 -  Everything in now roughed in and doesn't look to bad.  I am still not totally please with this and still may make a few alterations to the front sway bar links and mounts later on.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 5 - Everything in now roughed in and doesn't look to bad. I am still not totally please with this and still may make a few alterations to the front sway bar links and mounts later on.

Sway or stabilizer bars are tempered and hardened. Heating them up with a torch and bending it is very tricky. It can be done, but not properly in the home shop. I have even watched a number of TV shows with very famous car builders modify sway bars. They would heat them up, bend them, and Bob’s your uncle. I would think they of all people would know better.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 6 -  This is a close up view of the sway bar link and mount on the lower control arm.  Of course the sway bar bushing will need to be replaced.  That can wait till the final assembly of the car.  The only part of the original front sway bar link assembly I used using the lower insulator bracket.  The left over link parts were all sold on eBay.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 6 - This is a close up view of the sway bar link and mount on the lower control arm. Of course the sway bar bushing will need to be replaced. That can wait till the final assembly of the car. The only part of the original front sway bar link assembly I used using the lower insulator bracket. The left over link parts were all sold on eBay.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 7 - I cut up a few more pieces of the 2 inch square tubing and make 4 right angle pieces that would close off the front sway bar mounts on the chassis.  Everything was welded in place ground clean, filled, and primed for a good clean and polished look.  The chassis should be a work of art!  It is a statement to everyone on the type of builder you are.  Remember these little finishing touches take time and not a lot of money to do.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 7 - I cut up a few more pieces of the 2 inch square tubing and make 4 right angle pieces that would close off the front sway bar mounts on the chassis. Everything was welded in place ground clean, filled, and primed for a good clean and polished look. The chassis should be a work of art! It is a statement to everyone on the type of builder you are. Remember these little finishing touches take time and not a lot of money to do.

Using coil over shock in the front complicated everything. If I did not use coil over shocks, I could have used everything as is was removed from the C4 Corvette with the exception of mounting the sway bar to the rear of the car. I needed to move the sway bar position slightly back on the lower control arms. I then noticed that there were a few mounting holes to the rear of the lower control arms. Not wanting to change too much or alter the control arms, I thought it would be best to use what was there already. With everything taking shape, I decided to make a new lower control arm bracket for the sway bar link mount. This bracket would be attached and mounted to a location on the lower control so I could use the existing mounting holes. After a few plexi-glass templates and sample mounting attempts, I came up with the final design of the lower control arm link mounting bracket.

Everything was tack welded into place, wheels put back on the car and the jacks, blocks, were all removed. With the roadster on its own weight, everything looked okay. The final welding was completed. All of the welds were ground clean and eventually I filled and prime the chassis for a very finished look.

1929 Ford Hot Rod front suspension completed using C4 Corvette suspension components view 1 - The suspension is completed now.  I think this looks pretty good.  Two of my main goals have been achieved.  The first one was to incorporate as much of the 1986 Corvette Indy Pace car convertible suspension as possible in the hot rod chassis.  The second goal was to do this as cheaply as possible.   Every single part that I did not use from the wrecked Corvette donour car was sold.

1929 Ford Hot Rod front suspension completed using C4 Corvette suspension components view 1 - The suspension is completed now. I think this looks pretty good. Two of my main goals have been achieved. The first one was to incorporate as much of the 1986 Corvette Indy Pace car convertible suspension as possible in the hot rod chassis. The second goal was to do this as cheaply as possible. Every single part that I did not use from the wrecked Corvette donour car was sold.

1929 Ford Hot Rod front suspension completed using C4 Corvette suspension components view 2 - Now I just need to add the brakes, replace the rubber boots on the steering rack, and install the coil over shocks.  This sounds simple, but the devil is in the details, and it's those things that take up hours and hours of time.

1929 Ford Hot Rod front suspension completed using C4 Corvette suspension components view 2 - Now I just need to add the brakes, replace the rubber boots on the steering rack, and install the coil over shocks. This sounds simple, but the devil is in the details, and it's those things that take up hours and hours of time.

The neat thing about this project is that every single part that I did not need for the hot rod project was sold. I mean everything. Up to now, the project still has no out of pocket expense. Not bad for what is turning out to be an above average hot rod.

Don’t forget to keep coming back for more information on the build process of the 1929 Ford Hot Rod, more stories, information on swap meets, and summer cruises / car shows.

I am currently working on AutoCAD drawings of the 1929 Ford Hot Rod chassis using the C4 Corvette suspension components. They should be available to purchase sometime this June or July. By the end of the summer I will also have a DVD video showing how the this unique custom chassis was built.

Comments or questions are welcome.

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