Posts Tagged ‘1928 – 31 Ford Model A frame’

Finishing the 1929 Ford Roadster Frame / Chassis using a C4 Corvette Suspension

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010
 

 

 Finishing the 1929 Ford Roadster Frame / Chassis using a C4 Corvette Suspension

 I remember a conversation when first getting started with Hot Rods mentioning to a friend that I was intending to build my own chassis / frame for my Hot Rod many years ago.  His response was, “You can’t do that”.  I thought why not, how silly.  Having built antique reproduction furniture, renovating several homes, designing and building just about anything and everything has been a big part of my life.  At the time I thought, “It’s only steel, what’s the problem”.  That’s true, with a great deal of care and thought, I did design and build this chassis / frame for my 1929 Ford Roadster hot rod.  Not only that, I did it with an independent suspension using C4 Corvette suspension components.  I have to admit, it was not easy.  Most likely if I used traditional suspension parts for my hot rod, I would be driving the hot rod right now!  I never do anything easy, and that’s what makes life interesting.   Not only that, learning and doing new things constantly, keeps us young at heart and very healthy.  It has been said that if you don’t use it, you loose it.  Well, I must say, I am living a dream with every aspect of my life and thoroughly enjoying it.  Enough of that, let’s get on with the build process of the 1929 Ford Roadster hot rod chassis / frame.

It has been an interesting process designing and building the frame / chassis for the 1929 Ford Roadster hot rod.  The chassis I designed and built will work on any 1928 – 31 Ford Model A body.  It has a stock wheelbase, widened slightly in the front and narrowed in the rear to fit between the stock body rails of the Model A Ford.  This chassis / frame is considerable stronger than the original 1928 – 31 Model A Ford frame.  This chassis / frame is intended for a high boy style car which is fender less.  I intend to start out fender less, and possibly use rear fenders and a bike style fender on the front of the hot rod in the future.  That thought is still up in the air.  I do have stock style fenders for the rear made of fibreglass.  In order for them to work, I would need to widen them a few inches to match the track width of the C4 Corvette suspension using stock C5 Corvette rims.  The bike style fenders in the front shouldn’t be too hard to fabricate.  In the mean time, I will let these ideas to work away in my mind and finished the 1929 Ford hot rod chassis / frame.  

1928 - 31 Model A Ford hot rod frame / chassis using C4 Corvette suspension - drivers side front view - almost completed

1928 - 31 Model A Ford hot rod frame / chassis using C4 Corvette suspension - drivers side front view - almost completed

I tend to lay in heavy and deep welds with my Mig welder, and then grind everything reasonably clean and smooth.  It takes a bit more time, but the finished product in the end, I feel looks a bit better and more refined.  This next part, now only takes a considerable amount of time with a minor cost of fillers, primer, and sealer.  The entire chassis / frame was cleaned and smoothed out with body filler.  Using a variety of files, scrapers, sanders, and anything else I could find to make the job easier, hours, and hours of time went into making everything on the chassis / frame as smooth as possible.  Some people would say why waste any time doing this?  Just go out and get some rust paint, a brush, and an hour later call it done.  Well, this is my hot rod and I want to build it my way.  Many hot rodders get sucked into the thoughts of others and loose sight of what they want to build.  Maybe this is why there are so many unfinished hot rods or custom cars.  The builder has lost interest mainly because they were building something that somebody else wanted.  Remember, it’s your car, and build and finish it the way you want to as long as it will be safe to drive.  I do know that if my standard was a bit different, I would be driving the 1929 Ford hot rod now.  For me, it doesn’t matter what I build, I like everything to look a certain way, and that takes time.  Oh well!

1928 - 31 Model A Ford hot rod frame / chassis using C4 Corvette suspension - the drivers side front is almost all smoothed out.

1928 - 31 Model A Ford hot rod frame / chassis using C4 Corvette suspension - the drivers side front is almost all smoothed out.

1928 - 31 Model A Ford hot rod frame / chassis using C4 Corvette suspension - the filling process has started using auto body filler.

1928 - 31 Model A Ford hot rod frame / chassis using C4 Corvette suspension - the filling process has started using auto body filler.1928 - 31 Model A Ford hot rod frame / chassis using C4 Corvette suspension - using glazing primer filler putty, thin coats are applied over the primer to fill smaller imperfections.

1928 - 31 Model A Ford hot rod frame / chassis using C4 Corvette suspension - drivers side front completed and ready for suspension

1928 - 31 Model A Ford hot rod frame / chassis using C4 Corvette suspension - drivers side front completed and ready for suspension

 After many hours of smoothing out the body filler, I sprayed my first coat of primer.  Sanding now with finer grits of sand paper, a few more imperfections were noticed so out came the glazing putty.  The glazing putty is basically a super thick primer and can only be applied in thin coats and then left to cure or dry.  Now, there is a bit of a wait game.  Often I would go into the shop, apply the glazing putty, and come back the next day to sand and spray another coat of primer.  After each coat of primer, I would examine everything on the chassis / frame and make the required touch ups.  I didn’t want to rush this process and it took me about a week to get the desired finish before spraying the final coat of primer and sealer.

My plan is to get the entire 1929 Ford hot rod assembled and running on the road for a short period of time before the final painting.  This will allow me to find and correct any design issues prior to the final finishing and painting of the hot rod.  I suspect that when that time comes, I will still go over the chassis / frame one last time to make it look as perfect as possible before spraying the finish coats of paint. 

Building a hot rod or custom car does take a considerable amount of time and determination.  For me, part of the game was to build a very nice hot rod, but cheaply using my acquired skills.  So far, this project has not cost me anything but my time.  Buying cars, and selling cars / parts has paid for this entire project with money in the bank.  Not too bad for such an expensive project sitting in the shop.  This was all at the expense of build time on the hot rod.  There still will be more information coming on this part of the project but for now the chassis / frame is ready for the C4 Corvette suspension components and get the body on the chassis. Below is a short video / slide show showing some the steps and parts of this very unique chassis / frame for my 1929 Ford Roadster hot rod.  Just click on the image below to start the video.

Fast Tube
Fast Tube by Casper

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Placing the engine for the 1929 Model “A” Ford Roadster Hot Rod – Part 2

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Placing the engine for the 1929 Model “A” Ford Roadster Hot Rod – Part 2

Figuring out the location of the engine and transmission in the 1929 Ford Roadster Hot Rod was a bit of a challenge.  The Model A Ford Roadster does not have a spacious interior.  I am 6’ – 4” tall and need leg room when sitting in the car.  Many hot rodders will cut out and have about a 4” recess in the firewall to make room for the engine.  Modifying the firewall was not an option for me.  Originally, I started the design of my Hot Rod chassis using the 1931 Ford 5 window coupe body.  Everything seemed to work out better with 1931 Ford being a slightly larger car.  I could have even used the original aluminum driveshaft from the 1986 Corvette.  It was like the C4 Corvette components were intentionally designed to be used in the Model A Ford!   Now I had to move the engine forward to clear the firewall of the 1929 Ford Hot Rod roadster. 

1929 Ford Hot Rod front engine mount version 1 - view 1 -  This is bolt to the front of a small block Chevy engine.  The bolt holes on the engine are located to either side of the timing cover.

1929 Ford Hot Rod front engine mount version 1 - view 1 - This is bolt to the front of a small block Chevy engine. The bolt holes on the engine are located to either side of the timing cover.

1929 Ford Hot Rod front engine mount version 1 - view 2 - This illustrates the side profile of the motor mount.

1929 Ford Hot Rod front engine mount version 1 - view 2 - This illustrates the side profile of the motor mount.

1929 Ford Hot Rod front engine mount version 1 - view 3 - These are the mounts that would be welded to the inside of the frame rails.  A basic rubber mount is used.

1929 Ford Hot Rod front engine mount version 1 - view 3 - These are the mounts that would be welded to the inside of the frame rails. A basic rubber mount is used.

My first motor mount was of a style that bolted to the front of the engine and had same inside width of the chassis.  I made this motor mount out of ¼” steel plate and made up small brackets that I could weld to the inside of the frame rails.  At first, this looked like a good option.  With the motor mount at the front of the engine, I would have a bit more clearance for the original 1986 Corvette headers and exhaust.  Remember, one of my goals with this project was to use as much of the 1986 Corvette as possible in this build.  This included the exhaust.  As I continued on with the project, I started to realize this style of motor mount would not work well for me.  The 1929 Ford roadster body was mounted temporarily on the frame.  I also mounted the 1986 Corvette steering column and the shaft from the steering column to the steering rack.  At that point I realized the front style motor mount would not work.  I steering column shaft would not clear the front motor mount. 

1929 Ford Hot Rod front engine mount version 1 - view 4 - This show a how how motor mount is attached to the front of the small block Chevy Corvette engine

1929 Ford Hot Rod front engine mount version 1 - view 4 - This show a how how motor mount is attached to the front of the small block Chevy Corvette engine

1929 Ford Hot Rod side engine mount prior to installation.  This is made using 1/4" steel plate on the base and 2"x2" square tubing.  This was all cut out using a metal band saw.

1929 Ford Hot Rod side engine mount prior to installation. This is made using 1/4" steel plate on the base and 2"x2" square tubing. This was all cut out using a metal band saw.

When I designed and built the front motor mount, I also made up a set of traditional style motor mounts for the side of the engine at the same time.  It was the side motor mounts that I ended up using.  There would be no issues with the steering shaft now and along the way, I decided to change the exhaust system.  I ended up purchasing Patriot Exhaust Sprint Style Weld-Up Header Kit.  I will have an exhaust section later on in this Blog with details on the complete exhaust system, including a baffles and side pipes.

1929 Ford Hot Rod side engine mount view 1 - Just a trail fit.

1929 Ford Hot Rod side engine mount view 1 - Just a trail fit.

1929 Ford Hot Rod side engine mount on the sbc engine.  This is the final version of engine mount used.

1929 Ford Hot Rod side engine mount on the sbc engine. This is the final version of engine mount used.

Being a rather creative person, I thought my hot rod would look neat if the front coil over shocks could be mounted inside the frames rails.  This would be similar to the suspension found on the Plymouth Prowlers and Indy style race cars.  With the body on the chassis, I moved the engine and transmission forward enough to clear the firewall.  It was then I wished that the frame was about 6” longer.  There was not enough room between the pulleys on the front of the engine and at radiator for inboard coil over shocks.  As a result, the idea of Indy style inboard front coil over shocks would have to be abandoned.   The next hot rod I build will have a longer frame to allow for this type of suspension.  It would make a very clean looking independent front suspension system.

1929 Ford Hot Rod side engine mount with the steering shaft.  The steering shaft just clears the motor mount.

1929 Ford Hot Rod side engine mount with the steering shaft. The steering shaft just clears the motor mount.

The bonus of moving the engine forward enough to clear the 1929 Ford roadster firewall was that I would not need much of a transmission tunnel in the floor of the car.  This will create the needed leg room for me.

1929 Ford Hot Rod finished frame motor mount

1929 Ford Hot Rod finished frame motor mount

1929 Ford Hot Rod motor mounted in the chassis complete with headers.  This is the setup I settled with.

1929 Ford Hot Rod motor mounted in the chassis complete with headers. This is the setup I settled with.

The front style of motor mount was not needed anymore, so I cleaned it up a bit, painted it black and listed it on eBay.  It sold in the week and bought in a price of over $100 for me.

Come back next week for more building information on this 1929 Ford Hot Rod.

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