Posts Tagged ‘C4 Corvette hot rod chassis’

A different idea for 1928 – 31 Model A Ford floors

Monday, December 12th, 2011

 

A different idea for 1928 – 31 Model A Ford floors

The original floors for many vintage automobiles were made of wood.  This was okay 80 years ago.  The 1928-31 Model A Ford used a combination of steel floor pans and some wood up front.  The Brookville Roadster 1928-29 Ford roadster body is equipped with very nice steel floor pans and was set up for a rumble seat.  Having designed a custom frame / chassis for my 1929 Ford roadster hot rod forced me to remove the entire metal floor.  Using a C4 Corvette suspension for the chassis / frame on the 1929 Ford hot rod required a narrower frame / chassis width in the rear.  My chassis / frame sits inside of the roadsters body rails at the rear of the hot rod.  The original Henry Ford design has the entire body sitting on top of the 1928-31 Model A chassis / frame.  This was a good design for the time, as the body also provided strength to the lightly made ladder style chassis / frame.  Part of my body modifications necessitated the rear floor cross member to be removed and moved a few inches towards the front of the car.  Because of this modification the rear floor pan could not be re-used easily.  I did consider making new metal floor pans but did not like the 0.5 inch difference between the height of the floor and the roadsters body frame rails and floor cross members.  Wanting a nice flat floor even with the top of the roadsters body frame and floor cross members I thought plywood would work but would seal them with fiber glass.  Below are a few pictures of this messy process.

1928-31 Model A Ford floor: moving the rear floor crossmember - view 1 1928-31 Model A Ford floor: moving the rear floor crossmember - view 2

Step 1: After giving this a bit of thought, and having done a fair bit of drywall work in all of the houses I have owned, it made sense to trim the edges of the new 0.5 inch plywood floor cut outs with metal drywall j-mold.  It fits perfectly over the plywood edges to seal and provide a nicely finished edge.  Small nails were used to tack each piece in place.

1928-31 Model A Ford floor: a different idea -- step 1

Step 2:  I decided to use a gray colour pigment made for polyester resin to match the grey primer I have been using on the car.  Now it is very important to mix the correct amount of catalyst with the amount of resin to be used.  Another consideration is the ambient air temperature in the shop.  This means if your shop is very warm you can use less catalyst and if it is on the cool side of things, more catalyst is required.   Not enough catalyst will be a disaster as the resin will not ever harden.  Too much catalyst will cause the resin to set too fast and get very hot.  Only mix enough resin for a time period you can handle.  The resin is expensive and you do not want a waste any product. I used plastic bowls from the dollar store to mix up the resin.  Using a permanent marker, I marked out a 4 ounce and 8 ounce points.  From the local farm supplier or even the drug store, purchase several small syringes.  These are great for getting the exact measure of catalyst.  I used 2 teaspoons or about 6 cc of catalyst for 8 ounces of resin or gel coat.  When I did this, my shop temperature was about 65 degrees f.  From the dollar store I also purchased heavy duty rubber gloves, several paint brushes, and small paint rollers.  For clean-up I used lacquer thinner.   Do this in a well-ventilated area and wear safety glasses.  I do not clean my rubber gloves or mixing bowls.  Once the resin hardens, the hardened resin just peels off the gloves and breaks away from the plastic bowls.  When applying the resin to the fibre glass matt, make sure you work out all of the air bubbles to maximize adhesion to the plywood.  This is a very messy and smelly process that cannot be rushed.

1928-31 Model A Ford floor: a different idea -- step 2 1928-31 Model A Ford floor: a different idea -- step 2-2

Step 3:  Once all of the floor boards had the fiber glass matt applied with a good coat of resin, I started to paint on the gel coat.  Again, I used a colour pigment in the gel coat and used the same amount of catalyst as I did for the resin. Several coats of gel coat were applied.  Eventually, I will sand the bottom side of the floor panels smooth for an even finish. All edges were sanded smooth on my stationary 6 inch belt sander.  The entire process to seal the wooden floor panels took several nights out in the shop. 

1928-31 Model A Ford floor: a different idea -- step 3 1928-31 Model A Ford floor: a different idea -- step 3-3

All of the panels fit into my 1929 Ford roadster without any problems.  These will all get screwed down with a heat shield and rubber padding applied to the interior to reduce noise and heat.  These floor panels will be extremely strong and well-sealed from the elements.  A similar technique is use to make light weight but very sturdy cedar strip canoes.

1928-31 Model A Ford floor: a different idea -- front view 1928-31 Model A Ford floor: a different idea -- back view
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1929 Model A Ford Roadster Body Modifications – Part 1

Friday, October 15th, 2010
 

 

 

1929 Model A Ford Roadster Body Modifications – Part 1

 Well the last few weeks have produced a considerable amount of progress on the 1929 Ford Hot Rod.  I try to get in the shop every evening now.  Weekends are hit and miss, depending on what else is required of me.  Last weekend was our Thanksgiving Holiday.  Both of my daughters and their friends made it over for the day and the meal on Sunday.  My wife also invited a co-worker over who was alone for the weekend.  I prepared the turkey and peeled a bag of potatoes.  Jan did the vegetables, rolls, and made up an apple and pumpkin pie.  What a feast!  Monday, we drove my youngest daughter back to her apartment in Waterloo with a load of groceries.  Both of my daughters are in different stages of their university education and require a considerable amount of help.  Again, these are good hot rod building distractions that cannot be ignored for a pleasant family life.  So to say the least, there were a few very good hot rod building distractions this weekend preventing me from working on the 1929 Ford Hot Rod.

 The build on the 1929 Ford Hot Rod is actually much further along then what is shown in this web site.  Actually I just might be able to take the 1929 Ford hot rod for a test drive in the lane beside my home in the next few weeks.  Along with building the hot rod I am also creating video for various aspects of this build.  This is something that I did not think of originally, especially when I bought the video camera for my wife’s birthday a few years ago. 

 It would be nice to have a few teams of helpers to move things along a bit quicker.  Wouldn’t it be great if I had one team of workers to produce the material for the web and another team of workers to work and build the 1929 Ford hot rod?  Oh well, I am a one man show with a great day job, an amazing family and numerous commitments, so everything will happen in due course.  My main intention of creating this web site is to illustrate to the reader that this can be an inexpensive hobby with a bit of imagination.  Not only that, anybody can build a good looking and well built hot rod.  I find that that true craft of building things is slowly being lost by a large part of the population.  Enough of that for now and lets get back to building the 1929 Ford Hot Rod. 

The chassis / frame for the hot rod using the C4 Corvette suspension components is now complete and ready for mounting the body on to it.  During the design of the hot rod chassis / frame the body was on and off the chassis several times.  By narrowing the rear width of the custom hot rod chassis / frame from the stock frame dimension, several body modifications to the Brookville Roadsters Model A Ford body were required.  To start off, I removed all of the metal floor pans.  The Brookville Roadsters body I acquired through an interesting chain of events was set up for a rear rumble seat.  With the four inch rise in the rear of the C4 Corvette hot rod chassis / frame along with the width of the chassis / frame being narrowed, all of the metal for the rumble seat was also removed carefully from the Brookville Roadsters Model A Ford body.  Using a drill with a small drill bit, all spot welds holding the floor pans and rumble seat metal was removed without any damage.  All of the removed parts were advertised in the Old Autos newspaper a Canadian publication devoted to car enthusiasts http://www.oldautos.ca/  .  All of the parts sold almost instantly.  A fellow drove a few hundred miles to my place just so he could restore an original vintage vehicle he was working on.

1929 Ford Roadster floor pans removed - all floor pans needed to be removed from the Brookville Roadster Model A body.

1929 Ford Roadster floor pans removed - all floor pans needed to be removed from the Brookville Roadster Model A body.

1929 Ford Roadster rear floor and rumble seat metal removed from the Brookville Roadster Model A body.  This was necessary do the to custom frame design.  Notice how the rear frame rails will go in between the body frame rails.

1929 Ford Roadster rear floor and rumble seat metal removed from the Brookville Roadster Model A body. This was necessary do the to custom frame design. Notice how the rear frame rails will go in between the body frame rails.

1929 Ford Roadster rear floor cross member removed and body rail notched so the the Brookville Roadster Model A body will fit onto the custom frame using C4 Corvette suspension.
1929 Ford Roadster rear floor cross member removed and body rail notched so the the Brookville Roadster Model A body will fit onto the custom frame using C4 Corvette suspension.

 

1929 Ford Roadster rear floor cross member removed and the body frame rail cleaned up in perparation to weld the floor crossmember to its new location.  This was necessary to make room for the 4 inch rise in the rear of the frame.
1929 Ford Roadster rear floor cross member removed and the body frame rail cleaned up in perparation to weld the floor crossmember to its new location. This was necessary to make room for the 4 inch rise in the rear of the frame.

 

My policy in the shop is not to keep anything that I am not currently using.  My shop is full of shop equipment of every kind.  It is also the home of the 1929 Ford hot rod and the 1987 Corvette convertible.  I have noticed that many builders keep everything in storage with the thought that they may have a use for it at some later date.  To often that some of these builders eventually die of old age and the estate is now responsible to liquidate everything.  Many times, when this happens, the people selling everything do not know what they have, and out of frustration, send a good part of these rare vintage parts off the salvage yard as scrap steel.  What a waste!!  I personally seem to find just about anything for a good price whenever I need something which is also the reason I sell off un-needed items.  Why be a keeper of stuff, let somebody else make use of it and enjoy it?

1929 Ford Roadster rear floor cross member in its new location just in front of the 4 inch rise on the rear of the chassis.

1929 Ford Roadster rear floor cross member in its new location just in front of the 4 inch rise on the rear of the chassis.

1929 Ford Roadster rear body rail notched to allow for the mounting brackets for the C4 Corvette rear end assembly. The rear of the body will be modified later on to compensate for this notch.

1929 Ford Roadster rear body rail notched to allow for the mounting brackets for the C4 Corvette rear end assembly. The rear of the body will be modified later on to compensate for this notch.

1929 Ford Roadster rear floor cross member welded in place.

1929 Ford Roadster rear floor cross member welded in place.

1929 Ford Roadster rear floor cross member was only moved a few inches towards the front of the car.

1929 Ford Roadster rear floor cross member was only moved a few inches towards the front of the car.

 With the floor pans and rumble seat metal removed from the Brookville Roadsters Model A Ford body, the body is starting to look sad.  In order for the body to sit flat on the custom hot rod chassis, I needed to make a couple of modifications to the body.  The first was to move the rear floor cross member a few inches forward.  The second is to notch the body frame rails to allow space for the rear mounts of the C4 Corvette rear end.  By notching the body rails, I felt that some of the strength in the body frame rails has been compromised.  In another post I will show how I over came this problem and how the very most rear body mounts were created.   With the body frame rail notched and the rear floor cross member moved forward, the body will sit flat on my new hot rod chassis / frame.

 Having worked on many old cars, most of them rusted out, I must say that having a fresh steel body that is a reproduction of an original car is great.  Brookville Roadsters steel bodies are well crafted from what I have noticed when removing the floor metal.  I find that having the new steel body is a real time saver and in the long run can be cheaper.  Remember, replacing old rusted out panels is very tine consuming and reproduction panels are not cheap.  Having done it both ways now, I will continue to use reproduction vintage steel car bodies like the ones Brookville Roadsters http://brookvilleroadster.com/ sell for all of my hot rods.

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