Thursday, April 30, 2009

Shaping Up!

The frame is starting to take shape.  The stock Model A cross-member is installed along with some of the boxing plates.  There's still quite a way to go but it's neat to watch it take shape.
Matt Lesky, from IHRS has been awesome about sending me pics and updates. I'm really thankful for that.  Props to you, Matt!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ionia Hot Rod Shop

Today is a great day, the fellas over at Ionia Hot Rod Shop, in Ionia, Michigan have started building my frame.  This is VERY exciting!

These guys build one of the nicest and best crafted after-market 1932 Ford frames.  If Henry Ford were still making them, he wouldn't have a thing on these guys.  When this frame is complete it will be artwork.  It'll almost be a shame to cover it up with a body.  No matter if you know hot rods or not there'll be no denying the level of skilled metalwork and fabrication.

In the photo below is Dennis Lesky.  He's tig welding "spacer blocks" into the frame.  Against these spacers is where the "boxing plates" will sit.  Boxing plates are used to strengthen and stiffen the frame.  Plus, the way IHRS does them, they look extremely cool.

There'll be more frame updates as I get them.

Friday, April 24, 2009

One Man's Trash...

It's funny what some of us consider treasure.  I recently bought an original 1932 Ford tank and although it's got a hole the size of a child's fist in the bottom, I don't consider it trash.  Upon further inspection, let's say, looking through that hole into the tank you'd notice clean, rust-free steel.  This tank is the perfect candidate for my project because like most other areas of the car, it is going to be modified.  I'm not going to share those modifications just yet, but trust me, it'll look slick.

That's the weird thing about people, like me, that get into projects like these.  We look at what some might otherwise see trash and see an opportunity to make it treasure.   Whether most of us ever get around to making it a treasure, well, that's another story.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Picture it...

Right now, the car this blogs built around doesn't look like much.  The truth is, many of my friends, family, or curious internet surfers wont see anything beyond what's in the picture.  I don't blame them, there's not much to see!

When I look at this car I see much more, I see it complete.  I can imagine driving it and hearing the raspy exhaust.  I can even visualize what I'll see outside the chopped windows as I bomb down a city street or 80 West toward Bonneville.

I'm not sure that I could type an explanation for you to see it the way I do but I think there are a few pictures I could share with you that may help you clarify my vision so that as you follow along (and I hope you do) you can see the car come from a pile of sheet metal to a hot rod.

Here are some photo's I've collected over the years.  Most of them have come from the H.A.M.B over at the 

Here's a 32 3 window Ford coupe that a Hot Rodder named Larry (whom goes by 3wLarry) built.  While my car isn't a 32 I think he used the perfect mix of chrome and paint.  I intend to finish my car off in the same fashion.  This car is pretty legendary and it's a formula that I believe will be very appealing when my car is finished.

Next, is maybe what I'd consider one of the best examples of metalwork fitting a 32 frame (with a fuel tank).  If you'd like to see more, click here

Below is another coupe that really influences this project.  Owned by Mark Ford in Austin, TX.

Can you see what I'm aiming for now?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Shave and a Hair Cut...

Folks, this is the moment we've... err, I've been waiting for!  

First things first,  this is how Chris described his process:  

I will be chopping this as close as possible to the way Jimmy Shine chopped his model a in the July 2008 issue of rod and custom. The only difference is that we will be taking out 1" under the rear window instead of the full 4".
First I figured out the areas that I want to take the sections out. Then I sprayed the layout die over those areas. Next I will layout the chop and scribe my lines.

Here's what it looks like, pre chop.  In these photos the lines are not yet scribed yet.

Doesn't look much different, huh?  After some tape here, a scribe there, and a couple squints while holding your thumb up like an artist you can break out the saw and this happens...

Lift off!!!

A much more distinct profile!

Here's a good look at how the rear window was dropped an inch to give some more visibility.  I think this is one of the little details that will go unnoticed by many.

That's it for now... next is welding it up.

Braced Up!

When you're almost 80 you get a little crooked, so I've heard.  :D it was more than true with this car.  I have no clue about the life of this car before my ownership a little less than a year ago.  But I can tell you, I didn't help by unloading it by myself.   

Chris had no issues getting it back to being "square."  Although, there are still some areas needing to be straightened, the frame needs to be here for that to take place.   And, the frame is still unassembled in Ionia, Michigan.

Here are the pics:

The evening after it was braced, I went down to SFSS with the seat I'll be using and we measured how much room we had between the roof and my head.  I figured we'd be chopping it 3 to 3.5 inches.  My goal is to get the roof as low as possible, yet still maintain that traditional look.  Luckily having a thin seat will allow us to take out 4 inches, which in my opinion is a great look for this type of car.

Soon, the roof will be chopped!

Monday, April 20, 2009


The coupe is back!  Here's a before shot of some of the small parts.

And after... things are looking better.

The body is much better than I had anticipated.  The media blaster did an awesome job.  None of the panels were warped and all the small parts came out great.  Chris measured the body and it's a few inches out of square.  It's no surprise a since it hasn't been on a frame in years.  Everything needs to be braced up before the chop

The Teardown

Here's the car heading to Salt Flats Speed Shop in Orem, Utah where it'll get all the metalwork done.  Chris, the owner of SFSS, is a pretty talented metalworker.  Check out his site, you'll be impressed.

Here's the coupe right before the teardown.  Once it's disassembled it'll be sandblasted so we can see the hidden issues and get the fun stuff going.

We pulled out a lot of the wood, which suprisingly still had some integrity.  Not bad for 80 year-old lumber.

On the trailer and ready for the sandblaster.

The Genesis

Here's the plan:  Take a 1930 Ford Model A Coupe that's just a shell of a car and turn it into a traditionally styled hot rod, a car you might have seen in the little books in the late fifties early sixties.

The roof will be chopped four inches and continue the "T" molding from the sides of the rear window and continue it to the visor. The drive-train is a fifty-nine Chevy inline six 235 with a 53/54 Corvette intake and exhaust running into a T5 then to a 40 Ford rear. Everything will be fixed to an Ionia Hot Rod Shop 32 frame.

While there will be a lot of traditional stylings, there'll be some fresh takes on a very familiar theme.  

Here's what I started with:

This is at a stop for fuel somewhere in Oklahoma after picking it up.  It fit perfectly in the back of my truck. However, traveling through the headwind in Colorado wasn't fun.

You can see the rare, late 1931 firewall. This car is a 1930 so the firewall will get replaced with the correct firewall.  

It looks decent from the side.  The doors line up well.  It does have a share of issues and who knows what's hidden under the 5+ coats of paint.  It needs sub-rails, the lower panel beneath the rumble lid, and inner fender-wells. All in all I think this is a very decent platform to begin with especially because all of the areas I know have issues are areas that I wanted to modify anyway.  I'll get to those details when it comes time.