Sunday, October 31, 2010

The next step

Once I got the chassis home, I immediately got out the tools!! You might have noticed in the last blog pictures that there were some clunky pieces of metal welded to the front side & rear. Those were braces welded on to hold up the platform of the hayride! Some were bolted on so I unbolted what I could and finished the rest off with my angle grinder.

Then, I set about taking apart the front end. I needed to send out the '32 heavy front axle to be dropped so I needed to get everything apart, easier said than done!! Years of sitting out on a Nebraska farm really took it's toll. Everything needed to be heated and beaten into submission to get it all apart which didn't actually work, in the end I ended up taking the axle/wishbone to my friend Nick with a Bridgeport lathe and we had to drill out what was left of the spring perches to get the wishbone off and then we had to heat and pound out what was left in the axle! Whew!

I finally was able to send the axle to Joe's Speed Shop in Oklahoma and he did a 1 3/4" drop a.k.a "gentleman's drop", and straightened the axle. While it was being worked on, I bought some '46 thru '48 Ford front spindles & brakes I saw on Craigslist and when the axle came back, I was ready to put together the front end with hydraulic brakes.

When you put hydraulic brakes on a '32 Ford with a stock uncut wishbone, the best way to do it is to heat and bend the spindle arms up about 2 or 3 inches and ream the top of the spindle eye in order to run the tie rod on top of the assembly. From the factory, Ford spindles only have the bottom of the eyelets tapered for tie rod ends because Ford only ran the tie rods on the bottom with the tie rod threads poking up through the hole and the nut on top.

I also needed a new tie rod, the original '32 tie rod was bent like a pretzel so I found one off a fat fendered Ford and had my friend Nick cut it down to length and tapped it in his lathe. Nick also TIG welded together some old tie rod scraps I had and tapped one side with 11/16th RH thread to make me a drag link to hook up the '53 Ford F100 steering box to the steering hoop that I bolted on to the left front spindle so that the chassis would at least steer with a temporary steering wheel when the time came to trailer it to the media blaster.

At this time, I took apart the front spring and removed about 4 leaves from the spring pack to lower the front end. I also re arched the front main leaf using a hydraulic compressor. This is the old school method used by early hot rodders. You lay the main leaf down a flat cement floor making an outline with a piece of white chalk. Then you slowly bend the leaf in the press until it's flat. Then, you try to re arch the leaf back into it's original shape using your chalk outline as a guide but bending it the opposite way. When you are done, the shape or the arch should be identical but the spring eyes will now be reversed. It takes a while but it works.

I also had to buy new spring perches to replace the ones we destroyed and I got new shackles. I did also get new tie rod ends. All of this stuff can be bought from Speedway or Mac's or if you know a restorer with this stuff lying around, try to get the real Henry Ford stuff, nothing is better than Ford steel!

Once I had all the pieces, I temporarily bolted it all together. I say temporarily because again at this point in the game I'm bolting it together for a trip to the media blaster soon. That trip will come when I get a later banjo rear end from a '40 Ford or Merc and bolt it under the frame.

A lot of hot rodders & kustomizers name their cars. As silly as it sounds, a lot of them do it!! I have been thinking about naming this '32 soon to be roadster. The fact that this chassis came from Nebraska and was used as a hayride for most of it's life, I was thinking of calling it "Nebraska Hayride", hmmmm, not sure yet, sounds corny. Maybe "Horsepower Haywagon".
'32 Roadster still sounds better. :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How this whole thing started...

I was checking through the Denver Craigslist as I often do back in February 2010 and I typed in 1932 under auto parts and up came an ad for an original1932 Ford chassis for an unbelievable low price. I really did not need another project but it was too good not to at least make a phone call.

I called the number the next morning and talked to the seller. He was a car guy so he knew it was what the ad said it was and not a Model A or '26 Hubmobile!! He said he'd be home after 5pm if I'd like to see it. I went to work and told work I was leaving early, I got directions from Mapquest and was the first one there and the seller had just gotten home a few minutes before, perfect timing.

He led me to his backyard and there was a rolling 1932 Ford chassis, all original front & rear end, all stock cross members were there and it was rolling on '40 Ford steel wheels. Wow, what a find. The frame was in great shape but it had surface rust and brush painted yellow paint on it. He said that he bought the chassis in Nebraska and that it had been used as, get this...a hayride! Someone actually cut up a '32 Ford to make a hayride pulled by a tractor! Jeez!

I told him I'd take it and we shook hands. Now again, I really didn't need another project but this was a great oportunity. I think most people when they want to build a hot rod, think '32 Ford Roadster highboy. That is exactly what I started building with this. Now, there are a million ways to build a hot rod out of a '32 Ford frame. It is the perfect foundation for a '32 body, a Model A body or a Model T body.

I chose to build a '32 and the hunt began for parts, not just any old parts but the correct parts to build a traditional 1932 Ford Roadster Highboy in the tradition of hot rod heroes like Doane Spencer, Walker Morrison, Ray Brown, Vic Edelbrock, Joe Nitti, Bob McGee and many others.

A traditional '32 has to have the following running gear: Ford Flathead v8 engine, '39 Ford 3 speed transmission, closed driveshaft and banjo rear end. It also should have a dropped front axle and big and little tires. Personal preference now takes over, you can build it with steel wheels or wire wheels, a hood or no hood, top or no top, any color you want, black walls or whitewalls and whatever interior you want as long as it looks vintage.

This '32 will have a rebuilt late 81A flathead engine & Ford 3 speed transmission and the closed driveshaft with banjo rear end. It will have Maroon steel 16 inch wheels, the body & frame will be gloss black with an oxblood colored interior if I can find a shop that can do that! I will run a hood but no top.I'll wear a hat instead. :)

So, please check the progress on my '32 as I will be blogging in the future, the build has just begun and I'm still gathering parts but it's looking more & more like a '32 Ford everyday.