Bill Anderson's 1932 Ford 5 Window Coupe
Body Work Pictoral
March 2004: If I'm going to paint this, maybe formal instuction would be a
place to start. I started my body shop at College of DuPage in January 2004.
They have spray booths and equipment for use. After a couple of nights learning the
basics, I went to work on my car.
| How does one move
a body back and forth to class to work on it? While this rig looks suspicious, it's
solid as a rock. First, I scouted out trailer hitches for the van, and ordered a
DrawTite and ready go wiring kit over the internet shipped for $110, and installed it in a
half hour. While building the car I kept trying to think of great low cost
solutions, and one day that $200 fold up trailer at Menards caught my eye and the light
bulb went on. I made several trips back & forth from Menards making measurements
for this trailer, insuring it would fit, balance, and clear the van. I started by
placing jackstands under the framerails on each side, finding the balance point (even with
the door handle) and then the point at which there would be about 90 pounds at the tip of
the front frame horns (a few inches in front of the handle).
Taking that length and applying it to the centerline of the axle I knew how far forward on
the trailer the frame horns would reach. As you can see, almost to the hitch.
Hitched to the van, the closest the frame horns come to the car is about a foot.
Because the tubular crossmembers extend below the framerails, the body-chassis assembly
had to be raised. I bolted a 2x6 to the running board mount on the underside of the
frame rails, rested that on a pair of 2x4's, and used threaded rod to bolt the assembly to
the bed. Worked perfect. This went back and forth to the class about 8 times
to work on it. I'd throw all my equipment and step ladder inside, and when working
on it had easy and awesome access to all areas of the car: top, sides, and bottom.
With the body completely bolted to the chassis with the shims I established all the lines,
including even spacing all the way around the doors. Now that it's getting warmer
and I can finish the body detailing in the driveway, to best use class time it's time to
seperate the body and chassis and start shooting paint.
Another quick complaint about the Downs body - the wood over the
passenger door stuck a half inch into the interior from the inside of the door line, while
the driver's side was flush. I cut it out, sanded it into shape, and re-epoxyed it
| In April 2004 I
seperated the body and chassis, and made use of the resources I had. I rolled the
trailer assembly into the garage, jacked the body off the chassis, and after assembling
the unistrut framework underneath it I lowered the body down onto it. Then, I roller
the trailer out from under it with the chassis bolted to the trailer, and into the
driveway. After removing the chassis from the trailer, the trailer tucks right under
the body for storage.
I made fixtures to suspend the chassis between 2 engine stands.
The stand to the rear has a reverse pitch to the upright that straightens out when an
engine is placed on it. But, with the relatively light weight of the chassis the
pitch doesn't straighten out, negatively affecting the ability to rotate the chassis to
sand it out. So, I raised the back of the stand and placed a platform dolly under
it to make the upright verticle. Now, it works perfectly and rotates. Because
the front wheels of the same stand tend to rock upward when being moved around, I added
weight. A yellow half milk crate with 8 old pinball transformers!! Never
throw anything away!! As you can see below, when I finish working for the day, I
rotate it up, slide it over, and pull the van into the garage.
me tell you one thing about sanding a chassis; a fully welded chassis from the Roadster
Shop is a whole lot of work to clean up. Convinced by Bill O'Rourke that the four
piece welded ones were the way to go because they would have the correct 1932 framerail
radius'd corners I bought into a lot of extra work. Yes, it has a slightly tighter
radius, but I've seen the American Stamping rails and they are the way to go. Top,
bottom, and outside are clean and smooth, leaving only a quick inside sanding after boxing
them in. I'd have saved *hours*, sandpaper, and mess had I gone that route.
Next time. When it's time to prime and paint the chassis, I'll bolt the
chassis back onto the trailer, slide the stands off of the fixtures, throw the stand into
the the van, and take it all to school to paint.
Sunday May 2, 2004:
saw/read in the Tribune obituaries today that Bill O'Rourke had died earlier in the week
due to lung cancer at 64.
follows next is a series of pictures beginning May 2004. The chassis was primered in
May 2004, and body was worked on, bolted in position to make correct lines. The
trailer was a great way to move the filler and sanding mess out of the garage.
Summer of 2004 turned into a constant 1 step forward, find 2 new steps. Getting the
body flat, smooth, and concentric I found to be a combination of artsy, tedious, and time
consuming. I come away with understanding why it's so expensive to have this type of
work professionally done. In some ways it seems as if every portion of the body was
either imperfect or thown together and shipped. From rain gutter clones, to reveals,
to the firewall bead, nothing was consistent and all had to be painstakenly
reworked.. In hindsight, I wish I had taken pictures at every unsuspected
turn. Those custom body guys earn their money.
the next 4 shots I'm trying to give an overall perspective of all that had to be done.
Looking at these pictures, I realize that I did more work after the shots.
The top of the firewall was worked, and so was the roof line in the top left that shows
filler across the passenger side. I also had to rework the entire window channel to
give the window bead a uniform land of 1/4" all the way around. The bottom in
particular was between 1/16-1/8". I made a new windshield template for the
glass shop, and will accept no deviation.
Looking at the trunk, notice that all the way around the opening and deck lid a lot of
work had to be done to achieve straight lines. The land at the trunk opening wavered
between 1/4-1/2" and took a lot to bring to a strait ~1/8".
|Above you get some idea of the
uneveness of the trunk opening by the filler applied Above right, notice that all
the deck lid edges and sides had to be worked.
To the right, I'm
trying to show the outside corner of the trunk rain channel. Given a totally rough
gappy section of fiberglass, I made a nice radius.
And pinholes!! Good grief there was a lot of time spent grinding them out and
filling them with glazing.
boy, the doors. Both very different. While they kind of fit in the outside
opening, it ended there. Of course, I had to make straight gap lines, but then from
then on it was apparent that the door inside piece was shifted in a different direction on
both sides: drivers door was OK at the front and tight at the rear, the passenger had a
huge gap (up to 5/8") at the front and was tight at the back top. I relieved
all tight spots, and as you can see did an extensive fill on the passenger side to create
an even 1/4" gap all the way around. Interior panels will now look right.
The other element of closure was the gap between the door lip and the
body land. There were lots of high spots, all had to be ground down and filled
smooth. I set it up with the door mechanisms out, and worked until with the door
even I could slip a 3/32" piece of cardboard all of the way around, and it would
naturally close 1/8" past even at the door handle.
In all of the pictures with the door open, take note of how I worked to
finish the rough inside of the door window opening so it will look classy after paint.
Oh yeah, the windows were all messed up. Not only were the door
window openings not straight, but the windows had been put in crooked on both the X &
Y axis. I put an epoxy bead around the surface of the window opening area, and laid
the window on it to create a proper plane for the window to be parallel with. I then
reseated the guides so that there would be a consistent 1/4" gap between the window
and door window opening.
The area that the door handles sat on was smaller than the handle
itself. One more thing to fill & blend.
| On the right is a
picture of the door jamb before, in the hinge area. The door post was just a
1/8" piece of fiberglass with a rather rough looking opening hacked in. There
was no support or bracing. I epoxied wood to the back, made a bracket, and bolted it
to another bracket that I welded to the frame post running up & down. Then, I
created an epoxy land to give a more asthetically pleasing look. Finished it up
with filler and made a smooth door post. 2 hinges, both sides.
And, some other pictures of the driver's door area.
worked on the body until October 2004, the last job was finishing the front
windshield. Because the latest glass from Downs was too big, I made a template out
of 1/4" plywood, and gave it to a glass grinding friend to grind down to the
templates. I gave it to him a couple of times, it was still not right, so I tried to
rework the window opening to fit it in. In the course of events, I wound up breaking
it in the middle. In some ways I was glad to put an end to the Downs glass. I
said that's it for the winter, and moved the car to storage at MIL (mother-in-law) garage.