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). BodyChasTrailerR.jpg (28529 bytes)
    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.
    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.
GarageBody.jpg (35324 bytes)
GarageChas.jpg (26201 bytes) GarageBodyChas.jpg (31630 bytes)
    Let 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.

    What 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.
Jul05BodyChassisDrvSide.jpg (43103 bytes) Jul05BodyChassisDrvSide2.jpg (40971 bytes)
    In 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.
Jul05BodyChassisFront.jpg (40202 bytes) Jul05BodyChassisPassSide.jpg (36449 bytes)
Jul05BodyChassisPassSide2.jpg (44312 bytes) Jul05BodyChassisRear.jpg (32214 bytes)
    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".
Jul05Deck.jpg (27919 bytes) Jul05TrunkBase.jpg (25836 bytes)
Jul05TrunkBack.jpg (19258 bytes) Jul05DeckInside.jpg (18499 bytes)
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.

Jul05TrunkDrv.jpg (31722 bytes)
    Oh 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.
Jul05PassJamb.jpg (27477 bytes) Jul05PassDoorInsideClosed.jpg (27833 bytes)
Jul05PassDoorInside2.jpg (29661 bytes) Jul05PassTopJamb.jpg (22804 bytes)
    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.
Jul05DrvJamb3.jpg (15786 bytes)
Jul05DrvJamb2.jpg (28812 bytes)
DrvrDoorJamb.jpg (36088 bytes)
Jul05DrvTopJamb.jpg (22727 bytes)
Jul05DrvDoorInside.jpg (36127 bytes)
Jul05PassDoorTop.jpg (20451 bytes) Jul05PassDoorInside.jpg (25036 bytes)
    I 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.