Bill Anderson's 1932 Ford 5 Window Coupe
Build Up Pictoral

    When it came time to begin the project, I decided to put the horse before the cart.  Literally.  So, early in February 2002 I called my long time friend, Jimmy Riedl, and put in a request for a Chevrolet 454 and Turbo 400.  Timing was perfect as he was in the process of parting out a 1973 pickup truck.  Turns out the engine is tight, quiet, smooth, and solid.    Upon pulling the engine you could see that the freeze plugs in the back of the block had been replaced.  The trans has a fresh rebuild.  Jimmy and his son Keith got the engine loaded on Monday, February 25 2002 for delivery on the 27th.   Wouldn't you know it, a snow storm hit in northern Indiana, so he delivered a cast iron snowball to me!! 454snowball2.jpg (33788 bytes)
    Here's Jim Riedl with yet another engine he's sold me (his son Keith is to the right, didn't want to be in the picture).  My friendship with Jim began in 1973 when I was 17 and had severly damaged the engine in my 1969 Z-28.  I knew a couple of mechanics at Celozzi-Ettleson Chevrolet in town, and they sent me to Jim.  He immediately set me up with an engine and price.  I offered a deposit to hold the engine, and said I'd come in every week with money to pay it off hoping he'd accept that and sit on the engine that long.  He wouldn't go for it; insisted that I take the engine now, get my car going, and pay him as I could.  What a guy.  I was there every week with $10-15.
    Through the 70's I bought several engines, a couple of transmissions, and some cars from Jim.  We had many memorable times: poker games, races, garage exploits, tearing up his backyard trying to get my Vega out of it in the dead of winter, and other great memories.  Jim went from Celozzi, to working out of a shop behind his house, to owning a gas station, and now works out of a small town in Indiana.  I'm delighted that as I begin my first car in over 20 years I've purchased the engine and trans combination from Jim.
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        August 23, 2002, things are starting to progress.  After a few months of planning things are beginning to arrive and assembly is taking place.  To the right, the frame rails are completed, boxed & all, and mounted in the jig.  Roadster Shop has mounted a big block chevy and Turbo 400 transmission into the jig to insure that all of the cross members will be located correctly.
    Sept 6, 2002, the chassis is essentially complete, and the body is mounted.  A combination of polished stainless and chrome decorates the suspension system with a 4-bar front and 4-link triangulated rear section with a Ford 9" and adjustable coil over shocks.
    Below, the body has arrived from Downs.
Chassis in jig.JPG (36224 bytes)
Dlvd Body Front.JPG (37884 bytes) Dlvd Body Left.JPG (29484 bytes)
    October 5, 2002:

   Well, the coupe's come home, and it's time.   The 454 and T400 underwent a powerwash, and while they ain't pretty.... they are grease, dirt, and oil free.
    I've heard a lot of talk that my 454/T400 combination will require some body modifications, and most likely will not just drop in.  Over the last couple of months I've wondered:
  "Will I have to cut out the tunnel, raise it, and refiberglass it it?"
  "What other impacts will that create?"
  "Will I have to cut up the firewall?"
Well, the picture to the right shows the 454/T400 combination is being moved into place.   Also, notice the Wheel Vintiques Gennie series wheels and tires (185/65R15 285/70R15) are on.

EngTrans2carA.jpg (51003 bytes)
    Like the picture shows, the 454/T400 combo is in and no hacking required.  The combo ain't pretty today, but I'm thrilled she went right in.  There's about 1.5-2" of clearance all around the trans, and about 3/4" from the distributor to the firewall.

It's Miller Time!!!!!!!!!!

    I went back to the Roadster Shop and looked at a chassis going together with a Gibbons 1932 coupe 5 window body, and one look told me that my choice with Downs was correct.  Whoever is getting the Gibbons combination will have mods to do regardless of what engine/trans combination they have in mind.
    Plus, I feel my body is more complete, stronger, and well done.

EngTransIn2.jpg (53690 bytes)
    A *LOT* of time has been spent getting a small distance on the car.
    I had to open or elongate every mounting plate hole for the plates that secure the body to the chassis, but now 10 bolts keep it in place.
    The grill shell and radiator are propped in place, more on that later.
    I hated the stance the car had with the TCI All American shocks the Roadster Shop had put on, so I swapped in Aldan Eagles which dropped the rear of the car about 1.5", more to my liking.
    I chose the Sanderson CBR101 headers, and had them send me the standard 24" turnouts (TO).  I will be swapping them out for 36" TO, but this allowed me to get them on the car and make measurements for where the mounting bracket I'm welding on the 36" TO so they will be secured & not bouncing, preventing a cracked header weld.
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    Nov 02', As the chassis was being assembled I was very concerned about things fitting , and if I had a nickle for every time Bill O'Rourke at the Roadster Shop quipped, "Don't you think we know what we're doing?".  Well, to sum it up, even after installing the short water pump, I had a negative 1.5" measurement from water pump to the Vintage Air fan they spec'ed, meaning the water pump wanted to be inside of the fan.  Performing my own research, I uncovered the SPAL 30100231 that had 99% of the air flow and 1" thinner.   While you can't really see in the picture, the top of the radiator/shroud is the correct distance from the firewall, but the bottom is an extra 1/2" out.  Gee Bill O'Rourke, I guess you missed the measurements on that one.

    Bottom line, plan A, the engine mounts have to be moved back 3/4".  This will leave a 1/4" gap from water pump to fan, and 1/4" gap from distributor to fire wall.  I call that nestled in!  Also, drop it 1/2", explained below.

Rad Position 2.jpg (58321 bytes)
    Dec 02', Smack dab in the center is the 9+ nodular iron casing Danny Miller at Rear Gears assembled for me.  Torque Sensitive posi, 3.70 gear, and able to withstand up to ~850 HP.  More than safe for the 650 HP motor I plan to build.

    I spent the time required to produce drawings of center lines and angles for the engine/trans and rear.  Currently, with a 1" spacer at the trans mount and having rotated the rear with the 4 bar I have parallel center lines with 1.5 degree driveshaft angle.  When I drop the engine with the motor mount change, I should be able to bring the angle down to just below 1 degree.

    In the background you see the salt bag ballast used to simulate ride height once I'm in the car with seat, battery, gas, etc.

RearGears Casing 2.jpg (53980 bytes)
    While it may not seem like much, getting this thing titled in Jan '02 was  a major milestone in my book.   There's a great story behind how I got it titled, but I'll only tell it in person.

    During all this time in Nov & Dec '02 I've been researching and determining final touches such as gauges, headlights, emergency brake cables and handle, tail lights, front blinkers, and so on.  The Tanks 32 reproduction gas tank and Glide bench seat should arrive any day.  Then, I have to start planning the roll cage.

    I've also done real well on ebay getting parts.  Got a NOS set of the 1970 vintage M/T valve covers with crinkle black finish I like, the Holley 750 carb I wanted, and Weiand manifold.  All great deals and in fantastic condition.   My buddy Rich Figarelli *gave* me an MSD 8360 distributor in like new condition.   Wow.

    Mid Jan '03 the gas tank has arrived & I've set it into place, but I've a little frame grinding to do with a disk sander  for some minor clearances.   The seat and cushion arrived about the same time, and I assembled the frame & put it into place.  The 36" TO's are here & I think they look a lot better.   I'll be welding on the tab & returning for ceramic coating.

    I've also decided *not* to relocate the engine and avoid the snowball marathon: modify transmount, adversly affects final TO fitting against framerail, asking for eventual trouble with distributor, etc.  I'll be adding about 3/4" perch to the front cross member for the radiator and sliding the radiator forward 3/4".  Rootlieb will produce a hood with an extra 3/4" for a small fee over the basic hood price.

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    Over the last 2 months I've been cranking right along, and gotten behind on pictures & story, so today, 4/21/03, is catch-up day.
    Bottom line, by necessity I had to get a new welder, so after 3 weeks of comparisons between Lincoln, Miller, HTP, & other home welders, I bought a Millermatic175: fully adjustable voltage and wire feed, 220V, capable of 5/16 in multiple pass, etc.
In this picture you can see:
  • Lokar shifter installed, changed from 10" to 12" shaft to bring handle slightly above the seat
  • Lokar handbrake installed, much deliberation on placement.  Anywhere by the trans tunnel would conflict with frame crossmember, whether placed lengthwise or sideways
  • Driver's rollbar mount installed beneath floor, in front of handbrake, bolts are visible
  • Brake pedal access cut through, right below steering column
  • Steering column & wheel mock-up installed
SteerShiftBrake.jpg (52267 bytes)
    Some things to notice in this picture:
  • Below the floor a flange is welded to the frame for bolting to, on top is a leveling plate to fill gap between the floor and the body bolting plate that you see, on top and visible is a cardboard template of the roll bar plate, and finally, a short section of 1 3/4 tubing to show location of rollbar.  This same set up is on the drivers side.
  • Door post cut back to allow rear interior panel to flow smooth with door skin
  • 4 bolts across back for seat belt connection to seat belt tubing fit in below the floor and welded in to span between the frame.
  • 2 bolts in front of seat belt bar for bolting in rear of seat, spanning the tubing crossmembers added below.
Roll Lft2.jpg (41646 bytes)
    In this picture:
  • A frontal view of the doorpost trimmed back.  Because it was thinned out, especially at the bottom, I welded in some extra 1/8" support plate to beef it back up.  In fact, it's probably much beefier that it originally was.
  • Similarly, the 1" tubing that was welded in horizontally to the doorpost was cut out, pushed back 3/8", and rewelded as part of the smooth interior panel plan.
DoorPost.jpg (74710 bytes)

    Everything I buy gets modified to satisfy my desires.

  • When I located the seat, marked and drilled the holes for the adjustable seat flanges to bolt the seat down, despite careful measuring, I was right on top of the tubing below the rear bolt on the drivers side.  So, add a 2 1/2" extension to the 3/16" mounting flange.  You can see the gray steel extension on the passenger's side.
  • The release wire that connected the driver's-to-passenger release ran right across the middle.  What good is a flip up seat if you can't use it?  Drill & add extensions to move the wire forward.  I'll be adding a tray so things under the seat will move with the seat and not jam up under the seat.
  • The seat release hits the brake handle when in the forward position.  Grind out the rivets and flip it over so the bend is up.
SeatMods.jpg (58119 bytes)
    Here in the trunk, three additions
  • NHRA dictates that the battery must be secured to the frame, using 1" square tube stock bolted to the framerails, and a battery holder manufactured
  • 2 plates that bolt to flanges welded to the framerails for the rear roll bar supports
  • Sheet metal seperating the truck from the driver's compartment when the battery is mounted in the trunk.

Cut, weld, cut, weld, cut, weld....

BIG BIG thanks to all the support, advice, material, and use of the shop for fabricating over the last 2 months goes to Dave Daunheimer & his Competition Fabrications.  I'm grateful for his help.

BattRollBack.jpg (49397 bytes)
    As the whole car looks, March, 2003:
  • I fabricated and welded radiator supports on the front cross member to slide the radiator forward 3/4", and added a flange to the radiator for extra bolts.  It now has 4 on the bottom instead of 2.
  • Mounted the grill shell and set the top distance with poster board strip.
  • Added flange to turnout, sent to Sanderson, & returned with ceramic coating.
  • Berni insisted I remove the grizzly valve covers and put on the M/T's that I will be using for the picture.
  • Notice the steering shaft simulation.
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    Hoosier Hood == BIG fiasco.  Supposedly reputable per Kilborne and Brookville Roadster, $150 cheaper, and delivery in 2-3 weeks vs. 8 from Rootlieb I ordered the hood on 3/12/03.  3/26/03 when I called he vaguely remembered the order and would start right away.  I finally got it 5/6/03.  After trying to fit it in and wondering why it wanted the grill shell to be cocked, with Tom's help I measured aspects of the car for square and center to side dimensions of the hood.  All checked out.  Eventually, I measured from the centerline at the back of the hood to the front reveal tips and discovered they were off, and the hood was out of square, by 5/8"!!.  George made no offer to make a another, I hadn't paid for the hood yet and sent it back. 
    So, I called Rootlieb, followed their instructions for making a posterboard hood, and shipped them the template.  In June 03', they had it done in 4 weeks, and after 2 hours of minor fitting grinds I was done.  Here's the car with the Rootlieb hood fitted in. 
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    May 03', While waiting for Rootlieb hood after the Hoosier hood fiasco, I did the engine rebuild.  The goal was to build a nice engine for the most reasonable cost and use the funds to complete the rest of the car.
    During disassembly, this engine had obviously been rebuilt already.   No ridge on top of the cylinders, and had .030 pistons installed.  Cylinder 3 had slight surface scale as if a small amount of water from the early days of snowball had seeped in and slightly puddled on top of the piston.  Because the other cylinders and bearings checked out nice I just pulled the one piston and honed the wall clean.
   Surprise!  The cam & lifters were not only just barely seated, but the back of the cam indicated the Crane grind I was going to use.
    Cleaned & rusticide treated the block, heads, timing chain cover, new oil pan, etc. and painted VHT black.
    I did my own port match and runner polish, made sure lifters, pushrods, etc. were clean and reassembled.
454rebuilt.jpg (55152 bytes)
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  June 03', Cut down transmission dipstick and painted VHT crinkle black.  Discovered Andy Grove made exact alternator brackets I needed for a real reasonable price.  Got correctly formed upper radiator hose, water pump bypass hose, fan belt, Cloyse timing chain etc from local Car Quest.  For now, I'll be running the original points distributor freshed up, eventually it'll be MSD distributor and ignition system.
    Notice the tape on the firewall above, I've divised a way to secure the hood to the bottom of the firewall radiator support rod mounts that will not be obtrusive and will be removable with the hood.  When the hood is run without the sides you won't see the mounting hardware unless you stick your head in under the hood and look up. 
    June 03', I've made the transmission mount spacer, run the parking brake cables and made mounting hardware, and mounted the WireWorks fuse panel under the dash.  The Flaming River tilt steering column with wood wheel is suspended in place.  I made a mount for the brake pedal to the brake arm and rigged the gas pedal into place.  I disassembled the front disk brake assemblies, using rusticide on the rotors and calipers, painting the spindle mounts with VHT.  Plugged, blasted, painted, and remounted the brake master cylinder.
    The starter was disassembled, cleaned and repainted.  00 welding cable was run from trunk to engine, hooked to battery and starter and engine spun.
    June 03', I disassembled the Ford 9", and polished out the entire rear end section, much of it by hand.  LoKo did the powder coating on the housing along with the engine mounts and transmission mount and spacer.  It looks even better live.   I wrapped the housing in plastic to keep it clean during the rest of the build.   I installed the center section, inserted the seals and axle shafts, and remounted the mounting hardware and brake assemblies.  I cleaned and painted the drum gloss black.
    Tail lights are installed.
    Measurements have been made for body-to-frame shims.
    That weird thing under the rear end is concrete I copied from right below it in the picture.  Seems I always forget and leave a piece of wood in the picture, and decided to edit this 2x4 out!!  Check it out, scroll back and look at all of the full car pictures in my garage, and even most of the specific pictures, and they all include wood!
9inchPwdrCoat.jpg (50326 bytes)
    Jul 03', Planning to use Autometer Phantom gauges, I cut out circles for speedo, tach, oil, fuel, volt, and water and CD/radio from cereal boxes.  I spend lots of time over the next month moving these circles around on the dash deciding on where I want everything placed.
    Steel braided line has been run for both the fuel system and transmission oil line to the radiator.  The Holley Blue electric pump, regulator, screen and fine fuel filters are installed.  Clamps have been installed to hold the battery cables, fuel lines, and transmission lines.
     The grill shell mounting hardware is made, and so are the hood rods and radiator support rods.    I've inserted a TCI roll stop and cut out the access for the brake cylinder.
    During initial placement of the steering column the hole became oblong as I dropped the shaft due to spark plug interference, so I filled and refit the column.   I fabricated mounting hardware for the throttle cable and transmission electric kickdown. 
    Hood rods have been fit to the hood, along with hood braces.
    License plate holder installed, header turnout brackets for securing to frame made and installed.
    Headlights installed, shock mounts boxed in, drilled hole through light mount carraige bolt to run the light wire through and drilled hole into the frame rail for wire run.
    Overflow tank mounted, spreader bars final fit, line lock installed.
    Purchased and started installing the gauges: Autometer Phantom - 160mph speedo, 10k tach, fuel, volt, oil, and water temp.  I wanted to set it up so that the speedo was directly over the steering column and the tach just to the left.  To get the look I wanted, had to perform a fair amount of modifications to the dash support structure: cut, grind, weld in a variety of ways.
    Due to space required for Vintage Air setup, will be abandoning that possibility and will be mounting the CD/radio in the dash.
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    The car is essentially together at this point, and ready for disassembly, body, and paint.   Wiring has been completed and checked out, some of the wiring has been left unterminated or a little long for final fit, but most has been cut to length.  Same goes for brake and throttle cables.  Made mock up side panels for fabricating the covers and checked out the gauges.
    Discovered a couple of gotcha from Downs, lesson to be learned, pride in the job and product is secondary in the hot rod market.  When I got the body I checked in all the glass, but for protection I did not unwrap it.  Mistake, the windshield was not clear as ordered and was tinted dark gray.  Per Downs, it's too late now.  So I order another one, obviously being very specific about getting clear.   Yep, tinted shows up.  3rd times a charm and clear arrives, but too big.  Of course, I have to pay all this shipping.   No more screwing around, I made a 1/4" luaun template, and I'm having a local glass outfit grind it down.  When the body was delivered, the power windows were installed and down.  I see now, it's my own fault for not being a nuisance and making them run the windows up and down.  The runners on the passenger's side were put in crooked and the window jams about 2/3's of the way up.  Rip up & repair.
    In the process I came up with a slick way to run the power window wires into the door.   Too hidden to take a good picture!
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<== The grill really isn't all bent up, the ribs are perfect & run up & down cleanly,  it's an illusion.
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