1931 Ford Model A Tudor Hot Rod Project, part 8

It’s been a while since I had time to work on the Swedish Banger Tudor. I am starting a vintage motorcycle showroom so we are busy getting bikes ready to sell. However, some progress was made this week:

After some machine work, the Lincoln brakes joined forces with the Buick aluminum brake drums. I decided to use Lincoln style self energizing brakes on this hot rod. It is going to be a DRIVER so stopping power is good. These are made by Wilson Welding and the quality is excellent.

I opted for the old school 45 fin Buick aluminum brake drums. These also came with 90 fins on the later model Buicks but it would not have the same look. Even though it is a full fendered car, the brake drums will be visible.

The dude that build the firewall miss judged the position of the engine…ahem, that would be your’s truly! With the new radiator with condenser for A/C, the radiator is thicker and the engine had to go back about 1/2 inch. I have to make a small notch here to clear the engine.

The late fifties Volvo 444 dash cluster looks right at home in the 1932 dash.

 

I cut and welded a old timey swan shifter to the Volvo shifter. It came out less than 2 inches from the original location.

 A quick mock up with the MG seat. Looks pretty comfy to me.

So if I fix the space against the firewall the little four banger looks like it is made for it.

I was told by various sources that when using 1940 style hydraulic brakes on a model A axle, I had to “clock” the brake cylinder at about 11:00 or 1:00 o’clock in order to clear the spring perch. Turns out that I only have to remove some material and it fits fine. I will clean up the hole and make a cover to keep dust out.

Mo later…

1931 Ford Model A Tudor Hot Rod Project, part 7

Nothing like a freshly blasted frame to work with. I want to install boxing plates so having a clean frame will make for good welds.

I used my plasma cutter to make the boxing plates from 1/8 inch steel plate.

I use a 1/2 thick plate as a guide for the plasma cutter to get straight cuts. Tip: Make sure the edge on the guide is smooth so when you drag the cutter along it does not hang up. The smoother the movement, the cleaner the cut.

I heart my plasma cutter. Besides, making it a snap to make the boxing plates I also used to cut needed holes. I made these templates from old bearing races.

Just clamp on and zip around with the plasma cutter.

Done!

The holes are for access points for bolts that hold the body to the frame. Also, some will be used to run wiring.

I set the boxing plates inside the frame about 1/4 inch. This is a win X 4. Why?

Win 1. I don’t have to dress the welds.

Win 2. Grinding the welds would weaken them anyway.

Win 3. The recessed plates offers some extra room and protection for brake and fuel lines.

Win 4. This still leaves a stock and good looking inside edge.

This particular hole is used for holding the fender and also the hood latch. The boxing plates ends up right under this hole so I made an opening just big enough to handle a 7/16 wrench. You know, to hold the nut. It is important to have a firm grip on your nuts.
 With the new Walker radiator in place I can confirm the location of the Volvo engine.
I just had to make sure that the radiator location fits with the location of the body so the hood gaps are acceptable.
 Frame motor mount mounts templated and will be welded to the boxing plates.
This is obviously not a true traditional build, it is going to be a driver with capital “D” so I opted for a new Vega steering box. A little tight with the steering box but it has to be where is has to be. The drag link dictates the location.
Knowing the approximate rake of the frame and body in ride height, I can make sure the engine is level with earth.
Motor mount raw…
Motor mount finished. I love to make parts that looks like they are cast.
I am using Lincoln style Wilson Welding self energizing brakes for the front.
In order to make the Lincoln backing plates fit flush on the spindle flange I had to remove some material to make the flush with the surface.
Good to know info: The part number for the brake hose for the Wilson Lincoln brakes is Wagner # F49927 or NAPA UP36531
I just made some tabs for the hoses.
Since I am going to use a 1932 tank attached to the rear of the frame I had to install the rear shocks in front of the axle. They were mounted directly to the 1936 rods.
The front shocks will be installed using Ford F-100 shock mounts. They will need some modification to fit under the fenders.
I love the smell of excited molecules in the morning.
Mo later…

1931 Ford Model A Tudor Hot Rod Project, part 6

I decided this car should have A/C and there is not a good way to hide the evaporator in a model A grille.

So…the decision was made to procure one of them fancy-schmancy 1932 grille. As the grille sits further forward on the radiator and it has a separate insert it will be easier to hide the evaporator.

I ordered the radiator from Walker. I got a four row unit made for a hot small block. Why? ‘Cause I may want one of those some day. Since the inlet/outlet is at the same location on the Volvo engine, all I have to do is add some adapters.

It may seem premature to order the radiator at this stage but the thickness and location will determine the engine location.

Using an old Ford to haul old Ford parts. The frame is going to blasting so I have a clean surface to install boxing plates.1966 Ford F100 4X4 short bed is a great work horse.

The firewall have this indentation for the fuel outlet.

Because A/C I will need all the under dash space I can get so the that funky indentation need to be gone.

I also carried the bottom ridge across the firewall for a consistent look.

The OCD in me want to remove the driver’s side bead but I am going to run swing pedals and they add strength to the firewall.

More OCD issues. The firewall brackets for the hood rods were in good condition but I had to remove them as there could be some crud behind them…and there were…some…crud. I feel better now!

The wood under the visor was replaced at some point but it did not fit well so I decided to remove it.

 

Wood header gone!

The vinyl used for the top was in good condition but it was un-even and kinda lumpy so it had to go as well. This OCD condition is really a problem!!

Since the windshield is attached to the wood header I had to come up with an alternative. This flat bar with nuts welded to it will now hold the windshield.

The windshield frame had several holes presumably from a wiper assembly. Since my wiper motor is now going to be hidden in the header panel, the are no longer needed.

Do you know where holes go after they are punched out? Well, some companies sells them to guys like me.

I made this “spade” of copper to hold the filler piece. Weld does not stick to copper.

Also, I use the copper when I weld up the smaller holes, it prevent the melted steel to blow out on the other side.

Works like a charm.
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Jumping around a bit but there is a lot to cover:

This is the base for steel railing and I am sure you can picture this part bolted to the floor. I found this at a steel supply house for a $1.50 and it will be perfect as the base for the steering column.

 I spent a fair amount of time repairing the sheet metal on the aprons due to stress cracks. No rust, just stress cracks.

These are seats from a 1964 MG Midget. They will be great for this hot rod.

You can go out and spend lots of money are snazzy pedal assemblies or…cut these out of a scrapped Volvo. Since I am using a Volvo engine it makes sense to use these. The clutch is hydraulic and we know the geometry will be perfect. They are light weight, have internal returns springs, quiet nylon bushings, tapered and hollow. Did I say they are good looking too??

Held in place with a clamp they look like they will be perfect. More on this later…

One concern with the 1932 grille shell was if the hood line would be correct. Well, this profile picture confirms that it will be…you know…perfect.

Of course, with a profile picture like this I just had to do a little Photo Chopping. I don’t think I will chop this car the first season but damn, that look pretty good!

Part Seven here

 

1931 Ford Model A Tudor Hot Rod Project, part 5

Someone tried to open the door with an axe, not recommended.
In order to get access, I removed the inner panel.

Using a good door as a donor, I got myself a repair panel.

A little mud and some primer and we got ourselves a snazzy new door. I spent a lot of time to make sure the door fit the body. Feels good to knock off another item on the list.

Next: headlights. I am guessing these are from a truck. They have a Ford script so they must be good, right?

They cleaned up good.

In order to prevent any binding in the spring, I made sure it has the same angle as the cross member. This will determine the location of the rear radius rods.
Turns out all roads leads to where the transmission cross member will be. By “roads” I mean the rear rods and the front split wishbones. Since that is the case, I will make the cross member the central mounting point for all rods.
The rear rods will be connected in one central swivel point just like Ford designed it.
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1931 Ford Model A Tudor Hot Rod Project, part 4

Came up with a name for this build:

Project Swedish Banger Tudor 

Stress cracks fixed. Once I made sure the frame was square, I also welded all the cross members to the frame rails. This helped the rigidity greatly. If I were to put a V8 in this thing I would have blasted the frame and installed boxing plates but I am also trying to get on the road this year.

.I will use tube shocks so I will not need the dog bone attachment so it was cut off. It makes the spring hanger look cleaner anyway.

I will use polyurethane bushings in the shackles so these sleeves have to be removed. After 87 years they tend to be kinda stuck but a little heat and measured amount of violence will bring them out.

This is the stuff ricers use in their poly bushings to avoid squeak. Bushing squeak sux especially if you don’t have a radio to drown out the noise!

These are 1940 Ford rear torque rods and they are much stronger and they look better than the model A part. Since I am going to loose the torque tube and run a open drive shaft, I will need some sort of torque rods for the rear axle as well.

The front end will consist of split 1936 wishbones, a 4 inch dropped axle and a reversed eye spring, self energizing Lincoln brakes, Wilson hubs and Buick finned aluminum drums. I love self energizing brakes, I just hate to have to energize them myself!
I would love an original Ford dropped axle but time demanded a quick solution. Because of the dropped axle I will have to use deep drop steering arms to clear the wish bones. a Vega box with cross steer will help this hot rod go down the road straight.
So where are we going to put this engine? How about right about here…?

I had to angle the left motor mount to clear the location of the Vega steering box. Maybe not pretty but it works. Chrome Swedish valve cover on dirty motor for effect!

There…engine is mounted.

I am telling you…Henry planned for a Volvo with four speed overdrive in the model A chassis!

Sometimes you have to roll it out for perspective. Now I realized that I need to make the trans cross member the attachment point for both front bones AND the 1940 rear radius rods.

Mo later…

1931 Ford Model A Tudor Hot Rod Project, part 3

Holy Model A body, Batman! The body just took flight!

A lonely frame waiting for better times.

With the body off the frame it is very easy to disassemble the rest.

Front and rear suspension comes apart with just a few bolts. You really appreciate…well, at least I do appreciate how simple these cars are.

Hey, it’s a model A starter kit!

The frame is so clean it actually have some black paint still on it.

The goal is to drive this car to the Goodguys show in Puyallup in late July. This will not be easy but who doesn’t like a challenge. Because of the limited time, this will not be a highly detailed hot rod. My emphasis for now will be on stance, rake, drivability and of course safety.

1931 Ford Model A Tudor Hot Rod Project, part 2

Some assembly required…after re-installing the fenders and a few more things I think I have decided to leave the patina as is. As solid as it is, I think it would be a shame to SANDBLAST and RESTORE this car. Then it would just be another shiny car.

Here is the story on it. It was used as a mail carrier in the Badlands, South Dakota. The engine gave up in 1958 and it was stored indoors until 1990 when the second owner found it. He also stored it indoors until two weeks ago when your truly became the custodian.

All of the interior is missing and the engine head is cracked so I have a clean canvas to work with.

Besides, body and paint is expensive. I will concentrate on wheels and tyres, stance, drivability, safety and comfort.

I am thinking:

Vega box with cross steer, split 1936 .’bones, drobbed axle with reversed eye spring, Lincoln brake with Buick drums, 1957 Ford column and steering wheel…for starters.

Engine…I got some ideas..

Swap Meet Loot

There is nothing more exciting than getting the parts together for a hot rod build. You have a car and a plan (hopefully!) but it needs various components. Ya sure, you can whip out your Visa card, go on the great wide internet and buy a new part or even worse, a new blister packed part! There is no sport in that!
The hunt for good used parts is the most exciting, finding the right part at the right price is the most rewarding. Sometimes the part acquired completes or improves the car, sometimes both.
To look at it more philosophically, these parts were made almost 90 years ago and who knows what they have been through or where they have been. Now, they are coming together to complete a car. How cool is that?? As a matter of fact, one parted out car may put ten other vintage cars back on the road.
Why be straight when you can be bent? Kelsey Hayes bent spoke 16 inch accessory wheels will be the rolling stock on this build. Tires will probably be 7:00 in rear, 5:25-5:50 in front. I don’t know what color for the rims yet. The swap meet is also where you can pick up twenty new 1/2 inch by twenty lug nuts for the above wheels for ten bucks.
This very nice grill shell replaces the butchered one. Quite the improvement, wouldn’t you say?

A 1931 license plate will license the car for life.

 

These ugly fender are in great condition in the areas where mine are weak. We will do some slicing and dicing.

 

Also, the cheap Swede in me appreciates a good value like the unused $69.95 P&J shocks for five American pesos.

This is a ’37 spare tire cover. I also have the surround part. Since this is going to be a driver, I think a spare tire will make sense. Who has time to call AAA when you are on the poker run, you just gotta go!

Let’s do some work!

This is the right side frame horn. The fender brace came off and this probably reflects multiple attempts to re-attach it using stick welders. Now it is just a big lump of “weld”

After removing what seemed to be a lbs of “weld”, the frame horn is ready to be reattached. If this was going to be a highboy I would probably replace this piece but the fenders will cover it.

Tacked for now so I can test fit the fenders.

Hey, it’s a model A fender patch panel. I will scribe the outline and hopefully it will fit!
Mo later…

1931 Ford Model A Tudor Hot Rod Project, part 1

Walking thru a local swap meet I saw this straight model A Tudor in the corner of my eye.

I was really there to check out some motorcycle parts but…there is was.

Spending the early part of it’s life as a postal delivery car in North Dakota’s Badlands it had been enjoying a very dry climate. It was stored for decades until the previous owner bought it in 1991. It was then stored indoors until yours truly became the custodian.

Check out this quarter panel…other that being very straight, there is ZERO rust. Even the paint under the fender is instact.

So other than the fact that my welder will be bored, why do I need this car?

Cowl Porn. Again, ZERO rust. How refreshing!

So yeah, it followed me home….and I found a motorcycle tool box for twenty bucks!

One great reason is that everybody should have a hot rod. Unlike an original restoration, you have completely free hand to build and create whatever YOU want.

And the most motivating factor of all:  A ten year stretch of hot rod withdrawals!! There is only one kind of medicine for this!

Let’s get busy!