This definitely isn’t going to look like anything Colin Chapman created, however I’m hoping it will look vaguely like something Henry Ford would have penned.
Car design is very tricky to get correct. The natural urge is to smooth every edge into the next and sooner or later the result, is no longer a ‘design’ but an ‘amorphous blob’ with no definition at all. Do you remember when the first Ford Sierra came out with it’s radical aerodynamic shape? It quickly gained the nick-name ‘Jelly Mould’. The 1937 Ford was equally as radical in it’s day. The aerodynamics of this vehicle were a huge advance on those just 5 years previous.
Take the 1932 Ford:
Don’t get me wrong, this is one good looking car, but using modern knowledge we wouldn’t design a car like this. The wings are open fronted and have open sides. They do nothing more than protect the occupants from rain and stones. In aerodynamic terms they act as huge wind brakes, slowing the vehicle down considerably. As for the headlamps….
When sanding the bodywork, it is very easy to start ‘blending’, but the difference between a good design and a bad one is creating definition and style.
The picture below demonstrates the ridge line down the centre of the wings and another behind the headlamps. When sanding, they feel wrong, yet from a visual perspective they really define the car. Give this car smooth wings and round headlamps and the whole character that makes this car so popular with restorers and Hot Rodder’s alike would be gone. The grill is another masterpiece, with it’s tapered shape it lends a an element of speed and exaggerated perspective to something that is stationary.
For the 1937 Ford inspired ‘Dreamsicle’, Chip Foose has increased sharpness of many of the transitions and body lines. Chip has always been one of my favourite car designers.
I have followed this approach in my design.
- the flatness of the bonnet sides at the front bottom edges,
- the extensions to the wings (they have been pulled forward at the front outside edges),
- the extension of the wings swage line right to the bottom edge of the wing
- the taper of the grill,
- the shape around the headlamps (particularly below),
- the profile of the front edge when view from above.
- the wings joining in at the bottom of the grill, adding an extra tapering swage line to the design
Increasing the sharpness of some of the swage lines and the panel junctions has added a certain crispness to the shape. This is turn adds a certain modern element to the design that sets this Hot Rod apart. It’s undeniably old fashioned yet somehow, you are left totally convinced that this is a modern take. Ignoring the new monstrosity that is the Mini, one could use the new Fiat 500 as a parallel design concept.
Changing the joint where the wing joins the body-shell, was inspirational. For me this does 2 things. Firstly, it adds a historical bond that we can all associate with but secondly and most importantly, it now adds 2 darkened joint lines that look they are being swept backwards in the wind; almost like tall grass.
My design will take elements from both the original and the modern interpretation. For instance, I prefer the originals headlamps shape, but where I’m using oval Mini headlamps, the contour around each headlamp is limited somewhat; which means mine might end up more like the orange cars anyway.
For my buck, I need to add an inch wide strip of body filler down the centre to increase the swage line definition. My buck is only a couple of millimetres out but the difference is very obvious. Until I have ‘swage lines’ like the orange car, I won’t be happy.
The teardrop shape extending backwards from the headlight extends further back along the wing on the blue car, so I will therefore extend mine to match. It’s difficult to change the shape below the headlight, as I’m using oval Mini headlamps which are slightly too large and more reclined.
With the car taking a solid form, it is becoming obvious how low this car is going to be. I know a Haynes Roadster or Lotus Super 7 isn’t exactly tall, but the roof line of a standard ’37 Ford, which this car will emulate, stands around 6 foot tall. The roof of this tribute, is going to be around elbow height.
I’ve spent a fair bit of time correcting my CAD drawing mistake. I took a flap sander to the buck and simply sanded away until I was happy the shape was right. I still have a few flats to correct and I haven’t made up my mind what shape the rear of the wing will take but generally things are looking much better.
I haven’t done too much shaping on the bonnet sides as I need to shore the side structure up a little.
Sorry this one is blurred – my eyes were probably clogged up with MDF dust!
Hopefully, next week, with the wing shaped a little further and in one uniform colour you will be able to see my interpretation much more clearly, as in the above shots, swage lines are almost invisible even to me.
The next jobs are to cut the bulkhead and complete the grill opening. Once complete the sides of the bonnet will be solid enough to sand properly.
I will also cover the whole wing with a skim of filler and create a much smoother shape. Any bodywork pro will tell you a 1mm deep dent will look like heavy impact damage in some lights, therefore I decided to get this wooden buck as close as possible.