It’s amazing, when building a car, how many jobs get left ‘almost’ finished because you are 1 bolt, nut or rare part short.
So, although it may appear I haven’t done much lately, that is only partly true.
The truth it, when creating a new car shape from scratch you leave several bits ‘close enough’ until the next bit is done. Without both bits 95% finished, it’s impossible to envisage exactly how things are going to end up.
Therefore, I have been going all over the buck putting an extra 1mm of filler here and sanding another mm there repeatedly until I was happy. I’m pretty sure I have got it just right.
The roof was a pig, it looked very flat topped. Even though it was 4cm higher in the middle than the outside edges, it looked as though it had been stuck under a low bridge. It’s now 10cm higher in the middle. Getting the dome right took quite a few attempts and revisits.
I’ve added more than 6cm extra thickness, around the headlights, but unless you could see before and after side by side, you’d never know. I hated the area around the Mini One headlamps, so I tried to make the lines more subtle and curved. Now, if I swapped to the 1937 Ford items (my plan B) they wouldn’t fit the style of the car and wheels. Which is great, as the Mini items are common and dirt cheap, whereas the originals aren’t, would need importing from the USA and also need custom buckets fabricating.
With the original wing shape around the headlamps, they looked a little too close together and a bit cross eye’d, not wrong just somehow not right for the car.
Here are four different 1937 Ford headlamp and wing shapes.
- Top left – OZ Design Hot Rod with replica 1937 Ford headlamps
- Top Right – OZ Design Hot Rod with Mini headlamps
- Bottom Left – OZ Design Hot Rod with Mini headlamps
- Bottom Right – Genuine 1937 Ford
What I have, once final radiusing is done will be closest to top right with an element of top left; especially if I make my own headlamp rings. They’re still a little close, but until the other side of the buck is complete I’m happy for now.
Now the shape of this 1937 Ford Slantback wooden buck is coming together I have decided not to put such a big radius on all the swage lines and edges. The original Ford, has at least 15mm radius on most swages, whereas I have less than 5mm. Presently, they are all still sharp right angles as it will be easier to get one side the same as the other, but I don’t think they are far off how they will end up. I think it adds a modern crisp twist but still respects the original lines.
I’ve bought a set of 19×8.8j wheels literally for pennies off fleabay. They are from a Mercedes SLK. I had to travel 200 miles to get them home, but even with petrol they worked out less than the cost of the wheel nuts. I couldn’t use the standard Ford wobble nuts, I had to get some internal drive 60° M12 x 1.5 nuts designed for the 19.5mm bolt holes on this style of alloy wheels. You use a special extension drive to reach the nuts, so at least they will be harder to nick. VW, Audi, Mercedes all have the same 5 x 112 P.C.D. as the Granada 4×4 hubs I’m using. The hole in the centre of VW and Audi wheels would be too small to fit the central 63.4mm Ford locating flange on the hubs, but Mercedes wheels have a 73.1mm hole. Therefore, to stop high speed wobble and the wheel nuts loosening, I’ve bought some 63.4 to 73.1mm spigots, to fill the gap (£4).
The seller had just spent £200 having them refurbished, so although I felt bad handing over a pocket full of coins, I was quite chuffed. They’re not my first choice of style, but they grow on you.
The happiness faded, when I went to fit one particular wheel.
Three were 5×112, but one turned out to be 5×110.5 and the holes were too small for the wheel studs. Obviously, It didn’t fit.
When you shine a torch down the bolt hole, you can see it’s off centre to the tapered mounting surface. Luckily, there is plenty of meat left to correct this error. Unfortunately they are about 80mm too big to get on my drill press, which is just as well, because getting the PCD spot on would have been tricky. However, I think I have worked out a way around this…. more later.
I’ve offered them up to the buck, but really the need to sit another 45mm further inboard and further up into the arch, but the without cutting chunks of buck away, they’ll have to stay where they are. Ages ago, I did some sums on how wide the wheelbase would be once the wheels were on. It seems, I was spot on. – pure fluke! phew!
I wanted some big diameter wheels, but I couldn’t go too big because as the rolling radius goes up so does the top speed. With 19x35x225 the theoretical top speed is roughly 156mph. I have seen a Luego and a Westfield with 17″ rims, but thats the biggest I’ve seen. 19″ seemed the biggest that would fit the arch without raising the ground clearance (4wd 60’s Gasser style?). The rims and tyres have to be the same front and rear because of the 4 wheel drive system.
Apart from that, I’ve been back on the suspension and steering. I’d bought all the bolts, plus everything else needed to finish things a while back, but never got around to fitting everything together. I also found a few brackets missing on one side of the car.
When I swapped from front mounted Escort steering rack, to rear mounted Citroen BX, I didn’t make the rack extensions. Therefore it was back to the lathe to finish the steering.
The Sierra track rod ends were M14 x 2mm, where as the Citroen BX rack was M14 x 1.5mm, so I couldn’t simply use a bit of studding.
I’d bought a couple of good quality tapping dies from a car boot sale at £3 the pair (with a tap wrench thrown in) and set to work, making a custom bit of studding. There are a couple of flats carefully linished onto the extension so I can get a spanner on and tighten the extension right up to the Citroen rack.
I have some powder coated, rebuilt Sierra uprights and a new ‘old stock’ genuine Citroen steering rack, but for now they will stay in the ‘goodies cupboard’.
There are still loads of little jobs and tiny brackets to fabricate, so I’ll concentrate on getting all these done for a while.
Update…. Doh! I forgot about Ackermann Geometry!!! Duh!
I need to make custom uprights and new rack extensions