Wooden Buck For 37 Ford Phantom Part 8

They say ‘A change is as good as a rest’. Well I’ve had one, now I’m doing the other.

I’ve had a break from the car; this was in part because of the river running through the workshop and partly because the last time I went out there, because of the cold and damp, I blew up just about every power tool I owned. The compressor struggled to start and my new lathe was already rusty. The damp had already started to make the buck swell and distort, cracking the filler I had applied.

Upon my final return, I began stacking MDF boards 12 thick to form the sides of the roof. 800 screws and a tub of glue later, I was ready to start attacking this solid mass with a electric plane.

Once I had the shape I’d set out in the CAD, I stood back and thought ‘that looks odd’. Over the Christmas break, the brother in law, another hot rodder, came over and without prompting said ‘the doors looks too long’. He came up with a great idea. ‘Lengthen the front wings’. He also reminded me of the old hot rodding rule when chopping and sectioning a car body and that is to make sure the glass forms no more than 25% of the cars height. I checked (22%)

Super 37 Re-Design

The design from some angles doesn’t look too bad, but when you start to work out the doors would have to be over 4 feet long, then things suddenly don’t work at all.

Super 37 Re-Design

This is a quick rendering of the original concept or current buck shape.
Super 37 original rendering

Below is a rendering of the brother-in-laws suggestion, combined with me moving the screen and canting it back a little more.
I also realised, whilst sanding the side widow, in it present configuration the glass would have a sharp bend at the back corner, which would mean custom formed glass.  When the body is level on the table, the rear arch, despite being ½ taller, looks a couple of inches lower than the front. So I may end up re-profiling the rear arch a little too.
Super 37 Re-Design

With the re-design, the quarter-light will end up at the rear, and the door will be no longer than the average car.
I’m hoping I can cut up the front wings the same way I have done with the rendering, but I know things are never that easy.

The bonnet is starting to look a little long, but it is in fact still around 10 inches shorter than a conventional Super 7 or Haynes Roadster.
Super 37 Re-Design

It’s strange, when I was working on the chassis, it always looked tiny and somwhat reminiscent of a roller skate. However, when I work on the body, it looks huge and a lot taller than it actually is. Maybe it is because the table I am building the body on raises it 15 inches from the floor, or maybe it is simply optical illusion but I still find it incredible that this body will actually end up a couple of inches lower than the average Locost.

Now there are those that will question me making the roof out of, what is essentially almost solid MDF. The sides are actually around 6″ thick. My reasons are partly down to inexperience and also down to a local supply of cheap MDF. Sure, if I had a local supply of cheap clay then no doubt it would be clay and my life would be much easier.
There are those that would have used foam blocks, fibreglass and filler, but I come out in a rash as soon as look at fibreglass and the cost soon adds up. So far I have almost half a car and I’ve only used 1 tub of filler and 5 sheets of cheap MDF and I have something I can hammer against without fear of destruction.

Solid MDF does have its advantages over an MDF frame. The wings were built in a frame fashion; any change in shape meant I had to keep adding extra bits here and there to prevent sanding through. With a solid block, there is much less chance of swelling and distortion and zero chance of rub through. I managed to get the roof into shape in a weekend, a fraction of the time it took for the front wing. When sanding a solid mass of MDF as you go through one layer onto another you are left with a small ring, almost like the rings on a tree. These faint rings can be used as a great visual guide, as for the surface to be even, these rings need to have gradual and smooth arches. Any bumps and dents in the surface are emphasised by wonky lines.

The tools I’ve used on the roof so far are:

  • Electric jig saw
  • Electric Plane (perfect for speedy shaping)
  • Electric Belt sander
  • Air orbital sander
  • Long sanding board
  • Disposable foam sanding block

I took only the crudest of measurement whilst cutting the roof boards, whereas the front wings were plotted and carefully cut to the nearest millimetre. Yet the results turned out very similar.

In a couple of the pictures you might spot my doodlings with a marker pen. These were me crudely plotting the MK1 CAD windows and swage lines. I love the swage lines on an original 37 Ford as they add so much character.
Standard swage lines 37 Ford
Yet on some vehicles, also loosely based on a 37, they have gone to great lengths to remove them.
Ford 37 Fibreglass

Now, before you think I am criticising one, I’d like to point out that the red one is a lot smaller than the real one. When you see small replicas, take pedal cars, the swage lines can look grossly out of proportion. Maybe with the smaller version (red) the swage lines simply didn’t look right or maybe that was just the ‘smoothed’ look they wanted, but for me I’m going to have to give the standard lines a try. I’m guessing I will have to tone them down a little by decreasing their depth as well as height.

Super 37 - Seventh Heaven

The picture above shows where the chassis will sit. Because of the 4×4 system, using the desirable big ‘n’ small wheel combo gets tricky with only 2 standard front differential gear ratios.

Here comes the maths………….

Tyre Side wall height Circumference 1 gearbox rev
= mm travel
Front Diff Rear Diff
215 65 15 139.75 2075 529.8 3.92:1 3.92:1
305 25 20 76.25
245 55 17 134.75 2203 562.5 3.92:1 3.92:1
285 25 22 71.25
235 65 16 152.75 2236.5 571.0 3.92:1 3.92:1
255 35 21 89.25
235 65 17 152.75 2316.3 591.4 3.92:1 3.92:1
255 35 22 89.25
235 65 17 152.75 2316.3 591.4 3.92:1 3.92:1
255 35 22 89.25

I was originally going to use 3.92:1 diffs front and rear and 265 30 19 tyres with a circumference of 2098.9mm. One revolution of the gearbox would result in 535.9mm travel at the wheels (top speed 155mph).

I’ll ignore the now ultra rare 3.13:1 rear diff option and I couldn’t find any 3.62 front diff variations worth looking at.
That leaves the first combo (top pair of rows). Unfortunately, the front tyres have more sidewall than the rears which will look odd. Therefore, unless they bring out some new tyre sizes, the big ‘n’ little combo is out for now.

In case, you’re wondering, the CAD model of the STIG is around 6′ tall. I’m only 5′ 7″ (on a good day), so my eye level will be a little lower, plus I don’t plan on wearing a helmet so there should be at least 4″ head clearance.