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34 Coupe for El Mirage 1952; My first build in 50 years!
Topic Started: Jul 15 2014, 08:55 AM (2,758 Views)
Duffy
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Like the subtitle says, it's been a while. I took months just to get started, doing homework and research and all, but it's down to torturing plastic at last. And it feels pretty weird, and also pretty dang good. I got my soundtrack from those days goin' and everything: Beatles. Beach Boys. Vince Guaraldi & Stan Getz. (Yah, I was like that. Anybody remember The Pretty Things?...) I tell ya, things have changed in this hobby, too. It's a great time to be 14 again.

Here's what I've got so far. Starting with an AMT/ERTL '34 Ford Street Rod, I gutted the floorpan and kept the main rails, Zee'd it out and moved the mill back a foot and a half. I'm using bits from a Revell '40 Ford truck, like the new X-member, and a new flathead from Early Years Resin.

Posted Image

Having mocked up the heights and clearances in the chassis - I still got some tweaking to get the axles just right, but they're within a couple inces of where I want 'em - I'm starting on the bodywork. The top's chopped (and that pooftah vinyl skylight's gonna go!) and I opted to just slam the body down instead of complex channeling, reasoning that on the real car I'd be ripping everything out of the shell and welding it up solid, then bracing with a tube frame (NOT a roll cage, I don't see evidence of that at this point). I'll cut a new driver-side door once everything's in place.

So, question one: am I thinking right in this? Is there precedent in that time period (ca. ~1952) for a gutted shell like I'm proposing?

Posted Image

The nose is made of the regular hood on the '34, with the pointy section from the '40 truck welded on and then heat-formed to make the snouts.

Second question at this point: Since the motor's set back and like half-accessible through the fold-up hood panels, would the real-world guy be better off welding the whole thing solid and hinging the whole shell to lift up like some Funny Car? A quick area estimate (tracing the body side & top onto graph paper), figuring 1/16" average thickness including the tube frame, gives me 300lb. Two guys could heft the front end and stick a pole under there to work on the guts.

But DID they, ever, back in the day? What do you think? - Or should I just go with the limited access of the regular panels?

Anyway, that's where I'm at as of this morning. Anybody wants to follow along in more detail and why the heck would you, search up "Arnie Paitch" on Facebook and "like" it - my practice in modeling is to get right down inside what I'm doing to better think things through (like this present problem), and to help do that I created a fictional builder In The Day to do the build. It sorta entertains me, and maybe some others.

'Duster
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carl
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:))) got a good start know its going to look good when done rlr
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carmad1957
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Howdy there Duster! Looks like quite a project you're getting into there~ Wish I could give some input on some of your questions, but don't have that much real world experience with this type of car- you are SURE in the right place to get some tho! Guess I'll just have to sit back and enjoy as it unfolds!!
Looks like it's gonna be FUN~**~ rlr
Kevin C,
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ronr
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B) :))) rlr
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Dutchman
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:))) :))) :))) Great start!!!!
Powered by ford
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Duffy
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Ehhhh, well, after a day of kicking around, "Cooler Head" has prevailed. And I'm lucky it only took one. I'll weld the hood up solid and hinge it all back at the new firewall. End of problem.

More later, if & when I have some good progress to share.

'Dust
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krwasson
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:))) :))) rlr
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Throback
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fbr :))) fbr
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Another Rick
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This is going to be one killer ride.rrr I really love these older LSR's. As to the question on engine accessibility, I would think the engine would have been covered with a removable aluminum 'doghouse' in the interior area which should give sufficient area to work. When the engine needed to be removed, the whole body would be unbolted from the frame and removed, or it could have been pulled out from the front. That being said, your idea of a flip up body also sounds like a good idea. Now, let's see more updates.
I build models because GOD allows me to and because I can't afford the real thing!!
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Duffy
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Yah, Rick, thanks - I've been imagining how things would've been bolted or unbolted, & safety & convenience & economy and and and, & I've come 'round to "welding up" the whole front section and hinging it from the front, clamping it down in back to the firewall/doghouse (thanks for that term!). Once I get the mill mounted, I'll be better able to visualize the kinds of access the guy's gonna need, and build around that.

Havin' a ball here, so far.
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Duffy
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Wow, there's a LOT of steps just to get a model put together! I dunno if I'm up to it. - Anyhow, here're a couple shots of how I'm lofting (a boatbuilders' term, & you'll see why I used it in a minute!) the new floorboards & doghouse.
I used an old boatbuilders' trick (see? And I'm an old boatbuilder, too):
I made up a bunch of little telescoping pairs of sticks wrapped in a bit of tape so I could slide 'em in and out. Spot-glued one side in with the end in contact with the shell, pulled the other side 'til it touched, and glued the two together. (I only glued a stick to ONE side of the frame rails, so I could pull the shell back off without breaking my sticks!)

Posted Image

Once I got all of those in the places I want, I could carefully un-tape the shell and pull it off, loose side first. Now I got a master pattern that I can lay a card deck down on and connect the dots for my floorboard. I can also use this to work out the "developed" configuration & folds & all for the pieces of plastic sheet that the floorboards and all will be fashioned of.

Posted Image
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harron6
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I like the hinged one-piece hood idea. Back when, due to quest for weight reduction and lack of roll cage, the body was integral to stiffness.
As to the snout, it may look good, but that much air going in needs an escape route. I dunno if you plan on one. Nearly all "flats" vehicles were/are made for minimal air intake.
Other than that, I luv the look and the specialty building for ultimate speed. Another forum (Skid's Place) had a group build for Bonneville type vehicles a while back and it was great fun. Thanx for sharing your passion and mastery of the hobby!
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Duffy
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Harron6: Thanks, but - "mastery," ehhhhhhh - see this current post. And I'll rethink how I was doing the body: instead of just building the gutted shell back out with angle & tube, try to show some of the original internal framing in the stripped-down interior.
And, yah, breathing out after the radiator is minimal at best. May rethink that.
Everything I'm doing here is my first time; I may be a skilled modeler in other disciplines, but I'm brand-new here & making up techniques as I go along and I'm sure I'm reinventing a few simple wheels in the most complex way possible. This model will be a learning experience, and the muscles I gain from doing it will be stronger for the next one.

Here's my current state of things, as I get ready to do the interior doghouse around the engine. anybody wants to see a couple interim shots of how I got from the story-stick stage to here, just ask; I figure I won't fill up a lot of bandwidth with boring stuf.
Anyhow, this is the first chance I got to sit a driver in the office:

Posted Image

- And I made him a pretty tight fit in there. Thought I'd plotted it out better than this, but when it got to this place I see I've left him with about an inch of headroom. Okay,sand the seat down to sheet-metal thickness, tell everyone that the intended driver's nicknamed "Shorty" for a reason...and do better planning the next time!

The driver - not Whitey here, he's just the mannikin until Shorty comes around - will have some small bit of legroom, so that's luck. Clutch and brake linkages can be hand controls, following a layout that Ray Brown did a couple years before this car's intended vintage, so basically all that's on the floor is the throttle. At least that's the plan right now. Still poring over pictures and stuff.

EDIT: I was mulling this over, & am thinking how it'd be to drop the flooring down between the rails, just in the driver's area. There's precedent for this in heavily channeled rods, and it'd give the driver some headroom and better visibility (he'd have line of sight with the present seating, barely, and he wouldn't like it much). I'd have to change the angle of the bracing to the axle on that side...
..OR maybe I should just rack it up to bad planning on my part, and carry the ugly lessons learned here into the next project! What do you think?
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Duffy
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Hey, Harron - been doing some more thinking about what you said about the snout.

First, it's entirely fanciful, and the more I look at it the more I wish I'd stayed period-correct! The big risk when we try to reconstruct "in the spirit of - " is applying our ohhh-soo-superior modern sophistication to the thing. And I'm guilty of that. Originally I'd thought to put two '40 Ford hoods together, top/bottom, but I didn't have a second kit. Yehh, well...
but, then, I just measured the area of the inlets, as carefully as; and I work it out to 140 sq. inches. Counting up the remaining louvers (I "closed" the ones afore the radiator!) I estimate 155 sq. in. aperture; and louvers get a litle boost from venturi effect.
BUT there's more: we wanna remember, when air gets heated, it expands - so the volume of air moving past the radiator is greater than what's coming in. It can be argued that proper placement of the exhaust from the cooling system would result in a net thrust - as North American's engineers found when they stuck the P-51's radiator back where they did (a long & pretty interesting story, but I'll only get all geeky about that if you specifically ask). Trouble is, this placement isn't real optimal for that application.
It would be appropriate to put a full belly pan on this car. I don't think I'm gonna, though, I would have treated the new flooring in a different way if I'd intended to do that. Like I say, learn for the next one.
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krwasson
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:))) :))) rlr
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Another Rick
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rlr I really like where you are going with this build. I am thinking of a full roll pan on my 57 T-Bird LSR - only to hide the promo style chassis and the goofs where I tried to Dremel out the molded in exhaust. As far as air intake I am looking at a snorkel set up and will be building a cowl hood to clear the induction system, which should also provide sufficient air exhaust.
Keep those updates coming.
I build models because GOD allows me to and because I can't afford the real thing!!
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Duffy
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I wanna show off the great resin mill I got from Ronnie Royston, and also the not-so-show-offable job I've done up to here. Got a few questions too. A reminder - I'm trying to build this in the period of 1952, for a Lakes racer - no starter, no oil filter, yada yada. Here goes:

Posted Image

Now, I left this pic huge so it'll blow up and you can by God read the "Edelbrock" on the heads. I am jus' smilin' right now, looking at that. - Now, blowing up to this size also shows lessons learned AND still to be learned, in how to prep resin parts. I thought I'd got the flash off all the bits pretty good when I put 'em together, but - no. All I'll say is, it's my first try at this stuff since '64, my Geezer Goggles are only so strong and any more'll give me headaches, and this is the closest anybody's ever gonna get to this thing anyhow.
Learn the lessons, move on from it.
That said, I am liking the "feel" of resin: never played with it, never understood how you could work confidently with material that don't bond with a solvent. I understand now, big time. I also like the "machinability" of the cast resin: I drilled the heads and the made-up distributor (which I now think is too tall - ehhhh! move on, do better next time!) with a #78 drill, and was amazed at how it didn't gum up like styrene will! Oh man, I can work with this.

I'm fashioning a sheave & belt array for the fan now, and then I'll drill for hoses and lines before mounting all the top hamper.

Questions:

Generator's over on the side, to clear the three carbs. I think it's too far out there. It'll be major surgery to move it closer, though. Is it a big deal? Can I stick the coil over there and pretend it was deliberate?

And - that too-tall distributor's gettin' to me. Tell me it's bothering you too, and I'll skim the top off & re-drill. I'm trying to convince myself that a daub of paint at the base of the plug wires will suffice to suggest the bosses, but that'll make it look even taller. Talk to me here.

...And maybe I oughta give the manifold a clean-up, it might be too rusty. The story there is, "Arnie" has already given the block a topcoat of Merc'ry Blue, and has just now acquired the manifold & slapped it on. You buy that story?

Anything else YOU'D like to see done, at this stage?

'Duster

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ronr
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krwasson
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Duffy
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In my continuin' effort to get suggestions, hints, and outright berating - here's half of the plug wires down on this mill. working with just what I got around, I bundled up four strands of #29AWG wire from my Evil Other Hobby, slot cars, and bound them with little snips of shim. Glued the center section togeter with CyA to give me something kinda secure to work with, then formed everything to a just-about-perfect shape before plugging all the ends in and gluing.

Once I get the second side down, I'll simulate plugs with a daub of white paint & hoods up on the distributor with black. That's as far as I go for my first try with this, I've already got some great ideas for next time - but I gotta collect the raw materials first.

Tomorrow, it's carbs. And carb linkages. And plumbing. And and and. Havin' fun.

'Dust

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southpier
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you're certainly jumping into the deep end of the pool!

the distributor looks a little overpowering, but sometimes we need to keep on to get to the other side. and after a few, it's good to see from where you started. fact that you're doing research and can critique your own efforts indicates this are going to get better.

biggest grumble detailing engines is the dreaded "floating generator". unless this is running some impressively stiff belts, centrifugal force is not going to keep them under tension. fortunately, the auto manufacturers came up with a bracket to do that.

photo etch, styrene, or old beer can aluminum can be used. you'll be glad you took the effort.

great job even considering room for the jockey. second pet peeve is the steering wheel touching the seat. you can also sand down his backside for a little head clearance. mine puffs out a bit under compression, too.
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Duffy
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Southpier - thanks for the comments and encouragement. Deep end indeed. It's just not in me to NOT-plunge. Maybe drowning's fun once you got enough practice at it.

"Floating Generator," HAR!! Yah, it don't show real well in these shots (and I kinda deliberately hid my clumsy work on it) but I have a bracket running out to the generator, bolted down to an L-bracket on the top of the waterpump. I'll include a bit or two for bolts & bracing. It's gonna be ugly,but it's still prettier than my throttle linkage and fuel lines. Those're waiting for the "blurry shots" that inevitably come as we slog down towards the end of things. Modeling's like that: starts out all ambitious, and then the little errors start to add up. (A professional fashion model I knew once observed: "My goal is to make my money and get out of this business before I'm left with just one pose in which nothing sags." I think about her a lot when I'm working on these things.)

Truth is, I have simply not looked at enough installations yet to improvise with confidence. Mistakes are what this time is supposed to be about, so that I can learn & move forward. "Well, that didn't work out; now, armed with that knowledge, what's out there that doesn't look like that??" Mistakes're empowering.

Today I'm taking a break from Tiny & Fussy and doing some Heavy Lifting with a #11 blade: cutting out the driver's hatch. You'll see the results of that particular little first-time experience as soon as.
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Duffy
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Well, maybe just a little more Tiny & Fussy, but that's gonna be it.

Got the wires on the other bank, then "sketched in" the linkage to the carbs & fashioned fuel lines & manifold off the fuel pump. The throttle cable will be hidden under the firewall in this installation, so I'll just sidestep that nightmare right now. Still come are the coil and the rest of the wiring, the three sheet-metal hoods over the pots, maybe something else I forget right now - but I gotta GOTTA back away, my eyes are going all wugga-wugga.
Also, there're things on this I can't put more time into without seeing the errors and shortcuts already locked in, and being distracted by them. Next time, I'll have a dedicated soldering block ready to do the micro assemblies that were past my abilities here. Next time, I'll prep the resin parts better so I don't cry every time I put on my Geezer Goggles to add something next to some heartbreak. Next time. Lessons learned, & I'm richer for them now. Now, move on.

Now, I'm tooling up to make some piano hinges for the hatch; and thinking up how to fashion a flush handle, like an aircraft panel latch. I got some ideas, and I got some brass...ah! do I see some more Lessons looming? Bring 'em on.

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krwasson
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Duffy
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Took a much-needed break from the mill, and did a little heavy butchering. I cut out the hatch. We needed to re-establish the door, since we'd channeled the body so low that it cut right out the bottom of the door frame. Welded both doors up solid and re-cut it like you see, just to the top of the frame rail.

Posted Image

After slicing out as well as, I ended up needing a .020" shim along the front edge of the new hatch panel to make up for the kerf.

Te hinges are made by bending & crimping .006" shim around a piece of 18ga.. brass wire, then soldering to make a solid tab. Then I milled out the gudgeons with Dremel and file, and once I got a good fit I trimmed the outer dimensions down to match all around.

These work out to 5/8" scale thick overall, and 3.5" high. That's a little tall. If they work out okay, I'll have more confidence to make a smaller set in the future. I'm just happy I got these right on the first try. (By the way, at the start of things I made enough tabs to get six halves out. I needed all of 'em, as I scrapped two by filing oversize. I may be arrogant but I ain't foolish.)

This is a dry fit you're seeing here. Before it's all assembled I'll get in there and make some door sills and prob'ly do some filling around the remaining gaps; and I'm thinking up a way to make an aircraft panel type of latch. Stay tuned.

And THANKS so much for the encouragement, and especially for the comments and critiques. I'm gettin' good ideas from alla you guys, and they are much appreciated.

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