Chuck’s Speed Center brought us a nifty fab job for this super 70’s built Corvette. First off we really liked this car, a bit rough around the edges and big fender flairs over wide rubber covered “daisies” all hiding a healthy high compression big block backed by a Tremec TKO five speed. There was tons of chrome under the hood but the poor radiator just wasn’t cutting it. The guys over at Chuck’s installed an aftermarket radiator for a ’65 but the fan shroud for the same just didn’t work.
I attempted to make the stock chrome shroud work, it was too chopped up and didn’t fit that well. I made a few cardboard patterns and a false start but ended up with this nice little bit of aluminum. Fits very well and pulls some serious air through the radiator now.
Jessy came to us with his newest acquisition, a 1927 ish Chrysler sedan. It had made the rounds a bit, something about this car going 127 on the salt and being solid build and not a “rat rod” in the description. Well, I suppose you can say anything in this world but I can assure you this car was not capable of exceeding the posted speed limit on our inter city freeways. Jessy complained about the dreaded “DEATH WOBBLE” that had suddenly reared it’s ugly head.
I took the car for a drive after measuring and giving the car a once-over. Like hitting a rev limiter at 56 MPH the front end started to shake, not a tank slapper but a wheel dance! Both front wheels started hopping in an alternate leap of joy consequently scaring the crap out of the occupants they are suspending. Not good.
We tried a few tricks but the front end was poorly thought out and worn out. The axle we assume is from an early 60’s Chevy van, the brakes were Volvo? The leaf spring they chose to use was for a trailer and rated far too stiff for automotive comfort. The shocks while normally acceptable were mounted in such a way they could not control the wayward wheels. You can see someone added a panhard rod to try and tame the issue to no avail. It had to die, we killed it. No other choice.
SoCal forged axle, Bilstein chrome mono-tube shorties and some other choice bits were spec-ed. We trimmed back the frame to give it a more streamline appeal instead of the no-buck and low thought styling it currently had. We tried to use a stock Model A axle, undropped with a set of modified 1935-1940 Ford front wish bones. Because of the mounting point locations and the ride height of the car we had to ditch the idea. Just didn’t look right.
So with consultation of the owner we decided to go with the new So Cal forged dropped axle and upgrade to the Lincoln style drum brakes. Just a few hours of labor and the wave of a magic wand POOF! We had success. A 6″ shorter wheel base, now 115 inches long, slightly wider track width, improved brakes and most of all it actually drove nice.
Wrapping up the next phase in Courtney’s Sedan build up we needed to securely mount the steering box, brake and clutch system. With cowl steering there are some inherent issues to deal with like pedal placement and couple that with an engine mounted high in the frame and make it a manual trans! Well, space is at a premium. Poking the master cylinders through our newly fabricated and clean firewall wasn’t an option and the steering box takes up some real estate so moving the cylinders to the right side of the car is the solution we chose.
The brake and clutch pedals operate through concentric shafts housed in an aluminum tube. The brake tube is supported inside the aluminum mounting tube with PEEK plastic bushings. The inside of the brake tube is machined smooth and it supports the clutch shaft. The clutch shaft itself is made from 4340 bar stock and has three machined journals for needle bearings to ride in. You will notice there are three master cylinders. Two of which operate the brakes through a balance bar system like you would find on a race car. Brake bias is achieved through threading the balance bar left or right which moves the spherical ball mount inside the bellcrank giving a differential force advantage on one cylinder over the other.
The steering gear in this case is a late 60’s to mid 70’s MOPAR steering box with a custom made pitman arm.
Last left off with the frame fab, we have done a ton since.
This HAMB thread covers quite a bit of the progress: http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=404411
This is one of those things that gets overlooked in the details. The aftermarket has come up with some stellar components and some not so stellar. But when you use high volume production parts, your car will look just like everyone elses. This car does use SoCal hair pins and a SoCal forged heavy beam axle but that’s about where it all ends.
This car runs the spring behind the axle, what is commonly known as “suicide” and requires special batwings or hair pins to mount the spring and carry the entire load of the front of the car. Not one to skimp out we cut and machined a nice pair for this car. Our initial mock up was using the supplied SoCal stainless steel pieces. Very nice with a shock mount integrated. Just not the parts we really wanted.
With a way to attach the spring to the axle, we needed to attach the hair pins to the frame. The shape of the frame plus the location gave us a few different options. Most people would weld a tube or bung into the frame to attach a HEIM or bushing to. We opted for stainless steel tie rod ends from So Cal and fabricated this nifty little plate that cancels the angle between the frame and hair pin.
By request, I made a short run of these adapters for you Econoline guys. This keeps the stock pedal and bushing arrangement, no cutting or drilling should be necessary. You will have to provide or lengthen your master cylinder push rod for the master cylinder you intend on using.