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9th Annual Open House Party

WHEW! What a blow out!

Three weeks ago I could not have told you if we were going to be able to do this but everything pulled together at 10 after the last minute. Aaron and Jim smoked their pork to perfection all over again. Lorna and Loretta worked without reward and Nick Flores did an 11th hour DJ for us. Fantastic.  We figure we served over 120 people, and some even got second helpings.

Chip raffled off a $150 gift certificate with a 50/50 drawing, and we were able to kick back some extra $ to the help.  Terry McG won the whole deal, congratulations!

I had quite a few ask what our demo was going to be but because of my work schedule I wasn’t able to finish the helve hammer and shrinker stretcher stands in time. But what I did accomplish got rave reviews. Even had one of our friends want to take the hammer home and display it in his living room. I did see people experimenting with the tools, that’s always cool. We have always been hands on around here so seeing Tom Roth showing the next generation of metal bashers how a shrinker and bead rollers work was pretty cool.

Let’s hope this next year is much better than this one and for our 10th annual open house we can do something truly special

Steve

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Rat Rod Repair

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.

A face only it's mother might accept
Wes giving the old axle the heave ho!

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.

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Brake Clutch and Steering brace

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.

Alibre' drawing of cowl support structure
Completed unit
Complete brake, clutch and steering structure