This build has been in the works for a few months now. A 1931 Ford Model A that has made it’s way here from Bakersfield California passing through many promising hands before our customer got it. Now we are working for a classic hot rod look in the lineage of Doane Spencer 1932 Ford Roadster.
Starting off with two lengths of 2X4 inch pickled and oiled box tube, we capped the ends and filled them with packed sand. Using a process called bump bending in a hydraulic press we are able to curve the frame rail sections to conform to the outer profile of the body. Once the basic profiles were created using a simple drawing on the floor we were able to transfer these dimensions into Alibre’, our solid modeling software. This allows me to make design decisions before committing our customers cash in wasted labor. We can also take this data and export it into the CNC plasma to make one off parts for each build.
The center crossmember is fabricated from 1 3/4″ tubing, the frame rails got a series of 2 1/2″ holes on the inside and the rear kick-up is fabricated from 2X3 P&O steel tube. The front spring crossmember is a generic hot rod Model A part. we did several mock ups with the front and rear suspension parts in place to confirm our measurements and to make sure we had the “look” down tight.
Howdy folks! Been busy as all get out with Studebakers last week. We had a 1955 Commander post coupe in for a suspension upgrade and rare 1962 Studebaker Gran Turismo in for an engine swap that may turn out to be a fairly serious build.
The 55 was really straightforward. We had previously build a clip for Mr. Desenberg’s 1960 Hawk and realized we had made a mistake in pushing the suspension too far up int the chassis causing problems installing the engine. A problem with the GT I will get to in a minute. I pulled up all my Alibre’ drawings and revised them to not only correct this issue but also refined the design and now we have a production capable clip. The installation took us about 14 hours in total from remove the front sheet metal, saw off the original suspension and install the new suspension. We included a set of our tubular control arms, Granada brake upgrade and power steering rack all for $4000.00.
Mr. Metivier picked up his car just after we took in the rare Gran Turismo. Nice car on the outside. Someone had swapped the stock front sheetmetal for the older and cooler IMHO 53-54 sheetmetal. Brought in by our good customer, www.steeldreamz.com they were looking to swap out the really low mile small block Chevrolet engine and transmission for a more modern LS series and four speed automatic. As is our normal practice to do such a thing we removed the front sheet metal to get better access to the frame. This gives us more room to work and perform a more professional job. Doing this uncovered the previous owners work. They had installed a Fatman Fabrications front subframe. Due to design of this suspension clip, engine installation is nearly impossible without cutting the floor out and building a new trans tunnel and rebuilding the firewall. Sure it gets the car really low without dropped spindles but if it were designed with more forethought, similar results could have been achieved and made engine installation much easier.
This shows just how much of the inner fender needed to be cut away just to clear the upper control arms.
Rather than cut into the body further the installer decided to modify the suspension. Path of least resistance for him I am sure. However this created an entirely new problem, bumpsteer. Not only was the crossmember cut and dropped the rack and pinion was mounted lower off thick straps. Dangerous and crude, very nice combination.
We are still waiting for input from the customer on this one. He want’s to replace his Mercedes Benz daily driver with this car. This is something we can do for him, just not with this mess of a front end.
What is desired is a car that will drive very well, handle and brake and last as a new car would. What we would very much like to do is replace the Fatman clip with our kit. Our tubular control arms which are not only stronger but upgrade the ball joints and use OEM rubber control arm bushings for a much better ride without the polyurethane squeak and harshness. A set of Bilstein shocks and matched springs. A Flaming River variable assist rack and pinion would definitely set off the steering feel. And if there is any budget left, we would really like to rebuild the rear suspension with a torque arm system and Bilstein coil overs in the rear.
With the economy the way it is, most businesses are lucky to be in business right now. We are very fortunate to be one of those that is doing as well as could be expected.
To get this blog rolling, I wanted to state some of the things that have happened and what is to come. In 2007, Adam Young Fabrication became a partner and added his dropped axle service to our corporation. His intent was to expand the product line and push forward our Dodge Dakota based suspension kits leaving me to do more product development and custom fabrication. We did produce prototypes of our new Gen III coil over suspension kit and got two of them on the road. First up was a complete chassis under the Dynacorn 53 Chevrolet pickup. Second was a local car, 1941 Packard Sedan and both were able to push beyond our customers expectations in drive, comfort and handling.
Due to unforeseen circumstances Adam relocated to Seattle Washington at the end of 2008, this put a huge dampener on the business and product development. We came to the solution of splitting the business this year. Adam has been slow to get his new fabrication shop running but the end goal is for him to produce the current product line and start in on the new complete coil over Gen III suspension. With a completion date of September 09 for his new shop, he will also produce the standard frames and chassis for 1948-1956 Ford and 1947-1959 GM trucks from his location as (tbd) Adam Young Fabrication by the fall of this year.
Currently we have parred down the product line to match sales. We only offer the basic crossmember kits for 1948-1964 Ford trucks and 1955-1959 GM trucks. But our focus here at Industrial Chassis has changed.
Our new focus is centered around custom fabrication and suspension tuning. There are far too many hot rods and customs that have been on the road that do not perform as the owners prefer, and it is our goal to step in and resolve these issues. Drawing on my nearly 20 years of experience building, maintaining and repairing pre1965 cars and trucks, I can pinpoint a solution and perform the necessary repair or re-engineering needed.
Of course we will continue to offer our services for custom chassis fabrication. We will add to our services, suspension design and installation, custom frames and crossmembers, custom exhaust, turbo charging, fuel and brake line installation, custom fuel tanks and engine bracketry, brake pedal and steering setups. Anything that you as a hot rod or custom owner don’t feel comfortable doing yourself or if you just happen to like our mechanical style, we are here for you, our customer.
Apperance wise we are going to do some remodeling of the shop. The re-installation of a showroom and customers lounge. A service bay where you can bring your nicely finished vehicles and keep them out of the heavy fabrication area. New equipment and software to not only diagnose an issue but to speed up the process to repair or fabricate. Also look for new apparel and other merchandise to support your local hot rod shop.
Our reputation was built on quality parts and knowledgeable service, something that will not change.