1932 Ford Roadster: Body Drop
It was a banner day for Todd Anderson’s blue Deuce. In our last post, we’d just brought his freshly-painted chassis back to the shop for final assembly. Today we hauled the completed chassis back to the painter to be reunited it with its deep blue body.
In our last update we posted photos of the taller rear spring we had made. The original spring that came with the rolling chassis had the roadster sitting too low in the rear. Instead of a hot rod stance, the car was a bit of a tail dragger. Here’s the banjo and new spring pack installed, along with the fuel and brake lines. We’re looking forward to seeing a big improvement in the stance, once the body is bolted back in place.
The car came to us with Wilson Welding reproduction Lincoln drum brakes at all four corners. Well-made with modern internals, these brakes have become the hot hardware for traditionally styled cars. Wilson’s rear backing plates include collars for E-brake cables; unfortunately the angle of these collar directed our cables right into the side of the chassis. We cut out the original collars, then filled and metal finished the holes. Once the banjo was hung and the ride height approximated, we were able to determine the correct angle for our set-up. We re-drilled the backing plates, machined new collars, and welded them into place.
In a 1932 Ford, it’s easier to mount, plumb and wire the gas tank before the body drops on. The tank was in place when the car arrived at our shop, so I assumed it had been fit to the chassis. It hadn’t. We clearanced and adjusted the tank and rear spreader bar, then installed the fuel pick-up and sending unit. Fabric-covered wire and traditional looms will be used throughout.
We finished installation of the brake lines and hoses and bled the system. We also installed the drag link and tie rod, but not until after Gary had worked some of his machinist magic on the Pitman arm. The angle of the steering box mount, which had earlier caused us grief with the steering knuckles and column, required the Pitman arm be drilled, sleeved, and re-reamed so the rod end could be flipped. Details. Details.
We rustled up some muscle for the body slam, then gently slid it into place. Back in the sun we were able to get a good look at the deep blue Todd had chosen. Indoors and in the shade it could be mistaken for black. Check out the vintage Stahl radials, this car will be a runner out on the highway.
Here was the issue with the roadster’s stance. In the early stage bare metal photo, the car sits flat. Check the reveal line around the rear tire. With a full tank of gas, tools, luggage, ice chest, and a pilot and co-pilot on board, the rear end would be dragging. The new spring, second photo, puts the rear end back up where it belongs.