1940 Ford – Chopping the Top

IMG_3638My cousin Jim has been very busy since last time, as you can see in today’s featured image: the 1940 Ford has had its top chopped by about 1½ inches.  Also, if you look closely you can see the fenders have been modified to accept the headlights.  Jim has made special brackets to french the headlight buckets while retaining the original headlight surrounds (I’ll have more about this in a future post).

So how does one go about chopping a top on a 1940 Ford?  Well, you would start with a helping of courage and then “biggie size” that.  This is the kind of stuff left to the experts.  The famous disclaimer of “Do not attempt this at home, except by trained professionals…” comes to mind.  As you can see, Jim’s shop is very well equipped; matter of fact, this is the same room where we built bowtie6.

All pillars were cut and material removed, and it looks something like this (for those of you in the mailing list, please go to the website because galleries won’t show in the email):

As you have already figured it out, when material gets removed dimensions and geometry go to hell and things that used to line up, no longer do so.  The picture gallery above shows all pillars lining up as well as the windshield opening.  However, not all is so great.  Take a look at what the back looks like…

See what I mean?  Things don’t look so great here.  Amazing what taking 1½ inches off does to a top on 1940 Ford.  The back window opening has also taken a hit.  Jim plans to make a new opening to hold a new rear glass.  But I am getting ahead of myself.  By now, I am sure you are asking yourself “How does one fix this?”…

Well, this is where one must be good at a) using a welder b) having the skillz, c) talent, d) vision.  All welds – mind you – are just tacked welds using a TIG welder.  The welds look like this for a reason:  heat.  By doing tack welds like this with the TIG welder, prevents heat from warping the top.  This stuff takes hours do complete but prevents the top from “oil canning” which could take even longer to remove.  Pretty cool, huh?

And there you have it…  Something out of an old Frankenstein movie…  The top has been not only chopped but it has also been sectioned.  The solution called for a strip of sheet-metal, cut and shaped to fit and then welded in place.  This essentially “stretches” the top so the window openings and pillars all line up.  As you have already figured it out, there will be another cut (or cuts) where material will be added in order to make the back window and sides line up.

Chopping a top is similar to Fido’s asshole:  there are many and they all accomplish the same thing.  In this case, the top gets cut and shaped to fit.  I can’t wait to see final the result.  Stay tuned, I’ll have updates soon…


Spectacular Spring Day

IMG_3628Today was a spectacular Spring day.  Weather in the Upstate of South Carolina was just perfect – a very pleasant breeze, low humidity and comfy temps.  Good times indeed.

So wifey bought a set of patio “ambiance” lights – I call them glorified Christmas lights – and today we hung them on the pergola on our back yard.  Yes it took some doing to get them strung just right but the end result turned out quite impressive.

A few minutes after I took today’s featured picture, we had dinner under the warm glow from the lights.  Turned out nice actually.  Too boot, if you look closely at the picture you can see wifey gazing at our handywork, and Cooper – our Welsh Pembroke Corgi – watching over his domain.  He really takes watching over his realm seriously!  And yes, since I am partial to British cars, I am partial to the Corgi breed.  Cooper’s mate, by the way is Didi… She has been featured previously in this post.

Finally, to top everything off…  We enjoyed a wonderful Petit Sirah from Vina Robles Winery in Paso Robles, CA.  We have visited the winery and became members of their wine club,  the last time we were in Paso Robles – and it is highly recommended!


Good times indeed!!  :mrgreen:



2014 Chevy Camaro

2014-chevrolet-camaro-ss-photo-509814-s-986x603It it has been 4 months into the stewardship of RedRock – my 2014 Camaro SS – and I could not be happier!  This thing is a real ground-pounder.

Going full retro here, but this bad boy is the “Heartbeat of America” and “Chevy Runs Deep” all balled up into one, bigtime.  There is nothing like having 400hp on tap at your beck and call and I just love it – Michael, if you are reading this, that crate LS3 you have is going to amaze the living daylights out of you and put a perma-grin of epic proportions on your face!!!

Since the first fuel-up, I’ve been tracking mileage on an online website that deals with this kind of stats.  Not that I give a shit (after all, if you own a muscle car, MPG’s should be the last thing on your mind), but I like data…  At any rate, so far RedRock has averaged 17.1 miles to the glorious gallon.  How about them apples?

So while on the subject I found some interesting photos from the folks at Gee-emm.  So with all sorts of disclaimers and due respect, I figured it might be nice to add the following photo gallery in the interest of posterity.  And I say that because the C6’s are becoming more visible on the streets.  I’ve spotted 3 so far:  two back ones and one red.  IMHO, the jury is still deliberating about their looks…

And while on the subject of keeping things for reference…  The 2014/2015 Camaro had a bit of a facelift:  there improvements to the nose, the headlights and the back.  Oh dat ass… There was also the addition of a fully functional heat extractor on the hood.  I’ve read on the InterWebz folks like and folks dis-like the facelift.  Personally, I could not be happier especially since my 2SS is also an RS, it has the halo headlights.

So back to pictures – this time the following collection shows some cool aero diagrams of what the bodywork does, including the hood heat extractor.


слава – Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin


слава – Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin

The space race began in earnest fifty-five years ago today:  Cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin became the first human being to orbit planet Earth aboard Vostok 1.

Remembrance of this historic event did not even make it to today’s network 6:30 Evening News – tragic we have elected to forget history like this.  However, space junkie that I am, this milestone will be remembered on this blog with this post.

Years later, I was lucky enough to experience at home and in school, the excitement of watching those grainy, shadowy, black-and-white images on the tee-vee of the result of what Yuri Gagarin started:  the Apollo missions.  Lucky me.  And at the same tragic.  Tragic because we seem to have forgotten those glory days.


TIME Magazine, April 21, 1961

What an impressive feat the Soviet Union and Yuri Gagarin accomplished that day, fifty-five years ago today!  Gagarin even made the cover of TIME magazine!  Later, Tereshkova, Titov, Komarov, Leonov and others would follow in his footsteps.

I remember when I was in school, reading back issues of TIME Magazine, National Geographic Magazine and LIFE Magazine and those amazing articles showing the fantastic images of the space program.  Not only the Soviet space program but also the heroes of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo with the Stars and Stripes on the sleeves of their space suits.

I remember distinctly a small 45 rpm record included in an issue of National Geographic where the early space program was chronicled, including some awesome sound effects.  There was a special point in the recording where the announcement to the world of Gagarin’s achievement was made – in Russian no less.  For a young kid like me, that was just amazing.

Those were the heroes I looked up to and still do to this day.  Speaking of which, a couple of years ago I had the good fortune to listen to a talk given by none other than Buzz Aldrin.  Heroes indeed!!

One of the fascinating things from the Soviet Union’s space program was their propaganda posters.  Not sure if you are aware of them, but if you are not…  Then take some time and Google for them.  Like it or not, they are works of art – in my opinion.  This one in particular is one of my favorites…


“Glory to the Soviet people, pioneers of space”

I strongly believe we would be remiss to not acknowledge the contribution of this historic event from 55 years ago.  After all, this was the spark that later resulted in that inspiring speech given by John F Kennedy in his address to Congress on Matters of Urgent Needs on May 25th 1961, where he stated:

I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space.

Imagine that kind of speech in today’s politically confused times!  But I digress…

And as part two of today’s history lesson…

Yesterday – April 11 – was the anniversary of another important milestone:  You see, on April 11, 1970 at exactly 13:13 CST at the Kennedy Space Center, Apollo 13 blasted off to what would later become NASA’s “finest moment”.  As we all know, a few days later the Service Module would suffer a catastrophic failure.

Apollo 13 Service Module damage

Apollo 13 Service Module damage


1940 Ford Standard 2 Door Sedan


1940 Ford Standard 2 Door Sedan

My cousin Jim’s latest project is a 1940 Ford Standard 2 Door Sedan.  Jim found this car perhaps a couple of years ago, stored under a shed away from sight and the elements.  The plans call for new aluminum panels, a new frame, chopping the top and a hot engine.

After getting the car to the shop, it was taken apart and the body panels taken to a local media blaster to remove what was left of the original black lacquer paint.   What Jim got back was remarkable:  a 75-year-old car, with less rust than that ultimate driving machine I wrote about in the earlier post.  But I digress…

If you know anything about a 40 Ford, I’m sure you have spotted something rather odd about the hood.  For one, it is not as “tall” as the original; for second, this one is hand-made from aluminum; and for third, it has a heat extractor…

Aluminum Hood for the 1940 Ford

Since Jim is not crazy about leaving things “factory” and because he has the skillz to do pretty much anything he sets up his mind to do with aluminum, he crafted a scratch-built aluminum hood for the 1940 Ford.


Aluminum hood featuring the fully functional heat extractor vent

The hood consists of several carefully bent panels and then TIG welded together.  Each weld was then dressed to a perfect finish to hide any seams and to lower the amount of body work.  This hood has no filler!  I’ve left these pictures at a larger resolution than normal, so if you click on them you can zoom in and see the details.  On the back of the hood is a frame, bonded with automotive adhesive.  The same stuff used in modern cars, imagine that.

The Heat Extractor

How about the heat extractor on the front of the hood?

The inspiration for this vent came from the C5 Camaro, just like the one I have.  The slats are closer together compared to the ones on the Camaro, but the idea is there…  I think it looks pretty darn awesome and it will be the real deal, nothing fake here.  What is remarkable is that Jim made this months before I bought my SS Camaro.  This came from pictures we had from the GM Performance Parts wish book.

The Grille

From today’s featured image you can get a glimpse of the custom grille Jim has made for the 40 Ford.  Here is what it looks like in more detail:


The new front of the 40 Ford.

Those are carefully bent aluminum rods attached to an upper and lower aluminum plates.  The center “Ford” badge is the handle that serves as the latch release mechanism.  I’ll have to write another article about that mechanism – it is pretty unique!


The Ford emblem is the latch mechanism release

What Engine?

I’m sure by now you must be asking what engine will be under this slick hood…  Why an LSx!!  This is what the future will hold under that  hood:


That is an LS3 under the hood..

This is still a work-in-process.  The engine show above is an LS3 but will not be the final version.  This is only used to mock-up the mounts and so forth.  The steering column is in, as well as the air conditioner and the brake master cylinders.  On the left you can see part of the fabricated latch mechanism.  Nothing there has been bought!

What About the Trunk?

Given the hood is aluminum, why not make the trunk lid aluminum too?  But of course…

The trunk lid consists of two halves.  They too have been TIG welded together and they follow the same principle of the hood regarding a backing frame.  Just like the hood, the panels have been bonded to the frame with automotive adhesive.

I’ll try to get more articles about Jim’s 1940 Ford as construction progresses.  Stay tuned!  :mrgreen: