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Old 08-04-2011, 05:38 PM
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Choosing a frame for a kit car

So Im looking into possibly either building a 37 Ford or 35 Chevy kit car. Any suggestion on what frame to use? I was considering an S10 frame.

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Old 08-04-2011, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daledouglas
So Im looking into possibly either building a 37 Ford or 35 Chevy kit car. Any suggestion on what frame to use? I was considering an S10 frame.
What do you mean "Kit car"? A "Kit car" would have a frame as part of the kit. If you are refering to getting a body (be it original or repro) and building a car that wouldn't be a "kit car" at all, it would be building a car, a "Hot rod" if you will.

That being said, the best frame to use is the frame that came from the factory with that body sitting on it. The Chevy I am not so certain about. But the 37 Ford frame is a very curvy, shaply frame that simply can't be replaced very easy, and an S-10 frame under it would be a mess, an ugly mess any way you look at it.

I am totally against these frame swaps as they take a LOT of skill to make right. The original frames are out there, there are ZILLIONS of suspension upgrade kits out there, and there are complete reproduction or aftermarket hotrod frames made for these cars.

Using the wrong frame seldom saves any money, time, or work. Modifying the original frame for a better ride or performance is MUCH easier than modifying a late model frame to fit under one of these bodies.

Brian
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Old 08-04-2011, 06:14 PM
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Well I have actually looked for original frames and havent found anything. A suggestion of where to find one. I mean you can buy a chassis with the body quite expensive tho. As far as what I call a kit car one thats not original. If I go buy a fiberglass body someone made its not original its a kit. Right?
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daledouglas
Well I have actually looked for original frames and havent found anything. A suggestion of where to find one. I mean you can buy a chassis with the body quite expensive tho. As far as what I call a kit car one thats not original. If I go buy a fiberglass body someone made its not original its a kit. Right?
WRONG!!!
A kit car will come with a frame, body, trim, interior etc. What you're talking about is building a car... period. Just because you buy someone's fiberglass body it is NOT a kit... its a fiberglass body. You won't get instructions, or anything else. You'll have to buy all the trim, glass, interior etc. You'll also have to build or buy a chassis. What you are talking about is a hot rod... not a kit.

My 32 Ford body came from one manufacturer, I built the chassis myself using parts from several different manufacturers, my engine came from some guy's back porch, trans from e-bay, etc, etc. There is NOTHING kit about it.

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Old 08-04-2011, 07:08 PM
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nope. kit means you get a few crates of stuff along with a body and most times a chassis, enough that when your done putting the stuff that came in the crates togther, you have a car/ truck or whatever you bought.. If your thinking of a kit that makes a volkswagen beetle look like a ferrari by swapping on a kit body, then it is as part of a 'kit'. But if your just buying a reproduction body, then your just buying a body, nothing kit about it, because you will go thru several manufactures to get what you need to put it togther..

As far as kits go, there out there. Lots of T bucket kits, A/C Cobra, still a few VW based kits available, up until a year or so ago, there was a '36 ford kit, that mounted a modified cab, fenders and box on a Ford Ranger frame. Active power is still making '41 willys kits that fit S10 chassis, and the 1939 Studebaker pickups are still being built out of S10's.. Any kit is a compromise of some sort.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:06 PM
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I seemed to stepped on some toes by calling it a kit lol. Calm down boys I mean no harm. I guess a kit car is not technically what I want cuz a bunch of parts and instructions of how to put it all together is definetly not what I want. That takes all the fun out of it. So I guess I do want a "hotrod". So let me rephrase my question.......If I want to build a hot rod with an aftermarket fiberglass body, what frame would you use? I understand just about all of em will probably need some modifications. I guess what Im wanting to know in your opinion whats a good base frame to start with cuz in all honesty chances of finding an original frame are slim to none.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daledouglas
I seemed to stepped on some toes by calling it a kit lol. Calm down boys I mean no harm. I guess a kit car is not technically what I want cuz a bunch of parts and instructions of how to put it all together is definetly not what I want. That takes all the fun out of it. So I guess I do want a "hotrod". So let me rephrase my question.......If I want to build a hot rod with an aftermarket fiberglass body, what frame would you use? I understand just about all of em will probably need some modifications. I guess what Im wanting to know in your opinion whats a good base frame to start with cuz in all honesty chances of finding an original frame are slim to none.
That would depend on what car you want to build and what you want to do with it. Do you want a pro-street car, a cruiser, or a hot rod. Each may require a different style frame.

A 32 Ford hot rod for instance would need a 32 Ford frame. The same is true with a Model A (which can be put on a 32 frame with some minor mods). There are enough aftermarket frames and parts available now days so you can build most anything you can find a body for. There are also complete custom frames available but many of them won't fit a 30's car easily.

If it was me, I would decide on the body first. Then decide the style of car you want to build, hot rod, cruiser, street rod, pro-street, custom etc. Then and only then talk to the manufacturer and see what frame he suggests for your application.

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Old 08-04-2011, 11:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daledouglas
I seemed to stepped on some toes by calling it a kit lol. Calm down boys I mean no harm. I guess a kit car is not technically what I want cuz a bunch of parts and instructions of how to put it all together is definetly not what I want. That takes all the fun out of it. So I guess I do want a "hotrod". So let me rephrase my question.......If I want to build a hot rod with an aftermarket fiberglass body, what frame would you use? I understand just about all of em will probably need some modifications. I guess what Im wanting to know in your opinion whats a good base frame to start with cuz in all honesty chances of finding an original frame are slim to none.
My original answer still stands. Just how easy is it to find a nickel bag of heroin or crack? It would be damn hard for me because I am not in that world. How about a real Picasso, how hard would that be? Again, pretty hard.
If you were in the druggie world you would find that heroin or crack in minutes. If you were in the community of multi millionaires you would find that original Picasso just as easy.

In the automotive world, you get into a community and you can find stuff so easy it will blow your mind.
How about experimental Buick Nailhead heads that they made 20 pairs of in 1965? Well, my brother found a pair and bought them, why because he is in the Buick Nailhead "community". How about my 59 Rambler, I can make one phone call and get just about any part I want for it, why, because I am in that Rambler community.

Give me an hour tomorrow and I will find a number of 37 Ford or 35 Chevy frames to pick from. They are difficult to find it you are looking at autozone or at weekend neighborhood garage sales. But when you get into the community you can find stuff like that in minutes.

Again, a frame swap saves you NOTHING, not time, not money and not work, NOTHING. I don't care what kind of car you want to build, pick a body, buy a body and put it on a trailer and bring it home, a 31 Plymouth or a 22 Dodge? How about a 33 Chrysler roadster, I have a guy a hundred feet from me in a suburb in the SF bay area who has a number of frames for that Plymouth or Dodge or Chrysler in his back yard! How about a 50 Chevy pickup, I made one post on a site that specializes in them and a guy contacted me about 80 miles from me with a number of them. He happened to be in the same town as my brother and he went by with the car trailer and brought one home to my house. All of this transpired in just a few weeks, from me asking to it in my back yard.

Pick out what you want to build and start buying parts. Or start going to swap meets and find a project, they are at every swap meet. They are just waiting for a new home.

Just start looking for a project and one will fall in your lap. Don't put your cart before the horse.

Brian
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Old 08-05-2011, 12:46 AM
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Aren't both of those kinda odd choices for a beginning rod, and they both happen to be Legend (spec racing -5/8 scale) bodies?
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Old 08-05-2011, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Centerline

My 32 Ford body came from one manufacturer, I built the chassis myself using parts from several different manufacturers, my engine came from some guy's back porch, trans from e-bay, etc, etc. There is NOTHING kit about it.
Kit car

Kit Car

Kit car


Some folks who built their vehicles with reproduction parts from different sources sometimes gets a little defensive about their vehicles being call " KIT CARS "

I can see BOTH sides of this ...
The uninformed/never built a vehicle person looking at a vehicle NOT built or assembled by a major car factory could think it must be a kit. The builder ... having put together a vehicle from many different sources basically with no instructions ... is upset at his efforts being call a KIT.

______________________________________________

A 1937 Ford would use a frame from a 1935 Ford to a 1940 Ford. A 1935 Chevrolet frame can be a couple of different types but way more difficult to find. Frame swaps are not a easy thing to make work right. Most frame swap projects end up as aborted, abandoned projects ... never to be finished. Those that are on the road, rarely ever meet the expectations of the builder.

_______________________________________________

Some years ago, I swapped frames under a 1955 Chevrolet 150 2 door. The previous owner has butchered the frame up severely trying to make a drag racer. I found a very nice low mile 55 Chevrolet frame under a 55 that someone had cut the top off of trying to make a convertible. This was a direct swap. It took me about a month working at nights and weekends to get the doors to open and close properly. The front fenders and hood needed a lot of time to fit correctly. Even the trunk lid needed a little help to fit right.

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Daledouglas ...
Not trying to discourage you but you need to do a lot of looking, learning and homework before you even turn the first wrench or buy the first part.

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Last edited by Deuce; 08-05-2011 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 08-05-2011, 05:44 PM
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Here is one of the only makers of the vintage Ford you want.
http://www.downsindustries.com/

Thankfully the only maker of "kit" cars is now ancient history.

I spent 2 years studing the market and creating spread sheets for costs before I ordered my "kit". haha

Bare body and bare frame. Granted I could have built a frame myself. However it would have been necessary to build a fab table to lay it out on. I had no need of it after the construction so I simply purchased the bare frame. From there I made motor mounts, trans mounts and rear end mounts. Consideration was given to ex, fuel tank, brakes and lines as well as suspension.

I'm a mech eng by trade as well as tool maker and very experienced welder and fabricator. I have a good deal of equipment and access to much more. Building space was at a premium at the time however some horse trading got me into a race car shop with even more stuff and AC and Heat for the winter.

Building a "plastic" car is considerably more difficult than steel car. There are no interior mounting point for anything. Usually you need some kind of steel reinforcement both at the firewall and behind the seat (coupe) A roll bar works nicely but make sure you insurance co allows it as many consider it racing equipment.

Now you've got gages, heat/AC, power windows, door, hood and trunk latches. Rubber seals body mounts, ex system. Oh yes somewhere you will need to install the motor and trans along with the rear end. Which you previously fabricated didn't you.

The list goes on endlessly. Money. haha It can take 50 grand to build one of these easily.

This is just for starters. there is lots more.

My own car now has well over 15k miles on it and is drive nearly daily in the summer. There is still maintenance and upgrades. It's never done.

Still want a kit??

Stick around here as the best in hotrod world hang around here and we will help you the best we can.

good luck
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Old 08-05-2011, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deuce
Kit car

Kit Car

Kit car


Some folks who built their vehicles with reproduction parts from different sources sometimes gets a little defensive about their vehicles being call " KIT CARS "

I can see BOTH sides of this ...
The uninformed/never built a vehicle person looking at a vehicle NOT built or assembled by a major car factory could think it must be a kit. The builder ... having put together a vehicle from many different sources basically with no instructions ... is upset at his efforts being call a KIT.....
As I see it there are a couple differences between an assembled vehicle and a kit car. One is instructions and the other is choices. In a kit car the manufacturer has made most of the choices for you, and then he tells you how to build it. An assembled vehicle on the other hand winds up being a "wilderness of free association". Almost all the choices are left up to the builder.


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Old 08-05-2011, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Centerline
As I see it there are a couple differences between an assembled vehicle and a kit car. One is instructions and the other is choices. In a kit car the manufacturer has made most of the choices for you, and then he tells you how to build it. An assembled vehicle on the other hand winds up being a "wilderness of free association". Almost all the choices are left up to the builder.


Can't be explained any better then this...
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Old 08-05-2011, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Centerline
As I see it there are a couple differences between an assembled vehicle and a kit car. One is instructions and the other is choices. In a kit car the manufacturer has made most of the choices for you, and then he tells you how to build it.
Unless you got a Street Beast Kit ... then the instructions were worthless and a LOT of the parts supplied did not work/fit.

I agree ... most body from one place, frame from another vehicles are NOT kit cars ... but I have been around cars/old cars for almost 50 years ( same as you ) I can see where someone who does not have the experience would think all the fiberglass cars were KIT CARS .

My two 1932 Fords were somewhat a kit. A kit built by Henry Ford almost 80 years ago. The 32 roadster has at least 10 different 32 Fords as parts donors. The 32 3W ... not as many because I bought a complete " barn car ". The roadster was bought a piece and a part at a time ... back when you could go to Hershey with a pocketful of money and just about find most any 32 Ford part you needed. I had to take quite a few trips because I never had a pocketful. I would have enough to get 1 or 2 pieces.

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Old 08-05-2011, 09:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deuce
Unless you got a Street Beast Kit ... then the instructions were worthless and a LOT of the parts supplied did not work/fit.

I agree ... most body from one place, frame from another vehicles are NOT kit cars ... but I have been around cars/old cars for almost 50 years ( same as you ) I can see where someone who does not have the experience would think all the fiberglass cars were KIT CARS .
No argument here. Streetbeast kits were the worst... and I do see how a novice could make that assumption.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deuce
My two 1932 Fords were somewhat a kit. A kit built by Henry Ford almost 80 years ago. The 32 roadster has at least 10 different 32 Fords as parts donors. The 32 3W ... not as many because I bought a complete " barn car ". The roadster was bought a piece and a part at a time ... back when you could go to Hershey with a pocketful of money and just about find most any 32 Ford part you needed. I had to take quite a few trips because I never had a pocketful. I would have enough to get 1 or 2 pieces.
LOL! I thought of that argument... but I know how testy you steel kit car guys can get.

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Last edited by Centerline; 08-05-2011 at 09:53 PM.
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