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Old 03-27-2006, 03:35 PM
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Fiberglass body

My father in law and I have been considering for sometime to build at 32 Ford 3 Window. We are not sure which fiberglass body manufacturer to go with. We do not have unlimited funds to build with, but we do want quality. Any suggestions of companies to look at or stay away from would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Old 03-27-2006, 04:07 PM
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There are dozens of glass body manufacturers and the biggest difference in price is generally how much is done at the factory for you. For instance it will most often cost more to have the doors pre-hung, metal reinforcement installed etc.

Downs and Wescott are probably the two biggest manufacturers however their products aren't cheap by any standards although they are definitely quality bodies. I purchased a Dave Koorey '32 3 Window coupe body and was very impressed with the quality of the workmanship. It has doors and trunk lid hung with latches, a fair amount of steel reinforcement, and it even has the electric window units in place. Cost me $3400 about 6 years ago but the price has almost doubled now. Even at double the price I paid his stuff is still thousands less than Downs or Wescott's.
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Old 03-27-2006, 04:22 PM
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What Centerline said! These cars consume large amounts of money and even larger amounts of time. Check my photo gallery.

Vince
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Old 03-27-2006, 05:27 PM
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Here's a website that will give you a very good look at what you're in for. It isn't easy, but it sure is satisfying.

http://www.project33.com/
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Old 03-27-2006, 05:42 PM
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stay far away from street beast's
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Old 03-27-2006, 08:25 PM
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Also use the search function on this site and read the many many threads about various glass mfrs as well as the reports from owners about the amount of work you can expect when you take on a glass project. These bodies do not come "ready for paint". Not that they can't be turned into excellent rods, but make sure you are fully aware of the scope of the project you are undertaking.
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Old 03-27-2006, 08:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt167
stay far away from street beast's
I'll second that! Nothing made for the real car fits, and the only place you can get parts is from them, if and when they get around to it. StreetBeast is a first class shyster organization.
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Old 03-28-2006, 12:45 AM
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I believe that WESCOTT'S has the best fiberglass body going......at the present time.....Brookville will have their reproduction steel 3W bodies out before too long.... ( shown below )



Buying a reproduction body is somewhat like going into a restaurant.....sometimes the food is good and sometimes........it just does not turn out like it usually does......and SOMETIMES.......you can pick up a abandoned project for a fraction of what has been spent on it....and then make it yours....

I love a 32 3W as much or maybe more than anyone here.......but they are very time consuming.....look at my project journal to see my 32 3W " under construction "...... click on the " view from beginning "
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Old 03-28-2006, 03:03 AM
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If you are going to buy a 'glass body, here are a few things to look for:
!) the main body is one piece, not sections glued together. (A true "replica" will not have the fenders as part of the main body, unless the original came that way)

2) The body should be laminated so as to keep the resin to glass ratio fairly lean. Puddles of resin or a glossy, wet look on the inside usually indicates a resin rich laminate which will give you problems later on. It should look somewhat dull with the strands of glass looking flattened and pressed into the laminate.(this effect is more pronounced with a properly done chopper gun laminate) You should be able to see no air bubbles trapped under the surface. There should be no major thickness variations, Big hairy fuzzy areas on the surface are not a structural defect,(Unless they are into the laminate), but they are a sign of poor workmanship and should merit a closer look. Companies that paint the inside of their bodies are usually hiding something. I won't try to dispel any preconceived notions about hand layup vs chopper gun other than to say you can build good parts with either method, and you can build junk with either method. The reason that alot of chopper gun shops make crappy parts is because they have a lazy crew or the gun operator hasn't learned how to run the gun. As for materials: Use of good resin will make it easy to make a good part, cheap resin is hard to make a good part with. You wont find many companies using vinyl ester or epoxy resins. If they did, no one would want to pay for a replica body.

3) steel reinforcement is necessary for the bodies structural integrity. wood is ok but it isn't as good as steel. Wood is hydroscopic, steel is not. The wood swells when it absorbs water. This swelling many times causes the wood to come unglued from the fiberglass. Steel does not do this. Some companies claim that wood is closer in it's coefficient of expansion to fiberglass, but that is not true.(Note: Certain woods can be glued to fiberglass with the proper prep and glue, often times it is not properly done) Steel is the best reinforcement . (that is why steel bodies are inherently better than 'glass ones. if wood was better then we would see wood replicas ) The steel reinforcement should be of a cage type construction,with all of the openings surrounded and all of the structural components bolted or welded to the structure. Fiberglass does not handle localized stress well, a door latch or hinge bolted through fiberglass with no steel to back it up is a disaster waiting to happen. The steel structure should be able to support the weight of the doors, decklid, etc hanging from it without the fiberglass skin on. The wescott bodies do this. look at the drawing of the steel that wescotts has in the catalog. there are other manufacturers who strengthen their bodies this way also. That is the model to look for. The steel should be glued to the body at points that will give it a truss like effect. (look inside the Statue of Liberty and you get the idea. The armature is only connected where it will give the most strength and rigidity) The steel should be glassed over at those points so as to encapsulate it and make it one with the fiberglass skin.

4) Fit should be close. No more than 3/16 gap on anything. the doors and decklid WILL shrink over time and those gaps will grow. Doors should fit inside the opening without binding or having to be flexed excessively to get them closed. Don't accept a body with a door that sags and has to be lifted to get it closed. (especially if the body is on a frame.) The door should feel solid. Ask if you can pick up the body by the open door. I know it can be done with a properly reinforced body.

5) There are a few more things to look out for, many of them have already been covered by by the previous posters and they all are giving good advice. Cboy is correct in that you should do is find people who have actually bought bodies from the manufacturers you are considering, and get their opinion on it. Keep in mind though that past performance is no guarantee of future performance. The best advice I think I could give is to pick it up at the factory and pay for it when you pick it up. Let the mfg know this when you are buying it. You will be more likely to get a better job that way.There is nothing worse than paying for something and opening the box to find dissapointment. Take someone with you who can help look the thing over when you pick it up. Don't pay the balance unless it meets your approval. Lastly (almost): don't even call street beast. If you do go with the brookville, be prepared to wait. Some folks waited for over a year to get the steel 32 roadster they made when it first came out. It was worth the wait though. I'll bet their coupes will be the same.
hope this helps, mikey
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Old 03-28-2006, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powerrodsmike
If you are going to buy a 'glass body, here are a few things to look for..... the main body is one piece, not sections glued together.
GO BACK .....and read and reread this ..ENTIRE .. post by Powerrodsmike ....

He is being very modest and very HONEST..........What he did not say he has done fiberglass work for years and worked for a MAJOR fiberglass body manufacturer years ago......He knows this subject very well.....

DEUCE........
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Old 03-28-2006, 11:19 AM
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Which of the manufacturers have a one piece body? I thought they all made them up from floor, sides and tops and such. Who has a mold to do an entire body in one layup?

Vince
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Old 03-28-2006, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 302/Z28
Which of the manufacturers have a one piece body? I thought they all made them up from floor, sides and tops and such. Who has a mold to do an entire body in one layup?

Vince
I should have been a little more concise. When I said "the main body" I was referring to the outer shell. Due to the overhangs and extensions involved, the floor and firewall are going to be put in after the initial layup. Most all of the manufacturers have 5 or more piece molds that are bolted together before the body is laid up. The body is made in one piece then the mold is unbolted from the part. That is where those flashing lines come from. My initial statement was referring more to the use of flanged body sections that are bolted and glued together. I haven't seen any of those for a while but I thought it should be mentioned. later, mikey
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Old 03-28-2006, 12:01 PM
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I'm not 100% sure on things but I have heard good reviews from this place.
www.americanstreetrod.com I'd like to hear what everyone else has to say, I like their 37 and am hoping to purchase one from them within the next 6 months.

Also the word I constantly hear is to stay away from the beast, street beast that is... but this is just what I hear from everyone else out there.

But I do wish you luck on your build, whichever decision you make..
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Old 03-28-2006, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powerrodsmike
I should have been a little more concise. When I said "the main body" I was referring to the outer shell. Due to the overhangs and extensions involved, the floor and firewall are going to be put in after the initial layup. Most all of the manufacturers have 5 or more piece molds that are bolted together before the body is laid up. The body is made in one piece then the mold is unbolted from the part. That is where those flashing lines come from. My initial statement was referring more to the use of flanged body sections that are bolted and glued together. I haven't seen any of those for a while but I thought it should be mentioned. later, mikey
Gotch ya, sorry for the misinterpretation.

Vince
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Old 06-20-2006, 02:12 PM
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California Kid glass bodies

Has anyone any information on the manufacturer "California Kid"
fiberglass kit cars. There is a 34 ford for sale at Country Classic Cars in Staunton, Illinois. It sits on a rolling chassis. The car is listed at
www.autabuy.com/vehicles/details.cfm?vid=22252.

The price is attractive but since I have read threads on fiberglass bodies I am leary of this.
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