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Old 01-03-2006, 05:34 PM
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Questions before buying a fiberglass car.

I am looking at buying a fiberglass '32. I am wanting to buy an unassembled coupe to stay within my budget. The doors and trunk are not hung, but that's not a problem. I will also not be able to buy a frame for approx 2 months after I receive the body.

If the car does not come on a crate when I pick it up, is there a way to store it in my garage without warping until I get the frame? Has anyone done this?

My next problem would be..there is no frame work (metal or wood) in the new car. I am told that when I pick it up I can take pictures of a car that has it, but I am looking for some more info about the interior structure from someone who has a glass car. Also was the framework glassed into the body when it was laid or installed afterword.

Any help or pictures is appreciated.
Thanks,
Brian

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Old 01-03-2006, 05:57 PM
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Help on the way.

Anytime you have something like that,what I do is to take wood and fiberglass putty and glue braces in the body sitting on your garage floor. Put enough braces that it will not flex. When you get the frame to set it on. Cut and grind out the braces,won't hurt a thing. I do the same thing on a medal body,but weld in the braces and later cut them out. I have see many builders do this. MiMax Ps from the minute you get it ,start taking pictures so you will know what you have done and how. Makes a nice album to show when you get ready to sell.
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Old 01-03-2006, 06:19 PM
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Thanks that get's me off to a good start. I will post pics in my album when I start.
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Old 01-03-2006, 06:37 PM
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Which 32 body are you looking at? Just about every one I have looked at has some sort of interior bracing system. Some use wood, some use metal, some use a combination of both. One piece of advice I can give you is do not even attempt to hang the doors or deck lid until you set the body on the frame you will be using. What I did with my 34 glass body when I took it off the frame is I made a pseudo frame the same dimension as the original from angle iron. I put the pseudo frame on rollers so I can move it all around as I prep the body for paint.

Vince
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Old 01-03-2006, 08:39 PM
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I have to tell you something, I would be damned before I spent that much time on a fiberglass body. You could get a steel one, no, not a 32 Ford, but a Dodge or something for the same price that doesn't need any more work than that. All the body structure including hanging the doors and all? I am sorry, that is no "savings" to me, in work or money.

1934 Dodge coupe on ebay (click here)

1932 Plymouth (click here)

1934 Chevy Town sedan (click here)

Brian
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Old 01-03-2006, 08:50 PM
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Buy a chassis.
Have the glass body molded to it. Downs Mfg. will do it.
That's a good start.
Even after that you still have a ton of work to make everything fit just right.

vicrod
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Old 01-03-2006, 08:53 PM
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My 2 bits is tha tbe sure and set it down on a flat surface and do not take it out of any packing crate until you are ready to use..you will need to glass in some reinforcements..those can be made from pieces of wood or plywood and glassed fully around placing some metal in the areas where you are going to bolt to..The wood pieces just make a shape to glass over so the wood used can be pine or fir..the glassing of the reinforcements makes the strength..if done properly we coudl take the wood out and still have a good strength but since it is so hard to get the wood out we just leave it..

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Old 01-03-2006, 08:58 PM
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I agree with Brian, although the 30's plymouths and Dodges do seem to be going up a bit. I never worked on a Fiberglass repo body, but have worked with enough fiberglass to know there is usually quite a bit of prep work and fitting involved, and add to that all the other work of supports. The dodge and plymouths look similar to the fords, and its like getting a chop top on a ford, since the height is lower stock. In one of my many daydreaming moments thought about getting one, if money grew on trees and I could have a lot of vehicles. May not be as many parts made, but you also don't see anywhere near as many as fords around.
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Old 01-03-2006, 09:15 PM
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To start with ,,No offense,, but you must be a glutton for punishment,, unless you have done this before, and have some experience with fiberglass ,and ready for a hell of a lot of work putting all that bracing in a glass body,, that is one of the most important steps to building a car,,thats the reason it is usually done at the place of manufacture,, On a jig that holds everything in place and is allowed to cure that way,,one mistake that causes the body to end up out of square or twisted,, and its useless,, but if you are determined,, Then try this,,,,,,,,,, When you put bracing in a glass car,, make damn sure that you do NOT glue any bracing to a out side skin,, like door skins, trunk lid, cowl, etc,, the chemicals will cause glue lines to transfer to the glass and you will see a line on the finish side every time, difference in expansion of materials,stay about 1/4 " away from any outside panel,, For bracing before you get the frame its a good idea to have that body setting level in all directions, with some type of structure to hold it that way,, DO NOT try to hang any doors, trunk or anything that can cause the body to twist, All I can say is I wish you luck,, I use to do this for a co that made 33 -34 chev body's,, [I hated it] Personally I would let the manufacturer take care of it,, it doesn't cost that much more and is certainly worth it, instead of taking a chance of screwing up the body, and itching like crazy,,, I don't mean any disrespect, just my 02 good luck with your project,, Bill
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Old 01-03-2006, 09:56 PM
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Very interesting Bill. At work I work on semis, and most are fiberglass. The fenders and many other parts they replace are glued to the inner structures with panel adhesive. I've never noticed any glue lines, but haven't really looked that close, and the panels that have never been damaged are somewhat wavy looking out of the factory. I'll probably be heating one up and replacing tommorrow at work, when they get in a new peice they forgot to order that they didn't know didn't come with the fender. I've only been there a few months, but maybe will have to investigate more.
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Old 01-03-2006, 10:30 PM
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Kenseth,, is the inner bracing installed at the factory,,? how thick is the glass?? , by glue lines I am talking about the shrinkage lines that is caused by the different expansion of the different materials,, like wood or steel glued to fiber glass, the different rates of expansion causes the glass to distort and leaves visible lines, we always used the adhesive too, but used a caulk type adhesive between the bracing and skins that would allow the different materials to move, kinda like a rubber seal that stuck to both surfaces, but the inner bracing did not touch any outer panel, I think alot of body manf, glue the bracing directly to the putter skins,, and depend on the body men to fix the results,, I just finished a 33 ford coupe,,[ Manf. name withheld] they advertised oak and steel bracing.. it was Popular wood and thin wall tin tubing,, and the glue lines were awful,, caused twice as much body work,

I,ve used a heat gun to straighten up glass panels before too,, some can be a real bugger, HUH?? Bill
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Old 01-03-2006, 11:26 PM
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Rodfather, guys, yeah like Bill says, "I mean no disrespect". I know there are lots of reasons to buy a glass body. But this structureless body is a HUGE undertaking as others have pointed out.

One of the most common reasons a guy will buy a fiberglass body is that it is cheaper than steel IF it is a popular body style. I don't think you can get any more popular than a Little Deuce coupe. I understand, a steel Duece is some serious bucks (my brother bought a 3W Duece body for $50.00 back in '76 or so, my how times change) and if you MUST have a Deuce, well then morgage the house or buy a glass one.

Another common reason a guy will buy one is that it "doesn't need any body work". And that just can't be further from the truth,if you want it to look nice that is. They need a TON of work, the best body, structure installed and all, big bucks body needs TONS of work to make it paint ready. Don't believe the lies "Ready to sand and paint" that are in the sales brochures.

Then of course, the guy is comfortable and skilled working with glass more than metal. It is a need material that you can do amazing things with.

Rodfather, if you are skilled enough to make that structure, you are skilled enough to do the body work on the roughest metal body out there.

Doing all the rust repair, dents, bullet holes, top chops, bondo, metal finishing, what ever you have to do is going to be "different" work, thats all. It will be the same hours, the same learning curve. If you want a cool car, get an old metal body and work it baby, work it.

For that matter, hunt around and maybe there is a Duece within your budget.

Just be sure you are buying what every you do, for the right reasons.

Duece body (click here)

And another (click here)

And a 33 for good measure (click here)

Brian

Last edited by MARTINSR; 01-04-2006 at 12:03 AM.
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Old 01-03-2006, 11:49 PM
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You may be right there bill. The inner support part is all fiberglass too. I thought you were talking about the glue to hold it together. The other day a guy replaced the whole back panel, the supports inside were aluminum, and the panel was aluminum. I know there is problems when you have different expansion rates, like how many people want to mold a fiberglass panel to metal, chances are it will crack eventually at the joint because of this. But Isn't steel or other materials often used for support in critical areas when something layed up in fiberglass. What if the supports were say steel or whatever, laminated with fiberglass, and then glued to the fiberglass panel? I have no idea, just throwing something out there.
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Old 01-04-2006, 06:18 AM
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Lot's of good tips. I have a finished streetrod, and I just want to do a '32, However a metal one is out of my price range. If anyone has pictures of the interior structure please post it. I am not against trying to do this. I am just educationing myself before I put down a deposit.
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Old 01-04-2006, 07:09 AM
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I've built street rods from both steel and fiberglass. Some fiberglass 32 bodies come with a steel inner structure and require minimal body work especially if you are building a high boy. I've found the steel original cars to require much more work to make a quality hot rod. The fit on those old car bodies is terrible and you are most often dealing with something that has been repaired several times. Pay a little extra and get a 32 body with built in reinforcements. Drive it in primer for a few months before painting to let the fiberglass cure or bolt it to a frame and take it to your local powder coater and have them put it in the oven to speed the cure. Be prepaired to spend a lot of money. Hot rods are much more expensive to build than most people think.
Good luck on your project. Bob

Last edited by Bob C; 01-04-2006 at 08:03 AM.
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