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Old 07-01-2007, 08:38 PM
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Scratch Building from Nothing

Okay, so I've been cruising the different rod forums for the last few weeks, and have really come to appreciate the simpler things in autos from our past. I've pretty much determined that a late 20's truck is what I'd like to own and they aren't exactly growing on trees. Hard to believe that Henry and others made so many of these vehicles back in the 1st half of the last century and they are disappearing or just absolutely overpriced.

I've sketched up a very simple cab design using mostly square tubing and sheetmetal. The overall design somewhat resembles that of a late 20's truck (take your pick - Chevy or Model T) . The length of the cab around 5ft including cowl and 42inches wide and roughly 36" interior height. Obviously, it's not a complete 100% replica, but then most people here are quite familiar with sawzalls and welding guns.

I've got two extra Chevy 2.8Ls, T5 and auto tranny, and choice of 3.42 and 3.73 gear rear-ends. Granted they aren't 8 cylinders, but they are readily available.

I'm wanting some opinions and your thoughts on what I've got brewing up - basically on the whole self-designed cab angle. FWiW, it will be all steel.

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Old 07-01-2007, 10:55 PM
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I say run with it!!
Others have done it so why not?
I love to look at some of the unique stuff that has been hand built, a lot of amazing work and ideas.

Go man Go
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Old 07-01-2007, 11:27 PM
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Well yes..lot of the fellows are going this way as the 20's were 80 years ago and a lot of that metal has gone by the way..What do you have in mind for chassis and suspension..??

Sam
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Old 07-02-2007, 12:01 AM
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There are a couple of ways to go about building a late 20's style truck. One is the hand built body like cboy's truck and roadster. He is also now building a sedan as well. Here are the links to his project journals on this site:

http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/jour...66&action=view

http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/jour...81&action=view

The other way is to find an old cowl and a couple of doors and fab the rest. grappo found a body that had already been pieced together from some sedan body parts and rebuilt it. Here is a link to his journal:

http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/jour...58&action=view

There is another member building a truck on the site that used the rounded portion of fridge doors to form the top sides of his truck. I can't find the link to his project journal so you will have to search it out yourself.

Just ran across it - klassik100's Journal:

http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/jour...05&action=view

Hope this helps. Good luck.

Last edited by home brew; 07-02-2007 at 02:18 AM.
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Old 07-02-2007, 07:44 AM
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I think you'll find a good deal of support here at HR.Com for your scratch building endeavors. And let me add a third option to those that Brew mentioned, and that is the "scalping" method...taking appropriately shaped pieces of metal off late model cars and combining them to mimic an early 30's body. A good example is Rob (Chuck) Berry's amazing hand built shown in this journal http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/jour...02&action=view

No two of these hand built creations are the same so you'll have to pick and choose from the examples in out project journals and also come up with a LOT of your own solutions and building techniques. I also highly encourage you to share your building experience with the rest of us through your own project journal. Old tin IS becoming very rare so every time you scratch build and show others how you did it...it helps keep our sport alive and affordable.

Obviously not everyone would agree, but my personal opinion is a scratch built body is easier to work on than attempting to mate up existing (rusted and worn) pieces with new sheet metal. So I have great respect not only for scratch builders but also fabricators who can "mix and match".

And one final note. If I can build a body with my limited skills, tools and experience...virtually anybody here at HR.Com can successfully put together a scratch built body. Like you say, it isn't going to be perfect replica, but then that is not the intention. The intention is to get the "look" of late 20's early 30's and then have a blast hitting the streets.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
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Old 07-02-2007, 10:22 AM
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I must say that I am overwhelmed by the response I've gotten from you gents. It's a bit of a re-assurance of going forth with my design and putting it from paper to pavement.

Sam, I'm looking at "building" a modified model T frame, Z'd in the front and rear. I've got to go the suicide front end. I'm still trying to determine the course of action for the front axel assembly, but may look into designing a custom axel and use late model spindles. I'm still in the very EARLY stages of design on that and yet have I taken the time to sit down and really gage at how that design will actually pan out. Haven't totalled determined the rear, but know that I may use coil-overs. I've got a bit of an air ride back ground behind me, but haven't quite decided if I want to go that route. If so, just maybe for the rear.

With the exception of some of the machining of the front axel, I believe that I should be able to complete the truck NEARLY solo.

cboy, It's really about the satisfaction of the build and the drive.

I can't say that I've set a time frame up for this, but my current windowless design leaves some desire to have it done before the air turns cold again. Looking forward to sharing my designs and of course looking forward to input from you guys on tried and true approaches. I'll look to be starting my project journal sometime this week so that way you can see what I have laid out so forth.
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Old 07-02-2007, 11:18 AM
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Take a loook at my journal and you can see how I set mine up..Mine is a long term project as I have a life and have not had the time to concentrate on getting it done..There is no set in stone dimensions for one of these so I would suggest getting the axles you are going to use and go from there..Minimum wheelbase is about 106" to fit it all in..I am stretching mine to 112 to get more room in it and help the handling..Also I am rebuilding the chassis to use 2x5 tubing as I like the look and the extra strength..the 2x3 is a bit on the spindly side of things to suit me..

Do not hesitate to tear something out and fix it if you are not happy with the result..

On the suicide front just get one from TCI or speedway as I have found I cannot build one for what they want..Get the painted version to save on cost if you like..

Sam
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Old 07-02-2007, 02:30 PM
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Old truck cabs are not very difficult to find ... or even pay for.
A little looking and a lot of patience can turn up a project for not a lot of $$$
This one is on eBay now @ less than $2,500 dollars ...

And then when you want to sell it ... folks BUY them ... and titles are easier to come by also...

Just a little food for thought ...
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Old 07-02-2007, 06:19 PM
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2.8l

I strongly encourage you to ditch the 2.8s. I'm not saying "it's V-8 or nothing", because that's just stupid, but the 2.8 GM 6s are notoriously problematic and unreliable. In the Jeep world, pulling a GM2.8 V-6 and replacing it with a 2.5L 4-banger (also a GM engine, oddly) is considered an upgrade! Buick 3.8, 3.3 and 3.1 are plentiful, cheap, and have a much better reputation and parts availability + aftermarket support. Also, it should (but might not, I can't say for sure) bolt up with any trans that was behind a 2.8.

Either way, welcome and we look forward to seeing this project!
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Old 07-02-2007, 09:41 PM
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[QUOTE=Ambassador of 'Pane]I strongly encourage you to ditch the 2.8s. I'm not saying "it's V-8 or nothing", because that's just stupid, but the 2.8 GM 6s are notoriously problematic and unreliable. QUOTE]

I bought a new 85 Buick Century with the 2.8. Drove it for over 220,000 miles and sold it to a guy who drove it for another 120,000 miles before he sold it and we lost track of it. Neither he or I put anything in the motor except carb kits and spark plugs. We did replace the alternator 4 times though. Always started and at the end was only using 1 liter of oil between changes. Did I get a good one or did the Jeep guys get bad ones?
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Old 07-02-2007, 10:56 PM
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Not just the jeep guys, the S-10 guys too. In the 4x4 communities it's regarded as a boat anchor. The 3.3 and later on, the 3.1 that replaced the 2.8 in Buick Centuries (I had a 96 with the 3.1) are great motors with tons of potential, and it's not hard to find an entire donor car (with all the EFI goodies to go with it) for $300.

I've said in other posts (and meant it) that I encourage anybody to do anything, that what makes us hotrodders. So if he wants to stick to a 2.8 that's cool too, and I'm glad that yours worked out for you. Must be a buick thing!
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Old 07-02-2007, 11:19 PM
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I have a 94 Olds Cierra now with the 3.1 and I do agree with you as I do think that it is a better engine. More power and better gas mileage. Only 120,000 miles on it and it doean't use any oil yet.
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