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Old 02-26-2004, 06:17 PM
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wood floor or steel?

Hi folks! I'm new to this forum and I'm posting the first of what will probably be many questions as I'm building my first street rod. I've worked on lots of cars, but I've never built one from the ground up. What I have is a 1929 Whippet 4 model 96A 2 door coach. It looks a whole lot like a 32 Ford. I'm planning on installing a SBC with a TH350. It will probably have a Mustang 2 IFS and possibly a 4 link rear with a 9 inch, and discs all around. This car came with a wood floor. I's not the original, and I'm not even sure if the original was wood. The inside frame for the body IS wood, however, and needs to be fully replaced, as most of the original stuff is gone. My first question is, should I use a wood floor in my build? Is it even legal to do so? What have other people in my situation done? I should also mention that I am not independently wealthy, and I have to do this as cheaply as possible. I am very handy and intend to do as much as possible myself. Thanks for any help.

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Old 02-26-2004, 06:31 PM
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They quit building cars that way cause the body would come off the frame, and kill everyone inside.
so no.

Post some pics!



Shane.

77 Chevy truck.
85 Honda Prelude.
37 Willys sedan.
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Old 02-26-2004, 08:09 PM
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Most all these old bodies were wood frames with the panels tacked and bolted to it as they were an offshoot of the carriage and coach trade. Many English cars used wood into the 50's and 60"s for interior floor panels and interior pieces. Usually if you are not restoring the car and/or are using a non stock frame it is easier to re-floor it in sheet metal. You can fabricate them in steel but the top wood and side wood may have to duplicated for proper body alignment and interior bracing. If you are going to "fill" the top , you can save a lot of wood fabrication. The door posts are uaually the hardest to get correct and they really need the wood (or good steel tubing) for structural stability .
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Old 02-26-2004, 09:19 PM
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I do have full size factory body drawings. I could probably reproduce everything in steel using the drawings to get the correct contours. Probnably wouldn't be that tough, just lots of work. Would square tubing be a good choice where applicable, such as roof bows and door pillars? I haven't decided yet if I'm going to fill the roof. I kinda like the vinyl, but leaks are a concern. I am attaching a photo. Hope it works.
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Old 02-26-2004, 11:56 PM
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Wow! What a cool project! And my favorite setup: 350 sbc with a TH350!

Please keep us posted and take pictures every step of the way!


Alan
54 Chevy Pickup
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Old 02-27-2004, 05:43 AM
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Yes, the thinner ga. square tubing works well. You will find that a lot of it will have to be bent as these cars look like a box but they have lots of curves in the body structure. If you retain the soft top you will have to devise a way to fasten it to your steel inner top piece. The last model "A" Ford I did used 3/8" MDF glued and riveted to the top of the inner steel tube structure. It was easy to work with, takes the minor bends well and holds tacks/staples well. This was a car that I put a " Vicky" door on a regular coupe, the owner could no longer get in the old "A" door, then had to stretch everything the added three inches to match. Channeled it the width of the frame and new style hinges and single pin locks, lots of work! Good luck.
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Old 02-27-2004, 04:57 PM
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Yeah, you're right, bobcrman. EVERYTHING would have to be bent to varying curvatures. Would it be feasible to bend the square tubing myself? I would probably need some kind of device to roll the curves. Has anyone ever built one of these?
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Old 02-28-2004, 01:41 PM
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Willys36 uses a wood floor in his Willys and seems very happy with it...maybe talk to him.
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Old 02-28-2004, 02:29 PM
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I used a modified hand electrical conduit bender for bending the curves. I replaced the round "hook" on one end with a square bent piece of strap to keep the bends on the same plane. then you bend just a small amount in several places to get the curve. It takes time but once you get the hang of bending it goes along fairly well. Lots of cut and try.
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Old 02-28-2004, 03:34 PM
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i once made a curved rocker panel patch on a sheet metal break, so i know that a tubing bender would work just as well for tube .... just do little at a time .... and just keep edging your way down the tube 1/2 at a time and you can get the arches you need damn near perfect, especialy with full sive body drawings on hand,

would love to have a set of those for my 68 chevy truck ...
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Old 03-02-2004, 04:38 PM
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As I told you in my answer to your PM, wood floors are great. I am assuming your car originally had wood floors and has a steel rim around the holes with screw holes that will receive the (usually 1/2") floor boards. If so, simply reproduce the shape of the old boards in new exterior grade plywood. The coat the bottom with spray rubberized tar under coating, or for a show finish, one of the almost infinite variety of Formica colors/textures. Glue the latter on with contact adhesive. Then just screw the boards in place with flathead screws with a strip of residential foam weatherstrip in the channel.
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