I started on this project in Queensland 2 years ago after leaving work as a technical teacher (mechanic school). I guess I really wanted to prove that I could do something diferent and still end up with a recognisable rod. I was told by so called experts that it could not be done so that made me more eager to try.. I have for a long time believed there are suitable panels out there that are VERY close to vintage lines and I decided to recreate a 34 roadster I once had. I started by measuring the real thing at a show and making cardboard templates of the areas I deemed critical then off I went to the junkyards to find a suitable donor vehicle. I found the right curves in a 1980s Toyota 12 passenger bus roof, cut it off and for $150 took it home. I then got a photo of Jamie Musselmans 34 roadster and traced the outlins onto a transparency and with an overhead projector line up the image on a wall I scaled the imagewith a 15 " wheel. I then made up a buck with Plywood and tubing using my previous measurements. To my amazement the panels fitted onto the buck and after a little trimming allowing 1/2" for folding over the edges I clamped them into place I made a bead roller from scrap steel and the plans from an old American Rodder magazine and made the panel below the boot I also folded up some 1mm CRMS sheet and made a panel for above the boot I then made a hardwood form and knocked out two lower corners. The next job was to tie all this together so I made a pair of wheelwells from 1.6mm using an old pair of glass guards as a guide I cut them out with 1/2" over then I cut a 1/2" square steel bar with two hacksaw blades and made a 'twitching tool' to fold the edge over I then used a long rectangular piece to form the sides of the well, next I placed the wells under the back section and cut out the curve to suit the wheel opening. See pic below
I used the strengthening ribs from the bus roof as a former and trimmed and rewelded them to length; these were then welded to the wheel wells and a frame was constructed to secure the body parts (like steeling out an old body) from 20 x 1.6mm tubing as well a various other bits. I decided to make it easier to get in and out of by lengthening the doors 9inches so I started to make the doors. I used 1mm sheet for this as I don't have a wheeling machine I made a skeleton for the doors from 1.2mm sheet getting the edges folded over at the shop I bought the steel from I followed the contour of the cardboard template and after a little adjustment I had a door frame which when the skin was laid on it caused the steel to take a natural crown as the front of the door is straight.
After buying a pair of running boards, I made the rocker panels from two pieces of 1.2mm sheet on each side, then mig welded them together. I folded the edge with the twitching tool and made the bead, I formed the double curvature with inch by half by 1mm tubing by first hitting the tubing on a tyre on the wide side to make one curve and then cutting it on the short side then bending the cuts together and welding them this was welded on to the sheet. Nice and strong and I can use it to get in and not worry about treading on the delicate glass running boards. The next job was to make a firewall from 1.6mm sheet and then what I consider was the hardest job to make a cowl that looked right. I asked my mate for a loan of a stock cowl and he gave me one which could only be used as a template it was almost gone from rust, so I carefully pulled it to bits and after three tries I had what amounted to the bottom half of a 34 cowl... To make the top half I used my bead roller to get the bonnet insert and I made a basic slip roller from three steel fence poles the wind up mechanism from two office chairs and twelve bearings. After four tries this time I got it right - Ihad a Cowl !
Well this site has paid dividends already! I was reading c boys journal and got some good advice on hinge making which has been a bit of a pain on my project. I remade the boot lid hinges (I think you guys call them trunks) using the ideas in the journal. I extended the length of the hinge and formed two identical arcs in my vice in 2" X 3/8 flat; welding it on to the end. Hey presto the lid opened an additional 45 degrees, now I can stick my head in without hitting it. I will be taking some more photos soon and will post them when available.