One of the more common questions people ask about the build is, “When will it be done?”
It’s tricky to answer. There’s no schedule we’re working toward but I’d say the project is steaming along nicely. Having started in April with a bare frame we’ve already got a rolling chassis, the pickup bed is modified & the machine work on the engine should be done in a few weeks. In absence of a hard deadline I figure the truck will be roadworthy by the end of this year & mostly finished by Spring of 2014 if we maintain current pace.
So what’s next?
Starting in September Rudy at Fullerton Fabrication is moving onto one of the more interesting & time consuming (read: expensive) steps of the project – chopping & channeling the cab.
“Chopping the top" goes back to the early days of hot rodding and is an attempt to reduce the frontal profile of a car and increase its speed potential. To chop a roof, the pillars and windows are cut down, lowering the overall roofline. Some racers on the dry lakes chopped the tops of their cars so severely the windows were only a few inches tall. These were sometimes referred to as "mail slot" windows.
To channel a car the body is lowered over the frame by removing the floor and refastening it higher inside the body, causing the body to rest closer to the ground without altering the suspension. The overall effect is to give the car's body a more massive appearance. Each automobile would have its own engineering challenges as far as modifying the various components of the chassis.
As the chop & channel approaches Rudy & I have been discussing how to handle the process as economically as possible. The original cab I bought in April has no floor & the back of the cab was cut as a result of an earlier channel job. It has some dents to be hammered out, most of the interior accessories are missing & when Rudy starts the chop he’s going to need a few extra inches of roof & drip channel (not easy to come by). All this can be handled one way or the other but fabrication hours & replacement parts get expensive.
We decided that buying an additional 1935 Ford cab might make sense as the missing pieces it’d provide might potentially be cheaper than fabrication. So, out comes the checkbook & in comes ‘35 Ford #2 that I recently located in West Virginia. Two cabs are better than one? Sorta makes sense – or at least as much as the rest of this project does.
The previous owner had cab #2 in his shop for the past ten years as the foundation of his own hot rod project that never commenced (happens all too much). After getting it shipped out here in a 53’ freightliner I have a new toy.
Like most vintage steel the second cab is rough around the edges. Still, Rudy & I agree this one’s in good enough shape to become the primary cab that’ll be chopped & channeled.
More updates on the chop & channel soon, but for now – pics…