Mastering Metal: Myers’ Fenderless Ford Roadster by Rad Rides

Part 5: Apron Panels, Lower Hood Panels and Door Construction

By Ron Covell   –   Photography by Adam Banks

In past issues, we covered much of the metal fabrication done by the Rad Rides by Troy crew on the Ross Myers fenderless ’36 Ford roadster. This time, we’ll take a deep dive into the apron panels that fit under the lower hood panels and the construction of the doors.

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The team at Rad Rides uses shrinking dies on a powerful Eckold machine to do much of the forming of large, low-crown panels, along with an English wheel and a planishing hammer for the final smoothing. A Pullmax machine is used for many of the steps and beads; they metal finish and carefully sand each panel to perfection as it nears completion.

02 Pullmax Machine Contours Apron Panels on 1936 Ford Roadster
A special set of dies was made for the Pullmax machine to form the proper contour on the top edge of the apron panels.

They are charting new territory by making a fenderless version of a 1936 Ford roadster, a task few have attempted because of the complications involved. It’s quite a challenge to make the large areas previously covered by the “fat” front fenders look good when exposed for all to see. By incorporating a masterful blend of steps, sweeps, ridges, and creases, the aprons that fit under the hood sides have become a real focal point on the car, and they blend nicely with the custom-made framerails, which also have a stepped detail done in the style of the ’32 frame.

03 Test Fitting Apron Panel on Myers’ 1936 Ford Roadster
The freshly formed panel is test-fitted to the car and adjusted as needed. You can see that the shape flows nicely into both the cowl and grille shell.

Fabricating the Doors

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Every bit of the door is custom made. The doorskins were made from 18-gauge cold rolled steel sheets, but they selected 14-gauge steel for the inner panels. The heavier-gauge steel is more difficult to work with, but it ensures that the doors will be massively strong and will close with a solid “thud.” These doors will hold their shape very well over the long haul. A tremendous amount of time was spent perfecting the fit and gaps around the doors, and the end result was striking.

The door hinges are from a production car, but they were extensively reworked, allowing the doors to open to nearly 90 degrees, a much wider angle than on most cars of this era. Most of the other details on the door were custom-made, including the dovetails and door handles. All these details were finished to perfection since the owner made it clear that he wanted the finest quality achievable for this groundbreaking project.

Follow the Build Series

Part 1: Building a One Of A Kind Roadster

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Part 2: Myers’ Fenderless 1936 Ford Roadster

Part 3: Intricate Fabrication On Myers’ Fenderless Ford Roadster

Part 4: Supercharger & Suspension On Myers’ Fenderless Ford Roadster

04 Adjusting Front Edge Panel Fit on 1936 Ford Roadster
The front edge of the panel is shaped in a similar manner, and the fit is tested against the grille shell. Just a couple more tweaks will get the part dialed in perfectly.
05 Steel Bar Stock Shaping for Lower Apron Panels on 1936 Ford Roadster
With the first two pieces of the apron fitted and joined, ¼-inch-diameter steel bar stock is bent to represent the shape needed for the lower panels.
06 Chipboard Pattern and 18 Gauge Steel for Lower Apron Panel
A chipboard pattern is made for the front portion of the lower panel, then a sheet of 18-gauge cold-rolled steel sheet is cut to size and contoured to fit the form.
07 Planishing Rear Lower Apron Panel on 1936 Ford Roadster
The rear portion of the lower panel is shaped in a similar manner and planished smooth.
08 Clamping Apron Parts for Fit Check on 1936 Ford Roadster
All the parts are held into place with clamps and Clecos to check the fit.
09 Welded and Metal Finished Lower Apron Panels on 1936 Ford Roadster
The lower panels have been welded together here and metal finished. Note the line drawn for a feature to be added near the center of the panel.
10 Smooth Finish on Welded Lower Apron Panels for 1936 Ford Roadster
A svelte bead was formed in the lower panels, then the assembly was welded to the top strip. After welding and metal finishing, all surfaces were smoothed with a random orbit sander, leaving a smooth, lustrous finish.
11 Front View of Steps and Beads on Myers’ 1936 Ford Roadster
A front view shows the beautiful flow of the steps, beads, and linework and all parts’ impeccable fit and finish.
12 Temporary Form Clamped to Cowl for Custom Doorskin on 1936 Ford Roadster
The doors were completely scratch built. A temporary form is clamped to the cowl and quarter-panel. This represents the doorskin’s shape to flow smoothly into both surfaces.
13 Shaping 18 Gauge Sheet for Doorskin on 1936 Ford Roadster
A slightly oversize piece of 18-gauge sheet was shaped by using radial shrink dies on an Eckold machine, followed by smoothing with an English wheel. After the contours are refined, the panel is filed in two directions to reveal any tiny deviations that need correction.
14 Final Smoothing of Doorskin for Myers’ 1936 Ford Roadster
After the final smoothing, the file marks were removed with an orbital sander. The crease in the top of the doorskin was done with the same custom-made Pullmax dies used on the quarter-panel and cowl.
15 Inner Doorframe Construction with Reworked Hinges on 1936 Ford Roadster
A stout inner doorframe was made from 14-gauge steel. The hinges from an English car were used, allowing adjustment as needed. The hinges were heavily reworked, increasing the opening angle to nearly 90 degrees.
16 Complex Inner Doorframe Assembly on 1936 Ford Roadster
The top portion of the inner doorframe was a complex construction. You can see how each piece was meticulously fitted into place.
17 Chipboard Pattern for Outer Door Top on 1936 Ford Roadster
A chipboard pattern was made for the outer portion of the door top.
18 Rough Shaped and Planished 18 Gauge Steel Door Top
Here’s the 18-gauge steel door top shown after rough shaping and planishing.
19 Smoothly Formed Inner Panel of Door Top on 1936 Ford Roadster
Looking inside the panel, you can see how smoothly this convoluted shape was formed.
20 Clamping Door Top for Scribing and Trimming on 1936 Ford Roadster
After being metal finished, the door top is clamped into place in preparation for scribing and trimming the doorskin.
21 TIG Welded Door Top on Myers’ 1936 Ford Roadster
Here, the door top has been TIG welded into place. You can see very little distortion due to the precise fit and the crown of the panels.
22 Smooth Metal Finished Joint on Doorskin of 1936 Ford Roadster
After grinding the weld smooth, metal finishing the joint, and orbital sanding, the doorskin looks like it was made from one piece of metal. The doorskin was joined to the inner frame by edge-welding.
23 Embossing Feature Around Exterior Door Handle on 1936 Ford Roadster
A special die was made to emboss the feature around the exterior door handle.
24 Completed Exterior Door Handle Detail on 1936 Ford Roadster
Here’s the completed door panel handle detail.
25 Completed Door with Hinges and Latches on Myers’ 1936 Ford Roadster
And here’s the completed door, hinged and latched. As you can see, the door gaps and the overall fit and finish are done to extremely high standards. This is a testament to the fine-quality work done at Rad Rides by Troy.


Rad Rides by Troy
(815) 468 2590

Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of Mastering Metal: Myers’ Fenderless Ford Roadster by Rad may 2024

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