01 Ford Deuce Coupe Roof Swap Onto a ‘31 Model A

Part 1: Top Swapping a Ford Model A for a Ford Deuce

By Eric Geisert – Photography By the Author

Every hot rodder knows one of the most special things about the 1932 Ford is it has many one-year-only features. Designer Eugene “Bob” Gregorie was tapped by none other than Edsel Ford to be in charge of the new look Ford vehicles would soon take, which would use both streamline and European styling cues.

02 Up front is a Kugel Independent Front Suspension brought to Old Anvil Speed Shop
The chassis, with a Kugel Independent Front Suspension, was brought to Old Anvil Speed Shop by the customer along with the 90-year-old Model A body with the roof apron section already removed.

In the early ’30s, vehicle manufacturers would introduce new looks almost every year, setting themselves apart from their competition, and Ford was no different. The look of Fords from 1931 to 1937 drastically changed seven times in that short time span, and it was an abrupt change each time. Whereas there wasn’t much of a radical change between 1933 and 1934, the changes between the 1931 Model A and the 1932 Ford five-window are pretty obvious.

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03 Blue Dykem ink and scribe marks show how much is taken out below the rear window
Blue Dykem ink and scribe marks show how Old Anvil will take an inch out below the rear window, 2 inches out of the middle of the rear window, and 3 inches in the corners, which yields a combined 3-inch chop overall.

So, when Derryll Gehring, the owner of a 1931 Model A coupe (a car he has owned since he was 15) stopped in to talk to Paul Bosserman of Old Anvil Speed Shop in Orange, California, about a chop for his soon-to-be hot rod, the talk soon turned to adding a 1932 five-window coupe roof to the Model A as well as the chop.

Though this modification has only been attempted a couple of times in the past by a few builders, there certainly wasn’t a template to go by, nearly all of this work was going to be done by eye—in other words what looked right to Bosserman. At first Bosserman thought he’d be using most of the new top section but, as work progressed, he discovered that much of the original Model A roof could be retained.

04 In the corners you can see the intended cut marks laying out the 3 inches to be removed on the Model A
In the corners you can see the intended cut marks laying out the 3 inches to be removed.

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The work was done in three stages: first the rear section (from the B pillar back) was chopped, which was a pretty straightforward task. But the tricky part was determining not only where the transition would be from the roof to the door top, but if it would be the Model A or the 1932 Five Window Coupe piece.

Bosserman was surprised at how close the 1932 Five Window Coupe roof fit to the old Model A roof—like hand-to-glove in many areas. It turned out the 1932 Five Window Coupe roof would be cut into four sections: the piece above the windshield, the left and right door top sections, and the middle section (the whole rear section of the ‘32 with the window was not used at all).

05 The complete 1932 Five Window Coupe before getting chopped up
The complete 1932 five-window coupe roof stamping, but it’ll soon be cut up into much smaller pieces.

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What turned out to be true is the amount of work it took to get this roof redo to look “right” might not yield the response from the general public it deserves. It’s so subtle only die-hard ’32 or Model A fanatics will get what happened, and chances are they’ll only see a portion of it—the work really is just that subtle.

This is Part 1 of 2 on how it was done and how the work evolved as Bosserman surgically added and took away just the right amount of metal to create a chopped ’31-1/2 Model A.  MR

06 Bracing was added to hold the B pillar together prior to the roof coming off.
A lot of bracing was added (tying the B pillars together, the dash to the floor, the quarter-panels diagonally to the opposite frame rail, and so on) because when the roof comes off all of these location points will shift without them.
07 The quarter panels diagonally braced to the opposite frame rail on the 1931 Model A
A lot of bracing was added (tying the B pillars together, the dash to the floor, the quarter-panels diagonally to the opposite frame rail, and so on) because when the roof comes off all of these location points will shift without them.
08 The bracing continues throughout the chassis of the 31 Model A
A lot of bracing was added (tying the B pillars together, the dash to the floor, the quarter-panels diagonally to the opposite frame rail, and so on) because when the roof comes off all of these location points will shift without them.
09 Paul of Old Anvil Speed shop copies the marks on the rear of the B pillars
Paul Bosserman, of Old Anvil, is transferring the 3-inch chop marks around the rear corner to the B pillars.
10 Paul begins the process with an air saw on the 1931 Model A
Cutting begins in the corners with an air saw, but cut inside the scribe marks as he’ll do a finer cut with handheld snips later.
11 The top comes off, note how the A pillars and doors have not yet been marked out or cut
The top comes off; note how the A pillars and doors have not yet been marked or cut.
12 The guys at Old Anvil Speed Shop clean up the lines with tin snips
A closeup view shows the scribe lines that Bosserman will follow with the tin snips.
13
The structural strength of a factory Deuce Coupe is aided by a wood framework (some of which is removed for this work) inside the B pillars and throughout the body.
14 It is important to be accurate with these cuts to line up with the 1932 Deuce Coupe
The accuracy of the cuts is critical, as the better the seam lines up with its new counterpart the less corrective welding needs to happen, which is why Bosserman uses tin snips for precise trimming.
15 The guys at old anvil did a test fit and it looks good!
The rear section is set back on the body for a trial fit—and it looks great. Note how the rear window was cut at different points to retain the factory reveals and proportions to the quarter window.
16 The forward section of the Model A roof gets cut to see how it would fit on the new roofline
Bosserman cuts the forward section of the Model A roof off in order to begin to figure out how it will (or won’t) be incorporated into the new roofline.
17 The guys at an old anvil cut the most straight portion of the Model A door.
Using a section of the door that appears to be the most straight (without taper or corners) Bosserman scribes where the top cut line will be.
18 With the 3-inch section marked the guys at old anvil cut the door tops off the Model A
With a 3-inch section marked, Bosserman cuts the door tops off.
19 The Deuce Coupe has been test fitted on the Model A roof several times
The laying of the Deuce Coupe roof over the Model A roof happened dozens of times, as Bosserman was figuring out how much of which roof would be needed.
20 This is the front view, notice how the Deuce Coupe roof is wider than the Model A_s
The front view shows how much wider the Deuce Coupe roof was to the Model A’s, and how the A post location on the Deuce Coupe would tell Bosserman how far the Model A’s windshield post would have to be cut and leaned back.
21 In order to find where the Deuce Coupe best matches up with the Model A roof the guys at old anvil begin removing sections
In order to find where the Deuce Coupe best mates up with the Model A roof Bosserman begins to trim away multiple sections.
22 We clamp the Deuce Coupe roof of the Model A windshield helps determine the hot rod_s windshield height
Clamping the Deuce Coupe roof to the Model A windshield posts helps Bosserman determine what the car’s windshield height would be.
23 The Model A gets cut on the windshield post to start molding them to fit
Bosserman begins a pie cut on the windshield posts to start leaning them back, but doesn’t need to cut the front of the post as it’ll be retained.
24 The door is left open on the Model A so the windshield can be lay back
The door has to be left open so the windshield posts can lay back.
25 A bungee cord helps pull the A pillars back on the Model A
A bungee cord on both A pillars helps pull them back before the forward roof section is added.
26 The rear end gets stitched together with stitch welds by the guys at Old Anvil
With the rear section figured out to his satisfaction, Bosserman begins to stitch-weld the rear section together.
27 The Model A_s vertical seam reveal is now in place for the moment
The Model A’s vertical seam reveal (that comes up from the decklid opening to the top of the roof) is in place now but will be removed later.
28 We measure the Deuce Coupe roof prior to cutting it up
Using tape to show where he will cut the front few inches of the Deuce Coupe roof off allows Bosserman to begin lining it up with the body’s new A post location.
29 The guys at old anvil speed shop were surprised that the Deuce Coupe roof fits width wise
Bosserman was surprised how well the Deuce Coupe roof fit side to side with no modifications, and the door side of this area lined up perfectly—only the face will need to be addressed.
30 Bosserman uses his Great Grandfather_s old anvil to hammer out the shape to fit the A pillars of the Model A.
Bosserman uses his great-grandfather’s anvil to help hammer out the shape needed to fit it to the top of the A pillars. The second part of this story showing how the body was finished will be in the next issue of Modern Rodding.

Source
Old Anvil Speed Shop
(657) 223-9889
oldanvilspeedshop.com

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