Intricate Fabrication On Myers’ Fenderless Ford Roadster

Part 3: Custom Fabricated Decklid, Wheel Wells & Floor

By Ron Covell    –   Photography By Adam Banks

Construction is moving at a rapid pace at Rad Rides by Troy on Ross Myers’ scratch-built fenderless 1936 Ford Roadster. In this installment, we’ll look at the construction of the decklid, the rear wheel wells, and the floor.

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02 Scratch built body with flange and guides defining the contour of the decklid skin
At the tail end of the scratch-built body, an opening was made to accept the decklid. Note that a flange has been turned all around the edge and that guides have been made to define the contour of the decklid skin.

Part One: Building a One Of A Kind Roadster

Building a complete body from new metal is a daunting project, but the crew at Rad Rides by Troy decided it was the best way to go; when you look at the caliber of the work being performed, we think you’ll agree. The work rivals the best you’ll see at any coachbuilding shop around.

03 Rough shaping of the decklid skin with Eckold shrinker and English wheel
Here the decklid skin has been rough shaped with an Eckold shrinker and smoothed with an English wheel. The shape is continually refined until the fit is perfect.

Adam Banks, the main fabricator for the project, uses a somewhat unconventional technique for forming the panels from 18-gauge steel. Shrinking dies are used on a power Eckold machine, starting at the edge of each panel and working progressively toward the center. Once the shapes have been roughed out with the shrinking dies, the panels are further smoothed with an English wheel and then meticulously metal-finished to perfect the contours. Finally, each panel is painstakingly sanded to remove all tooling marks, leaving a bright satin finish on every exposed surface.

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The decklid was formed from a single piece of metal. It was made slightly oversized, and once the contours matched the body perfectly, the edges were marked and trimmed; then they were carefully flanged to create uniform gaps all around.

04 Decklid skin properly shaped and trimmed with a uniform edge flange
Once the decklid skin is properly shaped and trimmed to size, a flange is turned on the edge, making sure the lid fits into the opening with a uniform gap.

Part Two: Myers’ Fenderless 1936 Ford Roadster

The rear wheel wells are a particularly intricate fabrication. Rather than just have smooth surfaces, the crew decided to give the panels lots of ribbing and steps, done mostly with special dies on a Pullmax machine. In the end, the wheel wells have the look of die-stamped OEM panels. You will have to crawl on the ground to see these panels when the car is finished, but that’s what goes into building a car at the top level.

The floor panels were all made from 14-gauge steel, and they have steps that mimic the shapes of the frame rails and X-member beneath. It has a very tidy look both inside the car and when viewed from below.

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05 Final finishing of the decklid through filing and sanding with an orbital sander
Here the decklid is being smoothed by filing and sanding. The final finish is achieved with fine grit abrasive on an orbital sander.

Read More: The Boss 427 Ford Should Have Built

Next time we’ll look at even more of the outstanding work being done on this project. You won’t want to miss it! MR

06 Return added to the decklid opening for rubber weatherstripping
An additional return is added to the decklid opening in the rear of the body, creating a channel for the rubber weatherstripping.
07 Fastening of return with plug welds for seamless appearance
You can see how the return has been fastened into place with plug welds. The welds will be ground smooth to make them completely invisible.
08 Trial fitting of decklid into opening with crisp and uniform gap
The decklid is trial-fitted into the opening to check the fit. As you can see, the gap is crisp and uniform.
09 Chipboard pattern for 18 gauge steel wheel well
A chipboard pattern is made for one of the wheel wells. This will be transferred to a piece of 18-gauge steel.
10 Shaping of the steel blank edge with Eckold power shrinker and English wheel
The edge of the steel blank is shaped with the Eckold power shrinker and smoothed with an English wheel.
11 Factory stamped look of the panel after metal finishing
After metal finishing, the panel looks like it was factory stamped.
12 Chipboard used to determine the size and shape of the sheet metal blank for inner panel
An inner panel is needed to back up the wheel well. Chipboard is being used here to determine the size and shape of the sheet metal blank.
13 Trimmed inner panels test fitted together on the workbench
The three inner panels are trimmed to size, bent as needed, and test-fitted together on the workbench.
14 Test fitting of wheel well against the body and inner panel with close tolerances
Here the wheel well is test-fitted against the body and the inner panel and the shape is adjusted so they fit together with close tolerances. The shaping of the wheel well beads is done with special dies in a Pullmax machine.
15 Construction of inner step with 45 degree curled edges before tack welding
An inner step is being built to fit in the center of the wheel well. This is a two-piece construction, with the mating edges curled to 45 degrees before tack-welding them together.
16 Fitting and tack welding of the inner step in the wheel well
The inner step is fitted and tack-welded into place. This is some tricky work, indeed.
17 Troy Trepanier assisting in the fabrication process of the project
While Adam Banks is the main fabricator on this project, Troy Trepanier stepped in from time to time to keep his skills sharp.
18 Completed wheel well with die stamped look after metal finishing
With the wheel well completely metal finished, you can appreciate what a complex construction this is. It has the look of a die-stamped part.
19 Perfect fitting of the inner panel between the frame rail and wheel well
Looking from the inside, you can see how perfectly the inner panel fits between the frame rail and the wheel well.
20 Tack welding of the wheel well into place after final check
With the fit verified, the wheel well is tack-welded into place. After giving everything a final check, it will be welded and metal finished. The round hole allows the transverse torsion bars to be changed without pulling the body off the frame.
21 Finishing panel shaped to fit under the tail of the body
With the wheel well completed, a small finishing panel is shaped to fit under the tail of the body.
22 Seamless appearance of the panel after welding and metal finishing
Once the panel is welded and metal finished, it is impossible to see where the seams are.
23 Rear portion of the floor being fitted to the bodywork from the bottom view
Looking up from the bottom, you can see the rear portion of the floor being fitted to the bodywork. It takes a lot of care to get these convoluted panels to fit together so nicely.
24 Fitting of the remaining floor panels by Casey Modert with steps matching the shape of the frame beneath
The remainder of the floor panels are fitted into place here. Casey Modert did the fabrication on the floor panels and firewall. Note the steps in the panels, matching the shape of the frame beneath, which add both strength and style. The heavy, 14-gauge steel used for the floor eliminates the need for extra reinforcements.

Source:

Rad Rides by Troy
(815) 468-2590
radrides.com

Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of ’36 Ford Roadster.

mr march 2024

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