0 Finishing Chopping Your ’32 Ford Highboy 3-Window Coupe

Part 2: Lowering the Lid

By Tony Thacker – Photography by Author

Cutting up a customer’s brand-new Brookville steel 3-window coupe Deuce body is always a daunting task, especially if you have never chopped a car before. Such was the dilemma of Evan Veazie of the Veazie Bros. hot rod shop in Pomona, California (the site of the old SO-CAL Speed Shop).

1 Evan scratched a few lines in the Dykem before he settled on exactly where he was going to make his cuts
You can see here that as the result of lots of outside advice Evan scratched a few lines in the Dykem before he settled on exactly where he was going to make his cuts.

As we learned in part one, Evan shopped around and asked everybody he knew how to make his first cut, however, he ultimately digested all the good advice but went his own way, executing a simple but effective chop that is one of the cleanest cuts I have even seen, and I’ve seen a few.

2 The outtake would be lower and follow the custom roof swage line.
Initially, Evan was going to remove a 2-inch slice as shown, however, he decided on a different route whereby the outtake would be lower and follow the roof swage line.

Read More: Building a Traditional ’33 Ford Five-Window Coupe in 1960s Style

Instead of just slicing 2 inches out of the middle as most people would do, Evan carefully mapped out a plan to cut the roof in a step that allowed him to remove 2 inches and lower the roof until it aligned with the body. It was an amazingly smooth operation that took less than eight hours to complete. That’s the main chop, however, and did not include chopping the doors, moldings, and so on, all of which took considerably longer and will be covered in a part three. It did include the front posts that because of their inner structure are finicky.

3 Once Evan had made up his mind where the cut was coming, he used ¼-inch blue tape to mark out his cut line
Once Evan had made up his mind where the cut was coming, he used ¼-inch blue tape to mark out his cut line. You can see where the curved cut is going to be.

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The equipment needed to perform this operation is minimal; all you need is a cut-off wheel, a grinder, a skill saw, a welder, and some patience to see it through. A few extra hands were needed to lift the roof on and off but mostly it was a one-man operation that you could perform at home. If Evan can do it, you can do it. MR

4 Here’s the cut line at the back by the 32 Ford rear window
Here’s the cut line at the back by the 32 Ford rear window. You can clearly see the step-up where the cut coincides with the straightest, vertical part of the window frame.
5 Even uses an air-powered cut-off wheel that you might not have but you could put one in a cordless drill or worse, use an angle grinder if that’s what you have
Even uses an air-powered cut-off wheel that you might not have but you could put one in a cordless drill or worse, use an angle grinder if that’s what you have. Or, pay a visit to your local Harbor Freight to gather the necessary metal working tools.
6 Here, Evan has moved onto the vertical cut behind the 3-window coupe door jamb
Here, Evan has moved onto the vertical cut behind the 3-window coupe door jamb. Some people have said cut-off wheels contaminate the metal and they may but does it really matter?
7 Ignore all the scribed lines except the one at the bottom down near the road-to-body beading
The first cut is the deepest, well, it’s the first cut. Ignore all the scribed lines except the one at the bottom down near the frame-to-body beading.
8 Up front on the 32 Ford windshield posts a cut-off wheel was used to cut the outer skins
Up front on the 32 Ford windshield posts a cut-off wheel was used to cut the outer skins but there’s strengthening structure inside the posts that needs to be cut with a skill saw.
9 Once the cut was complete it took four guys to lift the custom roof off the body
Once the cut was complete it took four guys to lift the roof off the body, however, you could always tie the roof to the roof of your shop and roll the body and frame out from under.
10 Thankfully, the rear part of the body is single-skinned and not at all difficult to cut
Here you can clearly see where the cuts were made. Thankfully, the rear part of the body is single-skinned and not at all difficult to cut.
11 Using the cut-off wheel, Evan cut 2 inches from the 3-window coupe rear door frame
Using the cut-off wheel, Evan cut 2 inches from the 3-window coupe rear door frame. Again, if you don’t have a cut-off wheel you could use some other tool, even a hacksaw if that’s what you have.
12 Evan then went back and using the cut-off wheel carefully removed the 2 inches that would constitute the chop
Evan then went back and using the cut-off wheel carefully removed the 2 inches that would constitute the chop. It’s a different but clever way of chopping a top.
13 Because of the internal strengthening structure a skill saw is needed to cut through the multiple layers
Because of the internal strengthening structure a skill saw is needed to cut through the multiple layers. Remember to always work safe and wear safety glasses.
14 A bird’s eye view of the inner structure of the front windshield posts
A bird’s eye view of the inner structure of the front windshield posts. These took some rebuilding as Evan got into the assembly.
15 Owner Bruce Forte ponders what he’s got himself into as Evan shapes the custom roof section that you can see clearly in the foreground
Owner Bruce Fortie ponders what he’s got himself into as Evan shapes the roof section that you can see clearly in the foreground. It drops right back onto the body.
16 With the custom roof just balanced on the body you can see how clean and simple this style of chop is
With the roof just balanced on the body you can see how clean and simple this style of chop is with no splits in the roof at all. A 3-inch chop might be different though.
17 Evan thought it through and came up with his own clean method to make the cut
Although he’d never chopped a top before Evan thought it through and came up with his own clean method to make the cut. Simple and effective.
18 The 3-window coupe has a nice symmetrical shape
From the rear you can see that there is some misalignment that is only to be expected but it’s pretty close and the 3-window coupe has a nice symmetrical shape.
19 The posts need a little jiggery pokery but nothing that you’d need a PhD for
From the front it’s the same story. The posts need a little jiggery pokery but nothing that you’d need a PhD for.
20 Evan began to tack the custom roof in place
As everything lined up better than expected, Evan began to tack the roof in place. Tacks were every 1/2 inch or so.
21 some slicing and dicing was necessary to re-align the 32 Ford door jamb
Obviously, some slicing and dicing was necessary to re-align the 32 Ford door jamb but again nothing more than a saw cut to re-position.
22 The custom roof was just gently pushed and pulled to align with the body and tacked into position with no unnecessary splitting
Inside, the story is much the same, the roof was just gently pushed and pulled to align with the body and tacked into position with no unnecessary splitting.
23 After careful hammer welding the joint, the worked area was ground smooth and you can hardly see the joint
After careful hammer welding the joint, the worked area was ground smooth and you can hardly see the joint.
24 Evan basically fab’d up a structure and then covered it with the original skin
Because of their inner structure, the front posts need some work to rebuild and Evan basically fab’d up a structure and then covered it with the original skin.
25 Note, this is still in process and some work is needed before it’s an acceptable fit
The outer skin was carefully cut and massaged to fit the hole. Note, this is still in process and some work is needed before it’s an acceptable fit.
26 Fabricator Greg Hirata acts as a porta power holding the custom roof in alignment with the posts as Evan tacks the pieces into position
Fabricator Greg Hirata acts as a porta power holding the roof in alignment with the posts as Evan tacks the pieces into position.

27 1932 Ford Highboy 3-Window Coupe with a custom roof

Sources
Brookville Roadster
(937) 833-4605
brookvilleroadster.com

Veazie Brothers Fabrication
(909) 438-6632

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