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26 Roadster Build in progress

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  • 26 Roadster Build in progress

    I've spent about 3-4 weeks time on this build to date, (over several months), and am attempting to get it to the point that I could do some check out rides in the spring. However, since I plan to be away from home for about 4 months between now and July, I may not get that far on it, especially since it is taking a back seat to several other honey-do projects. It has one Ford part on it right now, that being a repro shift knob. All else is either some other make, or completely home built by me in my shop. I'm almost 78 years old, so I think I must be a special kind of stupid to even be doing this project, but what can I say...

    The engine is a '63 Olds 215 aluminum engine, which shares many parts with the Buick 215, which was picked up by Rover and used by them into the 1990s. The biggest difference between the Olds and the Buick/Rover version is the heads. The Olds valve covers are slanted like a SBC, whereas the Buick/Rover valve covers are much more vertical, making identification easy. I'm using Rover exhaust manifolds, only because my originals were cracked. They fit. I'm using a Rover gear starter, so my battery requirements will be smaller, and it fits as well. I'm using a '63 Buick Dual Path transmission, simply because it is very tiny, and takes minimal space in the passenger compartment. This is fed to an S-10 rear axle, mounted on trailer leaf springs, rated at 1000 lbs. The front axle/suspension and steering is '65 VW beetle, torsion bar, a great suspension unit, if a bit ugly. In fact, most would say it's ugly as hell, but I like it. It has disk brakes on the front, only because the VW brakes were so rusted up that I could not get them apart without sawing them in half, and I needed brakes. The master cylinder is from a '97 Plymouth Breeze, because I had one laying here.

    The glass body is from an outfit in Hesperia California, called Unlimited Products, and is very thin glass. I've run a length of conduit, bent to match the top lip of the body, which will eventually get glassed to the body, for strength. The body came with an Auburn style dash, and I've fitted it with the key/start switch, a spdt switch for turn signals and two indicator leds, and a dpdt switch for parking and head lights. That's it, except for a nifty speedo/tach/temp/pres/volts/fuel digital gauge unit in the center of the dash. For the windshield mount, I've made my own stanchions from some aluminum bar stock, which I shaped and then milled a slot in for the glass. It bolts on, sandwiching the body and and a steel member that reaches down to the frame, and up to the dash and steering column support.

    The frame is by my own hand, and is a 1" X 2" tubing member with a 1" X 1" member mounted an inch above the 1x2, for side rails. It is welded to the VW front suspension, and there are two cross members, one of which serves as the transmission mount, the other serves to support the seat area. In addition to those, there is a cross member under the engine for the front engine mounts, and a cross member at the very rear. To be completed yet, is a gas tank mount, which will also serve to support the tops of the rear shocks. The gas tank is a new unit made in Brazil for a VW bus, and holds 11 gallons of fuel. I cut off the filler pipe and welded it shut, the brazed in a new filler in the middle of the tank, where it will connect via a hose to a boat flip up tank filler cap, screwed to the top of the trunk lid.

    I plan minimal upholstery, with it mostly being carpet covered plywood panels. The seats, however, and some bar stool units that I found and decided would work well in the super confined space. Right now, the body is in gray primer, and the chassis in black primer, paint will happen when it all gets torn down after some shake down miles are applied. I took some pix but most turned out so fuzzy that I threw them out. I'll have to use my wife's phone, (my phone camera seems to be on the rag), and I'll post more later, but for now here is a taste of my messy shop.

    PS I had a title for a '26 T Ford, so it's all registered and licensed and ready to go that way, even before it's done.
    Last edited by Corley; 12-15-2018, 01:10 PM.
    CB the Wonderful

  • #2
    Looks like a fun project Corley.

    Nice style glass body.

    Keep us updated.


  • #3
    See comments on photos. Finally got back to this project and have it on the road now. Still lots to do, but I can shake it down a bit now that I can drive it. Since all lights are LED and the Rover starter uses a planetary gear set, I can get by with a tiny garden tractor battery, which is working way better than I imagined. Engine is only a 2 barrel at this point, but will get an upgrade in the future. Not really needed though, it just squirts asis when you press down hard. Almost scary fast! Still lot's to do, but for this summer I'll just enjoy the ride and work on some other projects.

    PS This body is not a knees in the sky type. When sitting in it, my legs are fully extended. Plenty of arm and passenger room. Tiny Dual Path Buick trans uses hardly any floor space.
    Last edited by Corley; 06-29-2019, 10:23 AM.
    CB the Wonderful


    • #4
      Looking great Corley.

      That's the way to build "em.

      With what you have lying around.

      Looks like fantastic wind in your hair fun....( if one has hair).

      Well done.


      • #5
        Crap, all my hair must have already blown away!
        CB the Wonderful


        • #6
          That is going to be a fun car, looks very nice.


          • #7
            Well, life sucks on this project, or maybe I should say life stinks! Every time I drive it, I come back smelling like exhaust fumes, and my wife bans me from her presence until I shower. Of course that may not be all bad, but I do like my wife, so it's not a good situation. Here is the situation:

            The exhaust comes out and down in front f the rear tires at about a 45 degree angle. The area behind the seats is open to the ground, so I suspect the exhaust fumes are being sucked up under the back, and flooding around my body when I travel. It is probably running a bit rich, and I will tackle that, but it is a stock untouched carb, so there is not a lot I can do there without re-jetting. I could run the exhaust all the way back, but that is tricky to snake under the rear axle. Not impossible, just tricky. I can block off the area behind the seats, and that is probably the real answer, but again, not an easy task, as it is not flat, and I need to provide access to that area for battery and other service.

            I'm doing OK without a reverse, so I'll worry about that at paint-tear-down time, but this smell issue needs a solution sooner. Perhaps when the engine gets broken in it will improve, but not enough to satisfy the Mrs smeller I'm sure. I've decided to just leave the trans exposed to the inside passenger area, as it provides max foot room, so there will always be air coming in from the front. I'd hoped it would wash the rear entering air away, or block it, but that is not the case I guess. (There is 1/4" to 1/2" gap all around the trans to the floor.) The air coming in there is only moderately warm, and not too hot for comfort.

            One other area that needs work is the rear suspension is pretty stiff, with an accompanying rough ride. I used two parallel leaf trailer springs, rated at 500 lbs each, and they are pretty short. I think I can remove the second leaf on them, reducing them to about 300 lbs each, and that might take care of that issue...???... I hope! The VW front suspension looks to be just right, and pretty compliant. (Sits at mid travel, moves freely when traveling.) Got lucky there I guess, nothing scientific about it, all guess work.

            Still having fun, but other projects are taking my time... I'd like to drive it to Alderbrook next Friday, but not with the smell issue! (Alderbrook is a local cruise in summer time Friday nights, and our model A club, the Volcano A's is taking their cars next Friday. It's a part of our club moto, "Having A Blast!")

            All suggestions on the smell issue are welcome!
            Last edited by Corley; 07-15-2019, 10:31 AM.
            CB the Wonderful


            • #8
              Would lining the inside of the cabin area with a heat insulating type foil help? It could be easily removed for when you need to do service work.
              I'm sure you probably thought of this already
              3 ~ Tudor's
              Henry Ford said
              "It's all nuts and bolts"

              Mitch's Auto Service ctr


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