Rolling Chassis

In an earlier update the basic frame was welded together along with all the crossmembers and the front suspension was mocked up. Now it is time to get this thing on 4 wheels.

With the brakes completed (except for emergency brake cables and hard lines) we can mount the tires and wheels so the body can be set on the frame, engine and trans temporarily set in position so that ride height can be adjusted. You can guess at finished ride height but until you have a rolling chassis with all the major parts in position you really don't know for sure how everything will sit. It is easier if you're using coil over shocks because adjustments can be made at any time but when a transverse spring with standard shocks are used the adjustments have to be made during the build.

Here is a quick look at the completed front suspension and brakes. The drums are original 48 Ford and have been freshly turned.

The rear end has been assembled and mounted in the chassis. As you can see the transverse spring mounts to the rear most chassis crossmember. Adjustments to ride height can be done a couple ways here. One is to remove one or more leaf springs but the best way, for me anyway will be to cut and move the crossmember higher which will lower the ride height and maintain ride quality. If needed this method may require a modification to trunk floor to clear the raised crossmember but we won't know that till the body is in position.

Here is the completed frame less wheels and tires.

Now days if you are going to build a "old school" rod finding the right tires can be a bit of a problem, unless of course you want to pay one of the "aftermarket" big name guys like Coker for their repros. I chose to go the other route and buy the correct size from my local Discount Tire Center. The only drawback was that these tires are only available with outlined raised white letters, something that just wasn't around back in the early 60's. Although the raised letters will be mounted to the inside they will still be visible on a fenderless car. In newer tires the white in raised white letters is actually part of the tire and not applied after the tire is constructed so the only solution is to die the letters black. This can be done with Kiwi leather shoe die and a small brush. The photo above shows one of these tires after the raised white letters have been dyed.

Tire size is P265/70 R16 rear and P195/65 R15 front.

When it comes to painting rims I prefer to paint them first rather than after the tires are mounted. These are Wheel Vintiques "Genie" wheels. Fronts are 15x5 and the rears 16x6. The color in this case is 1966 Ford Candy Apple Red. This color is not the same "Candy Apple Red" most people think of when they here that name. It is quite simply a stock Ford medium dark red. It does seem to have some interesting qualities for a single stage non-metallic paint though as it changes color quite drastically when going from direct sunlight to shade.

Now its a roller. The next task is to fit the body on the frame. Hopefully the measurements and adjustments I made in locating the front crossmember and engine/trans will work out so I have the proper clearance between the trans/belhousing and the tunnel and firewall on the body.

In order to set the body completely down on the frame a hole needed to be cut in floor to clear the Hurst shifter. Once that was done the body fit perfectly.

With the body on the frame we do have enough room between the firewall and trans tunnel and the belhousing. With the heads installed on the block there will be a little over an inch clearance between them and the firewall, which is just what I wanted. I did need to trim the shifter mounting bracket slightly in order to clear the floor but that was it.

It's finally starting to look like a real car. A few things need to be done before everything has to come apart again so I can get the frame ready for paint. I do know up front that a "C" notch will be required in the rear to give enough clearance for the rear axle. I'll also have to mock up the steering column to make sure a support bearing won't be needed for the shaft to the steering box. Those are the big things... and I'm sure I'll think of more as time goes on.

From this angle, there is no doubt about it....


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