Rolf Åström Model A Frame Build 

See the completed project here http://www.classicroad.com/modelA/

 

Frame and suspension

Well, this is the very first mock up ! Two reproduction '32 frame halves, held together with nothing but spreader bars.
Hey, it's a start !

 

Ok, let's get serious...
The first thing you do is to make sure you have a friend that is willing to lend you his 1932 Ford frame jig.

 

A stock model A front cross member was installed, about 1 1/2 inch forward of the stock position. We are going to use a Buick nailhead motor, and it is rather long.

 

A model A rear cross member was installed as well.

 

 

Since the rear axle already had the flanges on it, I just used tubing with the same diameter to nail down the location
of the rear cross member.

 

With a 425 cubic inch motor we better box the frame.

 

The stock model A cross member was weak in the bottom valley, so I replaced that part.

 

I cross member was installed to hold the rear ladder bars.

Suspension

1946 Ford wishbones. Doing what bananas does best: Split!

 

The front spring hanger was cut off.

 

Nice pants!

 

Vintage suspension parts. 1936 Ford rear wishbones in the foreground. These were later passed on in favor of stronger ladder bars.

 

I believe these came from the same 1946 front end.

 

I am using a four inch dropped forged axle.

 

Since we are going to use split wishbones, the steering arms have to be lowered. The best way is to replace them
with these dropped ones.

 

After a lot of grinding and cleaning, the wishbones looks presentable.

 

 

A Ford nine inch rear axle was obtained.

 

I decided to scrap the '36 rear 'bones in favor of these sturdy ladder bars. This is going to be a driver, so with 450 ft lbs of torque from the nailhead motor,
we need things to be bullet proof.
The rear axle is a narrowed Ford nine inch, to 58 inches drum to drum, with new style flanges and bearings, and new Moser axles with the 5 on 5 1/2 bolt pattern.
I have a posi for it as well, but I will drive it first with the current gearing, so I can figure out what ratio to use.

 

One roller to go...

 

 

The welds for the front cross member was not that fun to look at, so I made this dress plate. Please note proper beer choice. Alaskan Amber !

 

With the grille shell on, it looks pretty snazzy !

Motor mounts

First I figured out where the motor will end up. The Nailhead is one long motor! Even with the front A cross
member forward about 1.5 inch, I will still carve in to the firewall.

Once the location of the motor was confirmed, I built this pad.

 

I used Ford flathead style motor mounts for that old timey look..

 

 

Looks pretty simple...simple is good on a hot rod !

 

 

 

Shocks and head light mounts

I wanted to use the bowed cross bar at first, so I mocked it up to see what it looked like.
I felt the head light ended up to far forward. So...

 

I started with the tried and true Ford F-1 shock mounts. First bend like this...

 

Then like this...

 

The upper shock mounts need to be lower than the mount, so I cut the stud of the mount.
The "cup" is from a model A head light bar.

 

I tacked the stud and the cup in place and tested light position:

 

I like it...

 

Then endless hours of welding and grinding started.

 

Tada...

 


Now the head lights are in line with the grille. I did loose the cross bar, but I like the look of a big grille coming at ya!

First coat of DP primer

"frame in suspense" !

The final coat is a custom mixed color, not primer. This way it will be UV resistant. I also added a flat clear on top to seal it up.

 

I am using new Moser axles, and late style brakes. This way I have a good e-brake as well.

 

One rearend to go...

Frame, part two

Just painted. Finally, the tide is turning...

 

I "blacked out" the part of the frame that can be seen from behind, I don't want it to visually "stick out" under the body.

 

 

I did the same thing to the brackets that I didn't want to be visible. 

 

The pedal assembly with clutch pivot.

 

I am using Teflon material between the leaf springs, for smoother operation.

 

 

Christmas?? Well, almost. Nothing better than hanging detailed and chromed items on your fresh frame !

 

 

 

 

 

With Buick drums, brake plumbing in place, and bled brakes, we got a roller ready for a drive line.

 

Frame, part three

 

Well, here we are, a rolling chassis. I am just stoked !

 

I had to bring it out in natural light to see it all. The Hurst shifter will be replaced with a old-timey swan thing, although the muscle car guy in me is voting for the short throw stick !

 

It is starting to look cool with some shiny stuff. I will add some more chrome nut covers as well.

 

I painted the lower part of the frame black, so it will not be so visible from the rear.

 

I painted my "stealth" dump tubes black as well, so they would not show too much. The continuing pipes are also coated with ceramic coating to keep the inside of the car as cool as possible.

 

On the front shock mounts, I used grade 8 bolts for strength, but then I covered
 them with chrome caps.

 

On the front brakes, I used stainless bolts. I filed the text off the top,
 and polished  them to chrome finish. Look ma...no rust !"