The hood of a '55 Chevy somewhat resembles a huge tarmac, so it's not surprising that the design team at GM bolted a gigantic chrome plane to it. Fifty years later, it seems almost sacrilegious to alter a stock-bodied Tri-Five Chevy, but the hood ornament has to go if you want to build a hot rod or custom '55 (the latter of which there are far too few examples).

There are two ways to finish the peak on a hood: You can shrink the existing ornament mount to match the rest of the peak, or you can cut out the existing nose, fabricate a new one, and weld it in. We're going with the latter method, which, although rather difficult, is easier for the less skilled metalworker.

The major drawback to welding in a new piece is the warping caused by the shrinking effects of welding. The sheetmetal in these hoods is rather thin and flimsy, so it moves quite a bit when it shrinks. With a lot of patience (or a lot of Bondo, whichever you prefer), any amount of shrinking can be remedied, and I think making a new peak is more accurate than shrinking the existing metal, although that is up to the builder's discretion.

When choosing metal to complete any project, always use the same gauge (thickness) as the metal to which you are welding. Different thicknesses of metal have different tensile and elastic strengths, so they'll be much more difficult to hammer straight once they're welded together. Early Fords and Chevys used 20-gauge, so that is what was used for this project.

Not all of the tools used here are necessary to complete this project, but you will definitely need a welding machine (MIG or oxyacetylene will work just as well as the TIG used here), at least a few body hammers and dollies, a grinder, and a cutting tool (cutoff wheel, bandsaw, or shear). Having a shrinker/stretcher makes the job easier, but is by no means necessary.

SOURCE
Roy Brizio Street Rods
www.roybriziostreetrods.com