Q.There is a place in Roanoke, Virginia, that makes custom fiberglass bodies that you featured in one of your issues years ago. Can you please give me the name of it? You did it on a chopped Merc body that they make.
A.I think you mean P&J Hot Rod Products, which was sold and is now based in North Carolina. They can be reached at (919) 669-5762. Gene Winfield also makes '50-51 'glass Merc bodies in Mohave, California, and can be contacted at (661) 824-4728.
Q.I have a '53 Chevy with a '73 Camaro front suspension clip. The tire clearance to the fender lip is only 1 inch with the wheels turned straight ahead. What can I do for clearance?
A.There are a number of options open to you here, depending on your budget and abilities, as well as the look you're trying to achieve with your car. First off, if you're using steel wheels you could search for a pair with more backspacing than those you're using now, though beware of them rubbing on the suspension or steering components. Secondly, a lower profile or narrower tire might get you out of a bind. You could try rolling the fender lip which should gain you - to -inch clearance. This involves folding the return on the wheel arch so that it's flat against the backside of the fender rather than sticking out towards the tire. It involves more bodywork, and may not be what you want to do, but you could raise the wheel arch section up on the fender enough to provide clearance. Lastly, Fatman Fabrications (www.fatmanfab.com or 704-545-0369) sells narrowed upper and lower suspension arms for the Camaro clip which will give you an extra inch of clearance either side.
Q.I have a 1953 Chevy and really enjoyed your article about the Chevy engine and trans swap. Thank you for this information. What wasn't clear was why you had to remove the passenger side body brace. Were there some clearance issues?
A.I actually removed both body braces, because, as you correctly assumed, there were clearance issues with the cylinder heads of the V-8. For the same reason the stock parking brake mechanism and handle has to be removed too. There is evidence to support a theory, however, that removal of these braces can eventually lead to the doors sagging at the latches, as these braces pull the body down and forward at the cowl, the lower mounts being in tension, not compression. Brad Davies in Minnesota contacted me saying he has built many '49-54 Chevys and has found the best solution is to separate the rib from the firewall, form a couple of bends in it sufficient to clear the heads and exhausts, then re-weld it to the firewall, extending it as required before fabricating a new lower mount, leaving about 3/8 to -inch clearance for a rubber shim and room for adjustment.
However, as my Chevy has such a heavy roof chop, and is a coupe, I'll be very surprised if the body has sufficient "give" in it that my doors will sag, so I shan't be replacing the braces, but it's certainly something to consider, especially if you are modifying a hardtop or convertible.
Q.I would appreciate any help, pointers, or advice on installing a "Street Rodder" nose from Speedway Motors on my '26 T roadster, I am capable with hand tools and the 'glass work is within my skill level.
A.It rather depends on your particular chassis design (do you have a suicide spring or traditional, spring-over-axle arrangement for instance?) and where your radiator is currently mounted. It also depends on whether your current radiator will fit inside the new nose, which measures 22 inches high and 19 inches wide. But assuming you have a radiator that will fit, I'd tackle mounting the new nose thus; fabricate a framework from 1-inch box section steel that follows the curve of the flange at the rear edge of the nose, and mount this to the radiator mounts on the chassis or crossmember. If your radiator has any kind of mounting holes further up on either side, I'd consider making attachment points on the framework to tie into these too, as well as another coming off the crossmember and attaching to the lower edge of the nose, underneath. As the nose extends so far forward, you'll require more than just the two mounts at the bottom of the radiator.
You'll be able to bolt through the fiberglass into the framework, either using Riv-nuts or drilling and tapping the steel. If you don't want any bolt heads showing, you could 'glass blind threaded aluminum or steel to the inside of the nose and bolt it on from behind, but again, without seeing how much clearance you have between the radiator and nose, this is hard to gauge.