The age of mini tubs is well past its heyday, but there are still quite a few instances when the wheelwells of a rod or custom need to be modified or re-fabricated completely. At Roy Brizio Street Rods, for instance, we have widened the wells on a few '30s Fords in order to cram a body between 10-inch-wide Halibrand wheels, and we frequently widen the wells on late '30-40 Fords at the front where the tires tend to rub.

This project, however, is a bit more complicated. Brizio had Art Morrison design and fabricate a custom chassis for this '49 Ford, which called for the rear framerails to be kicked up 2 inches and narrowed 4 inches to accommodate a lower stance with wider wheels and tires. As a consequence, we had to discard the entire rear floor of the original Ford, including the wheelwells.

When it came to designing new tubs, we decided we didn't want them to look boxy and "fabricated" as they often do with square corners and edges, so we called up Ron Covell and ordered a set of his 1-inch-radius "tank-roll" mandrels. These mandrels are compatible with Roy's old Pexto bead roller, and they're rather simple to use, so we figured they would be a good addition to our tool collection.

While the dimensions of the Morrison frame and the stock Ford quarter-panels dictated how wide our new wheelwells would be, we also needed to determine exactly how tall our rear tires would be before we began fabrication. For this project, Roy expects to use a tire about 29 inches in diameter, so the length and height of the well were designed accordingly.

Besides the basic fabricating techniques used to make these wheeltubs, the only unique part of a job like this is the operation of the tank-roll dies. If you choose to use them for a project, we recommend trying a few test panels first to get used to the force and pressure needed to keep a curved panel steady in the roller. It's fairly easy once you get the hang of it, and these mandrels provide a great way to improve both the strength and aesthetics of any project.

SOURCE
Covell Creative Metalworking
106 Airport Blvd., #105
Freedom
CA  95019
Roy Brizio Street Rods
www.roybriziostreetrods.com