This project got started when we swapped a set of old Stewart-Warner gauges for a pair of 1932 framerails and a front crossmember. An idea took shape to build a 1929 roadster on 1932 'rails and use the good Flathead V-8 engine we took out of our previous project, a 1932 five-window, which now has a 331 Caddy engine. To ensure an easy-to-drive hot rod that will keep up with modern freeway speeds, our choice of transmission is a Chevy S-10 five-speed. The rearend is from a '40 Ford, modernized with 9-inch axles and Lincoln brakes (see R&C Dec. 2011 issue, or search "Banjo Lessons" in the tech section of our website. –Ed). The frontend is a dropped I-beam, but with the spring behind the front axle, so the axle will be in front of the crossmember, something that dates back to the '40s, and was used to great effect by Doane Spencer. As so many times before, most ideas have already been done, but they are still good.
Scandinavian Street Rods (SSR) in Huntington Beach set up our framerails in the jig and began to tack everything together. But the first step was done before that by cutting the framerails to get the higher kick-up. The center crossmember was made by SSR and also the boxing plates in front of and behind the center crossmember. To keep the frame straight, a piece of tubing was welded between the rear framerails because the rear crossmember needs to be fitted later. With the basic frame together, it was taken to Roy Fjastad Jr. at West Coast Street Rods, where the rest of the modifications were done.
One of the important tools at this stage was the angle-finder, absolutely necessary to correctly install both the front and rear axles, plus later for the engine and trans. All the angles and measurements had been taken with the same size wheels and tires that will be used on the finished car. To hang the front spring we had help from Karl Jonasson at Foose Design, who machined the holes in the wishbones and made a pair of sleeves to mount the perches through them. With the spring installed, the shackles should have a 45-degree angle with everything in place, including the engine and trans.
Threaded bungs were welded into the split wishbone ends to accept tie-rod ends while on the frame, another pair of bungs were machined with the correct Ford 7-degree taper to accept the tie-rod ends. Once the frontend was checked to ensure the caster angle was correct, the framerails were marked and drilled out to 1¼ inches for the weld bungs.
1. The framerails from Shadow Rods are delivered in two pieces to make it easier to ship. These 'rails have a more distinct and original style reveal in the sides. Here the 'rails are welded together in the middle in the jig at SSR.
2. To get the extra 4 inches of kick-up in the rear the angles were checked on a piece of wood before any cuts were made. A V-cut, 1-inch wide at the top, gave us the 4 inches of kick-up.
3. Erik at SSR made the cuts in the 'rails with the plasma cutter, which makes for a quick, clean cut.
4. To better fit the '29 Ford roadster body the frame was "pinched" at the firewall to 30¼ inches, which gets the frame to the fit the shape of the body and not stick out a ½ inch on each side. The front horns were also pulled in to put the 'rails inside the Deuce grille shell.
5. With the framerails in the jig it was time to weld in the center crossmember and the boxing plates in the front and rear. With the heavy '34-style center crossmember, the frame is strong enough for any type of engine/trans combination.
6. Once boxed, the framerails are much stronger and with the holes in them it will be easier for us to route the brake and fuel lines through the frame.
7. Weld-in threaded bungs at the rear ends of the split front wishbone accept tie-rod ends.
8. The front wishbones, bored and with sleeves machined to accept the spring perches. These were TIG welded in place.
9. We had bungs machined with a 7-degree taper to accept the tie-rod ends, then welded them through the framerails. Here's one tacked in place.