The body panels went to the sandblaster today and the wood kit was also ordered today. Should have the wood in two weeks. Meanwhile, I'll start gathering pictures and facts for this page. Today is June 3, 2004. Check back in a couple weeks.
Here's What I started with...
Got the sheetmetal back from the sandblaster....where did all those dents come from?
The wood kit arrived July 27th, about 7 weeks after I ordered it. I think Chuck Cubel makes these as they are ordered so I would advise ordering the kit before you start the project so you will have things to keep busy with while you are waiting for it. I also bought the hardware kit with it so I wouldn't have to make multiple trips to the hardware store. The whole thing cost $520 delivered to my door. At first, I thought I must be dumber than I am as I couldn't make sense of the instructions. I later found out I had plans for a touring, not a roadster. Chuck is sending the roadster plans so that will help. A picture of the wood kit is below......
I was at least able to get the main sills installed without the plans. Before you start, you will probably want to round up about a dozen clamps of various sizes to hold things together. Remember the old saying, measure twice, drill once. A couple things to note: This kit fits LATE '23 (high hood) thru '25. If you have an early '23 (low hood) or older, you need a different kit. There's a lot of difference. Since I started with a lot of sheet metal and NO wood, I had nothing for reference. Not included in the instructions is the positioning of the main sills in relationship to the brackets. The bottom of the sill mounts flush with the bottom of the frame bracket. Makes sense, but you want to be sure everything is right BEFORE you drill the holes. The end of the main sill extends about 7 1/2 " past the rear crossmember. The curved part of the main sill matches with the curve of the front body bracket to make a nice smooth transition. I found that the sills had a slight upward bow in the center, so I did the front and rear holes first, then after putting the bolts in, clamped the center down flush with the body bracket and drilled the holes for the center bracket.
If you have a LOOOONG 5/16 bit it helps a lot.
Next come the two front pillars. They attach to the front body brackets via pre-drilled holes. At the top, they attach to the firewall. Be sure everything lines up and be sure both pillars are the same distance above the frame. The instructions say to drill them to attach to the firewall, but I waited on that and I'm glad I did. Just clamp them for now.
Here's the end sill that goes across the back to tie the side sills together. It's nicely rabbeted and fits like a glove. It attaches by drilling down through the top and gets a wood screw to hold it together. Here's a warning if you buy the hardware kit....be SURE to pre-drill and countersink the hole. The wood screws are SOFT and snap off easily. Also, one false move with the power screwdriver and the phillips head screw is now a hole in the head screw. I was lucky and was able to get it out with vise grips.
Next is the end sill plate. It is 3/4 inch higher than the sill so the turtledeck floor will be flush. It screws on with 2 wood screws but I added a few brads with my air nailer.
Now, the same things on the side of the sill. But FIRST, install the seat risers as the side sill plate is a little long. Leave a good 1/16 inch between the seat riser and the sill plate for the little flange thing on the body to slip into. Be SURE to try the seat risers into the body before you mount them. I had to plane 1/8 inch off the bottoms to get them to fit the body. Match them up with the bottom of the sill. You will notice that you have to remove the body bracket bolts and drill these last parts. You will probably need to cut off about a quarter inch at the rear of the side sill plates.
Now, finally, you get to hang some sheet metal on the thing and see what it will look like. You DIDN'T paint it yet did you?
After you clamp it into place, you try to figure out where the pillars go, mark them, and pull the sheet metal (get used to THIS activity)! When it's apart, get out the saws, chisels, wood rasps, and blood pressure pills. After spending a couple hours getting the first one to fit, I decided to get smart and break out the Sawzall. BAD IDEA. I recommend doing it by hand for a nicer looking job.
This is approximately how it should look as near as I can tell. As previously mentioned, the instructions are vague and not too useful for the first time re-wooder.
In the following picture you can see the metal cowl mount attached to the wood. I hung both body side panels first, then laid the cowl in position and clamped securely, lining everything up. Next I drilled the holes for the windshield stanchions using the holes in the cowl for reference. After taking the sheet metal off again, I bolted the cowl supports to the wood, then attached them with wood screws using the stock holes. These help to hold some wood pieces together and solidify the framework.
Somewhere around this time I unbolted the body mounts and lifted it off the frame. I nailed the front of the body to the front pillars. After that, I stood it on its nose and nailed all the bottom flanges to the main sill. Prior to removing the body, I had put a few random nails in to hold it together.
Next, I installed the seat frame and wood bracing for the sides. The first screw in the frame goes about in the middle of the pillar.
Here's a look at the floor riser. I learned at this point that it is a good idea to keep ANY piece of original wood you have, no matter how trashed it is. I found the remnants of a front pillar that had the screws still in it from the floor riser which gave me the location of the riser. These things are often twisted and bent from being ripped off the body wood.
This is the seat wood as near as I could figure it out as I had no pattern or picture. Don't go by this to do your car if you want it absolutely correct.
This is what the fake tack strip looks like. It forms easily with the help of a heat gun.
Here's the top and hidem welt tacked to the strip.
Notice the Mother-in-Law Seat is not upholstered yet....
Here's where I am so far......