Nose Job at 40

Gen­tly re­shap­ing and gap­ping the hood on a ’40 Ford

Street Rodder - - Contents - By Gerry Burger Pho­tog­ra­phy by Brian Bren­nan

The '40 Ford has long been con­sid­ered one of Ford’s more beau­ti­ful of­fer­ings. The shape of the car was orig­i­nally penned by E.T. “Bob” Gre­gorie, the first de­sign chief at FOMOCO. If you can’t find a good, solid '40 coupe to build fear not, Den­nis Car­pen­ter Ford Restora­tion Parts can sup­ply a com­plete body, or in­di­vid­ual pan­els rang­ing from doors, deck­lids, fend­ers, floor pan­els, and more.

Like many beau­ti­ful things there is some­times room for im­prove­ment, but bear in mind im­prov­ing on a Bob Gre­gorie de­sign re­quires vi­sion, skill, and most of all re­straint. Yes, en­hanc­ing the pro­file of a '40 Ford coupe re­quires a sub­tle touch—as a mat­ter of fact, when the mod­i­fi­ca­tions on this coupe go al­most un­no­ticed, leav­ing the ad­mir­ing hot rodder to mut­ter, “Wow, that’s the best look­ing '40 I’ve ever seen” with­out re­al­iz­ing the myr­iad of mod­i­fi­ca­tions that con­tribute to the look.

If you are in­ter­ested in the sub­tlety of gen­tly mas­sag­ing the '40 nose into a more pleas­ing shape you’re in luck, as Bobby Al­loway re­cently in­vited us to fol­low along with just such an op­er­a­tion. All of the changes made are done by re­mov­ing and re­lo­cat­ing sheet­metal in rel­a­tively small amounts. The big­gest lit­tle change is ac­tu­ally cut­ting the hood, but first the hood must be per­fectly fit to the body and fend­ers.

With the fend­ers in their fi­nal fit­ment the hood is mounted with hinges to the body. First the hood is checked to be cer­tain it is per­fectly cen­tered on the body, with the cen­ter hood seam per­fectly cen­tered on the wind­shield di­vider strip. Next the hood is ad­justed to the cowl for even gaps. With the gaps es­tab­lished, the hood latch is in­stalled and the hood is closed to check the fit be­tween the hood and fend­ers.

The orig­i­nal Ford hood did not have per­fectly sym­met­ri­cal hood gaps as

the fen­der ra­dius and the hood ra­dius was slightly dif­fer­ent, par­tic­u­larly mid­way through the fen­der. A uni­form gap here would go a long way to that “per­fect fit” Al­loway builds into all of his cars. Orig­i­nally the hood to fen­der gaps were set by a se­ries of rub­ber bumpers at­tached to the hood flange. These rub­ber bumpers set the gaps and pro­tected the hood from rub­bing the fend­ers.

Af­ter look­ing at both the hood and the fen­der it ap­peared the best ap­proach was to mod­ify the fend­ers to align with the hood as there was more metal to work with on the fend­ers. With that in mind, small pieces of 1/8-inch flat stock were tack-welded to the hood flange where it meets the fend­ers. These pieces would act as a gauge to set the gaps. Af­ter the fend­ers were mod­i­fied these pieces are re­moved from the hood.

With the hood closed a thin cut-off wheel in a die grinder was used for sev­eral long cuts into the fen­der where it meets the hood. To­ward the cen­ter of the hood the fend­ers were pushed down slightly to fol­low the lines of the hood. Next fend­ers were split from front to back in the same cen­tral area and the in­ner fen­der flange was pushed in­board to­ward the hood to close the gap. A piece of filler sheet­metal was formed and tack-welded in, fill­ing the hole in the fen­der. Then, af­ter all of the gaps were tack welded, a ham­mer and dolly fin­ished shap­ing the fen­der. Fi­nal weld­ing and metal fin­ish­ing com­pleted the hood gap­ping process. Once again, we are talk­ing about mov­ing metal in small amounts to make a big dif­fer­ence. Such metal move­ment is stan­dard fare for the team at Al­loway’s, but the next cut was a bit more am­bi­tious.

While the sweep­ing lines of a '40 Ford

DeLuxe coupe are stun­ning, the hood on the '40 Ford does ap­pear to climb up­ward to­ward the nose. This an­gle is ac­cen­tu­ated when a proper hot rod rake is ap­plied to the car, and if any­one loves a hot rod rake it’s Bobby Al­loway. The so­lu­tion is to pie-cut to the hood, elim­i­nat­ing 1-1/4-inch in the front of the hood and ta­per­ing back to noth­ing just past the third trim hole from the cowl. Since the hood latch is part of the hood trim on a '40 Ford there is a latch mount and brac­ing built into the hood. For this rea­son the cut was ini­ti­ated just above the latch assem­bly. Team Al­loway also de­cided to do away with the ac­tual latch­ing mech­a­nism and em­ploy a ca­ble hood re­lease from in­side the car. This pre­vents the hood from be­ing open un­less you are in­side the car; a nice se­cu­rity fea­ture.

Af­ter the cuts were care­fully made with a die grinder and cut-off wheel the hood was gen­tly pushed down to close the gap. It is best to have two or three peo­ple on hand to push the top por­tion down as this will en­sure the piece comes straight down and avoids un­wanted twist­ing and sub­se­quent distortion. Hap­pily, the lead­ing edge of a '40 Ford DeLuxe hood is nearly ver­ti­cal, and since the gap was only 1-1/4 inches the two pieces aligned al­most per­fectly. A lit­tle bit of push­ing, pulling, and tap­ping with ham­mer and dolly had the pan­els per­fectly aligned.

A sin­gle tack-weld was ap­plied in the front cen­ter of the hood and one more tack-weld was used mid­way on each of the side gaps. The next step is re­ally easy but oh-so-im­por­tant; it sim­ply in­volves rolling the car out­side. This is im­por­tant be­cause the car should be rolled onto level pave­ment and looked at from a dis­tance and on ev­ery imag­in­able an­gle. This is the

only way to know if your mod­i­fi­ca­tion is a suc­cess and ready for fin­ish­ing. You sim­ply can­not judge body an­gles stand­ing 5 feet from a car. It is im­por­tant that you see the en­tire ve­hi­cle un­ob­structed to en­sure proper lines. As it turns out the 1-1/4-inch drop was pic­ture per­fect, so the car was rolled back in­side and fi­nal weld­ing and metal fin­ish­ing en­sued.

Be­fore fin­ish­ing the pan­els, the team at Al­loway’s Hot Rods built a very stout core sup­port and ra­di­a­tor mount from box tub­ing. Close gaps re­quire good, solid mount­ing to pre­vent the pan­els from mov­ing when the car is be­ing driven. The fact that this coupe rides on an Art Mor­ri­son chas­sis also goes a long way to min­i­miz­ing body flex.

The fi­nal chal­lenge was mod­i­fy­ing the hood or­na­ment. Since the hood pro­file had been al­tered, the stock hood trim must be cut and short­ened and then fit to the new pro­file. Since this piece of hood chrome is die-cast, sec­tion­ing the piece in­volved cut­ting it into two pieces and then fit­ting the two pieces to the hood. From there the pieces were sent to Dan’s Pol­ish­ing where they stripped the pieces and then cop­per plated the pieces be­fore sol­der­ing them back to­gether. The piece was then sent back to Al­loway’s Hot Rod Shop for fi­nal fit­ment be­fore be­ing re­turned to Dan’s Pol­ish­ing for the fi­nal fin­ish in mile-deep chrome.

Af­ter met­al­work­ing the hood, the orig­i­nal hood trim was re­fit­ted to the hood sides and the cen­ter strip. With the trim in place it is dif­fi­cult to tell the hood has been mod­i­fied, which may be the ul­ti­mate com­pli­ment. Only the trained '40 Ford eye will pick up on the new hood pro­file, and that is the dif­fer­ence be­tween chang­ing a car and im­prov­ing a car.

6 Here we can see the se­ries of rub­ber bumpers that sup­port the back side of the hood when it is closed. The bot­tom of these bumpers can be sanded to achieve the per­fect height and pres­sure on the hood, re­sult­ing in fit­men­tCall­pre­cise.

5 With a lit­tle work and some cus­tom rub­ber bumpers fit­ted un­der the top of the hood we now have per­fect panel align­ment. Note the cowl vent has been filled on the Den­nis Car­pen­ter body.

3 The first order of busi­ness was fit­ting the stock hood to the brand-new body from Den­nis Car­pen­ter Ford Restora­tion Parts. As you can see the orig­i­nal hood has some fit­ment prob­lems. A lit­tle ham­mer and dolly work and metal shrink­ing will take the...

4 Af­ter pa­tiently ad­just­ing the hood, team Al­loway was able to achieve uni­form gaps where the hood meets the cowl. It is im­per­a­tive to fit the hood per­fectly be­fore do­ing any mod­i­fi­ca­tions.

1-2 Talk about a sub­tle yet ef­fec­tive mod­i­fi­ca­tion; check out the hood pro­file af­ter the Al­loway’s Hot Rod Shop mod­i­fi­ca­tion (left) com­pared to the orig­i­nal, taller hood in stock form on the right.

8 This side pro­file shows the stock sheet­metal in place. The new Den­nis Car­pen­ter body is a high-qual­ity piece that per­mits the use of orig­i­nal pan­els. No­tice how the front of the orig­i­nal hood seems a bit tall, mak­ing the hood ap­pear to climb up­ward.

7 The hood is also pre­cisely fit to the front grille and fend­ers. Af­ter this ini­tial fit­ting the sheet­metal will be mod­i­fied so all gaps con­form to Al­loway’s high stan­dard.

9-10 The hood to fen­der gaps on a stock '40 Ford were built to the stan­dards of the day, so the gaps were not per­fectly uni­form. Gap­ping the hood to fen­der line in­volves re-con­tour­ing the fend­ers. A se­ries of 1/8-inch blocks have been tack-welded to...

11-12 Mov­ing the fen­der flange in­ward and slightly up­ward closes the gap. Next the re­sult­ing void in the fen­der will be filled with a piece of sheet­metal and met­al­worked to per­fec­tion. The pas­sen­ger-side fen­der was new from Den­nis Car­pen­ter and...

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.