Ol' Caddy Project -- Fender Fitment for Early-'30s Automobiles
High guys! It's been a while or two, I know. Like y'all, it's busy, busy, busy, etc. -- and yes, that's a weak excuse for not posting lately. Anyway, we've been workin' on a '31 Cadillac for a long time, and I was feelin' pretty good about yesterday's progress, so here comes eleven pictures with a side o' words...
It's been a long haul with other projects in-between, but we're seein' some light at the end o' this tunnel. Since the above shot, the car has been fired and that's a big deal. It's green with black reveals (BC/CC) and the fenders 'n' aprons will be black as well. The foam padding ya see is just an ounce-of-prevention. We have a trimmer workin' on the car, and I'm pretty protective of my work -- like you guys, right? Well, as it turns out, our trimmer-of-choice is actually quite conscientious and he's doin' a bitchin job while I'm paintin' little pieces and bodyworkin' fenders and so on.
Now before I put these fenders into color, I want to know for sure that they're goin' to fit as well as the rest of the car -- we've worked hard for the gaps on this ol' wooden-framed body. The fenders have been fit to the car before, but that was way early on and a bunch has been done to 'em since then, so a double-check in first-round primer-surfacer seems like good insurance.
Do y'all see a problem? I did right away, and two days ago I felt sick. These front fenders don't even look related. Although there's only a half-inch difference in height from shop floor-to-fender bead, it's all ya see once ya've focused on it. Here a half-inch might as well be a half-mile -- at this point, even the shapes of the fender tips appear to vary.
Going further, first things first, of course: the car's weight is on its suspension, tire inflation is evened out, and a long level is laid accross the shanks of the two upper bumper studs. The car does lean to the right, so there may be a weak spring on that side. A bottle jack has been employed to compensate for the lean, so we're satisfied that the car is sittin' correctly.
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Last edited by RottenRodney; 11-20-2011 at 10:47 AM.
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Where were we? Oh, fenders, that's right. Anyway, here we'll dial in the frame, makin' sure it's level before any final decisions are made regarding surgical procedures. Will these fenders require slicing 'n' dicing this late in the game? That would suck, eh?
Here's the right side.
Here's the left side. At this point, the frame is level enough with the shop floor.
Now here's the right side fender tip.
And here's the left. With the center of the tire's tread gunsighted as center, our measurin' stick don't lie. We're a half-inch off from side-to-side, but worse than that, look at the angles on the fender beads. They don't have much in common, do they?
Now it's been a while or two, but I seem to recall a 4-picture maximum per post, right?
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Last edited by RottenRodney; 08-19-2011 at 01:04 PM.
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Well, I went home disgusted that night, ate an onion pizza, had a beer and hit the sack... 'Ave any o' y'all ever had a soulution come to ya in a dream?
Here's just another example of how little things make big differences:
These fenders are very strong. It's not like ya can just bend 'em around like a same-vintage Ford. Fortunatly the brackets bolt to the sides of the frame only. There are four bolts in a fairly square arraingement. A pair o' shims at the top bolts has damn-near fixed our fender-fitment issues. Take a look!
Here's the right fender tip.
And here's the left.
Our fenders now look as though they could 'ave been stamped out by the same manufacturer. The angle at the bead has also improved visually and I have no doubt that I'll be able to dial 'em in with little struggle during final assembly -- it's goin' to be okay. Ya can't do it all with a box o' shims, but this time, we're gittin' off easy.
From here we're lookin' at one more panel to dry-fit. Then fenders 'n' aprons can be re-scattered, faired, final-primed, prepped -- well, y'all know how that procedure goes...
Last edited by RottenRodney; 08-19-2011 at 01:05 PM.
Nice car, clever work. Put a 175 pound sand bag in the driverís seat area and check the frame for level. You may be able to lose the jack. I donít know if they designed them for extra weight there but it sure seems like something a top end car designer might anticipate.
It's been a while -- maybe two... Anyone care for an update? It's nearly finished now, but let's start with a little picture of a big job in-progress as we're preparin' to spray the last load of major body parts.
That there was a fairly elaborate hang job in the booth. I was determined to paint these parts inside 'n' out in the same session. Whenever I have the luxury, I like to be the only one in the shop on spray days. So I thought I was all alone. I'd heard a distant leaf blower earlier on, so I closed the shop doors 'til the sound faded away. I know I don't 'ave to tell y'all that airborne 2-cycle oil is a fisheye problem waitin' to happen. So anyway, I used the last available drops of DP90LF as a non-sandin' sealer. Then DBC base went on the next day just fine. As I emerged from the booth to clean 'n' swap guns for clearcoat, I was surprised to see my coworker buddy who'd moved away months ago. Yeah, we had a little reunion as I cleaned my gun and it was great to see him.
Then after he'd left, I noticed that he'd parked the shop truck right in the alley where the booth draws its air from. Yep, those are brand new tires right there -- drippin' in Armorall! I ran to the fan swich and got that shut down. Then I had to peel my suit off 'n' drive the icky shop truck way down the street, park the truck, hike back, decontaminate myself before resuiting to continue, which cost me all of an hour. Guess what else? It still fisheyed.
Anyway, over my years coworkin' with guys that don't nescessesarily think like painters do, I've developed a technique for fixin' fisheyes without startin' over from square one. And this was another one of those times to make use of what I've learned.
Dawg-gone photobucket locked up on me again! That's been happenin' a lot lately...
Last edited by RottenRodney; 11-20-2011 at 10:23 AM.
Like I was just tellin' some friends on another board, photobucket ain't no fun no more. I'll try to plow through the remainder o' this post before it locks my confuser up again...
Nope, I've been tryin', but it's killin' all my time. Thanks to photobucket, I've grown a damn beard. I really wanted to show y'all somethin' here. Maybe tomarrow...
Okay, where were we before the technical difficulties began? Oh! Fisheyes, right?
Pay no attention to the creepy hobo in the fender. He's only there to illustrate a point -- no more fisheyes!
Much as I hate to push my luck, I really do want to show y'all somethin'...
That's what the ol' Caddy is lookin' like now.
Last week I shot my final load o' small pieces: luggage rack, battery cover, brackets for this 'n' that, etc. The remaining nuts 'n' bolts can 'n' will be twisted when the car arrives to its new home in Seattle Washington. If I can find the time, I still want to wash 'er up 'n' wax 'er down before she goes.
This could 'ave gone a couple o' different ways, but now I've got to say that through it all, the trimmer 'n' the painter 'ave indeed become friends. I'll look forward to usin' him again.
It's been a long haul, y'all!
That is absolutely DROP DEAD GORGEOUS WORK!!!!! That car is stunning,WOW you are a true craftsman,thank you for sharing
What an awesome project! Great work!
RR you are one talented guy.... cars, paint, photography, computers, WOW, very cool.
Thanks for posting your projects.