Episode 128. Budget Hot Rod. (Part 5).

The search for a donor kit car was well and truely on, but the problem was that there were none to be found that had a wheelbase anywhere near to a Model 'B' Fords wheelbase. But I was preparing myself for something a little bit shorter, and I would build something quite stubby. I had some ideas for my Hot Rod, and in my mind I thought that I'd have the tub of the Model 'B', then find a large trunk or something to put behind it so that I didn't just have the chassis poking out the back. I was going through the Auto Trader, Freeads, and various other magazines with a fine toothed comb, but there was nothing to be found, or atleast, nothing close by. I had found a rather delapitated 4x4 type thing but it was getting on for 300 miles from BelongaClint, and frankly I didn't have time to go that far to collect it. What I really needed was something on my doorstep, and it needed to be cheap, and good. If that wasn't already too much to ask, it also needed to turn up soon! Over a month went by and I was getting concerned that I would loose out on the broken Model 'B' body, but then  I got chatting to some fella on the building site I was working on. He was well into his kit cars, and I said that I was looking for a kit car project. He asked me what I wanted, and I said that it didn't really matter, as long as it was solid, complete, and registered. He said that he knew of a fella that had one for sale, it was a pick up, and was pretty rough, but it was complete, and might make a good project to restore. There was just one problem, it was a fair way from home in a place called Poole! I said that didn't sound too far, and I would be happy to go and look at it. A couple of days later I had arranged to meet the owner of a rather sorry looking kit car in Poole. Upon seeing it I think that it had been rather over sold, it was rough but it was everything I needed, solid, registered, cheap, and near! A deal was made and for just £200 I became the owner of a Ford Cortina based kit car...

Now I'll admit it was nothing like I'd imagined, but I bought it, loaded it up on to a trailer and dragged it across Bournemouth to G.J.'s workshop. I'll be honest, he wasn't all that impressed, but after a quick look over he thought it would probably do, but it would probably need a little welding as, although the chassis was made from rectangular tubing it was quite rusty in places! He asked me how long it would take me to remove the bodywork, and I told him I should have it back to his workshop by the following weekend. I mean, how hard was it going to be to cut a fibreglass body from a steel chassis?

I arrived back home with a reciprocating saw and a fist full of saw blades. My Dad came out and asked me what the heck I had bought. I told him that it was the basis for my new Hot Rod, my first Hot Rod!  I plugged in my reciprocating saw, and got cracking! I imagined that it would slice through the fibreglass body like a hot knife through a leper, but actually it wasn't as easy as I thought. In  my mind I would have it chopped up by bed time. In reality it took me several evenings, and a good part of the weekend! This was mainly due to the fact that I was cutting it into quite small pieces. My plan was that I would then take these pieces to the building sites I was working on at the time where I would lose them in the skips that they had on site. What I couldn't lose there was being taken to the local tip, and some of it even found it's way into the massive bins they had behind our local shops. I did think about trying to sell some of the parts, but in the end I decided that to save time, and storage, to just chop the body up into bite sized chunks and bin it as I went. By the end of the weekend I had a useable rolling chassis, and a fairly good sized pile of chopped up fibreglass, and other rubbish. Just over a week after I had picked it up I was loading it's chassis back on to the trailer and I was on my way back to G.J.'s workshop.

Once back in Bournemouth we gave it another looking over, G.J. thought that the chassis was quite a bit longer than a standard Model 'B' chassis, and after a quick measure up, we discovered that actually, it was a lot longer than I needed. I asked what could be done to accomodate the extra length? G.J. said that we'd just make the bed take up some of the length, and if needed we could even add some length to the bonnet! After measuring up the body tub, and a Model 'A' pick up bed that was supposed to go on to M.R.'s Model 'A' pick up until he decided it was going to be a flat bed! It was decided that if we made the bed centre over the rear wheels, that would cover the rear of the chassis. Then if there was some sort of three or four inch filler panel between the cab and the bed, and we added four or five inches to the length of the bonnet, then that should put the front wheels somewhere near where they needed to be. I was a little concerend that as it was so long it might look a little bit wierd, but G.J. thought that if we added to the length of the body in a couple of different places it should look OK... Probably!

We then had a bit of a chat about the chassis its self, and the state it was in. It was decided that before any of the bodywork was mounted to the chassis, it would get a good going over with a wire wheel, and all the rust that was in it would be removed, and repaired. This would of course add cost to the project, however I thought that as I had a free body, then what I had saved in the body would be used to repair the chassis. I told G.J. not to worry too much about painting  the chassis, just a good coat of red oxide would be sufficient as I would paint it properly after the floor was put in, and the body was mounted.

Once we had decided what was to happen to the chassis we turned our attention to the body, or at least, the cab of the body. With the back of the body already cut off we decided that we would curve the back of the cab around to follow the lines that flowed around the cockpit at the top. I figured that this would probably look a bit better than just chopping the back of the body off square. I told G.J. that I wanted the top of the cab to line up with the top of the bed. But I wanted the bed to fit at it's full height on the chassis, and then channel the body over the chassis until it lined up. He thought that this might look odd, and so he told me that he would mock it up, then I could look at it, and we'd go from there. He went on to say that if I gave him a couple of weeks he'd get the chassis cleaned, and mocked up ready for me, then we could make the final decision on where it should be mounted, and how it should look. That sounded good to me, so I said my goodbyes, and headed towards my pick up. I turned to look at my chassis one last time and then I had a thought. I noticed that my chassis was now in a space that had previously been cleared for the start of M.C.'s Hot Rod! I went back and asked G.J. how it was going with M.C.'s Hot Rod? He said not too well I'm afraid, we've got a bit of a rush job just come in with a kit car chassis build, so thats taken up the space that had been reserved for the M.C. Hot Rod build! Oh Crap! I knew this wasn't going to please my friend one little bit, especially as he'd ordered it well over a couple of months before I had even thought about ordering mine! I said to G.J. whatever you do, make sure that M.C. takes delivery of his before I take delivery of mine. Otherwise his head will probably explode and he won't be happy at all. G.J. told me not to worry, I would get mine after M.C. had got his despite how it currently looked!

I headed off, deeply concerend that my friend was going to be really upset if my Hot Rod arrived first! But looking forward to seeing the body of mine mounted on my kit car chassis in a couple of weeks!


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