Friday’s Frames

Anyone who builds Hot Rods knows that a well designed and fabricated chassis is essential for a “go down the road” ride. We all started with the stock chassis and did what we thought would make a good ride. In many cases, the chassis turned out fine but some were also poorly constructed and downright dangerous to drive. I think I built my first chassis in the late 60’s and was fortunate enough to live by Logghe Chassis who helped me with the engineering — as they built funny car chassis. One of their employees, Rich Riddell, made lots of components for my first Deuce chassis using a coil over suspension on both the front and rear. This was sorta new for the times but he assured me it would be a vast improvent over the buggy spring suspension I was familiar with. He was right in his perception, but the look wasn’t what I had in mind. I disliked the look and cut the brackets off and reinstalled the buggy spring with the jacked up look front end. Harry Luzader influenced the look. Like many of my projects this one went down to road and it was off to another Deuce.

The evolution of the Deuce chassis has progressed through lots of different iterations over the past 50 years. Independent front and rear suspensions were popular in the 70’s & 80’s and still are to a certain element. Bell style axles (Super Bell Axle – Jim Ewing) were popular in the 70’s as bent I-beam original axles were not worth the effort to repair. Recently, the development of excellent forged I-beam axles from SO-CAL and CE, combined with resurgence of the “Traditional Look” has made the dropped axle a popular item in today’s builds. The demand for original frame rails was so great that Mike Martens and Roy Fjastad started producing new rails for builders. Mike’s were fabricated from 4 pieces while Roy’s were a stamped one piece rail. The demand was satisfied for a few years due to the many people, one being David Gale, who started Curbside and made some really nice fabricated rails for stock and one-off builds. Dave sold the business to Barry Lobeck who became a noted builder and supplier of frame rails to the industry. ASC also started producing 32-34 stamped rails and along with a plethora of frame rail manufacturers, kept the industry supplied with the much needed foundations for our Hot Rods. Meanwhile, the price of original frames has escalated way beyond the average builder’s budget for a chassis.

Boyd built my first Deuce chassis with a pair of kicked up front rails from Curbside and they were designed to have the car look really low slung but also created the term ” Broken Frame” at the cowl. Yes, that one went down the road to Jerry who finished it and competed for the GNRS trophy in Oakland. Today, we are very fortunate for shops that can build our dreams and for suppliers who can let us build our own by furnishing beautiful frame rails or complete chassis. Thank you!

If you are heading to Louisville be sure you charge up your A/C as you are going to need it. Hot, Hot, Hot!!!

Stay Tooned!

Lynn

 

Original Chassis

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This chassis is what most of us remember when we started back in the late 50’s early 60’s. The style has come full circle to many and these chassis command big bucks today — especially with good numbers and a title.

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Saving the original chassis can be time consuming but many builders like the Kennedy Boys save them all.

Fully Dressed Chassis

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Today’s chassis are a work of art complete with signature designs. Doug had a professional photographer take some photos of his finished chassis. I love the black and maroon color combination. It is my favorite.

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A top view shows the maroon engine, transmission and GM crate motor with bow tie aluminum heads. Perfect!

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A close up shows the amount of work it takes to have a finished block like this one.

Cornhusker Chassis

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Gary has been building chassis longer than most and this his latest for his new Deuce pickup. Proven quality and performance are his trademark.

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Another GM crate motor with 700r4 transmission. Note exhaust manifold turnout.

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Cornhusker Chassis with 409 Chevy

Walden Chassis

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Bobby has made a name for himself in the metal fabrication business but also has his chassis components available which provides superior strength to those stock Deuce rails.

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This is Jason’s chassis which uses stock rails and cross members. Walden step boxed the rails and added their beefy tubular center X-member.

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Jason also lowers the front crossmember and trims the excess baggage from the bulky stock member.

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The Kennedy Boys love the traditional look and use as many old Ford parts as they can. Drilled bones with tie rod ends add to the look.

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Walden also offers a nice rear sway bar and pan hard bar set up for use with the cross spring.

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The Buick drum still hangs on as a leader for traditional styled Hot Rods. Hubs are available from Walden also.

Chassis Engineering

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The CE center X-member has been used extensively during the current “return to our roots” trend for traditional Hot Rods. I am using one of these in my current build and they are well made.

Ionia Hot Rods

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Matt and Dennis are probably the founders of the dimple die holes they use in their very traditional chassis. They manufacturer everything and weld the entire chassis in this substantial jig.

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Their detail work is excellent as is the welding. This set up uses the JHRS bones. They love holes.

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The rear ladder bar brackets are beefy and will take lots of horsepower.

The End Result

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Once the foundation has been completed correctly, the finished product, like Bob’s beautiful Porsche Aqua Marine sedan, provides first class transportation. (Beverly Hills chassis)

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My long time friend, Don, still drives his roadster everyday in the AZ sun. He is in his 80’s and still going strong. I love his new top!!!  (Classic MFG)

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Bobby finished one of the first UPI 5 window coupes complete with his chassis and superb metalwork.

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Gary at Cornhusker’s installed a new body on his chassis ready for his roadster build.

 

 

 

Comments 2

  1. Thanks for including my 32 chassis in your column today. I want everyone to know that a tremendous amount of credit goes to my talented builder, Duane Evans, and to long time pal Vic Ferrier for the photos. I’m just along for the ride and loving every bump and turn.

    Doug

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