Creativity and Man-Hours, Not Milk, Make a Body Better

By Jay Storer. Photography By Brian Brennan

If striking flint on steel makes sparks, what happens when you put steel on steel? In the case of the Road Tour roadster, we've got a Deuce Steel chassis from Hot Rods & Custom Stuff (HR&CS) and now we're adding the "Body of Steel" from Brookville Roadsters! These two companies are justifiably proud of their products, which go together very nicely for our '32 ford Highboy roadster project. The polished engine, Wheel Vintique wheels, and searing yellow PPG paint may sparkle, but the only "sparks" from this car will be in the enthusiasm it generates as it tours the country.

Dropping the body onto the frame.

As delivered from Brookville Roadsters, the "Body of Steel" is as close as most of us will ever get to having an original Deuce, but the Brookville body is actually better in many ways, having been spared the ignominy of seven decades of rust, damage, and hot rodders.

Brookville Roadster body.

It's no easy task to build something like this from 68 different pieces of stamped steel, and rodders are lucky that Brookville has made the investment in tooling to make these available.

The Brookville firewall is cut at the bottom to clear bell housing.

Just bolting one of these new bodies in untouched form on your Deuce frame provides the base for what can be a beautiful car, with changes in the hood, paint, wheels and other features making your car a truly personal statement. On our Road Tour roadster, the STREET RODDER staffers liked all of the changes Randy Clark suggested that took the overall scheme even further. We'll have a unique Deuce roadster body and chassis as a result.

A bump was added to the floor for the Currie rearend.

The interior of a roadster is right out there for everyone to see, and we'll be getting more than casual glances with the dual-dash setup created by HR&CS.

Twin 32 dashes will be used.

Space is always a problem in a deuce roadster, especially in the cowl area and under and/or behind the reletively small dash. Hiding things that are behind the dash is a concern when you have electronics, an electrical center, and Vintage Air heat and A/C components all sharing the space back there.

The main dash mounts to the body and will hold the Dakota Digital gauges.

The dash we're using in the original location will carry just the Dakota Digital Instrument panel, while the deeper secondary dash will hold the climate controls and also hide the components behind it.

Pontiac Taillight recesses and custom body corners.

Exterior mods to the Brookville body included a very novel approach to frenching in the '50 Pontiac taillights, Metalman Lars Blomberg made wooden hammer-forms to shape sheetmetal "buckets" for the taillights that sink these traditional lights in somewhat and at the same time provide a small, smooth lip around them. Holes were cut in the back of the lower deck panel and the new buckets were welded in. Also at the rear, roll pan-like corners were made to fill up the body area on either side of the gas tank for a smoother, more custom look.

Hood mounting bars.

Posterboard hood patterns.

Up front, we have a three-piece steel hood with some interesting louvers along the bottom of each hood side, the HR&CS stainless headlight/shock mounts at the framerails, and a Brookville steel grille shell that's seen some tweaks. The headlight shells are reproduction '34 Ford commercial type, painted body color.

1932 Ford hood pieces.

Unless its coffee in the morning or pizza at lunch, they don't send out for much at Hot Rods & Custom Stuff. Their four buildings include separate areas for sales, fabrication, and assembly, as well as a media-blasting center and body ship. There's also a large paint ship and final assembly building down the street. Randy has found that keeping things in-house means there's more control, and the painted cars that come out of their ship are vivid testament to that.

Bare steel 32 Ford roadster body.

After all the customizing and welding was done on the Road Tour highboy, the body was sanded down to the nude and sprayed with PPG's well-known DP-90 epoxy primer, which is so durable it's the final finish of choice among the suede set. All bodywork and blocking can be done over this. At HR& CS they used a variety of PPG products to achieve the final, show-car finish our 32 now sports.

Roadster body getting sprayed with PPG Giallo Yellow.

After using thin applications of filler around areas that they had reworked, the car was cleaned and painted with NCP-271 high build primer and block-sanded, then this was repeated. When this was dusted off, the body and exterior parts were moved in to the huge down-draft paint booth and sprayed with NCP 1990 "wet on wet" sealer to promote good adhesion of the final paint, the PPG Giallo Yellow (DBC 84902-SC) basecoats.

Wet-sanding and polishing painted body pieces.

The frame, rear end, and other body-color parts were also treated to a session in the booth. After all this prep, what really gives the shine and protection to today's paints is the three coats of DCU-2010 two part clear, which HR&CS bakes for 40 minutes at 140 degrees F. These two-parters are actually thermo set plastic, so without that "cooking" capability, the material will never become evenly "cross-linked" or fully cured inside. Once cured, the sun can't do any harm, even on the hottest days! After the parts were given two days of rest, the boys put the finish to the finish with more than a few man-hours of wet sanding, proceeding to finer and finer grip papers. Lastly, they did the complete compound/buffing drill and two stages of glaze.

There's much more to the story, so next month we'll bring you the details of all the post-paint activities. We gotta tell you, when you see this car's color in print or in person, you'll grin! SR

Brakes: Stainless Steel Brakes, 11470 Main Rd., Dept. SRM, Clarence, NY 14031, (716) 759-8666, www.ssbrakes.com.

Gauges: Dakota Digital, 4510 West 61st St. North, Dept SRM, Sioux Falls, SD 57107, (605) 332-6513, www.dakotadigital.com

Wheels: Wheel Vintiques, 5468 E. Lamona Ave., Dept. SRM, Fresno, CA 93727, www.wheelvintiques.com

Engine: Gen III Performance, 4615 Serigraph Ct. Dept. SRM, Oceanside, CA 92057, (760) 505-8419, www.gen3per.com

Transmission: TCI Automotive, 151 Industrial Dr., Dept. SRM, Ashland, MS 38603, (662) 224-8972, www.tciauto.com

Paint: PPG, 19699 Progress Dr., Dept. SRM, Strongsville, OH 44149, e-mail: autorefinish@ppg.com, www.ppgrefinish.com

Radiator: Walker Radiator Works, 694 Marshall Ave., Dept. SRM, Memphis, TN 38103, (800) 821-1970

Fan: Cooling Components, 3948 I-40, Dept. SRM, Proctor, AZ 72376, (901) 336-6194

Shifter, Cables: Lokar Performance Products, Inc., 10924 Murdock Dr., Dept. SRM, Knoxville, TN 37932, (865) 966-2269, www.lokar.com

Wiring/Electrical: Painless Performance Products, 9505 Santa Paula Dr., Dept. SRM, Fort Worth, TX 76116, (800) 54-WIRES, www.painlessperformance.com

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Hot Rods & Custom Stuff - builds, restores, paints, services and sells parts for classic autos, cars, trucks and street rods.