Monday, July 18, 2011

My '40 Ford chopped and channeled coupe.

My Doodles
Pencil doodle of possible final car.
(Pencil drawing in1956 by R. Scott Hooper)

Proposed finished 40 Ford doodle

(watercolor in 1956 by R. Scott Hooper)

'40 Ford chopped & channeled, with fenders & no hood or trunk lid
Didn't look like much, but you had to have vision!

Once I had three FORD's at the same time. A custom chopped and channeled '40 FORD super deluxe coupe project car to work on, another '40 FORD 2 door super deluxe sedan for the missing parts and a all black '53 Ford convertible car to drive to work everyday.

The '40 Ford project car had my undivided attention. So I didn't do much to the '53 Ford convertible but drive it to work.

I had originally found the '40 Ford already chopped and channeled, a shell sitting on blocks in the back row of a bone-yard. It had no fenders, no hood or trunk lid, no motor or transmission. Every time I went to the junkyard for a part I would visit the lonely abandoned, partly-finished '40 Ford .... daydreaming of what it could have been or visualizing what it still could be someday.

Proposed finished 40 Ford (retouched photo)

One day I just adopted it, put wheels on the '40 Ford and towed it home to be my newest project car. I bought another '40 Ford for all the missing parts and began.

Back Fender Welding

Onetime while working in a rented garage alone, I was welding on the left rear fender joint to fill it in. I took off my welding goggles and pulled back the acetylene gas torch to inspect how I was doing and "WOOF". Much to my surprise, I had pulled back the torch flame right over the open gas filler tube. Even though the gas tank hadn't had gas in it for years, an empty gas tank can be just as dangerous as a full gas tank because of it's accumulated fumes. There were just enough gas fumes in the tank to ignite and explode. Burning off all the skin from my neck and face along with all the skin on my left arm. The explosion burned off my eye brows and all my other facial hair too.

I must have looked pretty silly with a burnt black face, no eyebrows and with a bewildered look on my face. Much like "Wile E coyote" out of a Road Runner cartoon.

Of course I didn't feel a thing as my body had went into immediate shock...... but I knew what had happened to me and I knew that I had better act fast. So I jumped in my street car parked by the curb out front and sped off to the hospital up the street only a few blocks away. The doctors in emergency gave me some kind of pain-shot and said: Go stand in the hall, because they were busy with other more serious patients. When it was my turn and they looked out the hall and I was on my knees just humming to myself. After a several months my burns were completely healed and I was pain-drug free from a temporary addiction :-)........... and back to work on the '40 Ford.

As I said I was always doodling concept cars..what a car might look like in the future....

.....these are but a few more car doodles in 1956

Alternative Rear End treatment  
(pencil doodle in 1955 by RSH).

Another Alternative Rear End treatment  
(pencil doodle in 1955 by RSH).

I put in the 40 Ford my 3/4 race flat head Ford engine and transmission out of the '49 Ford convertible, as it had proven itself super fast time and time again. I also prime coated the '40 Ford all white.

One day I took the '40 Ford to the drag strip to give it a try. When it was my turn I pulled it up to the starting line and watched the starting lights. Then when I dropped the clutch and hit the gas all I could hear was S-W-I-S-H. I didn't move at all, the only sound was that of the tires spinning and chunks of rubber hiding the fenders, then flying all over the place. For all that power the car had it didn't have enough weight on the rear wheels for the required traction.

I was always working in the garage customizing something. If I didn't have one of my own garage I would rent one by the month. As a teenager I tore-up more then one of my fathers garages, much to his dismay, with oil stains from engine swaps, transmission conversions to plaster even fiberglass and always with tools strewn all around. He never could find his tools. Maybe that's where I learned to put things back in their place, so you could find them when needed. (he always said) LOL

Looking back my father must have had a great sense of humor. 

Or at least a great sense of tolerance for his #1 son.

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