Ever wonder why Ford coupes from the early- to mid-'30s occupy the minds of so many hot rodders? The attraction of having a one-off car such as the '32 Ford (with its one-year-only body styling) is plain to see, but it seems that even the '33-34 coupes from Ford are more popular than coupes from Chevrolet for the exact same years.
One reason you might see more Fords than Chevys nowadays may be found in their production: Ford built more than twice the amount (88,148) of two-door coupes in 1934 to Chevrolet's count of 35,130. Stylistically, '34s from either company were fairly similar, though you could get a V-8 in the Ford and Chevy didn't start installing them in their vehicles until 1955.
But perhaps the biggest difference between the two vehicles is also the biggest reason there seems to be less Chevys than Fords on the road today: wood. Look inside a Ford that's been stripped of its interior and you'll find an all-steel structure. In Chevys, they used fitted pieces of oak. (Folks wondering how many pieces of wood are really in a '33-34 Chevy should check out this Web page: http://chevy.tocmp.com/1934fisher/34fbsm04.htm).
Chevrolet used wood to provide the inner structure to their bodies, and it was intricately nailed, riveted, glued, and bolted in place. That's all well and good as long as the wood doesn't rot (which, over the course of time, it would). But try and modify a body by doing a section job or chop job, and your expertise in metal fabricating soon becomes null and void because understanding the way the factory installed these wood pieces is like trying to figure out how to put toothpaste back in its tube!
When doing a chop on a Chevy coupe, the best bet is to remove all of the wood and fabricate a new steel inner structure. Not a job for the faint of heart, you really have to be up on your welding and fabricating game to accomplish it, which is why we found this job being done at Marcel's Custom Metal in Corona, California.
The metal beaters at Marcel's (brothers Marc and Luc De Ley, along with their father, Marcel) have been creating hot rods and exotics from scratch for more than 20 years, and they know their way around nearly any metal shaping problem. STREET RODDER followed along as Marc took the project on, chopped the roof, created new doors (swapping the standard hinges for suicide units), filled the cowl vent, modified the window garnish pieces, created a new floor and decklid, and much more.
This story covers the first half of how the roof was chopped, with next month showing how the pieces went back together, as well as how the top was filled. Future issues will feature some of the other custom metalwork Marcel's is known for, so stay tuned-you might just learn something!
Here it is in all its pre-chopped glory, a 1933-34 Chevy coupe. (The bodies are the same b
How much wood is in a Chevy coupe body? This isn't all of it, but it is a good amount of w
With the body lying over on its side, you get a good view of the wood sill pieces that rid
A new sill section was created (from 3/4-inch x 1 1/2-inch tube) that follows the same sha
A new floor made from 14-gauge steel was added, as was a new kickplate and firewall. The f
The gray floor piece is actually some of the original flooring that will be retained. The