Buck Example No. 1: Chip Foose...
Buck Example No. 1: Chip Foose brings his drawings to life by scaling up his illustrations to build a fullsize wooden station buck.
Rodders live in a wonderful age where we can usually find the parts we need, either in vintage tin or repro steel, for just about any type of car that we would want to build. But what if you want something that was never mass produced or even offered on a domestic passenger automobile? A track nose-the snub-nosed grille surround found on many a hot rod over the past eight decades (think of the Pierson Brothers coupe as one excellent example)-was never a production item on any car nor was it a modified-from-stock item. Unless someone made a mold and splashed one in fiberglass, they were all produced one-off and by hand.
Buck Example No. 2: Marcel's...
Buck Example No. 2: Marcel's Custom Metal builds their bucks out of square metal tube before they create one of their vehicles.
If you have a good artistic eye and can jump right in and fabricate one from scratch that's great but, for the 99.5 percent of the rest of us, we need to follow a shape, called a buck, to help correctly fit the nosepieces before welding everything together. For the home car builder, station bucks are a skeletal shape and can be made of wood or metal. Some are made so fitment of a piece can be checked during its fabrication, while others can be sturdy enough to have steel hammered over the top of them to help shape a piece, but then you may need a hammer form for just that purpose. Station bucks can be small for a small item or as large as an entire car when that is what needs to be built. A well-designed buck will allow access to both sides of a fabricated piece so you can reach the area that needs work with the proper tools. But perhaps the best use of a buck is the ability to stand back from the project and view what you want to build in three dimensions before you ever lift a pair of metal shears.
Buck Example No. 3: Another...
Buck Example No. 3: Another version is where Marcel's needed a lot of space when working with this wooden buck for a Bonneville streamliner.
Cotati Speed Shop in Santa Rosa, California, is the builder behind the '10 AMSOIL Road Tour car: a Shadow Rods XL roadster pickup. Originally, the car was going to have a Model A grille, but during the planning stages Cotati's Zane Cullen, Shadow Rods' Jon Hall, and Clay Cook from Clay Cook Enterprises in Erlanger, Kentucky, got together and discussed how a track nose could work on the Road Tour.
Cullen is also friends with Bill Crackbon, the nephew of Bud Crackbon, who built and owned a track-nosed T that won the America's Most Beautiful Roadster award back in 1952. (In fact the first three AMBR winners had track noses). The car no longer exists, but photos do, and Cullen presented the idea of doing a track nose for the Road Tour car, and everyone liked it. (The car's final dark blue color is also similar to the Crackbon winner, too).
As for Cook, his business not only revolves around custom metal fabrication for both the custom and restorative fields, but he sells a line of metal fabrication tools and machinery (from portable air hammers and shrinking dies to large Pullmax and Yoder machines) to make the process a little easier.
Recently Cook travelled to Cullen's shop and stayed for about a week to build a wooden buck for the track nose. The buck was then shipped back to Cook Enterprises where the metal hood, nose, hood blister, and inner braces were all fabricated (that process will be shown in next month's STREET RODDER). After the parts were made, they were shipped back to Cotati's so the build on the car could continue. The following photos show the process of how Cook built his buck.