Infusing style into an early post-war-styled hot rod is as easy as opening a dusty "lil' book" and peering deep to see what's pressed between the pages. Inspired metal fabrication can instill the feeling of speed into any hot rod.
The interior dash and door area of a Ford Model A are pretty basic, leaving plenty of opportunity to artistically alter its original configuration. To add just a dash of speed and style to the area, the team at the Rolling Bones Hot Rod Shop in Greenfield Center, New York, set out to blend the dash and door tops together with the sleek look reminiscent of those seen in '33-36 Ford roadsters. Working with a Brookville Roadster '29, the team began by adding plenty of momentum to its persona by installing a Sellers Equipped windshield and Brookville '32 Ford dash. This prior work included the removal of the stock eyebrow section of the body, which was reworked to accommodate the new windshield as well as peak to the back of the cowl being pie-cut and laid back.
Getting started, team member Matt Schmidt prepared the area to the side of the dash where he would create a mold for the first transition of rolling the dash into the door top. Using 2-inch masking tape, he covered the work area, since the tape would act as a perfect release agent for the mold once completed. After preparing a small amount of plastic body filler, he began to apply it to the area in gradual stages, allowing plenty of drying time between the layers. This step allowed Schmidt to fill the area and build it up in just the right places. Once the plastic had hardened, he followed with a combination flat and half-round file to sculpt the gradual transition from the dash to the beginning of the door top. When satisfied with the mold, it was carefully pried from its place and used as a visual guide to create the panel from steel. Schmidt proceeded with 22-gauge flat stock, cold rolled mild steel to fashion a filler piece. Using a pair of metal shears, he cut out the piece, making sure it was larger than required to allow for needed trimming in obtaining the exact shape. To add a graceful bend to the steel, Schmidt worked with a sandbag and a curved dolly while test-fitting the piece to the dash numerous times till the exact transition was found. With the basic shape attained, he trimmed the piece for a better fit using metal shears and continued with a number of body hammers to establish the correct contours to the end of the dash.
Schmidt forged on to stretch the steel to create some needed compound curves using a homespun anvil anchored in a bench vise while working the filler piece with a blunt point and finishing hammer. Once satisfied with the piece, he used his Millermatic MIG welder to anchor the piece. Wearing eye protection, the welds were then ground smooth using an air-driven disc grinder topped with a 50-grit disc followed by a die grinder.