However, purchasing a complete new chassis does not always mean your body will simply bolt onto the frame and away you go. Almost all ’48 and older reproduction frames include body mounts so you truly can bolt on the original Ford body, but in the case of the shoebox frame Kocsis received, there were no body mounts or locations so mounting the body to the frame became a job for a professional. Enter Larry Shoaf and the team at Rodcrafters in Welcome, North Carolina.

After all the body mounts were fabricated, a new trunk floor and wheel tubs were fabricated and welded in place, completing the install of the body on the new Art Morrison chassis. In the end Kocsis had just what he wanted: a new modern chassis under his shoebox Ford that provides a strong platform for the rest of the build. Follow along for a detailed step by step on the body mounting process; you might decide your old car is ready for a new frame too.

When John received the frame it became apparent the trunk floor would have to be removed to allow the body to rest on the new frame. He trimmed out sheetmetal until the car was resting on the Art Morrison frame, then rolled the body and frame into the trailer for the trip to Rodcrafters.

As it turns out the fabrication of the body mounts is something within reach of the skilled homebuilder and we’d like to think that after seeing the adjoining photos that task will be even easier. Ford was pretty serious about mounting their bodies to the frame in 1951 with no less than 23 bolts holding the body to the frame. The Art Morrison framerails align directly under 13 of these mounting points, but 10 other mounts must be fabricated to bolt the body to the frame. These body mounts consist of outriggers extending out to the rocker panel area on both sides of the car and a pair of firewall braces mounted on the outside of the framerail just forward of the firewall. Basic fabrication skills and welding are involved, but the most important thing is properly locating the body perfectly on the frame.

When it comes time to locate the body on the frame it sure helps if you have a lift in your garage; if you don’t, plan on having a few floor jacks and a handful of friends on board as the body will be lifted on and off the chassis several times. The first step is to measure the wheelbase on the frame. Since the rear suspension is adjustable, it is possible to have the incorrect wheelbase by as much as an inch or more. We measured and adjusted the rear suspension until we had the factory 114-inch wheelbase setting. Now it was time to locate the body on the frame.

After the preliminary trial fit it became apparent John had not trimmed enough metal out of the rear portion of the car, the inner wheel houses had to be cut out for tire clearance and the entire trunk floor was removed up to the factory seam located just behind where the rear seat back is located. After cutting the wheelhouses out, the body was lowered over the frame.

The front fenders were bolted to the car and then the chassis was rolled back to a clear area where we could eyeball the wheel and tire location. Since there are no locator holes in the frame, positioning the body on the chassis becomes a combination of moving the body until the wheels are centered in their respective openings and then taking careful measurements from common points on the body and chassis to ensure the body is square on the frame. This takes quite a bit of time and patience, but once again this is the most important part of the project as centering wheels in the fender openings is critical. Once we were certain the body was properly located, fabrication of body mounts could begin.

We began by locating four of the body mount holes that aligned with the top of the frame. The center of the holes was transferred to the top of the framerail with a transfer punch, the holes were then drilled in the frame and threaded inserts were welded into the framerail. A wood shim simulated the body mounting rubber and the body was lowered back on the frame and bolted in place. More measuring ensued to be certain the body was properly located before we began to build the outriggers for the other body mounts.

Dennis Carpenter Reproductions
4140 Concord Parkway South
NC  28027
Art Morrison Enterprises
5301 8th Street E.
WA  98424
EMS Automotive Products
Lobeck’s V8 Shop Hot Rod Parts