When looking at Ford’s ’33-34 models you will see a heavy frame lurking under the cowl that takes away from the car’s style when set up as a highboy. There are also the inner fender bubbles that always manage to catch your eye. To eliminate these visual barbs, the team at The Rolling Bones Hot Rod Shop in Greenfield Center, New York, recently sent sparks flying to add streamlining and a notable sleekness to the front end of Dick DeLuna’s 1934 Ford coupe undergoing a number of devilish updates, including dropping the cowl, removing the frame point, and tweaking the front ’rails. Working with an original steel coupe body mounted on a set of American Stamping framerails, the combination was secured on a frame jig as its pending updates were outlined.
To begin the infusion of early dry lakes–era styling, team member Ken Schmidt first focused on laying out the tapelines where cutting would be required. After studying the frame point under the mid-cowl area, he used 2-inch-wide masking tape to pull a line, which extended fore and aft of the point in a gradual extension till it reached an infinity point. To ensure that his measurements would be approximate and well balanced he used a T-square to measure upwards of 1-1/2 inches from the frame point to the base of the tapeline. He then measured forward 19 inches, and rearward 17 inches to complete the line. This marking represented the bottom area of the framerail to be removed. Following measurements at the top of the front cowl reveal taken from the top of the tapeline at 4-3/4 inches and also at the rear of the cowl’s top reveal taken from the top of the tapeline at 2 inches at the intersection of the lower cowl and rocker panel assisted in the creation of a cardboard template to outline the upper trimming required. Extending the tapeline into the rocker panel area where it too would be laid down (using 3/4-inch tape) allowed the transition to create a vanishing point, giving it visual speed since it would be 29 inches long. Using the cardboard template, Schmidt outlined and confirmed the cuts to the reveal area of the cowl side. He got started on the front cowl incision using an air-driven 3-inch cutoff wheel while wearing safety glasses. It’s important to take your time at this point to ensure a nice, clean even cut along the marked trim line.
With the exterior cuts completed, Schmidt focused on the inside of the body where he would need to cut into the structural support areas and floor since the frame would be gracefully ramped-up for a kick as the restyling continued. This would require the subrail and structural supports to be moved up to compensate for the changes in the framerail. First, the cuts to the floor were marked with 3/4-inch tape adjacent to the subrail, starting from the front and ending at the intersection of the rocker panel and the doorjamb. From there a cutoff wheel was used to complete the incision. A cut to the front of the cowl and also to the rear lower section of the cowl intersecting the rocker panel allowed for the removal of the exterior section of the cowl to be completed. A flat file was then used to deburr any sharp edges before proceeding. Schmidt took a hacksaw to begin cutting into the structural body support from outside of the body through the new opening in the cowl near the rocker panel area. Shifting inside he used 3/4-inch tape to mark the trim line into the subrail and continued with a cutoff wheel to carefully remove the section. Once removed, the area was cleaned up with a 5-inch grinding wheel and flat file. With the initial work on the cowl completed, it was time to focus on the removal of the frame point on the bottom of the framerail.