In the case of the ’51 Ford sedan the trunk and quarter-panels tend to look short and in our opinion add to that old-fogey sedan look. By moving the rear window forward several inches and also leaning the rear window forward, we can visually make the quarter-panels appear longer and the decklid will benefit from the same look. Lower roofs, longer quarter-panels and a leaned back windshield all give a car a more powerful, expensive look.

And so it was decided this chop would involve moving and leaning the rear window and to that end Larry Shoaf began to lay out the all-important cut lines. We also decided the B-pillar would be canted forward in the process, yet another trick to make a sedate sedan look fast. Since the B-pillar would be canted the only real critical cut lines were at the A-pillar (windshield post) and around the rear window.

The windshield post was marked for a 5-inch chop. Since the rear window would remain on the car for now, two pieces of 1-inch flat stock were welded vertically through the window area to help hold the shape of the rear window. This is critical since the rear glass is curved and any distortion of the roof shape will make fitting the glass a real problem.

The first cut was in the lower corner of each quarter window. All cuts are made in the exact same location from side to side. This helps ensure the top will come down squarely and also helps with measurements and fabricating filler panels. Since it is difficult to measure from a curve Shoaf makes a simple template from a paint stick. This template fits the curve of the window opening and then he marks the cuts on the template. Those marks are then transferred to both sides of the car, ensuring each piece is cut in the exact same location. This will guarantee the rear radius of each quarter window is the same after the chop.

The rear corner of the quarter windows were removed first and then the A-pillars were cut and the door tops were cut off the door. Moving to the rear, the roof was cut free from around the rear window. Finally the B-pillar was removed and the roof was lifted off. Since the B-pillars will be canted, they actually become longer, so the entire pillar is removed in one piece. Shoaf opted to make an angle cut at the very base of the B-pillar and a straight cut at the top of the post. Few things are more intimidating than looking at a car after you have removed the top.

The second cut was made on the windshield posts still attached to the body and the roof section was lifted into position to see how much movement would be required to align the front posts. As it turns out, even with a radical 5-inch chop the posts were not that far off. A diagonal cut at the base of the windshield allowed the lower post to be pulled in to almost align with the post on the top section. In most top chops you would pull the A-pillar posts on the roof section out the remaining distance to meet the lower posts, but this chop would be a bit different.

The 5-inch chop provided the desired look on the side profile, but the windshield area had a crushed-car look and the roof of the ’51 appeared to curve over into the glass area. To remedy this, the brow of the roof was cut free, and moved up 1 inch. The removed piece was simply overlapped on the roof and held in place with sheetmetal screws for now. This made a world of difference in the look of the windshield. Not only did it help in forward vision, it also aligned the top of the windshield opening with the top of the door glass. After relocating the roof brow, the windshield posts were formed and aligned and tack welded in place.