Many facets of hot rodding are surrounded by style and creativity. Just because something isn’t usually found on a car doesn’t mean it might not look bitchin’ if it can be worked into the mix. It’s this type of inventiveness that adds excitement and many times a newfound classic look if worked into the design phase of your project.
On a recent visit to the Rolling Bones Hot Rod Shop in Greenfield Center, New York, we came across Dick DeLuna’s ’34 Ford coupe in mock-up form, sporting a truly unique front nose to see if the formula might work. To give the car a signature style all its own the team came up with a rarely seen vintage Cockshutt tractor nose and were preparing to adapt it to the frontend of the coupe. With all of the different models of tractors produced over countless decades there are plenty of unique designs available for adaptation into hot rod projects. Let’s see just what it takes to bring this distinctiveness into the rodding world.
Once the decision was made to incorporate the nose into the project, the team prepared the coupe for mock-up to see what types of revisions would be required to make it all fit together. Incorporating the stock hood, cardboard hood sides were added and the nose was set in place. A number of measurements were taken and close attention was paid to placement and how it would be mounted to the frame. It was determined that 13-1/2 inches would need to be removed from the rear section of the nose. While wearing safety glasses, a cutoff wheel was used to separate the nose and a flat file was then used to deburr the surface areas. The nose was then media blasted to remove any old paint as well as expose any potential issues in need of attention (there were none).
Team member Ken Schmidt then created a cardboard template of the front of the hood and sides of the coupe to assist in identifying the adjustments needed to flawlessly incorporate the nose section. Seeing the nose sides were extremely flat in their original design, this would require both sides be re-contoured to make the proportions work.
Schmidt proceeded by first disassembling the nose by removing the grille sections and grille center nameplate. He followed by removing the nose side panels where they met the crown by using a cutoff wheel. With the nose completely disassembled the first step was to rework the grille sections and center nameplate seeing as they had suffered some abuse over the years in the agricultural world.
To straighten out the grille bars, a sandbag was used as a base while a number of homespun dollies were worked through a body hammer to remove any minor dents and smooth out the individual bars. It’s a good idea to take your time on this and gradually rework the metal. Schmidt continued to use the sandbag with the nameplate section, only this time he worked with a pick hammer on the inside of the letters to make them crisp once again. To regain the original exterior contours a small dolly was anchored in a bench vise and a body hammer was carefully used to rework the original shape to perfection. So the grille sections could be easily mounted to the nameplate centersection, two strips of 1/8-inch steel plate were first mildly contoured to mirror the centersection. The plates were then clamped together and marked for five holes drilled with a 1/4-inch bit using a drill press. Threaded studs were then MIG welded to one plate using a Miller Electric Mfg. Co. Millermatic 35 and final welded to the rear of the center nameplate. A small disc grinder topped with a 40-grit disc was used to smooth everything out.