To reestablish the proportions of the nose sides for a smooth transition to the hood sides Schmidt began the process by adding a graceful contour to each panel using a Mittler Bros. planishing hammer. It’s a good idea to wear ear protection during this step as the process is quite loud. Moving the panel slowly from left to right and up and down, the section was gradually worked into its new shape.
Schmidt followed by using a sandbag and body hammer for some minor adjustments to each panel. He then proceeded with a dolly and body hammer to reset the contour of the nose crown and prepare it for the newly contoured sides. Satisfied with the lines, the sides were clamped to the crown and TIG-welded using a Lincoln Electric Precision TIG 225 unit. Be sure to cool your welds as you proceed with an air gun to dissipate the heat and avoid panel warping. To stabilize the nose from flexing a temporary section of steel strapping was MIG-tacked to the bottom rear of the side panels. Schmidt then ground the TIG welds smooth using a disc grinder and 40-grit disc, followed by a combination flat and half-round file for final deburring.
He then returned to the planishing hammer to make a few small contour adjustments. The grille sides were then mocked in place to illustrate the progress made on the nose. To add some devilish good looks to the upper and lower grille corners small sections of flat steel stock were TIG-welded in each area to act as a base. Schmidt used standard welding rod to establish a neat bead line and carefully formed the upper and lower curves using a section of bar stock anchored in a bench vise. Once satisfied with the curves, the rod was clamped and TIG-welded in place, remember to cool your welds as you go. The welds were then ground smooth using a small grinder capped with a 40-grit disc and hand finished with a combination file. For added strength to the inside of the nose, 1/2-inch solid steel rod and 1/2-inch square steel tube was TIG-welded in place, making the unit rock solid.
In order to add the final allure to the nose it was necessary to fabricate a bottom section to tie everything together. Starting with cardboard a simple template was fashioned from which team member John Cintula cut a piece of fir wood to form a buck. Using a combination of grinders and sanding blocks topped with 40-grit paper he was able to create a final shape with perfect contours to accent the nose. A second cardboard template was created approximately 2 inches larger in diameter than the buck. It was then traced onto 18-gauge sheet steel and cut out with a plasma cutter. Schmidt then screwed the buck to the steel and fastened the unit to a workbench where he made the first of four pie cuts per side in order to wrap the steel across the buck’s edges. With a body hammer and dolly he then worked the shape to perfection. Note this step takes time to finesse and once completed the section was TIG-welded and ground smooth using a grinder topped with a 40-grit disc followed by a combination file. The completed section was then mocked in place and TIG welded to the bottom of the nose.
Finally bodywork was completed in lead and massaged to perfection. The finished nose looked downright wicked and added a unique signature to the coupe, echoing its post-war styling cues.
Rolling Bones Hot Rod Shop