1. With all the rust repair out of the way it is time to start modifying the car to look like the rendering provided by Eric Black. The first step was to channel the body. We opted to "angle channel" the car, dropping it more in the rear.
2. The first order of business was removing the front clip as we would be lifting the body on and off the Fatman Fabrications frame during the channeling process.
3. After raising the car, Delton Scott begins unbolting the body. Ford was serious about mounting the body in 1951 as they use no less than 16 bolts to hold the body on the frame. Notice how close the rear crossmember is to the floor pan.
4. The Fatman Fabrications chassis employs the same style body mount as the original '51 Ford. The raised platform-style body mounts will be cut off the frame to channel the body down over the frame. The raised body mounts on the body will also be removed.
5. These outriggers on the chassis reach out to the factory body mounts that are located just inside the rocker panels. The new body mounts are from Dennis Carpenter Ford Restoration Parts. We'll section the body mount to lower the body.
6. The rear outrigger mount is shorter and deeper than the front mount. We will section the rear mount 1/2-inch deeper than the front mount to achieve the desired angle on the channeling job.
7. As you can see the Fatman frame drops the rear of the car, but we need to find several more inches to achieve that cool down-in-the-back custom look in the rendering.
8. Our baseline measurement shows 17-1/2 inches to the bottom of the rear pan, which by the way is another Dennis Carpenter Ford Restoration Parts replacement panel. After channeling this pan was dropped 2-3/4 inches.
9. Because we wanted the improved handling provided by QA1 coilover shocks we will have to notch the floor to clear the associated four-link brackets, Delton Scott marks the area to be removed for clearance.
10. After marking the bottom side of the floor in all areas that will require clearance, the body was lifted off the frame.
11. The last body mount in the rear of the car is located in the back corner. This area of the floor will be notched to allow the body to drop over the rear crossmember.
12. Richard Marter drills through the floor using the frame mount as a guide to properly locate the hole. The stock rubber body insulators will be used between the modified mounts and the floor.
13. With the body off the frame it is time to remove and relocate the rear crossmember. Note the raised pads atop the framerails that serve as body mounts.
14. Looking from the side, it becomes obvious that we can lower the body 1-1/2 inches by simply removing the stock-style body mounts from the top of the rails.
15. Working in a state-of-the-art shop like Honest Charley Garage has its benefits, such as this lift. Using the lift to raise and lower the body makes life easy, but this job could be done at home with jacks as well.
16. Marter takes the cut-off wheel to the welds around the rear crossmember, in the process removing and relocating the crossmember.
17. After trimming the crossmember to move down and to the rear, we fired up the trusty Millermatic and welded the crossmember in its new location.
18. In the April issue of STREET RODDER we covered repairing the floor and body mounts with parts from Dennis Carpenter Ford Restoration Parts. This front mount will now be sectioned 3/4 inch to lower the body.
19. Prior to modifying the mount we drilled the inboard body mounting hold up through the floor. This will ensure perfect alignment later.
20. After carefully marking the cut lines with a square we cut the bottom section out of the mount. Team Honest Charley Garage will fabricate new flat bottoms for the mounts.
21. This is the modified rear mount. You will notice the end of the mount has also been trimmed to provide clearance between the top of the X-member and the new, lower floor pan.
22. The front mount will be modified with a similar cut. We will remove 3/4 inch up front as the channeling depth is less up front.
23. Here we can see both the front and rear side body mounts have been notched in the channeling process. We cut the notches deeper than the actual channel depth to allow for some body shimming later.
24. Simple pieces of 1/8-inch flat stock were cut to fit the opening and then MIG-welded in place to form the new mount. A nut is welded to the inside of the plate to receive the body bolt in the blind body mount. Note the factory rubber insulator being used.
25. The rearmost section of the trunk floor was neatly cut out with a Miller plasma cutter to allow the rear crossmember to come up even with the trunk floor.
26. A piece of 1/8-inch plate was fabricated with the proper body mounting holes drilled. This stout piece of metal makes for one very solid body mount, and once again the stock rubber insulators are used between the body and frame.
27. With the body back on the frame we can see the number of holes required to clear the four-link. Since this is going to be a "business sedan" with no back seat, a new floor section was planned.
28. The raised floor will provide plenty of room for Jerry Dixey to carry his wares and it also provided lots of room for suspension travel. If desired, a seat could be mounted to this raised floor.
29. Looking at the rear of the car it is clear we have gained a lot of lowering, the rear pan is now almost even with the bottom of the rear crossmember.
30. Looking from the trunk forward the main floorpan is completely intact, something you seldom see on a channeled car.
31. This side profile tells it all, notice how the top of the rear wheel opening is now level with the top lug nut. Before the channeling that same lip was well above the hubcap lip. The angle channeling made a dramatic difference in the profile and mood of our '51 Ford.
32. One look at the Eric Black rendering and you can see Honest Charley Garage is well on the way to matching the rendering. Next up on the modification list is chopping the top. We'll show you how in the next issue.
Watch the guys over at Honest Charley Garage work Body Drop-Ride Height here.
Check out more videos covering the 2013 AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour car build here.