Part 2: Rad Rides by Troy Meticulous Chassis Work

By Ron Covell   –   Photography By Adam Banks

We previously looked at how the crew at Rad Rides by Troy, under the efforts of Adam Banks, scratch-built a body for Ross Myers’ fenderless 1936 Ford Roadster. While a new (or modified) body is most often fitted to an existing frame, they took a different approach here: waiting to design the frame until the shape of the body and grille shell were finalized. This allowed them to do an exceptional job of integrating the fit and contours of the two components.

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The grille itself was completely scratch-built from steel, and while it retains the “flavor” of a stock 1936 Ford grille, it is sectioned 4-1/2 inches, and a complete shell has been built from 18-gauge steel to surround the grille. As you’ll see in the photos, this was a massive undertaking. The grille of a car really sets the essence of the build, so this was a component they had to get right.

01 Custom grille template creation for stock grille bars
The first step in building the custom grille was making templates for the curvature of the stock grille bars.

Part 1: Rad Rides by Troy Builds a One of a Kind 1936 Ford Roadster

Since this will be a fenderless car and much of the frame will be visible, they decided to add a “rib” to the bottom of the frame rails, somewhat like the detail on a 1932 Ford. Special dies were made for a Pullmax machine to shape this unique detail. This will become one of the many striking features of this cutting-edge project.

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Another unusual feature this car has is a removable X-member. This was done to ease the job of painting and detailing every square inch of the chassis to an impeccable level. If you’ve ever tried spraying, blocking, and polishing the paint on an X-member, you can appreciate how beneficial it would be to disassemble these components, allowing much better access to all the nooks and crannies. The X-member was formed as two channels, with a length of ½-inch bar welded to the inner edges. This gives the components additional strength and a more-finished look.

02 Grille bar made from cold finished steel bar with heat induced curvature
Each grille bar made from 1/8x¾-inch cold-finished steel bar. The curve was made by shrinking the back edge. Heat was required at the bottom of the bar to attain the tighter curvature.

Read More: Parting Shot: Isky’s Tribute Ford Roadster

Torq-Set aircraft-grade fasteners are used to hold these components together. Troy has used these on some of the Bonneville cars he has built, and they are made to extremely high standards for both fit and strength.

We think you’ll love seeing all the detailed work being lavished on this car, and you can look forward to many more articles showing the later stages of construction. MR

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03 Laser cut braces designed to hold grille bars in place
Special braces were laser-cut to hold all the bars in registration. The notches were sized to be a snug fit on each bar.
04 Creation of a center bar from 16 gauge steel sheet for the custom grille
The center bar was made from 16-gauge steel sheet, bent into a channel, and curved to the proper contour.
05 Precision fitting and trimming of each grille bar
Each bar was meticulously fitted, then trimmed for a precise fit.
06 Comparison of the new custom grille with the original stock grille
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the new grille with the original. You can see the new grille has been sectioned considerably.
07 Use of curved stations to guide the shaping of the top cap of the grille assembly
Curved stations have been temporarily attached to the top of the grille, to guide the shaping of the cap for the assembly.
08 Newly made side panels with embossed linework for the custom grille
New sides were made, too. Note the carefully embossed linework on the panels.
09 Shaping of new sheetmetal to form the chin of the grille shell
New sheetmetal was shaped to make the “chin” portion of the grille shell.
10 Fitting of 1 8 inch steel to the back of the grille assembly for added stiffness
The 1/8-inch steel was carefully fitted to the back portion of the grille assembly, giving it plenty of stiffness. You can see how beautifully all the pieces fit together.
11 Preview of the custom grille held in place on the chassis table
With the grille held temporarily in place on the chassis table, you can appreciate just how gorgeous it is. With the key body components positioned, the chassis layout can begin.
12 Use of chipboard to mock up the shape and location of the frame rails
Chipboard is used to mock up the shape and location of the framerails. Great care is taken to make sure that all the shapes blend well together.
13 Creation of a raised rib on the bottom edge of the frame rails using special forming dies
The bottom edge of the framerails will have a raised rib, reminiscent of a ’32 Ford frame. These are special forming dies made for the Pullmax, which will make this detail.
14 Forming of the front portion of the frame with special dies
The front portion of the frame has been run through the forming dies.
15 Decision to taper the height of the rib towards the front of the frame rails
After careful consideration, a decision was made to taper the height of the rib as it progresses toward the front of the framerails.
16 Test fitting of the center portion of the frame rail to the body
The center portion of the framerail was shaped in a similar manner, and here it’s being test-fitted to the body.
17 Formation and joining of the rear kick up of the frame to the front portion of the rails
The rear kick-up of the frame was formed separately and seamlessly joined to the front portion of the rails.
18 Shaping and tack welding of the top and bottom flanges of the frame
The top and bottom flanges of the frame are shaped and tack-welded into place.
19 Detailing of the inner boxing plates with the Pullmax tool
The inner boxing plates were given some tasty detailing with the Pullmax, too.
20 Boxing plate for the center of the framerail with flat platforms for X member attachment
This is the boxing plate for the center of the framerail. Note that flat platforms were provided for attaching the removable X-member.
21 Tack welding of components for each frame rail in a sturdy fixture
With all the components for each framerail tack welded together, the assembly is positioned in a sturdy fixture and carefully TIG welded together.
22 Formation of the X member as two separate channels with bolted endcaps
The X-member was formed as two separate channels. Here you can see the intricate bolted endcaps that will allow disassembly.
23 Accurate positioning and tack welding of X member to the frame rails
Each portion of the X-member is accurately positioned and tack welded to the framerails.
24 Close up of the junction of the X member and the frame showcasing high quality fabrication
Here’s a close-up of the junction of the X-member and the frame. The quality of fabrication is superb from every angle.
25 Attachment of the body and fitting of the floor panels upon completion of the frame rails
With the framerails completed, the attachment of the body and the fitting of the floor panels can begin.
26 View of the front showing the perfect fit of body chassis and drivetrain
Looking toward the front, you can see how beautifully the body, chassis, and drivetrain fit together.

Source:

Rad Rides by Troy
(815) 468 2590
radrides.com

Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of ’36 Ford Roadster.mr february 2024

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