Fiberglass Front Clip

For 43 years my 37 Chevy Coupe has been wearing a grill, radiator shell and hood from a 38 Chevy. This blog entry and later additions will document my efforts to convert it to a fiberglass front clip for the 37 Chev that it is.

Note that the following pic is not what I am installing. I actually bought all of this as parts: separate fenders, hood top, hood sides and radiator shell. Also bought a 37 grill that needs to be mounted. A lot more work to be done.

37 Chevy Front End

Mecum Auction & New Wheels

MSRA street rod show, but I did attend the show on Friday and Sunday.  On Friday, I spent 5 hrs there with my brother-in-law and saw a portion of the Mecum Auto Auction.  We followed the auction of a 28 Ford Model A coupe that my brother was interested in.  It sold for $15,000.  I watch the Mecum auction every Saturday night on cable TV and it was fun to see it in real life.  I had cramps in my legs on Friday night so stayed home on Saturday, but found out that Mecum was broadcasting live on their web site and through Ustream.
On Sunday, my son came with me to the swap meet and I bought a set of 4 aluminum wheels, shown below.  These should spruce up the old car quite a bit.  I should be able reuse a few of the tires that I already have.
monday, 21 june 2010 12:21
Well, I didn't get the frame fixed in time to take the 37 Chevy to the
On both days, we walked for miles though did not see all 12,000 cars that were there.  The cars are driven into the fair grounds in the morning and have to leave each night.  It is unlikely that they are in the same spot each day.  I did get some good photos of another red 37 Chevy coupe that was valued at $76,000.  Also got photos of a 1950 Studebaker like one that my sister-in-law used to drive and of a 1940 Chevy coupe like that a friend of mine owned.    I could have taken many more pictures like I have in the past, but have become more selective.

Fiberglass Trunk Lid

This article describes the fitting of a fiberglass trunk lid on a 1937 Chevy Coupe.  The trunk lid was purchased from Superior Glassworks in Mulino, OR in August 2011.  The described installation was completed in August 2012.
See http://www.superiorglassworks.com/Trunk-Lid-for-1937-1938-Chevrolet-Coupe-p/3806.htm
trunk lid catalog
The trunk lid was actually delivered in two pieces, an inner piece that is ribbed and the outer piece that had been frenched to hold the license plate.  Note that the outer lid currently shown above is without the frenched-in license.
trunk lid inner
The first step in installation was to mark the inner lid for the hinge bolt. The inner lid was positioned using cardboard along the edges and clamps to hold it in place while the hinge holes were marked with pencil from the underside.
trunk lid clamped to mark hinges - 2
The holes were then drilled and tapped through the metal reinforcement plates bonded into the inner lid.
trunk lid drilled holes
The inner lid was then bolted into place and the outer lid was positioned on it for initial checking.  It was confirmed at this point that some modification was going to be needed to the hinges to get the surfaces of the lid and body be level.  Adjustment will be handled later.
trunk lid initial fitting
The next step was to drill holes for the latch mechanism and to cut the inner lid to clear the frenched inset for the license plate.  Initially, a section was just cut out to clear the license plate area.  This section was later refined to actually fit the contour of the frenched surface.
trunk lid cut to clear license
Since the contour of the inner trunk lid was raised more in the top middle due to some warpage in the mold process, a few saw cuts were made in the top edge and the lid was clamped and glassed to lock the reduced contour in place.
trunk lid cut to adjust contour
The latch mechanism was then mounted by drilling holes where needed and the nuts for the mointing bolts were glassed over on the inner side to hold them in place.  These areas would be inaccessible after the two lid pieces were bonded together so this allows the latch bolts to be removed if later necessary.
trunk lid latch bolt nuts glassed
After sanding down the contact areas of the two lids pieces, they were bonded together with polyurethane construction adhesive and then clamped together at eight points for 24 hours.
trunk lid adhesive trunk lid clamped
Following the bonding of the two lid pieces, the piece cut out of the inner lid was modified to closely fit the frenched-in license area and then glassed together with both lid pieces.
trunk lid french glassed
Note that this could have been done much cleaner if the portion removed from the inner lid could have been determined without cutting out the whole section first.  The total material that was eventually removed looked like this.
trunk lid french cutout trunk lid french cutout2
After all of the above was done, the extra glue was removed from the seam and the edges were sanded down so the the joint was even all around.  The original trunk lift supports were replaced with a pressurized gas lift kit.  Now it actually takes as much downward force to close the lid as it did originally to open it.
trunk lid gas lift kit
Finally, the hinges were adjusted for position by using two orange strap clamps to pull the lid to the left and up while wedges were inserted to lower the surface to align with the body.  These wedges are currently made of wood but may be replaced with metal later.
trunk lid hinge adjustment trunk lid hinge wedge
The final trunk lid looks like this before further body work and painting is done in the future. Note that the left taillight stand is not crooked.  It's just a result of the camera lens.  The stand will be modified to remove the vertical taillight bracket. The ferrule that was originally used around the trunk handle could not be used. The shaft of the handle would not reach through to the latch mechanism since the new fiberglass lid is at least 1/4 inch thicker than the original steel lid.
trunk lid w collectors plate

1937 Chevy Update

Just noticed that it has been about a year since I posted about the old car.  I did get the frame finished after my last status and got a newer grill and four fiberglass fenders mounted.  I bought four new Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 tires for the new rims, but then found out that the 15 inch wheels did not fit under the front fenders.  That pretty much finished out 2010.
I didn't get a whole lot done in 2010.  About the time the weather warmed up, I was hit by a couple of medical problems.  It wasn't until later in the Fall that I bought a fiberglass trunk lid and found out I had some work to get it mounted.  Turns out that it came in two parts: the outer shell and the inner ribbed section.  Since I ordered the model that had a "frenched" license plate section in the outer shell, the inner section needed to be modified to clear the depressed license area.  Also all of the mounting areas for hinges and latch needed to be drilled.  There were 20 holes to drill with 10 into reinforcing plates that also needed to be tapped.  I am still working on it and plan a separate posting to describe the separate steps involved with mounting it.
In the meantime, here is what the car looks like.

1937 Chevy Coupe

I have owned a 1937 Chevy Master Deluxe Business Coupe for over 41 years.  The following picture shows it back in October 1969 when I first found it near Rabbit Bay in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan while I was attending Michigan Technological University. The owner of the property where it was sitting gave it to me and I was able to get a "red" lost title in Michigan.  Since then, it has been licensed in Iowa, Ohio, Illinois and Minnesota.

1937 chevy old

In 1969 and 70, I fixed this car up pretty well replacing all the running gear with late model (50's & 60's) parts.  I drove it on its first major trip of about 600 miles to Ames, IA (Iowa State University) in August, 1970.  My wife and I took it on our honeymoon in May 1971 and it was our primary car for the first 5 years of our marriage.  I drove it over 70,000 miles in the next 15 years, but after 40 years, it deteriorated until several years ago when I started to fix it up again.

The following picture shows how it looked last Fall after I put in a rebuilt 350 V8 engine, new headers and a new aluminum radiator.  Any auto purists will note that it now has a 1938 grill and "dog house".  Only the front end including the hood differed between 1937 and 1938.  I still have the 1937 parts which I hope to restore in the next couple of years.

37 chevy

I currently have the rear fenders and wheels removed as well and am repairing the rusted frame on the rear driver's side.  I have four fiberglass fenders that I actually bought 25 years ago and plan to put on next week.  It is registered for the "Back to the 50's" street rod show in two weeks so I hope to be driving it again by then. Over the next year, I hope to refinish the whole body and interior.