Wednesday, July 18, 2012
First, the progress shots, followed by most of the gory details:
Here's an update on the Tall T. I spent Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday in Austin for the express purpose of mating my Mercury Charlie Zee frame to my Tall T's body with a ton of help from my buddy Steve and Mercury Charlie himself.
From there, we took the ol' girl into the bay and set her back on her lid and applied metal prep to the blasted surfaces to neutralize the small areas where there was still evidence of light surface rust. The curing time was twelve hours which was perfect as we'd come to the end of our ten hour day.
DAY TWO: When we arrived with the 425 nailhead and Turbo 400 on Saturday morning, Charlie had already started on the supports for the subrails. He'd pie cut 1" x 1" square tubing to fit under the body's subrails and pointed Steve towards the equipment to make a matching piece for the opposite side. While Steve did that, I drilled holes every three iches along the outer interior side rails and then drilled another set of holes along the top so that we'd have numerous spots where Charlie could weld the 1" x 1". Prior to welding, each drill hole was ground down to reveal clean metal for the welds.
Charlie welded the first side while I prepped the holes on the other. Steve fabbed square tubing and pie cut the second subrail support and Charlie did the welding. With the supports welded in place, we flipped the body back over and put it onto the frame with engine and tranny in place. We then cut out the lower part of the firewall to barely clear the Turbo 400 trans. The rest of the day was spent fabbing other pieces, including the kick-up supports for the rear wheel well sections. One of the more intricate pieces we fabbed were pied triangular shims to rest on tops of the frame rails just inside the doors. These pieces would fill the Vee in the frame so we'd have perfectly level surfaces for the floors. It was a lot of work but the pieces fit beautifully. We also cut the replacemant pieces for the rear wheel wells using the templates Charlie had made from his own T's wheelwells and then Charlie welded those pieces in. By the time this was done, we'd put a fork in day two. It was done. We agreed to get an early start on Sunday, as Steve and I didn't need to transport any parts. Just our own tired asses back in.
DAY THREE: Day three was so much work I didn't take many pics. But by the time we were done, Charlie had replaced the buthchered section of the firewall with a curved panel that beautifully followed the contours of the original piece, welded it in place and cut a simple graceful curved section that cleared the tranny by about half an inch all the way around. The engine and tran had to come back out for us to cut the firewall's template, which we did after separating the engine from the trans. The wheel well supports were welded in and we cut out the original frame rails out which looked a lot like Swiss cheese. Steve fabbed the rear kick ups following Charlie's templates and also cut much of what we got in of the floors, which had to clear the ladder bars. By the end of day three, the body was sitting right where we wanted it and the car was looking a whole lot like Charlies old T, which was the goal for me since the beginning. The first set of shots in this entry are of the car being transported to its secret bunker until cash reserves build back up so that we can jump back on it. I can't thank my buddy Steve enough, who ended up being a quick study and did probably half of all the fabricating while Charlie guided me thorough some of the more rudimentary steps. We both learned a ton from Charlie and I whacked the labor cost down significantly by being willing to do the grunt work and dragging being a damn fine talent along with me who generously offered to help. Having access to a talent like Charlie and all the right tools was a real eduction in how much three knuckleheads can get done in three days. By end of day three, it was obvious we weren't going to finish the floors, so instead of pulling a half day on Monday, we simply made the day about getting the car moved and Charlie paid. It was a blur of activity for three days, and Steve and I have never had so much fun getting our asses handed to us by a concrete floor. The car left Charlie's looking more like a car than ever before and frankly, I have a hell of a lot of respect for just what a killer builder and good dude Mercury Charlie is for allowing us to assist.Well worth the price of admission. I'll post more shots as we move move forward. Later.