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Thread: Decision time! Rat from 1950 f1 pickup?
          
   
   

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  1. #1
    hoof's Avatar
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    Decision time! Rat from 1950 f1 pickup?

     



    I have the opportunity to get a 1950 f1 pickup chassis and cab for a good price. The two have been seperated for another project that never happened. I want to use the cab and suspension on a custom frame with hopefully a flathead v8 motor. No hood, no fenders, and maybe just bed siderails, maybe not? I have seen several rods built like this and they seem as "simple" as you can get. This would be my first custom build. I would buy the frame, not try to fab it myself, but I would like to do everything else.

    On the plus side I have access to a 110volt 20amp mig, a decent air compressor and I have a lift (actually an old alignment rack) in my garage. I have restored antique tractors in the past, and I put a new motor in my Mustang two winters ago.

    On the negative side I have little welding experience, and certainly not an unlimited supply of money.

    Does this sound like too ambitious of a project?
    Can anyone give me some links to blogs from others who have done the same thing? (I did a search and found a few)

    Thanks,
    CHAZ

  2. #2
    Matt167's Avatar
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    seems simple enough, use the Ford frame with a fabricated bolt in x member to use a T bucket style buggy spring so the front end dosn't look funny with the stock front str8 axle, as said in the other forum.
    You don't know what you've got til it's gone

    Matt's 1951 Chevy Fleetline- Driver

    1967 Ford Falcon- Sold

    1930's styled hand built ratrod project

    1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle Wolfsburg Edition- sold

  3. #3
    Itoldyouso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoof
    I have the opportunity to get a 1950 f1 pickup chassis and cab for a good price. The two have been seperated for another project that never happened. I want to use the cab and suspension on a custom frame with hopefully a flathead v8 motor. No hood, no fenders, and maybe just bed siderails, maybe not? I have seen several rods built like this and they seem as "simple" as you can get. This would be my first custom build. I would buy the frame, not try to fab it myself, but I would like to do everything else.

    On the plus side I have access to a 110volt 20amp mig, a decent air compressor and I have a lift (actually an old alignment rack) in my garage. I have restored antique tractors in the past, and I put a new motor in my Mustang two winters ago.

    On the negative side I have little welding experience, and certainly not an unlimited supply of money.

    Does this sound like too ambitious of a project?
    Can anyone give me some links to blogs from others who have done the same thing? (I did a search and found a few)

    Thanks,
    CHAZ


    I've been known in past posts to look at the bottle half empty sometimes when a beginning rodder is thinking about tackling a project like this. Maybe I am too much of a realist , or maybe I have just made too many costly mistakes like these along the road myself. I don't mean to be negative, but if someone asks a question, I feel obligated to give all sides of the picture if possible.

    Let's look at your build: You are right about this sort of body having the ability to make an inexpensive, basic rod. Nice part about them is that they are pretty self-contained, i.e: once you bolt the body on the frame you are pretty far along in the construction bodywork-wise. As for the frame, this is where it becomes a little problematic. No off the rack frame exists that is going to be a good fit for his body to turn it into the rat rod appearing car you want. T bucket frames are really narrow, and short, and besides, you want this baby low, so that dictates at least a rear kickup and probably also one in the front. This spells custom frame. 2 x 4 tubing would be the most proportionally pleasing, but to fab one up takes a fair amount of skill and equipment, especially to do it right.

    You mention having some tools, but that 110 volt mig will never cut it for tubing. For bodywork, yes, not for thick stuff. So you need at least a 220 volt arc welder or 220 volt mig to weld it up. You are like me in the respect that our welding skills are limited. I always tacked stuff with my 220 volt 180 amp lincoln welder then took it to a real shop to have it finished properly. Luckily now my Kid has become a good welder and has good equipment, so I don't have to travel very far.

    I really feel bad when I post an answer like this, because who am I to dampen someone's dream and enthusiasm. Maybe I am all wet, and it can be done. But I have seen so many novice builders either get half way done and get so frustrated they give up, or they build something that is not safe and roadworthy. Learning the skills to actually take a car from the drawing board stage to final completion takes years and many mistakes along the road. That is why we always suggest that someone start out with someone elses almost completed project (assuming it was done well) or with a car that is in need of only personal touches. Learn from that car and go on step by step until you can afford and know the things you need to tackle a project like this.

    I'm 61, and have built and rebuilt more cars in my life than I can remember, but I am still learning new and better ways to do things. I see some of the things others on here have done and know, and am in awe. Someone mentioned on here that the shows like American Chopper have left many beginning builders with the impression a total build up is pretty easy, and it isn't. You have to be part engineer, part scientist, problem solver, financier, mechanic, electrician, upholsterer, etc.

    How about buying a partially finished similar car on ebay or elsewhere? You would be driving years sooner than you would going this route, and probably save a ton of money in the long run.

    Ok, that is my dose of reality. Hopefully, someone else on here will have another perspective and solution to your questions, and you will be able to make a good decision from all that input.

    Good luck and keep us posted.


    Don


    PS: I mentioned in the Project $3K T bucket posts that my kid convinced me not to use the T bucket frame I bought with the body on ebay. He didn't like the welds. So we built a new frame. Last week he cut up the old frame to scrap it, and he was right, now that we can look into the tubing. The welds the other guy did do not even penetrate all the way through, and are just surface welds. This thing would have broken for sure. I'm glad I listened to his advice.
    Last edited by Itoldyouso; 07-14-2006 at 03:35 PM.

  4. #4
    hoof's Avatar
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    That is actually the kind of reality check I needed.

    In my defense I knew that I could not weld a frame, I found at least one place that would build a custom 2x4 frame and that would have to be the route I would take. I was hoping I could use the welder I have for the motor, and suspension mounts, but if it isn't sufficient for that I could tack everything on and have a pro take it from there. There are two guys very close to me that could handle the chore.

    One of the reasons I was trying to keep the cost down (such as reusing the front suspension instead of getting what everyone agrees would look better) was I thought I had a pretty good chance of abandoning the project if it got over my head.

    I have been tryin to get all the experience I can. I am picking up an old frame and suspension out of a junk pile tomorrow to try and make into a few yard carts just to get some experience welding on a frame.

    I really don't know where else to get started at this game!

    Either way wish me luck,
    CHAZ


    My last project.

  5. #5
    cffisher's Avatar
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    I don't like to speak for anyone else but I don't think anyone here would try to talk you out of your project. That said. What they will do is as Don did try to explain the pitfalls of the project. Since your reply I think you should try going ahead as you said you have to get your feet wet somwhere. The guys here just don't want you climbing into somthing heading down the road and getting hurt. Every car you build is a learning experiance. I try to treat each new project with what I've learned from the past. Your starting out right by asking questions If you know your curent limitations you'll do fine.
    Charlie
    Lovin' what I do and doing what I love
    Some guys can fix broken NO ONE can fix STUPID
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  6. #6
    Itoldyouso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cffisher
    I don't like to speak for anyone else but I don't think anyone here would try to talk you out of your project. That said. What they will do is as Don did try to explain the pitfalls of the project. Since your reply I think you should try going ahead as you said you have to get your feet wet somwhere. The guys here just don't want you climbing into somthing heading down the road and getting hurt. Every car you build is a learning experiance. I try to treat each new project with what I've learned from the past. Your starting out right by asking questions If you know your curent limitations you'll do fine.

    Right on the mark. If everyone took the advice to not build something, nothing would ever be built. Like he said above, we just want you to have all the facts and build something that won't get you hurt.

    Your thinking about tacking and finishing the welding somewhere else is smart, and the carts you plan to tack up are a great start. Your last project is nice.............I would have probably quit there.

    I'm glad you accepted that what we said was only meant to help you . Whatever we can do to help............................


    Don
    Last edited by Itoldyouso; 07-15-2006 at 07:37 AM.

  7. #7
    R Pope is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Even the pro's had to learn first. Hot rodding always is a learning experience. Grab some iron and get at it! Your truck will be a cool little bomb, however you end up doing it. Go to the bookstore and buy some how-to books to get the general idea, and some specific info.

  8. #8
    Mike P's Avatar
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    Don. I think your post is excellent and very realistic.

    I know I have mentioned this before but I'll do it again for hoof and other people who may be contemplating a build that requires extensive welding. Local comunity colleges.

    Many of them offer welding courses that are truely invaluable to people who weld. I know many of you are thinking "I'm a pretty good welder why bother?" It was my mindset many years ago too.

    When I retired from the army I had GI bill money available and had never used a MIG, so I figured I'd take a couple of courses to figure it out and have a better feel for what type of MIG to buy. To get to the MIG classes you had to go through basic ARC and Oxy/Acetiline. THat's when I found out how little I really knew about welding. Once you got through those courses the college offered a design and fabrication class where students could design and weld up their own projects (I'm not talking little stuff, we had enclosed car trailers, car frames, even a hover craft being built). Besides having access to the good welders, cutters, shears etc, we were also able to buy steel at the colleges cost.

    My only regret (and also voiced by many of the people who took the course) was that I never did it earlier.
    Last edited by Mike P; 07-15-2006 at 07:20 AM.

  9. #9
    Dave Severson is offline CHR Member/Contributor Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Great advice from Mike and Don!! Having had a shop for years, I have done a lot of the "will you weld this for me if I get it tacked" projects... I've never minded doing it because I thought it was a good way for me to pay back a bit of the good I've gained from hot rodding over the years. And the selfish side of me knew that a helping hand now would quite likely create a new customer for the shop!!! I would suggest a little searching now for a shop or an experienced rodder you can rely on for some straight advice on the how should I do this stuff... If you don't put a lot of unreasonable expectations on yourself, or think that every mod you want to do will be quick, cheap, and easy you will avoid the frustration a lot of unfinished projects suffer from... Friend of mine has a sign in his shop with the best advice, it says Plan your Work, Work your Plan......
    Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, Live for Today!
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  10. #10
    hoof's Avatar
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    It looks like I am going to get the truck and give it the old college try. I have spent months trying to decide what my "project" would be and I think this is the most realistic endeavor I have come across.

    The mechanic down the street from me (like 1/4 mile) is a circle track racer, so he can help me out quite a bit with the fabrication and welding. He also hasn't given me a bill for anything he has done for me in a year or two, I just pay him what I think I owe him. He is a good guy, won a late model championship and donated the purse to the Katrina relief fund, not many out there like him.

    If everything goes right I should have the truck in a week. Then I will really have questions!!!!

    Thanks to all of you,
    CHAZ

  11. #11
    Dave Severson is offline CHR Member/Contributor Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Sounds workable to me, keep us updated on the project. Should be a really fun build.
    Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, Live for Today!
    Carroll Shelby

    Learning must be difficult for those who already know it all!!!!

  12. #12
    hoof's Avatar
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    Anybody following the saga, I am starting a new thread with pics of what I got.
    CHAZ

  13. #13
    Ed Rodder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoof
    Anybody following the saga, I am starting a new thread with pics of what I got.
    CHAZ
    I am following all the threads let use know when and were you start your topic. Ed ke6bnl

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