Landman

Reconstruction of a '34 Chevy Master Coupe

1,132 posts in this topic

For those of you who hate to see a car "wasting away"...I have had one of my 1931 Dodge coupes since I was 15 years old. I am now 56. It was my very first car. It is still only half restored. Between having children, a divorce, loss of job, moving and other circumstances, it may never get done. Oh well...it's mine and I can dream. I may have the chance to finish it. If I don't, at least I have saved it from getting chopped and rodded.

I have one which sort of falls in Keiser 31's category. It is a 1934 Chevrolet Master coupe. My uncle bought it in 1943. In about 1945 he either sold it or gave it to my dad who drove it until about 1950-51. It was then parked behind the equipment shed on my grandfather's farm. The wheels went on a hay wagon. The seat went on to my grandfather's buggy. We played in it as kids. It was still fairly complete then. I went back in 1979, then 1989 to show my kids where their grasndmother had grown up. By then it was only a shell. Have a peek at what time does.

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So in 2001, after getting "downsized" out of the company I had been working for, I went back to look again. I had always had that car in the back of my mind. Here's what I found.

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Hmmm...a little bondo...a little paint...instant rat rod!

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Actually, that thought crossed my mind. Anyway I told my wife, if we salvage one part and someone uses it in his restoration then it'll be on the road in spirit. So I went back, jacked it up off the ground and carted it home.

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Now, THAT is awesome that you went and got it!! I would have to have done that, too had it been mine.

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So I took it apart & stored the body and whatever parts were left in the shed and stuffed the frame under the deck.

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I then started doing some research, in books, on forums especially the VCCA and decided to attempt to rebuild the car. How bold the innocent! First thing I did was gather the wood, identifiy each piece, shellac it so it sort of stays together and figure what I was missing. The plan was to redo the wood structure in softwood to reconstruct the body on it and not damage good hardwood with welding, grinding etc.

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Should I continue this on a separate thread?

Pat :)

Yes, without question. This is the forum for just that type of story telling. There is a lot of interest in witnessing the rebuilding and/or resurection of varied types of projects, not to mention providing motivation to those observing and inspiration to those posting the results of their efforts. I for one will be watching if you decide to post your project here. Good luck no matter what your decision is. Scott...

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I had started this in the Sticky thread-The new "current restoration projects", postings 62,63,66,68,69. Looks like I was in the wrong place for a long description.

After the heap was taken apart I set out to find the missing pieces. I found a crushed town sedan in a farmer's windrow locally. A coach on an abandoned farm about an hour away. Five fenders in an old scrapyard. None of it very promising. My wife wasn't impressed. :rolleyes:

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Hang in there!! We will hope she comes around.

My wife keeps saying I need to do another one, only spend no money????

Ben

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I also found some headlights and wheels at a flea market. A grille shell in a friend's garage and a pair of fenders complete with running boards. Well, the fenders turned out to be for a Standard as well as the headlights. Some of the wheels weren't for a '34 at all. I soon recognized that the qualifier "fits '34 Chevrolet" shouldn't be taken at face value. I started seeing the question asked on eBay postings; "Is it for a Standard or a Master?". Clearly, this wasn't leading anywhere. :confused:

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Following up on a lead, I contacted a gentleman who would take some of that stuff in exchange for the correct stuff. So I loaded the frame from the car in the windrow, the Standard fenders and headlights and off I went to New York State. Turns out he was cutting up a body for the quarter panels so I got the roof panels I needed as wellas a trunk lid, front and rear suspensions, more wood patterns and odds and sods. :)

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At about that time I was called to work. I found an ad for a Close coupled sedan, Canadianese for a Sport Sedan. I bought that. Then another one for the drivetrain af another car that someone rodded. So now I had two drivetrains, two sidemount hardware sets, and a few other things. I never did get his luggage rack though. Also, one of the farmers on my pipeline route had a pile of white ash , sort of grayed and weathered but well cured. I was now ready to start.

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Posted (edited)

If you are speaking of the project, I picked up the car in 2001 & hunted parts for the next two years.

If you are talking about the thread, it started a week or so ago on the "Stick" thread above.

Pat

Edited by Landman
spelling (see edit history)

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I started with the wood. I copied what I could from the originals. Some parts were missing one end but when we could find the middle, it was feasible to repeat the mirror image. I had to order what I couldn't reproduce, however I ordered one of each and made a copy whenever thee were rights and lefts.

Pat :)

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Once I had the wood pieces done I started experimenting with assemblies using hard points such as the dash, rocker panels and the body mounting points on the frame. Lo and behold most of it fit. I even have evidence of blood being shed on the windshield header. :)

Pat

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Well aren’t you the master woodworker. Nice work. I’m glad that you made the decision to post your restoration efforts here. If you haven’t noticed already there appears to be a decent following of your posts of which I’ve been one of. I’ve not quite figured out how far you're along on your restoration project or if you're recapping the restoration that you had already completed. But to be sure it makes no difference as it is good reading and we all want to see how this story ends and if the pictures to date are any indication I’m sure it turns out with a happy ending. I’ll be watching, Scott…

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Lookin' great, Landman - but "it's not A Durant Roadster" (from Saskabush!). But then, it's NOT Roadster Country, up here, EH?! Keep us posted with further developments. Mahalo! :)

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Scotts_ DG8, you are correct that I am recapping but the project is not finished. If you look closely it takes place in three different garages. I moved all this stuff twice in 4 years.

The Durant roadster that Willys 77 is talking about will make a nice project for someone. There are pictures of it in the Durant forum.

I am not that good a woodworker as there is a definite difference of quality between the pieces I made and the ones I purchased from Dave Entler. However they fit, that's what matters. I keep reminding myself that I'm not doing a Pebble Beach Duesenberg here.

Here's a few more. When I saw the coumpond curves of the side roof rails I figured I'd have to purchase the other side as well. But I managed to get it close using a hand plane and an old spokeshave. :)

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I had obtained some instructions on how to assemble the wood structure. It suggested starting with the cowl, and once you had the door openings straight the rest just adds on to it. So I placed the hinge pillars and the windshield header in the cowl with the idea of mounting the cowl to the car as a starting point. The passenger side wood wouldn't find its place in the sheet metal. Turns out the windshield post had been severely dented and the outside had been filled with lead which is visible in one of the photos. A fellow hobbyist who is also a bodyman suggested that I use the cowl from the sedan as it was sound. That was a departure from my initial plan of using as much material from my dad's car as I could. But sometimes reason has to prevail. :(

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At about that time we moved to the property where we are now. The first order of business was to knock the old garage down and build something more suitable. That took the better part of the summer of '05. Not much work went on on the car during that time.

By the way, a couple of years later, I renovated the basement and used up the rest of the white ash in a staircase.

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Then we moved the toys and the tools, and about 20 years worth of assorted junk.

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