1932 Studebaker Indy car build

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It's amazing what true skilled craftsmen can build from almost nothing. I haven't seen hand work like that in thirty years. It scares me that all the truly talented craftsmen I know are at least my age or a bit older.........twenty five years from now there won't be anyone talented enough to build or repair all the things in life that I like to spend my time and money on. Wray is a true master craftsman, and only a lifetime pounding panels in a shop can get you a skill set like he has. I would be happy to be half the welder he is.........and that's never gonna happen.

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A four-day session with Wray Schelin is a real work-out: start at 9:00 am, work until 10:00 pm - but we learn a lot. I’ve been trying to get the tail section together.  It takes a lot of pounding, shrinking, stretching, planishing, and wheeling to things to fit together and have the right shape. There are nine of us here this time, including a guy from New Zealand, two from Canada, others from AZ, NM, NC. The NZ guy is only 27, pretty skilled.  There are two more in their 30’s, so we are bringing along some youngster.  Wray was teaching how to make paper patterns, form curves over a piece of pipe, using a shrinking disk, hammer-and-dolly work, and other tasks.  Good fun,


Some of the students have been working on the build of the Virgil Exner design of a future car from 1947. It’s a complicated body, but it’s coming along. 












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By Monday night, the group was pretty exhausted, and the pace slowed after dinner.  We did get the front 2/3 of the tail section welded together, though the welds still need to be sanded down and dollied to level everything out.  To me, it's amazing that a few light taps with a hammer on the outside and a dolly on the inside can bring up weld metal to the surface where a slight recess existed.  After a little sanding, the weld is invisible to the eye and the probing finger.  Wray has been using his Everlast 210EXT TIG welder a lot more rather than his ancient Miller unit, fine tuning the settings to allow fusion joints without adding filler rod metal when the two edges are in direct contact or only have a small gap, i.e. less than .005"-.010".  He starts in the middle of the section to be welded, working his way out to either end of the joint.  Because of shrinkage of the metal at the weld spots, small gaps get closed up as he goes.  He tacks the front first, fully welds the back side, then goes back and fully welds the front.  I keep practicing my TIG techniques, but I'm letting Wray weld for now because I don't want to burn holes in the panels.


The four pieces for the end of the tail cone are 90% done [see earlier post #183], need to be welded together, and joined to the front section.  Hopefully, that will happen on my next visit.  Other sections that need to be built include the 6" deep belly pan from the bell housing back, the "wings" that support the tail on the frame rails, and the seat area.


P.S.  Note in the bottom photo the Harbor Freight English wheels on the left in the background.  You can see how Wray modifies them to turn the C-frame upside down so that the position of the large wheel is adjusted from the top.  This gets the adjuster stem out from under the working area so that larger, curved pieces can be worked easily.  He also dispenses with the tilting mount for the lower wheel.  He sells a kit for this conversion, though the kit costs more than the HF wheel.

indy tail welded.jpg

indy tail welded inside.jpg

indy car tail 110518 GAsh sm.jpg

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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