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Construction of a Continental Mark II model, scale 1:12


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As usual, the time needed to construct something is all the time shorter in the mind as it is in reality. The frame is a good example! Anyway, the side members are ready; some finishing process is still needed but that will happens when all elements are soldered.

The next step was to bore the holes for the cross members which are of various diameters and shape. The easy one (at the rear) was indeed cut too short; I had to do another one, no big deal. It is now silver soldered at the LH side rail. In the picture below, the next cross member, the one for the shock absorbers, is just inserted into the holes. Before I can solder one end, I have to fabricate and solder the studs for the shock absorbers.

The next Crossmember is just inserted into the side members, but not yet ready: there must be a dip in the middle of it. As you may be able to see, it's not a tube, but a plain piece of brass. The ends will be bored to create the illusion of a tube.

This afternoon, I installed and soldered the large front tubes. They are linked by a smaller piece of brass, just for the temporary stability of the assembly. The inner ends will be trimmed when the rail for the front suspension are put in place.

The next steps? Finishing the crossmembers # 2 & 3.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The crossmember # 3 was completed with a new technique (from the book "The complete car modeller #2 from Gerald Wingrove): I soldered the studs for the shock absorbers with a paste containing the brazing material. This way, I avoided too much soldering material with the associated rework. I have to say, I'm satisfied from the results. I have to, because the small bottle of 250 grams is costing about 1 $ per gram! And, like food, the product is good for one year!

When completed, the crossmember was soldered to one rail. Then, I began the middle rail or "Y". That part is easy looking, but it's not the case. The square tube was quickly done, but the branches going at an angle gave me some trouble. The first image is showing the "Y" not yet completed, temporary installed on the front tubes.

The other problem I had was to form the crossmember # 2: I had no tube of the correct diameter, so that part was solid at first. My bits are too short to drill it entirely; I could only drill about 40 mm deep. A large hammer was needed to bent the solid brass and, due to the large brass mass, I had to heat a long moment that part to solder it to the "Y".

The rear part of the frame is almost ready to be assembled definitively; however, I have now to drill all the holes which are on the inner side of the rails.

My initial idea was to solder definitively the rear part of the frame only when the front rails were inserted into the front tubes. This process is too risky, the front of the frame will be done only when the rear part is completed.

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So, Roger, do you think the frame got the nickname "cowbelly" because it drops low in the center or because it's wide in the sides? I had always heard that it was because the bottom dropped below both ends. Some people think that's udderly ridiculous.

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So, Roger, do you think the frame got the nickname "cowbelly" because it drops low in the center or because it's wide in the sides? I had always heard that it was because the bottom dropped below both ends. Some people think that's udderly ridiculous.

I don't know...With some imagination, when you look at the completed frame from above and a cow also from above, there are some similarity in the outside shape (less the horns). Was that the reason of the name? I really don't know.

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WoW! The things you stumble onto during a websearch.

I want to say right here and now, i've joined this forum because of the astounding work of Mr. Zimmerman.

You sir are a true artiste. I have built models for 41 years now and haven't one tenth this talent. Thank you for this article and for showing me how much more I can strive for. Bravo sir!

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So, Roger, do you think the frame got the nickname "cowbelly" because it drops low in the center or because it's wide in the sides? I had always heard that it was because the bottom dropped below both ends. Some people think that's udderly ridiculous.

I believe it's called the cowbelly because of the four pocketed footwells slung low in between the frame rails. (read as : four stomaches slung low between the ribs).

That was the story my uncle told me anyway.

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Interesting, I'd never heard that bit of lore. I see by your screen name that you're a fan of the Futura/Batmobile. There is someone named Eric on the MarkIIForum.com that you may find interesting as his thing is the fact that the original Futura was built on a Mark II frame.

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Yes, Eric and I have communicated quite a bit. I am quite eclectic in my likes/dislikes about cars. Yes the Futura is my all time fave.:D

My aforementioned Uncle had worked at Hess and Eisenhardt in Cincinnatti. We can't say for sure but he may have even worked on the Futura frame. He's passed on now so I can't ask him. The frame under the Futura is about 90% MK2, 10% H&E.

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Funny running across you here :)

I had always thought that the "cowbelly" term came from the was the side rails curved outwards from behind the wheels towards the rockers like a bloated cow belly (the 1957-1964 Ford frame is an excellent exmple) but some think to think it is the way the center part of the frame under the passenger area, drops down from over the axles. To me that would be a drop frame but guess it is a matter of interpretation and how the different manufacturers used the terms.

Yes, the Futura frame was mostly Continental Mark II but there were some slight differences that were basically the way the frame was pre-production constructed more so than design which are identical basic outlines.

Eric

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WoW! The things you stumble onto during a websearch.

I want to say right here and now, i've joined this forum because of the astounding work of Mr. Zimmerman.

You sir are a true artiste. I have built models for 41 years now and haven't one tenth this talent. Thank you for this article and for showing me how much more I can strive for. Bravo sir!

Thank you for the kind words! It seems that talent = 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration!

What models did you build in those 41 years? With what for material and at which scale?

Did you read the books of Gerald Wingrove? Some thechniques I'm using now are described in both books he wrote.

Are you located in the USA?

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Some progress is to be reported to the frame. The center rail is completed, with all necessary holes. The small bracket for the emergency brake was soldered with the soldering paste; this avoids shifting the part with the soldering rod as it happens to me so many times!

The first picture is showing that module. The bottle of my blowtorch is almost empty; I had to shuttle the bottle during soldering to increase the intensity of the heat! I cannot resist to show you this small installation.

The last picture is showing the soldering paste. Castolin is a Swiss product, world wide known; there are probably other manufacturers of similar products.

The paste has the same alloy than the rods I'm using, type 1802 from that manufacturer. It is liquid at about 650°C; the bonding joint is stronger than the brass I'm using.

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Thank you for the kind words! It seems that talent = 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration!

What models did you build in those 41 years? With what for material and at which scale?

Did you read the books of Gerald Wingrove? Some thechniques I'm using now are described in both books he wrote.

Are you located in the USA?

Yes, I am in West Virginia, u.s.a.

Over the years i've built all kinds of kits from figure kits to spaceships. I most enjoy spaceships and movie/tv cars. All in either plastic, resin or a combination of the two. I've never read the Gerald Wingrove books but he is certainly a legend. I also love the kits of Juha Airio.

I have been researching the Lincoln Futura for about thirty years now, and only recently through meeting Eric, did I find out the one thing that had always eluded me. The Chassis. Searches for information on that subject landed me here. I can't wait to see what you come up with next!

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The last few days saw detail work on the frame. It's almost finished with the big exception of the front part, the one on which the front suspension is attached. I could now install the rear bumper, if I had it, as well as the rear springs which are also not yet born.

With the paste I have to solder, I could install the small brackets for the emergency brake (it will be functional, as on my 2 other models). The challenge was that the brackets had to be soldered on a round and incline surface, without possibility to temporary fix them. Fortunately, that paste gets sticky when heated and the brackets stayed in place. Another advantage of the paste is that it requires a minimum of rework; with the rod, there is usually too much material on the joint and it must be removed.

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High precision is usually needed to fabricate a chassis. My conception of precision will not please most of you but I had no other alternative!

I suspected that the front end of the frame would present some difficulties; it did. The compound curves at the front springs are one; the location of the front members in relation to the rear of the frame is another one. Except a nice drawing from above in the '57 manual supplement, I had just the small drawing from the '56 Mark II shop manual to shape the sides of the front, with the associated approximation.

To position the front members on the back of the frame, I took a thin cardboard, cut it at the shape I had from my drawing. The rear of the member was filed until the reference line on the cardboard was aligned with the one of the large drawing and, at the same time that the front was correctly aligned on the top of the cardboard. My guess is plus/minus 1.5 mm precision against the ideal, which translate in plus/minus 3/4" on the real car. That is not really high precision, but what else could I have done?

The front members are also done differently than the rear of the frame. Due to the form at the springs, I could not form the sides in a "U" shape, but all sides are done separately. By chance, these parts are rather short...

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Edited by Roger Zimmermann
bad spelling of the title (see edit history)
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3 sides of the front rails are done; the "covers" or 4th sides are still some days away. I could temporarily attach the front rails to the frame with screws; it seems that I'm not too far away from the "truth". I will continue with the crossmembers 1 and 2 before I'm doing the 4th side. This way, I can easily correct the shape of the front rails if needed.

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As expected, the front end is not easy to do. Complex form - not at first glance - and only guessed dimensions. I hope that I will not be too far away with the dimensions because the package frame-suspension-engine is a tight one. Could be that some modifications will be needed when I will realize that I cannot close the hood because the engine is too tall!

On the picture, you can see that the RH front rail is more or less complete and soldered to the rear. The attachment point of the shock absorber and upper arm is not yet born. The LH rail will be soldered when the second crossmember is done. I will try to form that crossmember from a tube tomorrow; I need again a good vice to do that.

The junction point at the rear of frame is still a mess; this will be completed later.

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The front end is slowly looking better. The second crossmember was done last Saturday; it was a challenge to bend it with rather small radiuses. I did that by heating a long tube and bending by hand while a specific spot was almost red. It went better as anticipated, even if I had to do some corrections afterwards.

The front rails are almost finished and I began to solder the huge reiforcements at the junction to the rear of the frame.

To be completed, following elements must be added:

the radiator's support on the front crossmember as well as the front bumper supports, the engine supports on the second crossmember, the already mentioned reinforcements and, of course, the shock absorber towers on which the front upper arms are attached.

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If that were a steel colour instead of brass, it would look full-scale! It's very impressive. Thanks for sharing your progress.
The illusion will be better with some paint on it! You have to wait a little bit to see that...
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  • 4 weeks later...

After the summer vacation, it's time to continue the model. Right on Monday, I went to the man owning some Mark II to measure the transmission and steering gear among the tasks of the day.

Today, I could finish the reinforcements at the junction of the front and rear of the frame. I also added the last bracket for the emergency brake (it will be functional) near the large frame's tube # 3. The 4 brackets for the floor which are located on the top of the reinforcements have to be added; this will be the next job.

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Those 4 body supports are oddly shaped; by chance they are all identical. I did a form to have some consistent shapes. Once all supports done, the big question was: "how put the on the frame to silver solder and have all at the correct place?"

A small aluminum fixture was fabricated; it's shown on the first picture, the parts are ready to braze.

The heat to silver solder is rather high: the aluminum bar melted partially, second image. Fortunately, I could remove all the screws; there is always the danger that one gets brazed into the part which is silver soldered; this is also the reason why I used aluminum and not brass to do the fixture.

The supports are now fixed on the frame, ready to get the floor!

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It seems that there are still people looking at it despite the low progress...

I, for one, cannot get enough of looking at what you have already done and am anticipating what you will do next!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Since the last picture, some elements have been added to the frame: the front engine supports and the "towers" for the front shock absorbers and fixation points for the front suspension's upper levers. This last construction was done twice: when they were temporary installed with screws on the frame, I compared with the many pictures I have. I had the impression that the distance between the upper axle's levers and the frame was too large. Fortunately, the Swiss owner of some Mark II was at his shop and I could measure that element the next day. My parts were effectively wrong: 0.9 mm too high!

By chance, I could rescue the dome for the shock absorbers (they are not so easy to fabricate) but had to do the other parts again as a modification was not appropriate. The wrong parts are next to the frame on the first picture before I'm discarding them for good.

The second picture is showing the frame with the upper levers.

I'm near from completion!

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Roger,

I tune in every time you post and continue to marvel at the level of detail in your work and your innovative construction methods. Watching you reproduce this frame I have also been impressed at the complexity of the real frame compared to the usual stampings on most cars. I think you will continue to have a large audience throughout your project.

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Roger,

I tune in every time you post and continue to marvel at the level of detail in your work and your innovative construction methods. Watching you reproduce this frame I have also been impressed at the complexity of the real frame compared to the usual stampings on most cars. I think you will continue to have a large audience throughout your project.

Thank you! Indeed, the frame is more complicated as at first glance! It was the same with the Avanti frame: at first I thought that it would be quickly done and then, the details came to disturb the plan!

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As you may imagine, the frame is slowly coming to completion. There are however all the small details which are added before it's too late: a bracket here, a support there...

The front end is now finished as I added the support for the radiator and the front bumper supports, with one major exception: the outside frame rail at the idler arm has a particular form; for the moment I cannot do it because I don't know yet the angle of the arm and the distance of its mounting bracket relative to a major element of the frame. I will know it when the steering box is completed. That odd stamping will be inserted into the frame and fixed with soft solder.

At the back, the frame was not completed: the bumper stop for the rear axle was missing; it's now soldered to the cross member, slightly off-center towards the passenger side. Is that bracket absolutely conforming to the reality? Maybe, in my application, the rear axle will not bump often to that bracket! I added also both support to the body; they are called "body support # 6". I still have to do the reinforcement at the rear of the frame for the rear hanger.

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Edited by Roger Zimmermann
comments added (see edit history)
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Strange title...Either it's finished or not! Well, there is still a form to be done at the place the bolts for the idler arm are located. First, I have to do the steering box to know where the idler arm should be located. As the frame will be put on side for some time, I decided to clean it, first in cheap vinegar to remove all traces of silver solder cleaning agent, then with sandpaper. To avoid that the surface get oxidized, I applied a good coat of primer.

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