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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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  • 2 weeks later...

I made another foray to Pro Shaper for more work on the tail section and some bits for the cockpit.  Wray finished up some of the welding on the right side of the tail, then ground the welds down, leveled the surfaces with dolly and metal slapper.  While I'm getting better at using the English wheel, Wray is the artist who can see every ripple, hollow, or bulge and make them disappear with just a little more wheeling.  He makes the finished surfaces mirror-like - much of the secret is keeping the aluminum and wheel clean and polished with 600 grit or better.

 

I got the last four pieces for the very back of the tail shaped and fitted pretty well.  Maybe next visit will see them welded to the rest of the tail.  Along the way, Wray showed me where the "flow" of the wire form buck was poor in the back third, so I and a another attendee cut , re-bent, and moved several of the 1/4" diameter steel wires to obtain a smoother surface without hollows.  This will make joining the pieces together into a smooth surface easier. 

 

I also made some L-shaped pieces for the bottom edge of the cockpit skin.  These will get riveted to the lower edge of the cockpit skin, and a few studs with acorn nuts will hold the cockpit to the angle iron cockpit frame and the chassis side rails.  I had started a pair of these ells on a previous trip to Wray's and had planned to fold over the outer edge to make a 1/8" high lip to cover the angle iron.  Wray pointed out that it wasn't possible to bend a lip that shallow on the .062" thick aluminum and that I had to remake the pieces (sigh!) with the horizontal leg at least a 1/2" overlength.  The L pieces are a little more complicated, as there is a 10 degree bend near the back ends to follow the frame rails.  I tried using the tipping wheel machine (like a bead roller) on a test piece, but wasn't satisfied with the result, so I used a pneumatically-powered press brake to  make a sharp bend after using the tipping wheel to start the bend at the angle.  This illustrates why I am working at Wray's:  he has all of the sheet metal tools anyone could dream of plus lathes, milling machines, big band saws, 500 assorted vise grip clamps, etc.  Of course, this puckered the material at the angle, so it had to be annealed and hand bent and shrunk to get the shape right.  Then I sawed off most of the excess material in a bandsaw and ground to final size with one of Wray's favorite Harbor Freight angle die grinders and 80 grit abrasive paper.  Then I hand sanded with progressively finer grit to smooth out the worked surfaces.  Two simple pieces: 4 hours elapsed time.  Now I have to trim the bottom edge of the cockpit metal and rivet the pieces in place like the original cars.

 

It's taking a long time to make the body, but it will be excellent when done.  I get frustrated that it takes me a long time to make what Wray can do in a few minutes, but I am getting better and we are making progress.  I'll go back again after Thanksgiving.   For anyone interested in learning how to form aluminum or steel sheet metal for car bodies, airplanes, architecture projects, or art work, I highly recommend Wray's classes - just be prepared to work your butt off every day!

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Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

I got the drilled Grade 8 bolts back from the machine shop for the spring eyes.  The bolts will be inserted into the bronze bushings in the spring eyes and the chassis mounts.  Each bolt was cross drilled with a 1/8th inch drill about halfway down the unthreaded length, then drilled down the center of the bolt with a 1/8th inch drill to intersect the crosshole, and the bolt heads tapped for a 1/4-28 grease fitting.  The machine shop spent about 3 hours drilling the ten hard bolts. 

 

I'll be able to grease the spiral grooves in the bronze bushings (from Eaton Detroit Spring) and distribute the grease along the bearing surfaces.  The bolts are way oversize at 3/4" diameter, so I'm not worried about compromising the strength of the bolts by drilling them.  My plan had been to use aircraft-grade NAS bolts with even higher strength, but it wasn't easy to locate bolts with the right unthreaded length; and, at $50 or so per NAS bolt, the standard Grade 8 cap screws were a bargain at 10% of the NAS price.  I did learn about the differences between loading bolts in tension (clamping) and loading them in shear, as in spring mounts.   The key is to avoid having an extended threaded portion (more than 2 threads of 3/4-16) in the hole so that the threads don't chew up the metal.  The hex cap screws have tightly controlled diameters on the unthreaded length, better than regular hex bolts, so there won't be slop in the bushings.

 

I'll use nylon-insert locknuts, though the exposed threaded length could be cross drilled for a castle nut and cotter pin.  Each bolt will have a hardened washer under the head and under the nut.  To allow clamping with less than 2 threads in the bushing or mount or too many exposed threads for the nut to clamp, washers will be selected from the NAS-style ones in .032" or 0.090" thickness or SAE-style ones of .134" or .188" thickness.  Ideally, no more than two washers should be stacked on outer end.  In principle, Grade 8 hex cap screws are available in 1/4" increments, but odd lengths are tough to find in bolts over 4" long.  Ziegler Bolt and Nut has a good selection at fair prices.  All in all, Grade 5 bolts would have worked just fine for this, and original bolts would not have been even Grade 5  and they would have been smaller in diameter.  But, anything worth doing is worth overdoing!

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studebaker_indy_springs_bushing.jpg

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Very nice. I replaced the spring bushes and bolts in my 1939 Coupé Express; they were threaded with a square thread and the bushes were steel. They were worn at the ends of the bolts, especially the nut end which I suppose (guessing here because it was 25 years ago) is the rear side. Do you think the brass or bronze will be hard enough?

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It always amazes me what a lifelong skilled craftsman can do in a few hours will take a novice a week or more to produce. As I get older I find that I still enjoy improving my current skill set, but trying to master new ones isn’t as rewarding as it use to be. Not too far from Wray’s shop is a master metal sticher that I have been going to for years that only does cast iron crack repair, I was considering taking up the skill and asked him point blank how long it would take me to get from point zero to the level he is at......he’s been doing it for forty years full time........his answer was eight to ten years............full time.........and that surprised me as I thought two or three would be his answer. As in most trades, you learn ten times more from your mistakes than you do from your successes. Now as I approach my mid fifties I see the improvement to my skills taking longer and longer to accomplish........and for a different reason than I would have expected. My eyesight is slowly changing as it does for most people, and it’s frustrating to struggle fixing something and not be able to clearly see what your are trying to repair. I can see getting old gracefully isn’t going to be easy!

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, Spinneyhill said:

Very nice. I replaced the spring bushes and bolts in my 1939 Coupé Express; they were threaded with a square thread and the bushes were steel. They were worn at the ends of the bolts, especially the nut end which I suppose (guessing here because it was 25 years ago) is the rear side. Do you think the brass or bronze will be hard enough?

The design solutions either with steel bushings (not common to my knowledge) or the older style bronze bushings all comes down to the philosophy of which part to wear out first. Common is a hardened pin/bolt in combination with a softer material which also add some sort of softness to the equation of the moving joint. I have myself fabricated replacement bushings in bearing bronze for my 35 Stude truck, which can easily be reamed to fit the bolt/pin very nicely. As Gary have added means for lubrication, so did I. This is a field proven solution before the auto manufacturers changed over to the more common steel/rubber/steel vulcanised versions of today. 

On the GTHawks the outer king pins are type of round threads with matching caps. Those are actually steel against steel...

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I spent another weekend at Wray Schelin's Pro Shaper shop working on the pieces that will make up the tail of the car.  While the pieces had been roughly to shape on earlier visits, it was time to adjust their shape to best match the wire-form buck and to smooth the surfaces.  Also, the edges of the pieces had to have the right curvature to eventually trim them and weld them together.  We used a 0.010" thick feeler gauge to locate where the aluminum was in tight contact with the wires, and also noted where large gaps existed that would require shrinking the metal at the edges.  A couple of "ruffles" about 3" long from the edge toward the center and about 1" high were created using Wray's ruffling machine, then hammered down in a stump to do the shrinks.  Where stretching was needed, a large Delrin-tipped mallet and shot bag were used to bump out a lot of dimples in a pattern to produce a wide area movement, not just a big bump.  A few minutes in an English wheel removed the lumps and bumps, reshaped the piece, and polished the surfaces.  This process was repeated several times to get the fit just right.  In the end, more wheeling was used to bring the entire surface to a highly polished, mirror-like state, removing all traces of the work damage.  No annealing was required.  

 

Once the pieces for one side were done, I made "flexible shape patterns", one of Wray's inventions, to match the right and left side pieces over their entire surfaces.  I applied a layer of butted strips of low-tack paper tape over the surface of the first piece, then laid on a slightly overlapping strips of fiber-reinforced packing tape at an angle to the first layer.  This two-layer creation was carefully peeled off the aluminum, then coated with plaster powder to make the pattern not sticky.  To mark the location of the lines of curvature, a series of small holes was punched through the tapes.  Then, the pattern was turned over, laid against the roughly-shaped second piece for the other side, and the curve lines marked with a felt pen.  Where the second piece deviated from the first, there was lots of room under the pattern.  We then went to the mallet, shot bag, and ruffler to bring the second piece into conformation with the pattern.  The flexible shape pattern makes it much faster to form the parts since I didn't have keep walking over to the wire form, clamping the parts, and marking the locations for more work.  Eventually, though, the pieces have to fit together on the wire form.  We'll trim and weld next time.

 

Here are photos of the process and the result.  I included a shot of the spacemen who came to watch Wray weld some parts.      

part with shrink tucks hammered.jpg

part being stretched.jpg

part with dimples.jpg

part being wheeled.jpg

part with flexible shape pattern.jpg

wray with finished part.jpg

spacemen.jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...

I got a call from Lee Chamberlin at The Brassworks where they are building my radiator.  It's basically done, but Lee wanted to know about overflow tank, filler, fan, and other details.  He sent photos - it looks pretty good to me.  I sent them my Foamcore mock-up and they built it from that.  I think I need a remote overflow tank.  They will add a threaded bung in the top tank for a temp sensor for the "puller" electric fan.  The original cars didn't have any fan, not good for slow drives or traffic.  I may also put in some very short fan blades, but there isn't height for a full fan.  They will finish the detail work, paint it flat back, and send it here.  Can't wait to get it!

foamcore_radiator_w_shell.jpg

brassworks radiator w-o paint.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

I spent another 3-day weekend at Wray Schelin's Pro Shaper shop in Charlton, MA.  I brought back the wire-form body buck for the tail and aluminum pieces hoping to get some more of the tail welded together.  Of the four pieces that form the very back of the tail, three had been formed and finish wheeled.  The fourth piece, for the upper left side of the tail, had to be massaged to exactly mirror the piece on the right side so that the sharp end and top of the tail would come together without bumps or jumps.  That proved to be an extended task that took me more than a day - and a day is 13 hours in Wray's shop.  Using the flexible shape pattern made on my last trip, I had to hammer bumps to stretch out the metal in select areas and wheel them smooth again until the pattern fit tightly against the metal without being baggy anywhere.    This technique allows matching pieces to within 1/32 of an inch or better.  Once the shape was right, I then had to gently wheel the metal over its entire surface to get it free of the last little bumps, bulges, and hollows and to obtain a mirror-like finish.  Looking at the reflection of the ceiling-mounted fluorescent light tubes quickly shows even the least distortion from a smooth surface.  It's a little disheartening at points to look at the nice, shiny surface and then say, "I've got to take the big mallet and go pound 20 more bumps to bring a slightly concave surface up to a flat or convex surface."  But, I have learned to read the surface better and whack the metal where it needs it.  My wheeling skills are getting better, too.

 

Eventually, Wray approved of my work, and we set about welding the pieces together.  I trimmed the top edge of the lower piece to a straight line, then clamped the metal over the upper piece and scribed a cut line.  The upper piece was trimmed with the Bosch cordless metal shears just wide of the line, then sanded exactly to the line.  When the two parts were butted for welding, the gap is less than 0.010" and near zero over most of the joint length.  Wray TIG'ed the joint on both sides, ground and planished the weld, then sanded it smooth using 50, 80, and 220 grit disks.  [My TIG welding skills are not up to this part of the job yet.]  He finished up by wheeling the entire joint area and around it to remove any distortion caused by welding.  We got the other two pieces for the left side trimmed and tacked.  Once the two sides are ready, the big challenge will be to join the two sides together, especially at the very back edge - but we have a plan.  Maybe next visit I'll have the whole tail shape together.  

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right_side_welded.jpg

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Looks great, and it's impressive that you are develpoing your own skills and making it yourself. Shaping metal is an interesting skill.........it's incredible how many different ways people attempt and complete the same process. 

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The radiator just arrived from The Brassworks.  They did a fantastic job, made it to exactly the dimensions I asked for.  With the 3.5", 4-row copper core, tanks, and fan, it weighs nearly 50 lbs.  They installed a "puller" electric fan and shroud for me because the hood is too low to allow a belt-driven fan (original cars the same, no fans).  There is also a "bung" in the top tank for the temp sensor for the fan and a control relay that will be mostly invisible when mounted.  There are mounting flanges on the sides of the core; I just have to determine exactly where to drill the holes so that the vertical position is correct.  It's a tight fit in the shell.  Progress!

 

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radiator_full_back.jpg

radiator_mount_front.jpg

radiator_mount_rear.jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...

I got a few other things done on the car.  Having received the radiator, I realized I needed a fitting for the lower tank to connect to the hose leading to the water pump.  In my naiveté, I assumed that I could just go online and buy the fitting, assuming it was the same as a Ford AA truck fitting. Nah, it's a special!  So I had to draw it up in the CAD program, get a 3D print, and have it cast at a local foundry.  Part way through the process, I bought a 3D printer (because they are now very cheap - and I WANTED one).  I printed out the part in clear PLA plastic (3.5 hours) and sent it to the art foundry for casting in silicon bronze.  A week later, they had the part ready, needing only a little finish machining and drilling of the bolt holes.  It turns out that you can use a 3D printed PLA plastic part instead of a wax master for investment casting, making the process cheaper and faster.  

 

I also sent off a bunch of Houdaille shock absorbers to Apple Hydraulics for rebuilding.  Four of the six were successful, and Apple was able to bend the arms 90 degrees in two places to get the shape I needed.  They did a great job and provided quick service.  The shocks now fit on the mounts and the links line up with the front axle.  The rear shocks are also done, though I need to buy the links for those.

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water outlet in progress.jpg

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bronze casting on radiator tank.jpg

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Houdaille front shock 1.jpg

Houdaille front shock 2.jpg

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  • 5 weeks later...

I'm packing up the engine block and parts to take to the machine shop for its rebuild.  A wood pallet will hold the block in my utility trailer and I'll screw the pallet down in the bed so it doesn't slide around on its 400 mile trip.  The block with crank, pistons, and head plus the pallet weigh 533 lbs.  That's without the 50+ lb flywheel and bellhousing. I'll probably have to lift it into the trailer with the front bucket on my John Deere 1025R tractor.  I bolted a couple of hefty chain hooks to the bucket and backhoe for this kind of operation.

 

I can barely carry the 57 lb iron head around, hope this is the last time I have to do it.  I'm hoping that the 17 lb aluminum head passes the crack inspection test so that it can be used instead.  My fingers are crossed that the crank is still good enough to use standard size insert bearings, because there are no inserts for undersize cranks.  I've got a complete gasket set from Sandy Olson, plus NOS intake valves.  Exhaust valves and springs are the same as used in later Studebaker engines, so readily available. 

 

engine block bare.jpg

engine block with head.jpg

engine block weight.jpg

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Gary.....surprised your not building the engine yourself.........after building most of the car from scratch, I figured you would knock the engine out on a long weekend! Great build, and its fun to see your updates. Hopefully in the near future we can run your Indy Car and AJ's Stutz Special around the track out in Monterey! Ed

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There are some skills I learned over the years, and some I didn't.  Engine rebuilding falls into the category of "I didn't learn that".  It also takes lots of clean space to do properly, and I just didn't have it available.  But, my friend Jerry is skilled at this, has the space, and he has the proper equipment.  So, I loaded the engine block we selected for rebuild into my small utility trailer - after replacing the 18 year old rotted tires - and drove the 400 miles down I-95, I-287, I-78 and I-81 to central PA to drop off the engine at his house.  Fortunately, we only got a few drops of rain late in the day, in spite of the bad forecast.  The blue tarp I wrapped around the engine stayed in place and kept the block dry.  Along the way, we stopped at Librandi's Plating shop near Harrisburg, PA to drop off the grille shell for chrome plating.  My wife accompanied me on the trip to keep me entertained and awake, but this also meant she heard Mitch at Librandi's give me an estimate of the minimum cost to grind, polish, repair, and chrome plate the shell.  You all know the eye roll when the big numbers come in.  There will be quid pro quo to pay for this, but it's all part of life.  In a month or two, Jerry will rebuild the engine and well go back to get it.  Maybe Librandi's will be done with the radiator shell, but they did say it's busy season and 10-12 weeks might be the time scale.  Maybe December and January are the best times to get stuff replated. 

 

Now I'm busy taking the car completely apart so that the chassis rails and cross members can go to the paint shop.  It will take about 10 hours to get the car completely apart, but then the pieces can be painted all over.  I just hope I have all the holes drilled in the chassis that I'll need.  I also hope that it goes back together quickly, though I'll clean and paint the steering box, shock mounts, cockpit frame, etc. as I go.  At least it is warm enough outside now to paint.  

 

However, if you need to drive to central PA, we highly recommend the Hotel Bethlehem in Bethlehem, PA, not far off I-78.  It's one of those old  8-9 story brick piles from the 1920s-1930s that has maintained its style and quality.  It isn't cheap, but they are friendly, the rooms are first rate, the staff is accomplished, and the food and bar are first class.  Within walking distance are many great restaurants and there is a bagel place for breakfast across the street and an ice cream place owned by the hotel. 

 

 

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engine hoist 3.jpg

engine hoist 4.jpg

hotel-bethlehem.jpg

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Hello Gary,

What are you having done for the cam?  Does your friend have the ability to regrind to jazz up the engine a bit over stock?  You are certainly at the best part of a project, the finish line!  Keep up the work!

Al

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The cam is an interesting subject.  I sent away to the Studebaker National Museum for the drawings for the cam, so I have the exact profile.  The stock profile is:

ITO: 15° before TDC, ITC: 49° after LDC, EVO: 54° before LDC, EVC: 10° after TDC.  Lift is 0.343".  This profile was used in the Studebaker 250 cu in straight 8's and also in the large Commander 6 flat head engines (226/245 cu in) right through the 1960 trucks.  Based on the Ray Kuns' article from 1935, the Studebaker Indy cars using the 337 cu. in. straight 8's used 8°/52° and 40°/20° for timing, so I tried that.  I also got the timing for a Crane cam used in hopped-up Chrysler straight 8's from Eric Andersen who owns the Art Rose car from the 1930's; it was 6°/40° and 50°/4°.  I plugged all these profiles into my old Dyna 2000 engine modeling software to see if any cam profile really stood out.  The stock Studebaker profile was as good as anything else, so I think we'll just use it.  The software modeled the stock engine very close to what the published data were, so I have some confidence in the predictions.  I used 7.0 to 8.0 for compression ratio, individual runner intakes, stepped tube exhaust headers to approximate how the engine will be built.  Changing the valve lift didn't make any difference.  The valves are almost touching in the block, so they can't be bigger (1.406/1.281 diameters).  I'm hoping to shave .030-0.060" off the head to raise compression to 8:1, but that may not be possible with the combustion chamber shapes and potential valve interference.  It's really up to the four carbs and open exhaust to boost the horsepower.  The models predict about 190-200 hp at 4000 rpm with 200-250 ft-lb torque pretty much over the 2000-4000 rpm range, a good increase from the stock 115 hp.  I'm thinking of redline near 4200-4400 rpm, but I'm not going to be drag racing, so it's really the 2000-4000 rpm range that counts.  It will be plenty in a 2500 lb car.

 

What a "3/4 race" cam might do is change the cam ramp so that the valves really do open sooner even if the timing and total lift don't change.  I'll talk to Jerry to see if he has a shop that can do this.  It usually entails grinding down the back side of the cam and reshaping the lobes.  It then becomes a question of whether the lifters, springs, and lobes can survive the higher acceleration and forces.  I want to be a little conservative because the engine block and rotating parts are not easily (or cheaply) replaced.

 

Stude250str8_cam_comparison.jpg

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Having taken the engine to the shop for rebuild, I pulled the rest of the car apart so that the pieces can be painted.  It took about 2 days to disassemble it.  Now it looks like a kit of parts to make a car.  I have bags and bags of bolts, all carefully marked.  I have to drill a few more holes in the frame rail and weld up some holes that should not be there, but that won't take long.  Each frame rail weighs about 50-60 lbs, so it's manageable to haul to the paint shop.  Most of the stuff is already primed, but it will need to be thoroughly degreased.  All the chassis parts get painted a pale gray, most of the mechanical bits and accessories will be black, engine and transmission will be Bell Telephone Green.  After painting, I hopes it goes back together as quickly.

 

Oh, the mannequin in the back of the garage is Larkina, the shop manager.  She doesn't say anything, but she keeps a watchful eye on the place.

Indy car chassis disassembled.jpg

Indy car chassis parts.jpg

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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Given a choice, I'd use something like the old DuPont Centari acrylic enamel.  A couple of my other cars got painted with that, with a little hardener added just before spraying.  I got the remaining paint in a can, no hardener added, and have used it to touch up chips, etc.  But, no more Centari available.  I'm hoping for some other single-stage paint to be used, maybe a urethane.  Powder coat is nice, but how do you touch it up later?

 

I finished welding up the 22 holes in the frame rails, drilled and tapped for 1/4-20 threads, that the chassis builder put there to "help" me, but they were all in the wrong places for mounting the sheet metal.  I ground the weld plugs flush, wiped down the rails with solvent, and gave them a fresh coat of self-etch primer.  In a week or so, the chassis goes to the paint shop.  I just have to pick out the gray color I want.  Who knew it would be difficult to choose gray, but they can be tinted brown, red, green, blue, whatever.  Nothing seems to match the photos I have of the other cars.  Eventually, the body will be painted 1963 Studebaker "Silver Mist" with a little less aluminum flake and smaller flakes.  The 1932 Indy car bodies were painted with "metallic" paints that used ground fish scales for iridescence before aluminum flake was common.  Fish scales didn't hold up well to sunlight.  Here's a 1963 GT Hawk with the Silver Mist.  I know, I know, I could just polish the aluminum body, but I'd have to keep polishing it too frequently.

1963 GT Hawk-Silver Mist.jpg

1932#25carart.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Lots of stuff happening all at once.  The engine is out for rebuild, just searching for the last of the main and rod bearings, but found most of them.  The paint shop will take in the chassis next week.  I ordered a 5" tach and smaller voltmeter from Autometer with a customer dial for the tach to almost match the other 1932 instruments, and those arrived.  The gas gauge got checked out at Bob's Speedometer, works OK.  The speedometer, ammeter, and oil pressure gauges are ready.  I need to order a fuel cell with correct sensor range, but a 12-15 gallon size should be OK and fit easily in the back of the tail section.

 

Some weeks ago, I arranged with a Russian software company (HUM3D.com) to create a 3D computer model of the entire car - not cheap.  I sent them about 200 photos of the original cars, my car as it currently exists, a partial 3D CAD model that I created, and various other files.  From those, they made an incredibly detailed 3D model of the car, right down to the rivets and leather upholstery, as well as the engine and most mechanical bits.  The model has everything in component levels, so that I can actually select an item and edit it.  Changing the paint color is easy.  The full 3D file is almost 100 MB, but I was able to make a 3D PDF file that is about 8.3 MB that seems to include all the details and is easy to manipulate.  I can even turn off various components like the hood and engine compartment side panels to show the engine.  Here are some screen capture views of the model.

Studebaker_Indy_500_1932_silver25.png

Studebaker_Indy_500_1932_silver25-rear-engine.png

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Nice!  The GT is a nice looking car also.  What engine and trans does it have?  I am impressed with your 3D pictures.  I hope you are keeping track of all the different part numbers for the bearings and small rebuild pieces.  Some of us have a vested interest in that information.  You are getting close to the finish line, keep up the work.

Al

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As can be seen in one of the photos above, the gas filler is located on the rear deck.  It has a 3" diameter cover that is hinged and a flip lever to lock it down.  One of my car buddies is trying to arrange to get one machined, so I drew the pieces in CAD and 3D printed them out.  I'm glad I did that because I found a few issues.  It's easy to update the drawings and reprint the pieces.  We'll probably do this in brass on some CNC equipment, but it may also be possible to investment cast them in silicon bronze.  They'll be polished and chromed.  An R clip (hairpin) is used as a positive lock in addition to the over-center cam lever.  It will have a Viton gasket for sealing.  Here is the prototype assembly in white PLA plastic.

 

gas cap original.jpg

gas cap closed.jpg

gas cap open.jpg

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The chassis pieces are at the paint shop.  I was able to stuff the 12 ft long rails into my Ford Expedition, front end on the dash, back end against the tail gate.  All the other pieces plus the cross members fit into a plastic milk crate.  The paint shop called to say that the paint code I gave them, an interior gray for a 2018 Chevy Bolt, wasn't obtainable from their vendors.  I had used the "color picker" function in Photoshop Elements to get a computer code from some photos I have of several Indy cars.  I don't think the existing cars have the same chassis color, but they are all light gray, non-metallic.  After reviewing the codes that Photoshop gave me, I found another gray paint that is very close.  It's the light gray used on old Ford 8N tractors from the 1950's.  Several suppliers make single-stage paints that match the color including Tractor Supply and Rustoleum.  The paint shop was happy that a simple solution was found and I'm happy that I can buy matching paint in the future if I need to touch up anything.

 

 

Gary_Ash_Indy_car_18_sm.jpg

chassis gray paint-18.jpg

Ford_8N_Tractor (Small).JPG

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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On 1/3/2014 at 4:00 PM, Gary_Ash said:

I'm in the middle of building a replica of a 1932 Studebaker Indy car. There was a prototype in 1931 (Hunt-Jenkins Special #37) and four more factory-sponsored cars in 1932. Most of them still exist, in one form or another. One (#22) is in the Indy Speedway Museum.

I had a frame made by Charlie Glick in Paris, IL. He did a very good job copying the chassis of the car in the Indy Museum, but there are a few niggling details that I need to adjust. I've been drawing the car in 3D CAD to get the parts placement right. This week, I discovered, several years after getting the chassis, that rear frame end is about 7 inches low compared to the original cars. The photo of #22 below shows the rear spring shackle eye at about the same height as the top of the frame rail. The other cars look about the same.

Here's a plan I am thinking about: I can live with moving the rear spring shackle eye up about 3 inches or so, don't need all 7 inches. However, any change at all involves cutting the frame about where the kickup is highest over the rear axle. The chassis is basically a "C-section" there about 4.6" high with 2" deep flanges top and bottom. 1/8th inch thick steel. I think I can cut a pie slice out of the chassis rails about .6" wide at the top flange and narrowing to a point at the bottom flange, but leaving the bottom flange uncut to keep things aligned. Then I can rotate the back 20 inches or so of the frame upward about 7.5 degrees and re-weld it. I can bevel the cut edges, weld on both sides, grind it smooth, then weld on a 1/8"-1/4" thick gusset or fish plate on the back side of each rail where it won't show.

Has anyone cut and re-welded a chassis like this? I don't like butt welds for this but I don't see any other choices, and an overlapping gusset plate should restore the stiffness. The rails are mild steel, not high strength alloy. They make stretch limos and re-weld the frames, but usually the frame rails don't show - mine do, so I can't gusset both sides or box the rails. Any suggestions?

More pictures and info about the project on my web site at http://www.studegarage.com.

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I have an original I believe but can’t find enough research to support my find. Any ideas? From what I am finding it’s a 1932

model A Ford speedster 1 1/2 seat with an original miller racing head. 

BB8369F5-5EA3-4700-94FA-44DED2A3299E.jpeg

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Nice start to a great project.  Can you take a few more and better pictures to show inside, engine, front axle etc.  Is this a car you plan to work on or resale?  If you keep it as a project, it would be nice for you to start your own forum thread on this one.  We would all like to follow along and your progress.

Al

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