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1932 Studebaker Indy car build


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I have thought long and hard about hopping up the engine and settled on adding carburetors and shaving the head.  Stock hp was 115 at 3600 rpm with one Stromberg EE-1 2-barrel carb.  Boring 0.030" helps by adding 5 cubic inches to the original 250 cu in.  The aluminum head had a measured combustion chamber volume of 75 cm3 or 4.58 in3 .  Shaving the head by about 0.060" will cut the volume to about 4.0 in3 but the head gasket thickness will bring it back to 4.58 in3 .  With 3.093" bore and 4.25" stroke, the piston displacement is 31.93 in3 .  So, (4.58+31.93)/4.58 = 7.97:1 compression.  No problem for a 9 main bearing engine.  All the rods got new ARP high-strength bolts, and all the rotating parts were balanced.  The generator was rewound for 12 volts, negative ground, and I'll use the dual point distributor with a good coil and solid wires.  Electrical radio noise won't be an issue, ha ha.

 

The intake valve is very close to the exhaust valve, so it wasn't practical to increase the valve size.  Having decided on shaving the head, it wasn't realistic to also increase the valve lift.  Computer modeling showed that more lift didn't make much difference anyway.  Flatheads just don't breathe all that well - a few psi of supercharger boost would make a BIG difference, but it's not original.  The stock cam profile turned out to be about the best for a broad band of torque from low to high rpm with hp increasing with rpm.  The cam timing is 15-49/54-10 with 0.343" lift.  Increasing duration might have added more top end hp but would hurt normal driveability.  I'm thinking redline will be 4000-4400 rpm but won't go there often.  There will be four Stromberg EX-23 carbs, each good for about 150-200 cfm, so there is more than enough carburetion.   Synchronizing the carbs will be a lot of work.  If all goes well, it should make about 200 hp at 4000 rpm and 250 lb-ft of torque from 2500-4000 rpm, enough for a car weighing less than 2500 lbs loaded.

 

The engine modeling was done with my ancient "Dyno 2000" software from 1999 designed to run on Windows 98.  To run it now, I had to install a VMware "virtual machine" on my Windows 10 computer and then install Windows XP and the Dyno 2000 software.  I've been unwilling to give up some of my favorite 20-30 year old software, but then I do drive Studebakers...    

Indy engine dyno model-as built.jpg

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Wray Schelin at ProShaper made a YouTube video to advertise his coach building classes using my Indy car replica as an example.  As it happens, I'll be at his shop this coming weekend to try to finish up the tail and seating.

 

Wray used some of the images generated from my 3D CAD model plus a bunch of shots as the project has progressed.  Here's the video:

 

 

 

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Another 3-day session at Pro Shaper with Wray Schelin got a lot more done on the body.  Here are lots of photos.  Wray is fanatical about getting the shape of the tail section just right, with curvature matched to large, radius-defining "sweeps".  When I made the wire form for the tail, I didn't have detailed measurements from an original, just photos and a few overall dimensions, so I didn't get the form to the best shape.  A lot of correction was needed.  This requires a lot of hand hammering to stretch and shrink the metal.  The process leaves the surfaces a little lumpy, so one would normally use the English wheel or a planishing hammer to smooth it out again without changing the shape.  Because the tail is very long and not very open on the bottom, the tail won't fit on even Wray's biggest wheeling machine or planisher - so he built a new planishing device.  Using the pneumatic head and anvil from a standard planisher, he made a big U-shaped frame from some scrap steel tube.  As it turned out fairly heavy, he eventually brought over the gantry frame, a chain fall, bungee cord, and nylon sling to support it while he pushed it back and forth.  Every once in a while, he'd spray blue Dykem all over the surface, run a body file very lightly over the surface to highlight the low spots, gently pound them out from the bottom, and planish some more.  This is a tedious process, but Wray is a patient man.  This work is way beyond my skill level.

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Wray with long planisher

 

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Planisher hung from gantry

 

While Wray worked the tail, I kept going on the seating area.  This is a very complex structure with the driver's seat a few inches forward of the passenger/riding mechanic.  Copying the original cars, I riveted in the seat bottoms.  I'm not sure why they did this at Pop Dreyer's shop in the 1930s, maybe because butt welds might have been prone to cracking in that area.  To get the assembly right, the seat backs needed to be fitted more tightly to the wire form "buck", so I covered several areas with black Magic Marker, then heated the area with the acetylene torch until the ink burned off.  The torch has to be kept moving because the aluminum will melt in short order if it gets too hot.

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Annealing the seat back

 

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Leather-covered wood corking tool, hammer, and Magic Marker

 

At that point, the 0.062" thick aluminum is soft enough to stretch it easily with a wood "corking tool" and a big hammer without leaving dents.  Where the metal had to go around a corner, I annealed the edge and hammered it over the 1/4" steel rods of the form, leaving just a narrow lip.  Folks, you cannot do this kind of work on a wood buck!

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Forming the lips for weld joints

 

With lots of trimming and grinding, the pieces were gradually fitted together with minimal gaps.  The final seam to be welded, joining the two seats together and the upper seat back, ran a zig-zag path over the surfaces.  Master-welder Wray then TIGed the joint together using an Everlast 210EXT AC/DC welder, a great machine .  I'll need to spend a few hours grinding down the weld beads to make the seams disappear.   

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Aligning the seam to be welded

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The seats riveted and welded together

 

Oh, and I just got an email from Jerry that my engine is done and ready to be picked up.  It's a good day!

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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Gary, Nice work for both your and Wray.  It is a blessing to have a skilled fellow leading your progress in such a way that you are ending up with a very nice, smooth and correctly proportioned duplicate of a Studebaker Indy race car.  You certainly are giving us all something to dream/daydream about!

Al

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My wife and I made the 400-mile trip to the York, PA area to pick up the finished engine from Jerry Kurtz.  It was great to see it done and painted.  We used Jerry's engine hoist to pick it up and put it into my little utility trailer, then we lashed it down and blocked the wooden cradle in to keep it from moving.  We were fortunate that we got two good-weather days for travel down and back, only had a few snow flurries on the way home though driving through the New York metro area at rush hour with a trailer was no fun.  We had managed a stop at Dietrich's Meats in Krumsville, PA, off I-78, to stock up on smoked pork chops, scrapple, Lebanon bologna, and other tasty things my doctor would prefer that I don't eat.

 

Today, I lifted the engine out of the trailer with my hoist and put it in the car with the help of my long-suffering wife.  Fortunately, though I had completely disassembled the chassis for painting and reassembled it while the engine was being worked on, all 12 holes in the engine support plates lined up with the holes in the four chassis mounts.  Not bad, considering there is no rubber and no adjustment.  Once the transmission and driveshaft are in, I can focus on the clutch linkage and pedal and start assembling the linkage for the four Stromberg EX-23 carbs.  I'm tired after two long days on the road and a day muscling the heavy engine around, might be time for  a martini. 

 

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Gary, the engine, and Jerry in PA.

 

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The chassis ready for the engine.

 

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Lowering the engine into the chassis.

 

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Engine installed.

 

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Engine compartment.

 

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Ok Gary.......

You are now the talk of the net with your new rebuilt Pres. engine in place and ready for the dressing.  Body is mostly complete.  You should surely have your steam built up to finish this Indy Race car!

Al

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Not a lot to report this week, though I put in quite a few hours.   I got a couple of blank-off plates made for the breather (which interfered with the firewall) and for the original mechanical fuel pump.  A replacement valve spring cover and breather tube are on the way.  I'm going to use an electric fuel pump near the tank instead of the mechanical one which mounted on the side of the block.  Jerry Kurtz supplied me with an original oil filter housing that he has modified to accept a modern screw-in oil filter (NAPA 1040).  He didn't have a mounting bracket available so I cobbled one out of 14 gauge (0.075" thick) hot-rolled sheet metal. 

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Original 1937 Studebaker President engine with oil filter.

 

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Modern NAPA filter for modified oil filter housing.

 

My local steel supply shop, General Supply and Metals in New Bedford, MA, has almost anything you want in steel or aluminum sheet, rod, bar, tube, I-beams, etc. as well as tools, bits, drills, etc.  They are not cheap, not fast, but they have the stuff I need.  This may be the last place on earth that records orders long hand on a scrap of paper, sends it up a miniature dumb waiter to an upstairs office (they took out the pneumatic tubes a few years ago) for pricing, and then sends customers out to the cutting floor with the paper scrap to order the pieces.  Only once the bill is paid will the shop guy cut the metal and bring the pieces to the front.  It looks like the 1930s (or 1830s) in the warehouse and cutting rooms, was frosty on the cold day I went there.  But, I got exactly what I needed, everyone was friendly and helpful, it was just older than antediluvian.

 

Once I got the metal in hand, I had to saw out the pieces with a hand-held jig saw, hand-file to form the details, and roll the straps to the required radius on my 24" 3-in-1 sheet metal machine.  Some of the bends for the main bracket got bent in the machine, the rest I hand-hammered in a vise.  In the end, I wound up with a pretty good replica of an original oil filter mount.  Now, I just need to paint it and install the filter and oil lines.

 

One of the consequences of having spent so much time with Wray Schelin at Pro Shaper building the aluminum body is that I now focus deeply on details of metal forming.  It takes a little longer, but is very satisfying when the task is done.

 

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Replica oil filter mount.

 

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 Filter housing in brackets.

 

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Rear of oil filter in new bracket.

 

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I received the breather tube and valve spring cover plate that the tube mounts on.  Studebaker moved the breather from the back of the block to the side cover in 1938 for some reason, but that worked out for me, as the tube and its mount would have been an inch into the firewall in the rear position.  The bad news was that the tube I received had collided with something in its lifetime and now had a significant bend and a kink in it.  Oh, well, beggars can't be choosers, at least I had the tube and cover I needed.  I soaked the pieces in Simple Green for a few days to remove the ancient grease, found that the tube had been brazed in some old repair.

 

After watching a few YouTube videos about fixing bent tubes, I heated the kinked area to anneal it and tried driving a 1" heavy steel pipe up the tube.  It did start to push the kink out, but caught and folded some of the metal forward and tore a small hole.  As the kink was about 8" up the tube, I couldn't manage to dolly it from the inside by poking things up the tube.  Facing reality, I drilled a 5/16 hole on the opposite side and used a 1/4" steel rod to tap out the kink pretty well.  The heavy steel pipe was then driven into the tube to straighten the bend, and I lightly hammered around it to straighten the tube and make it (mostly) round again.  As there was still a slight bend in the tube, I ran it through my HF tube roller with just enough pressure to straighten it.  A straight edge laid along the tube now showed only a gap of about 1/32", close enough for government work, as we used to say.  I welded up the holes and ground it down with my small angle grinder.  It will still need some filler and sanding before painting, but it will work OK.

 

All these seemingly small items take hours to address, but that's the name of the game.

 

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The kinked breather tube.

 

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After driving the heavy steel pipe part way into the tube.

 

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A steel rod used to hammer the wrinkle through a hole in the opposite side.

 

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The wrinkle begins to come out.  It eventually got smoother with the steel pipe as a dolly inside.

 

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The breather tube after welding, grinding, and rolling.  Pretty straight!

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Another 3-day session at ProShaper working on tuning the tail surfaces and finishing the seats.  On the seats, I ground the welds almost flush, planished  them to level things out, and finally ground them smooth with 240 grit paper on a small orbital sander.  After trimming the excess material at the edges, I did a test fit of the seats into the opening in the tail.  A lot of work remains before they can be welded in.  The front edge of the seat bottoms got trimmed square and I riveted some 3/4 x 3/4 x .062" aluminum angle supports to the front edge and sides.  These will stiffen the seats as there is no steel framework under them.   I'm still not sure why the original cars had various pieces riveted on, but I'm doing it the same way.  With the seat area trimmed to about 1/4" larger than the wire form, I annealed the edges at the sides and hammered-and-dollied them over the 1/4" wire rods to make a 90 degree bend in preparation for eventually welding the seats to the outer tail skin.

 

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Seating area assembled, trimmed to size, and supports riveted in.

 

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Test fitting the seats into the tail section.  The tail will be trimmed to match the seating area edges and welded all around.

 

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Rolling the edges over for the future weld joint.

 

In what seems like an endless task, Wray and I spent many hours going over and over the tail surfaces.  Several "sweeps" were used to check the curvature front-to-back and side-to-side.  The sweeps are made from 1/8" aluminum plate cut to an exact radius.  The idea is to get the metal surface to match the sweep exactly, i.e. within 1/32" or better.  Running your fingers over the surface, you can feel very small bumps and depressions, and a sweep will rock on a high spot. 

 

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Testing the surface with a sweep.

 

For low spots, I climbed into the tail and held a dolly against the metal while Wray tapped with a hammer on the outside to bring up the level.  This works because the tapping stretches the metal, forcing it upwards.  We each had a small magnet so that Wray could place one on a spot outside, and my magnet on the inside would be attracted to the spot where I would place the dolly.  He'd call out, "Up a 1/2", forward 1/4", etc. so I could move the dolly to where he wanted to hit next.  Being inside the tail while Wray hammers is a good way to get deaf.  To move larger areas, we used his newly-developed portable planishing hammer and also his largest English wheel. 

 

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Wray's 35" deep portable planishing hammer.  He previously made a 51" deep version (hard to maneuver), plans on a 30" version.

 

A light coat of blue Dykem spray followed by a light pass with a straight sanding board highlights low and high spots.  The other technique we used was to gently heat a high spot and then quickly tap the area with a heavy steel slapper.  This shrinks the metal locally but also moves the surrounding areas a bit.  Eventually, we'll have the entire surface smooth to within a few thousandths of an inch.  This will greatly reduce the need for any Bondo or heavy primer before painting.  

 

1316828776_shinkheating.jpg.0681131df11e7297052e86b4142871c8.jpg

Quickly heating a small area for shrinking a high spot.  Note wire form for tail in background.

 

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Using the slapper on the heated area to bring down a high spot. 

 

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When the shape is right, the sweep fits with minimal gap.

 

 

seats in tail 1.jpg

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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Keep track of the hours and dollars?  Leave evidence of my profligacy?  Not a good idea, Mike, my wife would want full quid pro quo.  I've told the adult children that I'm spending their inheritance now.

 

That said, I've been going to Wray's for about 2 years now, off and on, will still need a few (ha ha) more visits there to finish the body.

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I started on the last major wire form for the body - the belly pan.  The pan is about 32.5" wide below the cockpit, tapers slightly to the front and a lot to the rear.  At the back end, it goes under the axle, gets very narrow and curves up to meet the tail section.  The front end goes up to the joint between the engine block and the bell housing, but needs to be profiled to follow the shape of the cross member and bell housing.  I drew up the basic shape on the CAD system and started figuring out the shapes and dimensions I needed.  The pan needs to be 6" deep with a 3" radius at the bottom and around the front corner.   I made a bending tool for the 1/4" diameter steel rod used for the wire form from a bunch of steel scrap, angle iron, 1/2" bolts, etc.  This allowed me to get the lengths of the short legs and the radius exactly reproducible so that I wouldn't have later issues hammering the aluminum sheet metal to fit. 

 

The first wire form I made used cold rolled steel rod.  It's nice stuff but quite stiff.  Hot rolled rod bends much easier and can be hand-tuned to match a curve.  Fortunately, my bending tool made the 14 hoops I needed with just the right radius.  After a few tests, I found I could cut a length of rod, bend both ends, and have it fit exactly.  The front section of the form is mostly done, but now I need to climb under the car to figure out the shapes to match the joint with the tail.  Old guys like me should not have lie under any car for long - it's hard to get back on my feet.  Once the form is done, I'll be back at Pro Shaper to cut, hammer, and roll 0.062" aluminum to form the pan.  As I was told by the owners of the original cars, you don't step on the belly pan when climbing in because there is no support under the aluminum skin. 

 

Lots more work in store to finish the wire form before I go off to Pro Shaper again next month.

 

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Original Indy car showing belly pan.

 

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Belly pan at rear of car.

 

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Rod bender.

 

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Rod bender with rod on 3" outside radius.

 

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Wire form (upside down) for front section of belly pan as welding progresses.

 

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With the front part of the belly pan form welded together, I put it under the car and clamped it in place to see how I had to form the rear section.  As I looked at the rear axle housing, I realized that any downward motion of the axle after hitting a bump was going to make the pumpkin hit the belly pan.  Surprise!  I quickly started looking at all the photos I had of the other cars.  Was my axle in the wrong place?  Did I miss something with the springs or chassis? 

 

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The front part of the belly pan form approaching the rear axle.

 

Eventually, in one of the photos sent to me by Mike Cleary, owner of the blue #18 car, I could see what looked like an opening in the belly pan below the axle.  A little Photoshop manipulation of shadows revealed a very sizable opening, say 12" x12", in the pan below the pumpkin.  Closer looks at photos I have of the green #37 car revealed a downward "bump" in that pan.  I'm not sure that either one of those pans is truly original, but it was clear that my concern was not unfounded.  I've been around these cars and have stared at hundreds of photos for the last 10-12 years, but never noticed the opening or bump before this.  I decided to follow the lead of #18 and create a 12" x 12" hole to allow full axle motion.  The hole will make it easier to check and change fluid in the axle.  Incidentally, to limit upward motion, rubber bumpers will serve as stops.  Right now, I'm wishing that I could get at the maroon #22 car in the Indy Speedway Museum and see what its belly pan looks like, but that car rarely comes out of storage in their basement.

 

1748955504_bellypan18lightened.jpg.4d45c1bab5718074f9a101a738512616.jpg860224270_37bellypanrear-withbulge.thumb.jpg.48b8373b76c9b658b3cd052f4bffb2e9.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The opening in the belly pan at the rear of the blue #18 car.

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                     The bump in the belly pan of the green #37 car is just visible.  Note "wings" on tail and belly pan.

 

Since the tail was pretty close to its final shape, it was time to trim the bottom of the aluminum to match the chassis rails.  I put the tail wireform on the chassis, made sure it fit just right, put the form back on its stand with the tail skin over it, then traced the lower edge of the form onto the aluminum.  I cut almost to the line with electric shears, then ground the last 1/16" to the line with the die grinder.  Fortunately, the aluminum tail then dropped nicely into position on the chassis rails.  I made a cardboard pattern for the "wings" that will support the tail at the back, may have to transfer this to an MDF piece so I can hammer the curved section at the very back.    I still have to fabricate and weld in the half-conical section of the rear of the belly pan form. 

 

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Trim lines marked on bottom of tail section.

 

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The tail trimmed and dropped in place.  Cardboard pattern for wings in place.

 

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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I got some more welding done on the belly pan form.  With the front part of the form clamped to the chassis rails, I bent up pieces to shape the tapered tail and to go around the rear axle housing.  Assembly was a little like trying to build a bridge by starting at the top and working down to the supports, except this bridge was even upside down.  I didn't want to weld the wires together where they were contacting the chassis because I didn't want to burn the paint.  I wound up welding on lots of extra pieces of rod to get some supports, pre-welded a bunch of the pieces together, and finally pulled the form off the car to finish the welding on the garage floor.  It still needs a number of curved wires to define the rear cone and follow the curvature of the tail itself.

 

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Side view of the belly pan form.  The U-shapes will be openings for the axle housing.

 

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Rear view of the belly pan form.  The rounded square opening provides clearance for the axle pumpkin.

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It’s amazing the amount of time and craftsmanship that goes into a correct replica. Back in the day when they were building the factory cars, I wonder how much detail and finish work would have gone into a racing body. I’m sure the guys building the body probably could work two or three times faster than most of the capable people today..........just from shear volume and experience. I wonder how well the paint on a race car old have been done? The restorations done today are almost always overdone. 

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Back when I welded together the megaphone exhaust manifold and its 3/8" steel plate flange, I had not clamped the flange to anything substantial after tack welding the 8 pipes in place.  By the time the finish welding got done to firmly attach and seal each pipe to the flange, a lot of metal shrinkage took place.  That left the flange curved such that each end touched the block but the center part of the flange stood out more than 1/8" from the block.  If I put all 8 nuts in place, I could pull it in, but that would have left a lot of stress on the pipes.  After doing a little Google research on dealing with problems like this, I decided to use "flame straightening". 

 

I put the manifold on my spare engine block, cinched down the nuts tight until the flange seated, then applied the oxy-acetylene torch to quickly heat a ring on the outer end pipes to bright red-orange.  The heat makes the carbon steel pipe want to expand, i.e. get longer, but because it is under heavy compression, the metal flows outward in the heated zone.  When the metal cools, the pipe is shorter than before.  I treated both ends.  When everything cooled off and I released the nuts, the gap at the center was reduced to about 0.015" (no nuts in place).  Interestingly, the pipes moved sideways a bit in their new, unstressed state.  I'm happy with the result, and clamping out the 0.015" won't put a lot of stress on the pipes.  Once the engine has been run a few hours, the entire assembly may stress relief itself.

 

629659983_exhaustmanifoldstrightened.jpg.d80503c0f8f557ee762e8968b9157dff.jpg

Exhaust manifold after "flame straightening" the two outer carbon steel pipes - no nuts in place!  The blued areas will polish clean.

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Posted (edited)

I got the belly pan form 99% finished.  The area behind the axle openings needs to be better defined, but I'll count on Wray Schelin's help on figuring out how to make smooth transitions.  The form is about 20-25 lbs of 1/4" dia steel rod, mostly pretty stiff on its own, about 82" long  x 32.5" wide.  I used the 3" radius bending tool many, many times, was worth the effort to make it.  The back end was shaped to match with the bottom of the tail with a 2" overlap.  I'll be off to Pro Shaper in about 10 days to form the 0.062" thick 3003-H14 aluminum sheet to the wire form and weld it together.

 

In the old days, the set of wire forms would have been enough to start a business to make race car bodies.  I made the set of these to make just one car.  Just in case your mind gets wandering, I have absolutely no interest in making any more bodies.  But, I have gotten pretty good at making wire forms, a skill I am unlikely to ever use again.  I just need the Wizard of Oz to grant me a certificate in wire form building.   

 

1104169027_bellypanformwelded1.thumb.jpg.0bb6533acc3f90c7273af6d0001c6e13.jpg 

Belly pan wire form - front end.

 

 

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Belly pan wire form - rear end.

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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The wire form looks like a work of art...........it’s a piece of craftsmanship just by its self. I think I would use it as a wall hanger in a man cave. My favorite part of this build? Gary is acquiring the almost impossible to develop skills to build the car himself. Almost no one bothers to undertake such endeavors anymore. While many here are looking forward to seeing this car running around the track, I look forward to shaking his hand.............building his dream car, at home, with his own two hands. Impressive!

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Ed Says it right!  It is too bad that we are becoming a bit lazy in this hobby.  We tend to only do what we can afford to hire out, not-with-standing that we could learn many skills and do much ourselves........if we would!  Great work Gary!  Like most jobs we do, the set up and prep time may take more time that the actual end product.  One thing for sure, however, the set up time is well worth the investment....when you look at the quality of the finished product.  (like your Indy replica)

Al

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We’re in Los Angeles for a few days, visiting our grand-daughter who has her first job here, some old college friends, and some Studebaker friends. We spent 2 hours at the Petersen Automotive Museum but didn’t spend the $28 each and 90 minutes for the additional guided Vault tour of the 250 cars in the basement - next time. I did sit in a modern Dallara Indy car, quite different from the ‘30s cars. Later, we visited the old Farmers’ Market located on what was the original Gilmore dairy farm and later an oil field. The Gilmore Oil Company sponsored the Lion Head Indy cars in the 1930s, very similar to the Studebaker cars but with Miller engines. There is an old Gilmore gas station at the Farmers’ Market. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

It was back at Pro Shaper for my monthly 3-day session on the aluminum body.  I brought the wire form for the belly pan as well as the tail and seats.  All that stuff just barely fits in the back of my Ford Expedition XL.  I started on the front end of the belly pan using two pieces of 3003 aluminum.  Wray suggested we form the rounded corners as part of the front pieces rather than forming them separately and making many welds.  After rolling a 3" radius in the sheets, I used the big Pullmax machine with thumbnail shrinking die to bring a corner in.  For some reason, the aluminum seems to be harder than its rated H14 hardness, so I had to stop and anneal the corners after some shrinking, then do some more.  With the oxygen off on the acetylene torch, I put a thin layer of black soot on the surface, then used a broad flame to just burn off the soot to anneal the metal.  After a number of cycles, the corners were pulled into a nice 3" radius to fit my cardboard gauge.   As an indication of how much shrinkage took place, a micrometer showed that the thickness in the corner was now more like 0.100" than the the 0.062" thickness I started with. 

 

A piece of the pan front in the Pullmax machine.Pullmax "thumbnail" shrink die

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         Pullmax "thumbnail" shrink die.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting the shrink on the pan front.

 

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After the first round of Pullmax shrinking.                                                                                                                                             Annealing the corner after several rounds of shrinking.

 

Wray welded the two halves of the pan front together and the weld beads were ground down, then the part was tuned a bit in the planishing hammer and English wheel, then polished with the 2" die grinder pad.  I then rolled four larger pieces of aluminum to a 3" radius on the 52" wide slip roll.  Again, I used a cardboard gauge to check the radius.  The hard part in the slip roll is getting the bend to start and finish at the right place.  In spite of my efforts to calculate and mark starting and end points, I wound up having somewhat more than 90-degree bends by the time the radius was correct.  I took out the excess bend by flattening a little of it on the English wheel.  Wray was surprised that I did it that way, but he eventually agreed that was a good technique for fixing the overbend.  

 

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Pan front welded.

 

I made paper patterns for the cone-shaped rear section of the pan.  This also helps check the flow of the form by showing where shrink or stretch needs to be done.   

Where shrinks need to be done, I sliced the paper with a razor blade, pulled the edges together to overlap and tighten the paper on the form, then taped them together.  This makes a 3D shape, of sorts.  I squished the patterns onto a sheet of aluminum, traced around the edges adding a 1-1/4" margin for error, and cut out the pieces with the Bosch cordless shears (great tool!).  The pieces need to be rolled and shrunk, but we ran out of time before I could get to forming them.  I'll plan the next trip, assuming we're not all locked down by COVID-19.  Wray may not have students flying in for classes, so anyone within driving distance could come.

 

907622106_panfrontgauge.jpg.31271b09b5ad0d50cd575bfef9faa643.jpg 

Checking the radius with the 3" cardboard gauge - close enough!

 

736979511_panfront.jpg.7da9dd350be05ce8fb46d7faa296443c.jpg

Pieces clamped in place on the wire form.

 

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The rear of the form with the paper patterns in place.

 

 

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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Do you want to go for a ride in a real Studebaker Indy car?  Here is a video I made of my ride in Mike Cleary's #18 car on March 9, 2020 in Carpinteria, CA.  It was a hoot!

 

We got home on the Wednesday evening; by Sunday, the state was shut down for COVID-19.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

I've got lots of time to spend in the garage now that we are nearly locked down, though my wife has some ideas for other tasks I can do around the house.  "Yes, dear!"  I've spent a lot of time going through my lists of missing parts and ordering what I could on-line: gaskets for the block to manifolds from Olson's Gaskets, copper tube for the oil filter and pressure gauge connections, 3/8-24 brass nuts for the manifold studs, a fan belt from Rock Auto (Gates TR28522), etc.  I mounted the starter and generator, but the generator-driven water pump was still missing.  Fortunately, Chris Piazza in California had a 1935 parts car, and sent me the water pump I needed.  After 85 years, it was covered in caked grease and mud and initially refused to be disassembled.  A few days of squirting PB Blaster all over it and it started to give in to my efforts - except the $#@*% Woodruff key was stuck tightly in the shaft.  You are supposed to be able to tap one end of the key to rock it out of the keyway - hah, no way!    I finally had to do the ultimate method that always scares me:  I cut a 5/32 wide groove in a piece of 1" x 1/8" bar stock, fit the groove over the slightly exposed top of the key, and welded the bar to the key.  Between the heat, the weld shrinkage, and being able to grab the bar stock, the key popped right out, no damage to the shaft.  Now the pump is apart and ready for a good soak in degreaser.

 

2022305344_1935waterpump-asreceived.thumb.jpg.71bc017d0e331bb1892c25d72f92463e.jpg

The water pump as received.

 

1381292265_waterpumpdisassembled.jpg.07c0102f82580243c5528b7dc1560cba.jpg

Water pump disassembled.  Note key welded to flat bar.

 

I got the bell housing assembled with the clutch actuation shaft, the throwout bearing and its carrier, and a wee, little spring to retract the bearing.  While lying on my back on the cold garage floor, I was able to jack the transmission and bell housing into position and secure the bolts.  I still need to figure out how to mount a clutch pedal and link it.  

 

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Bell housing with clutch actuation shaft.  The throwout bearing and carrier are turned around backwards in this photo to show the little spring I modified.

 

I used one set of original style steel-and-asbestos gaskets between the block and the 3/8" plate that interfaces the exhaust pipes.  I trimmed a second set of the gaskets in my electric jigsaw to make four individual gaskets for the aluminum intake elbows.  With very limited clearance, I could just barely turn the brass nuts on the studs to draw the intakes and exhaust manifold tight against the block, but it looks like it will work OK.  The newly-rebuilt carbs then got put on the intake elbows and the vacuum balance tubes installed.  It's starting to look like an engine now.  I have much of the throttle linkage made (see some very old posts on this), but I have to find a place for the gas pedal and fabricate some connecting rods and a bellcrank.  I'm hoping my local Ace Hardware store stays open.  I'm not sure when I can go back to Pro Shaper to work on the body some more.

 

527390886_enginehalfassembledleft.jpg.4d801ecd5796dc588517b6c116e00e3c.jpg

Engine half assembled.

 

526930309_enginehalfassembledright.jpg.17040a1c51e25497cead6375779c0588.jpg

Exhaust and intake manifolds, Stromberg EX-23 carbs, and vacuum balance tubes.

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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I started to lay out a wiring diagram for the car.  On a large sheet of paper, I drew boxes for the various lights, meters, generator, regulator, starter, fuses, coil, etc.  Then I pulled out some wiring diagrams for some of the Studebakers I own, including the '41 Commander, the '48 M5 truck, and the '65 Wagonaire and started to draw in the connections.  The Indy car will be 12 volts, negative ground, like modern cars, i.e. anything after about 1955-56.  Add in an electric fuel pump, an electric fan, and an electronic tach and the wiring gets complex in a hurry.  Plus, I want to have all the circuits for street-legal lights and turn signals.  It soon occurred to me that the street rodders have been solving these problems using kits from commercial suppliers.  I like the Ron Francis offerings with lots of relays, fuses, and connections all built in to a small board that gets tucked up behind the dash, and you can cut your own wires to length.  The board includes such things as turn signal logic so that a simple toggle switch on the dash serves as the turn signal switch.  I didn't want a stalk and box clamped to the steering column for turn signals.  The Francis box is small, 5-3/4 x 3-1/4 x 3-3/8, can accommodate 24 fuses and 7 relays.  Has anyone used the Ron Francis kits?

 

1619577128_RonFranciswiringbox24-7.jpg.c2cfb160771571fde563f0c09b812a30.jpg

 

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Gary, there is a very cool solid state control box that has circut protection built in. It also controls relays for everything you would want........and, the thing is blue tooth enabled, meaning you can use it not only to control the lights, turn signals, ect........it works as an anti theft device by not powering up the ignition or fuel system unless you punch in the code.........It's all very slick, tiny, and you can run LED's throughout the entire car. I was looking at it for a custom build dragster/street Chevy we run. Its actually a motorcycle application unit......

 

 

Funny, I didn't see the above post..........the motorcycle unit is very popular, and I have seen several builds with it...........

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

When I installed the springs, I used 3/4-16 grade 8 cap screws.  I had my local machine shop drill half way down the center, cross drill them, and tap the heads for grease fittings so I could easily lubricate the bronze bushings in the spring eyes.  The bushings have spiral grooves to distribute the grease.  The cap screws are a little longer than is needed to have the requisite two threads show out of the nut, but that is to be sure there are no threads rubbing on the bushings.  At the time, I used nylon insert lock nuts so I could adjust the friction from clamping.  As the bolts work principally in shear, I thought that would be OK.  Later research indicated Nylocs are not supposed to be used where there is oscillation of the parts as it could gradually loosen the nuts.  Since the spring shackles will oscillate, I decoded to switch to castle nuts with cotter pins to hold them in place.  

 

I welded a 3/4-16 nut to piece of T-shaped angle iron and drilled a 1/8" hole in the center of the flat on top down through the bottom face of the nut.  Then I unscrewed a Nyloc, put on the castle nut, and marked where the cotter pin hole should be with a Sharpie.  I pulled the bolt out of the spring, threaded it into the captive nut on the drill press to have the mark under the hole, and used a 1/8" cobalt drill to drill through the bolt, pecking at the metal as I went.  I'd never drilled grade 8 bolts before, was worried that they would be too hard.  It was a pleasant surprise to get good chips and a clean hole.  Two bolts done, 10 more to go!  I just hope I don't break a drill in a hole.

 

445853974_shackleboltwithgreasefitting.thumb.jpg.617a06be5b79925887ec66e88e7f2fa1.jpg    

Shackle bolt made from 3/4-16 grade 8 cap screw with grease fitting, axial and cross holes.

 

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Drilling grade 8 bolt for cotter pin.  Nut is welded to plate below it.

 

967025873_shackleboltswithcastlenuts.jpg.562d06806ebe6b1a2266c8e5b08fa6c8.jpg

Rear spring hanger with bolts, castle nuts, and cotter pins.  The chassis cross bar above the hanger will also get castle nuts and cotter pins.

 

 

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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I got all the Grade 8 bolts drilled, broke a piece of a drill tip off starting one hole, but didn't cause a problem as I had two of the cobalt drills.  I can usually sharpen a drill bit by hand on the grinder, but a 1/8th drill is hard to see.  Years ago, I bought a cheap drill sharpening machine (Plasplugs) but didn't like it as it worked only poorly.  Who makes a good drill sharpener, especially for smaller drill bits?

 

Anyway, the bolts got drilled and castle nuts installed with cotter pins.  It was kind of scary to pull out the 4"-6" long bolts from the spring eyes because I didn't know which way the eye was going to move, up or down.  I did have a jack under the chassis and a jack under the spring leaves near the eye to catch things, and I kept my fingers and body well away from the bits that could move.  In a few cases, the eye went up, maybe an inch or so, when I backed out the bolt.  That made it a little difficult to get the bolt back in the hole after drilling, but they did all go back in.

 

I had ordered some #10 mesh stainless screen from Pegasus Auto Racing for bug screens on the carbs.  The screen is about 56% open with 0.025" wire.  It's pretty stiff stuff, not fun to cut, and can poke you pretty good.  But, any job worthy of the effort nearly always demands a blood sacrifice!  I cut some extra-oversize disks, placed them over the end of a PVC pipe the same size as the carb top, and hammered them into a dome with a ball peen hammer, then trimmed to fit.  Hose clamps finished the shaping to the carb o.d. and hold the screens in place.  Since a dome has twice the area of a flat circle of the same diameter, the screens won't be an airflow restriction.  Maybe the screw-type clamps aren't period-correct, but they fit just right and work well on the carbs.  At least I won't be dropping nuts and bolts down the carbs while I try to finish work in the engine compartment.

 

536722528_carbscreen1.jpg.4286275e6b960e434ec4c3b534e71c78.jpg

 

1688320161_carbscreenx4.jpg.e5dfc387fb99b22b712b8deedc1de1d4.jpg

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Hello Gary,

Maybe the Pandemic is a blessing to most of us as we can get a bit more done as we have more time on our hands!

You are certainly to the fun part of this Studebaker racer!

Al

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Gary, This picture shows a body frame but no skin. This is very different from how you have constructed your body. Could you speak to this? Is this during the mock up phase of construction? I was also under the impression these cars were all produced in the Studebaker shops but this guy looks to be out on his own from the background of this picture. I also noticed the motor is using a magneto, and not one of the newer options, instead of the generator the motor came with. Why?

 

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Russ Snowberger was a very famous race car driver and builder of cars.  He started racing at age 19 in 1921, even won his first race.  He drove at Indianapolis from 1928-1947, finished in the top 10 five time.  As a mechanic and car prep guy, he supported Indy cars through 1961.  He died in 1968.  His early race cars were, as you suggest, independent efforts.  He started using the big Studebaker straight 8 in 1928.  In 1930, Hupp convinced Russ to pull the Studebaker engine and run a Hupp engine in his car as the Hupp Comet.  Russ went back to the Studebaker engine the next year.  Russ's son John compiled a great "coffee table" book with hundreds of photos of Russ and the cars.  John acquired and rebuilt three of the cars that Russ raced, and he also constructs exquisite models in 1/8 scale.  See http://www.johnsnowberger.com  for the models and the book.

 

As for the framework you are looking at, Snowberger's cars and many other Indy cars used that same kind of framework for the cowl/cockpit section.  The firewall bolts into the front hoop.  The cowl skin drops over the framework and is held in place by about eight 1/4-20 screws from the bottom with acorn nuts on top.  This permits the cowl to be removed in about 5 minutes.  Under my cowl skin is exactly the same kind of frame, made from 1"x1"x1/8" angle iron.  If you look back on page 3 of this thread (2014), you can see photos of it.   I was lucky to have obtained a tracing on cardboard of an original Studebaker Indy car firewall so that I could get the size and shape of the frame exactly right.

 

Most Indy cars used magnetos in the 1920s and 1930s, maybe earlier and later.  With a magneto, you don't need a battery or a generator.  Many cars, including the Studebakers didn't have starters, either, just the crankhole in the front of the grille and a claw on the front of the crankshaft.  The pit crew would bring up a starter motor with a long shaft, push it in to engage the claw, and hook up an external battery.  This all saved weight and complexity - if it isn't there, it can't break during a race.  The magneto used on the Studebaker cars was a Bendix-Scintilla model VAG8-D3.  I have looked for one for 10 years, have never seen one for sale, don't know what it was used on.  Any 8-cylinder magneto in decent shape sells for $10,000 or so to owners of Pre-war Bugattis or Mercedes, out of my league.  I will be using a Studebaker Delco-Remy dual-point distributor, which just got rebuilt last week with tweaks to the centrifugal advance.

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1932 Studebakers being assembled. 

 

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My cockpit frame

 

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Studebaker 250 cu in engine ca. 1933 with magneto driven by extra gear from crankshaft.

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I got a 15 gallon aluminum fuel cell from Jaz Products, beautiful welding job.  It came equipped with internal foam to stop sloshing in the tank as well as a vent and roll-over check valve.  I placed in in the back of the car, put the tail section wire form over it to check the general fit.  I'll turn the tank 180 degrees so that the sump is in the back and gain another 1.5 inches of clearance over the axle pumpkin.  I bought some rubber bumpers to limit the axle movement upwards, so there should be lots of clearance even in the worst case.  The support frame for the tank will be made from 3/4" square tube with some heavy duty straps to hold the tank down.  I don't plan on any roll-over events or major side impacts,  but safer is always better.  Eventually, it will connect via 2.5" flexible hose to the fuel filler assembly I made earlier.  The original cars had big vertical, cylindrical tanks, but no safety provisions.

 

I also made a call to J.C. Taylor Insurance, who carried the policies on my antique cars.  They agreed to cover the car under my current antique policy, even though it's a replica.  Since I already had three antiques insured, there was no additional cost for the liability insurance, though I do have to pay for comprehensive and collision on the declared value of the car.  At least if a big tree falls on the garage or some other odd thing happens, I have some coverage even before the car gets on the road.  The next major document activity will be to get a title for the car.  It will have to be as a replica/kit car, as it would be difficult to claim - and prove - that it really is a 1932 Studebaker.  Unfortunately, this means I will have to collect up all the bills of sale for the various components I have bought over the last 10+ years for the car.  I'm just hoping that all the people I dealt with will sign off on most of the stuff, as I did not gather enough paperwork along the way.  So many parts came from casual purchases at swap meets or from Ebay that this process won't be easy.  The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles and the State Police who enforce the regulations are usually focused on blocking stolen parts from "chop shops", but I've learned from past experience to just say, "Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full, sir!" and deliver what they ask for.  It makes life simpler and the task quicker.  To get the title, I'll have to take the car to the special State Police inspection station where the guys wear black jump suits with .45's on their hips  and buzz cuts on their heads.  I'm pretty sure they are all ex-MPs.  We all have jobs to do. 

 

I had ordered two spare wire wheels from MWS Wire Wheels in England, who supplied the original four Rudge-style wheels with 18" rims.  They shipped them last week, but for reasons unknown, FedEx separated the two boxes.  One arrived here promptly.  The second one went from FexEx's facility at Stansted Airport near London to Charles De Gaulle Airport near Paris, where it has sat for a week.  FedEx claims this is all because of some major backlog in Europe but offers no vision of when the wheel will eventually arrive at my house.  Strange!  I've waited months for the additional wheels, just hope the second one doesn't get completely lost.  The tires for the new wheels arrived from Coker, but the guy who does the balancing has been shut down by the COVID-19 rules.

 

1830105912_fuelcellinwireframe.JPG.26b42278214c8029da305f7dc7b69d7e.JPG

The fuel cell placed in approximately the correct location to see side-to-side and vertical clearance.  The sump will go in the back.

 

800859014_fuelcellsupportstart.JPG.e045cbfaf522bdf5665566376a20159e.JPG

Laying out the 3/4" square tube pieces for the fuel cell support.  The 1/8" steel plate helps to make a good welding table.

The table is made from pressure treated 4x4's and 2x6" with Rockler retractable wheels so I can move it around, then park it.

 

870692791_Kunschassisphoto(Medium).thumb.jpg.3c1a2218f181f77200370796d82812fe.jpg

Here is the cylindrical tank as used in the 1933 versions of the Studebaker Indy cars.

 

 

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