Gunsmoke

One man's junk is another man's..'31 Roadster panels

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A Maine friend in the hobby who knew I was rebuilding a barnfind '31 CD8 Roadster kindly asked me if I wanted these rear quarter panels which he had purchased in Oregon, primarily to salvage the rear deck cleats for a DC8 Dodge Roadster project. While surplus to his needs, he wanted to see them go to a good home. So now they are in Nova Scotia, some 3000 miles away, complete with their bullet holes! The young guys who helped transport them here couldn't believe they were worth saving. Not sure I can use much from them, but I suspect they may be the only " CD8 spare rear quarter panels" in the world! So, if nothimng else, they will make great conversation pieces as wall hangers. I am hoping to free up the convertible top pins and other small hardware which I need and use the panels as patterns for some pieces I need to make. An interesting observation, I've read somewhere Chrysler advertized their cars as having "rust proof" bodies. My Canadian built made CD8 body is coated on insides of body panels with a thick coat of tar like product under which the steel is like new some 85 years later. However, these panels from Oregon have no inner coating. The "Rust proof" ads may have only been for Canadian production? Or perhaps this body missed the treatment? I wish I had the rearmost piece of the back tub, with the double molding, it's missing on my car, replaced years ago with a molding free piece. Finally, anyone know if these convertible top pins which screw in (3/16" fine) are still available from top suppliers?

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Edited by Gunsmoke
clarification (see edit history)
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Ha! That's the rear body section I found for a guy. The piece that you need was pretty full of holes when I found it.

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Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)

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Small world isn't it.

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Astounding K31! Would love to have that back piece anyway just to complete the set, and to advise my future body man in fabricating a new one. Imagine it has long since gone in the trash! When were photos taken? Those of us who suffer from OCS* have a hard time letting go of anything pre-war, regardless of condition, usefulness or storage implications. Your photos I will save and include in my catalog of my car's rebuilt efforts, such unique surprises point to the small world we work in.

 

* Old Car Sickness. 

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Another shot of the same body section....I think I took those about three years ago.

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Yes, I think they are called "Lift the Dot" studs/pins. I think Suzuki may have used a variation on some of their 4x4's. Of course the pins are of little use without the corresponding spring type grommets. I'm a long way from needing this stuff, but if some show up I may grab them.

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So now a couple of further questions. I realize Roadster framing/sills etc were likely much different from Coupes/Sedans, so I am trying to figure out how the body panels mounted on the frames/chassis. The body skin as shown is spot welded/door post riveted to (see front corner in these photos) and also turns under along lower edges a 2.75"x1.5" steel angle which runs length of body quarter panels, and has likely been cut off rest of forward part of body. This angle iron is drilled with a variety of holes as shown, 3 in rear fender well area, and 2 more along bottom edge of 1/4 panel between rear fender and back of door post. Based on general reference dimensions I have taken, it appears this steel angle iron would have sat in some manner about 1" above chassis frame, perhaps on a steel "ladder" type sill which was the platform for the seats, cross pieces, rumble seat & front wood floor panels etc. I do not have any of that sill, all was missing when I received car. I do have the front Toe Board which seems to suggest there was a 3/4"-1" thick steel ladder style subsill platform of some sort. Can anyone who has seen the Roadster setup give me some idea how it was all assembled? Any photos out there of a Roadster body platform, or even a coupe perhaps?IMG_4198.JPG  

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Edited by Gunsmoke (see edit history)

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I was under the impression that the roadsters had a wooden subframe on the steel frame, but I could be thinking of earlier roadster bodies. I think my 1929 Chrysler did.

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)

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S/H tks for info on L-O-D fasteners. K31, Budd tag on Roadster cowl refers to All Steel Body, but as you say, there may have been some wood. This set of photos shows the L shaped outrigger bracket welded to passenger side door post and which is welded to the steel angle side rail previously mentioned in the "patch panel"IMG_3696B.jpg. They also show the trial oak subsill pieces I have developed as a possible solution for missing sill system/rail system, what ever it was. In order to have body sitting level and true on chassis, the L shaped outrigger sits about 1/8" recessed in a 1" thick oak side rail which is spaced about 1/8" off the car's steel frame. In other words, the outrigger is about 1" above car frame. This I take is the space that was needed to accomodate whatever was there, I'm thinking a steel ladder of some sort made of pressed steel rails and cross members, with wood infill panels. If I can figure out a method I will eventually modify lower body panels so they can be secured to wood sill system, much like most cars up to this period, including the '30 DC Dodge Roadsters I believe.  Anyone know someone with a CD8 Roadster who can take a few descriptive photos, please post them here.

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These photos were supposed to be part of previous posting. Crude outriggger on driver's side is previous owners work. Damage to passenger door was by PO, who had rear tub spread about 1" too wide at sills, so cut inner sking of door and warped door to align with body and then re-welded inner skin!! Grrr..... I'll have to fix that among a million other things.

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Quote

I do not have any of that sill, all was missing when I received car. I do have the front Toe Board which seems to suggest there was a 3/4"-1" thick steel ladder style subsill platform of some sort. Can anyone who has seen the Roadster setup give me some idea how it was all assembled? Any photos out there of a Roadster body platform, or even a coupe perhaps?

 

Check out these web pages, in which I have a few pictures of my '32 Plymouth Model PB roadster wooden structure while exposed.

https://sites.google.com/site/hotrodroadster/home/body-paint

https://sites.google.com/site/hotrodroadster/home/body-paint-2

https://sites.google.com/site/hotrodroadster/home/body-paint-3

https://sites.google.com/site/hotrodroadster/home/body-paint-4

https://sites.google.com/site/hotrodroadster/home/body-paint-5

 

Hope this helps some...

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Great photo essay on your Plymouth Roadster, thanks for bringing it to my attention. Unlike the Plymouth, the Chrysler was touted as an "All Steel" body, so I don't think any wood was originally used to built the body at the Budd Factory. There were drop in wood floor panels under front seat (and maybe under rumble seat), and in foot area of front floor either side of tranmission hump (to access battery box). My '31 Chevy Coach I began restoring a while back had a full ash carcass, sills similar to yours etc. I had to make new wood pieces for about 50% of carcass due to rot. All the sheet metal was secured with small brads.  

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Do your panels above the running boards rest on the top of the frame?  My 29 Plymouth (wood sills) had that setup, but my 32 Dodge has an all steel body that is channeled over the frame with the running board panels bolted to the side of the frame, the bolts running through the panel, through a metal body strip channeled down the side of the frame and then through the frame itself.  The bolts are hidden under a cover strip that holds the heads of the bolts in place in an inner channel.  I don't know if they used this method in 31, or if they did it with the roadster body.  My car is a sedan.  It seems like the roadsters were always behind the times in the early thirties, probably because they were going out of style.

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Hi TM, I think your explanation of how '32 Dodges were basically assembled in this area is close to how the '31 Roadsters were. The body sheet metal curled under the steel angle shown above, and possibly the running board aprons were held by bolts going through the lower body edge (see pair of 7/16" holes), thru apron and into frame. The RB's that came with car seem to support that proposition. My plan is to screw a suitable (1.5"x1.75") steel angle to lower edge of wood sills, it will drop down side of frame proper distance (and spaced 1/8"-3/8" away from frame as needed) and provide a secure means of afixing lower edge off body panels by turning them up under it, and including threshold for door opening. RB aprons can then be slipped under the same angle and secured as you mention. Since the steel angle is not structural, I can use a lighter material (16 or 14 gauge?) and will need to shape it to follow horizontal S curves of frame rails and side panels. I'm taking my time planning all of this, preparing detailed drawings of each of the areas along side and rear of car, Method will change in inner fender area (where inner fender will turn 90 degrees under wood sill and be nailed in place), and then have an exposed dropped steel angle similar to thast shown ion above photos (I may even use the original piece if it cleans up) and along rear gas tank apron. A hybrid solution, but something I can build. The car makers at the time went to AllSteel bodies to avoid the rot associated with wood sills. When this particular Roadster was found virtually none of the sill/subsill system had survived rust out. Go figure! 

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Here are some shots of my body that may help.

 

In this shot you can see the front mount that rests on the top of the frame.  It's shown by the red arrow.  As you can see, the body drops down along the side of the frame and bolts to the frame thought the holes marked by the green arrows.

 

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It a two or three inch drop.  here is the inside view.

 

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There are no crossbeams or supports across the body except for a rear pan that supports the rear seat cushion.  No support across the body between the doors.  The new X-frame design was strong enough to allow this type of construction.  I'm assuming you're replacing the metal section below the doors (with the oblong hoes) with wood.

 

Here is the splash apron above the running boards.  It's hard to see in this shot, but there is a trim piece between the body and the splash apron.

 

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This drawing hopefully makes things clear.  The bolts hold the body and the splash apron to the frame.

 

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Great photos, not sure they reflect how a Roadster sill system worked. As you can see in these photos the cowl has outriggers similar to your's bolted to frame. I have no way of knowing if the side rails were made like you show, with double wall, oblong holes etc. Even if, I cannot duplicate that method. Cross piece would have been in place at front seat, the transmission hump has a lip on back that screwed to something, and the hump also has lips on sides to set front floor board on. Note the toe board also has a 3/4" groove on lower edge to take the removable toe boards. I'm thinking they took steps to keep the Roadster body as low looking as possible while trying to maintain sufficient stiffness, since it had no upper roof to keep it solid. Doors for example extended all the way down to within 1/2" of RB apron. So threshold/sill in door area must have been pretty stiff to allow body to be placed on as one assembly. Full side shot shows body at proper height sitting on frame with a 3/16" shim under cowl outrigger. Door gaps are vertical, 90 degrees to floor in this area. The body panels need about 3/4" added to lower edge to reflect original body work, and I'm thinking the lower edge of cowl should be horizontal, and not turned up slightly. I still have to figure that out once I place front fender on, etc.. This 3/4" strip is where the through bolts go holding the RB in place etc. As seen in photo of inside driver side, a lot of cutting and pasting by previous owners needs to be fixed . Most of these were taken 1-2 years ago.

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Let's hope you can find an original car to examine and solve some of the mysteries.  I was totally surprised, especially after restoring my 29 Plymouth, to find out how my 32 was constructed.  To be honest, I don't think I would have figured it out by just examining the car when it was still together.  Once we began taking it apart, it all became clear.  My car has the wooden floorboards you mentioned. They have full length blocks at each outer side that raises them up to the correct level.  They rest on the top of the frame and are secured but impossible to find slotted threaded screws thar go onto threaded braces on the frame.

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Since the '31 CD8 Roadster was a one year only 8cyl car, and only a few survive (20 perhaps), I don't expect to find one nearby that I can take a detailed look at. Since these construction elements are so hard to see and photograph on a completed car, the job of finding such details is more difficult. When restoring my '31 Chev Coach, the Fisher Body Service Manual provided virtually every detail one could imagine, and the Chevrolet Master Parts book shows detailed isometric drawings of every body style/year and every wood carcass. As far as I know, for these Budd AllSteel bodies there is no literature of help. Even the pre '34 Chrysler Master Parts book provides very little help or illustrations on body elements for any style, Sedan, Coupe or Roadster. Oh well, that's enough posting for today, back at it tomorrow!

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Just for fun I will show you how I dealt with this rust bucket 28 Victory Six.

The flange below the doors is similar to Taylors except that it was rotted clear off of the car on both sides from years sitting idle in the field.

I welded a strap inside of the door openings and used the existing holes in the chassis. I had to move the front mounts that Taylor shows up and fabricate some mounts in the back.

This let me channel the body about eight inches. Fun stuff these rat rods.

Even Elvis likes it !!

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There probably was a Budd service manual for your car, but where to find it! I have seen one for the Dodge DC 8.

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Thanks, nice illustration. Not aware of anything similar available for Chrysler CD8 Roadster, or any '31 Chrysler CD8. Have done Google searches many times under various search titles, Budd, Chrysler, 1931, 1932, 1930, Body, etc, nothing so far. I suspect there was something contemporary, but whether anything survived is another question. Only item Chrysler Historical Society indicated they have for this year is the 31 CD8 12 page Sales Brochure, which I have an original copy of. Provides no useful details on body construction. I also have the Sept 1930 Chrysler 8 owners service manual, it contains no info on body construction. I have the pre '34 Chrysler Master Parts list, comprehensive coverage of all models parts 1924-1933. However because it covers 10 years, there are not as many suitable illustrations, and none on body construction. The search continues. However based on the patch panels in opening pictures, which have original structural side rails, and other info I have gathered, I think I have a pretty good idea how the bodies were constructed, and can proceed. 

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