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1931 Chrysler CD8 Roadster Rebuild Diary


Gunsmoke
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I had a good look at Taylormade's work on his cowl pad. It appears his was completely flat which would make reproduction easier. As shown in photo, my top layer is heavily molded, all around top and both sides. The backing piece of homosote is smaller and flat, but jute is also molded to match facing. I have the old homosote in 2 or 3 pieces as it came from car, pretty fragile and will use it as pattern to make a similar piece. Will plan to glue the 3 layers together and use existing molded pad. 

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Yesterday and today I decided to tackle the inside door handle mechanism. All I had to start with is this photo of a handle and it's bracket, and the original latch. I made a mounting bracket similar to one in photo, and then made a pair of 18 gauge x3/8" by 8.75" long rods to connect pull handle to latch mechanism. Note rods had to be twisted 90 degrees to suit the ends. Original stuff was likely "loose riveted", but I am using #12 bolts and modern lock nuts, which can be tightened just enough to allow movement. Quite an interesting challenge to get it in place, had to completely assemble the pull handle and rods and feed thru door and pull handle a couple of inches into the closed area in order to have room to affix the rods to latch and secure with a small pin and cotter. Works very nicely. I still have to put a small stop on pull handle bracket so it will always stop in same position. Tomorrow I will make second one for passenger side,. As seen in one photo, the square shank for the outside handle is about 5/8" too short. I bought the handles and escutcheons 5 years ago because escutcheons were proper spaced screws and flat (many are curved as they about door. I knew I would have to extend them eventually. All the new mechanism will hide behind interior door panel. Original cars had an interior escutcheon affixed to panel, not sure how they mounted but I assume they were affixed to the panel with split rivets, then panel carefully placed over pull handle and attached to door with blind fasteners.

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Looks good, however you probably only need one rod on each door. The 29 chev and other cars I have seen had a similar mechanism with only a single connecting rod. Good work though.

 

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.."you probably only need one rod on each door". You are likely right viv w, but my Architectural/Engineering background did not like the eccentric loading, likely to cause the pull handle to want to tilt. My understanding is the cars originally may have used a cable instead of a rod, and it had a yoke on both ends. I've never seen the actual setup. 

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Swinging around from driver to passenger side today, I decided to test fit the rear bumper and trunk rack, both factory items which came off the Sedan donor car. They were both heavily rusted, and bumper was bent and missing a brace. Anyway, I sorted that stuff 2 years ago and had them blasted and epoxied. They fit on perfectly. Cars always look more complete when accessories are on. Need a trunk, base needs to be 16x36, height 11"-14" ideally. Note I also have correct gas cap and fuel gauge sender unit access cover. Some of these rack had springs to hold them folded, I cannot remember if this one came with any.

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E-116-YH may be right and I have assumed all along that this car is most likely the only Canadian made CD8 Roadster in existence. When I first bought it I figured it was likely rare, I had never seen or heard of one and I later learned that Chrysler Canada only produced about 380 CD8's in all models in 1931. A 7% survival rate for all models suggests perhaps 25 Canadian built CD8's survive of all models. With our cold climate and the depression in full swing, I'm told the Roadster production in Canada was likely fewer than 10, (perhaps 4-6) and who knows who would have made the decision to toss them into the production lineup. This car showed up in a scrap yard in the early 50's in Sydney Cape Breton, a relatively small town of 30K people, and it remains a mystery to me how it came so far from Windsor Ontario where it would have been built. While I have a trail of ownership back to early 1950's, getting anything further back has been crickets so far. The car has a serial number putting it in the first 1/3rd of production in Canada for all models, but a Budd body number 1457, and since only about 1700 CD8 Roadster bodies were made, the body is either the 457th, or 1,457th. As mentioned detailed production records for Canada are lost to time. It is possible the production of the CD8's in Canada started late in the model year, and this body may have been left over from the first run of CD8 bodies, and when the USA production shifted to the CD8 Deluxe model, left over bodies sent to Canada.. Someone told me the car was built in May of 1931, but I have not been able to confirm that. Thanks for your interest, it is the rarity of the car that makes my interest in working on it worthwhile.

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Posted (edited)

Today I tackled the exterior door handles. As mentioned earlier, they were purchased 4/5 years ago because of great original condition and with escutcheons that suited. I don't know what model they were for. But shafts were 5/8" short (black line marks original length). So cut some 5/16" woodruff key stock 5/8" long, beveled mating edges for a good fillet weld and MIG welded them this afternoon. To prevent damage to handles and the possible "sweat fitted" shaft into white metal handle, we kept the handle cool wrapping them in a generously wetted rag. A bit of grinding/filing and they fit perfectly. Now I need to find some proper oval head slotted #12 screws, I have Phillips head for now. I also assume they did not use a rubber pad on these? BTW, because I used stiff rods for connection from latch to inner handle, inner handle opens when exterior handle is turned. I suspect Chrysler originally used a cable and yoke system instead of a stiff rod, and if so, interior handle would not move when exterior handle is used. Lesson learned, I think I'll leave it as is.

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Edited by Gunsmoke (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

Past few days I focused on finishing the under dash bits, including the steering wheel sealing rubber, the accelerator and starter cover plate gaskets and put the shifter ebrake cover in place to assess what it will need. 90 year old piece is in decent shape, should be salvageable with a little work.

 

I then started making fittings for mounting the front seat base. The seat came from a 1932 Dodge Coupe (thanks to Rob B in Maryland), and was a fixed seat and back, mounted on a base with steel end panels. I separated into just the seat and back. The seat is un-changed other than removing fore/aft adjusting mechanism. The back had to be altered to match general profile of top of rear tub, which has a compound curve. Add and subtract work, to the wood backing got it close. Seats will eventually be re-upholstered in leather with no pleats.

 

The floor I have came from the sedan donor and it had a 3.5" steel riser with sliding tracks on each side (see final photo). The Roadster seats were designed to sit right on floor, and were more or less flat in the seat area, while sedan seats had a noticeable dip toward rear. I removed the riser from floor (it was spot welded in a dozen spots) and reversed it so 3" riser is at back, and cut and tapered sides to drop to zero at front edge, and bolted it to floor. Note the tool tray under seat. This would have been inaccessible in the sedan because seat was fixed in place. (I suppose one could access it from the back seat through rear passenger foot space?). To allow access to tool tray, I made 2 hinges from scraps lying around and secured one piece to floor (2 5/16" bolts) and other piece to screwed to underside of seat. A couple of 7/16" bolts were reshaped to create suitable clevis pins and secured in place with scissor clips.  Finished seat can easily tilt forward (eventually comes up against steering wheel) to access tool tray. The seat can go no further forward or it would interfere with removal of battery access panel (plywood trapezoid shown). The seat back is long enough to go 4"-5" below seat itself, and is a good tight fit. It will eventually be secured to the 3 vertical braces behind it. 

 

When I got the seat assembly, Rob told me it should fit nicely. As it turns out, it clears the inside edge of both doors by about 1/4". Tomorrow I'll take these pieces apart and do a final cleanup of the welds and prime and paint the hinges before moving on to the next task.

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Edited by Gunsmoke (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

A little change of pace today, interesting 1931 Chrysler CD8 Roadster hotrod on Hemmings blog today, something you will not see very often (if ever). This vehicle was created around same time in early fifties that my project was being hot-rodded (earliest known photo of mine taken in 1954/55). Body looks generally unaltered from firewall back, but obviously the foreshortened hood area (Chrysler hood is 42" long) gives it a more stubby look. Some of the following is from the Hemmings post.

 

Chrysler CD8 body on Ford Chassis

An incredible original well documented hot rod from the 1950's "The Campus Chariot," a 1931 Chrysler CD8 roadster body channeled 8 inches over a shortened chrome 1940 Ford chassis that was built in the early 1950's in West Haven Connecticut. The engine is a "souped up" Mercury flathead V8 with finned aluminum Edmunds Special racing heads, aluminum Offenhauser dual carburetor intake manifold with two chrome Ford 97 carburetors and a Mallory racing two spark ignition making this car really fast. First publicly shown ..at the 1957 Hartford Autorama where it was received very well by the public. It then was shown again in 1958 at the Westchester, New York Autorama. In 1961 the car would be sold to its next owner who would keep the car until his death this year, Mr. Robert "Bob" Ritchie of Stratford, Connecticut.  The car would finally be parked in the mid 1970's and was kept out of sight for the next 45 years. The Ritchie Roadster is in completely original condition with its original 10 coats of deep blue lacquer paint and original blue and white candy stripe interior. This is one of the best original, well documented and significant east coast hot rods existing today. 

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Edited by Gunsmoke (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

Spent last couple of days fine tuning fit and shape of rumble seats and adjusting rumble seat lid gaps. Nothing unusual worth photographing there. Yesterday before starting work on rear shock install and gas tank, I decided to have a look at a compromise solution for the front fenders. As indicated earlier, no running boards came with this car, and I also concluded they are not useful on a roadster. The seats in roadsters are 2-3 lower than sedans, and the narrow door and low steering wheel (about 5"-6" clearance to seat) make getting in and out a squeeze. It would be impossible if you stepped first on the running board. So running boards are out.

 

That decision led me to cycle style fenders for front and minor mods to rear fenders as shown in original illustration. Finding suitable starter fenders for such a solution has been challenging, especially when looking for something that does not clash with rear fenders. Also fender braces and headlight cross bar are difficult to work around. I have 2 sets of original CD8 front fenders, but 3 of the 4 are in very rough condition, one (driver side) having been in a major fender bender 60 years ago. While the original large clamshell fenders looks fine and stately on the sedans and closed cars, I always felt they looked heavy and not particularly sporty on the Roadster, especially from front on views. 

 

So I am now thinking of a compromise solution. I will use the best 2 original clamshell fenders (passenger side from sedan and driver side from roadster) and modify front look and rear look to achieve my personal preference for what I think Chrysler should have done back in 1931 (some call it artistic license, others custom coach building, still others owner's choice). Others may be less kind!

 

So yesterday I took the spare passenger fender and trimmed it to approximate the shape and look I am going for. The black markings on the good fender show what I will likely eventually go with. I tried several curvilinear shapes before getting to what will likely be a close final version (see photos). I have an experienced panel beater/bodyman coming soon to give me his thoughts on degree of difficulty to modify them along the lines shown. It will mean a section of front frame horn will be exposed, but that was not uncommon in sports cars in the day. 

 

The rear treatment will be more straight forward, means carrying the general curvature along side of fender around back end, holding it away from side apron a couple of inches, as shown in black marker on good fender. My first attempt shown affixed to car is too bobbed, and final proposal will extend largely to full length of original fender. Body man will also make side aprons to complete over all look. My plan is to use one side-mount spare, passenger side only (and I do have one spare wheel and one side-mount clamp), and use wheel well on driver side fender for a lidded tool tray, contoured to follow flow of fender, means cutting 3"-4" off bottom of well to create flat bottom. Today I plan to install hood temporarily in place and put on front bumper and back car out of garage so I can get a couple of better photos of overall look before making final decision. I also plan to revise illustration to have an overall concept to show bodyman.

 

This front fender issue has been plaguing me for 6 years, hope this is getting me closer to decision day. Any thoughts are welcome.

 

 

 

 

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Edited by Gunsmoke (see edit history)
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So here are a couple of additional photos showing front fender with bumper in place.  I much prefer this overall look. While a down low shot as seen here shows up some of the under fender brackets (stainless head light cable will be hidden in fender bracket eventually) once those items are cleaned up and painted I'm sure it will look fine. So this will be the plan going forward, unless a better alternative materializes. Super muggy day here, plugged in the dehumidifier in garage, registered 80% RH, so I am done for the day. 

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There is an original heavy duty brace from frame to side of wheel well. I also plan to utilize the now redundant running board brace (shown lying on floor) to support rear end of fender.  

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  I really hate to see you not put correct fenders on the car. You have done so much and come so far, and I disagree with you also on original  fenders not looking right on roadsters. They look spectacular. I know it will cost, but if you can find a good metal fabricator, the fenders can be repaired. And as for the running boards, they are pretty straight cut and just a rectangle shape which can be fabricated easily. They are very helpful for getting in and out of the car if you are short legged like I am. It's your car and I understand that, but you have already gone to great lengths to make it as original as possible and that is fantastic. I am a long ways from you, but I have a metalworks company near me that builds street rods. The man is a genius at new fabrication or restoration of damaged metal pieces. I'm sure you have similar shops near you. My advice is to seek out help, take the extra time and do the car correctly. You will not regret it, I guarantee.

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I agree with everything 24Chry48 says. You have put huge time and effort into making it original, so why mess it up at the end. Those fenders you have are very repairable, but once you cut them and do the alterations, it will be nearly impossible to return them to factory.

 It is your car and your choice, to keep it original ? or with altered fenders etc, it becomes a hotrod.

 It is such a rare car, I hope you will have a serious rethink.

 Best regards, Viv.

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Hello Harold,

                       I totally agree with 24Chry48 and Viv W,

                                                                                            Please don't screw it up now!!!!

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3 hours ago, E-116-YH said:

Hello Harold,

                       I totally agree with 24Chry48 and Viv W,

                                                                                            Please don't screw it up now!!!!

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There all right in what they say beautiful rare car as Chrysler intended. you might regret the alterations at a later date

but at the end of the day its your car and your decision

good luck which ever way you go 

beauty is in the eye of the beholder

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As if I wasn't feeling guilty enough about doing some alterations, even if sympathetic, you guys are going to force me to go to church tomorrow (a tough pill to swallow for an Athiest!. Kiddin' aside, as anyone who has read the diary or followed my journey with this basket case, virtually nothing on this car is original to Ser # 9820125, Body CD1457R except these ID plates, the windshield folding stanchions and 35% perhaps of original body sheetmetal. If I had started with a 60-70% complete original car I would be much more committed to going whole hog and doing everything to CD8 spec. I have adopted a strategy of not doing anything that could not be undone easily by a future owner if his wish and pocketbook allows. 

 

As for final front fender decision (the only significant modification), I will meet with bodyman in next 2 weeks and see what he suggests.  Appears Lebaron thought the "sans running board" look appealed to someone, guessing this car is one of the most sought after Imperials. Not suggesting I rank up there with Lebaron, but.......

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 Please keep it original 😊

I totally agree with 24Chry48,viv w, 31 LaSalle and  E-116-YH.

To modify your guards/fender's in that way will still require a high level of skill and effort to deal with reforming the wire edge bead to look half decent.

Granted we can not see how bad your original guard's are but I would be surprised if they couldn't be repaired.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

So here is revised sketch. I'll keep you guys posted on the bodyman's thoughts. As for the fenders I have, the passenger side fender needs blasting, priming and some minor work. The driver side original fender is not bashed or bent, but has more patches than Li'l Abner, and more Bondo than you could ever imagine, 1/4"-3/8" thick in spots, won't know how much work it will need until it is stripped of the bondo. The old sedan driver fender may have a few bits for patching the other one but is crumpled and twisted and ripped, as well as quite rusty.

 

 

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Edited by Gunsmoke
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Personally, I don't like the fancy LeBaron bodied car with no running boards. I suppose partly because it is so unlike any other I have seen, and partly because I don't like rare beautiful cars being modified. I think those of us that responded have shown which way is the wise way to go. BUT, I will also say that it is your car, and you have to be the final decision maker. It will be a work of art, regardless of which way you go. 

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While I await the bodyman's visit, I spent today doing some work on top bows. As mentioned earlier, the car came with chopped side irons (about 1"-1.5" lowered), and no original bows. A PO in the 50's made a front bow from a piece of 1x5x3/4" hardwood, a 2nd bow from 3/4" diameter pipe, and a 3rd bow from a 1x1/4" flat steel topped with 3/4" plywood cut to something close to correct outer profile. With nothing really to go by except internet photos, I was lucky enough to find a nice set of bows from a 1890's era horse buggy, with outer curves/bends very close to what the Chrysler would have had. The wood curved parts fitted into steel sleeves at both ends, so were easy to disassemble. So I used those and some additional ash and a stainless steel stiffener to create the set shown in 2017. Last month I did a final fitting which also required adding some length to 2nd and 3rd bow. Today I disassembled them for final shaping smoothing and sanding for eventual stain. While at it, I also set about whittling the ends of the 3rd bow to take the chrome tips that Rob B in Maryland was so kind to donate to the cause. I spent quite a lot of time shaping the bow ends to fit snuggly into tips, not sure Chrysler would have done this by hand, but it only took about 2&1/2 hours! Hope to finish sanding and stain the bows tomorrow before applying some satin polyurethane. 

 

Meanwhile I had a good look at the side irons. As per photo, you can see where this piece was cut and welded 65 years ago. Irons are heavily pitted as car sat outside for 20 years. Reluctant to file/sand them smooth, any good Bondo type products out there that could fill these pits before painting. They would have been chrome originally but I'm not planning to re-chrome such rough pieces.  

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Last couple of days I've finished the bows including stain/varnish, fitting the chrome tips and making the trim pieces for underside of  windshield post clamps. A PO as shown cut about 1/2-3/4" off top of windshield stanchions, including the ball and groove where clamp affixed. He then drilled a hole in remaining part of tip to take the wing bolt that secures clamp to post. This had the effect of lowering roof line by about 1"+ and required shortening of height of windshield as well. As mentioned earlier, the side irons have also been altered. As a result, the main #3 bow is about 3" shorter and when lowered barely reaches the deck cleats. Once cloth is installed, the fabric will likely cover about 1/2 the cleats. The clamps had been altered to just the cup itself, the steel to secure to bow had been cut off. I made new curved steel brackets which were brazed to original cups. I also filled the old 1/4" dia holes with bronze and drilled and tapped them for 2 # 12 panhead machine screws. I made the stainless steel trim pieces this week from scraps lying around, still have to finish the shaping a bit, ease the edges and polish them. The clamp hole is about 1" diameter, but I figured the trim hole could be smaller as it offsets when clamping bolt is tightened, so I made the hole 3/4". Note attaching screws are off center with large hole as a result. This results in a very neat fit when clamp is secured to post. which is just over 5/8" diameter at base. Also have to get some 4" by 42" 18 ga steel (stainless or heavy aluminum to make the soffit which attaches to front underside of bow. It will also go between clamp and stainless trim piece (top fabric can be glued to this soffit). I disassembled the irons today and will send for sandblasting and epoxy priming on Monday before I try to smooth them out with spot body putty for final painting.  I also have to fashion clamping wing nuts (clamps require 3/8" coarse thread), may use materials on hand, or order some online and custom fit them. So many little jobs.

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Yes K31, same car I posted pics of on Aug 6th. Some like it, some don't, personally I prefer the roadster style without RB's if the overall details can be clean like on this Imperial. Th paint scheme involving red frame and red under fenders has been a popular approaCH MANY HAVE TAKEN, i THINK cADILLAC MAY HAVE DELIVERED SOME CARS BACK IN THE DAY WITH THAT MOTIF. a FRIEND RESTORED A 1930 cHEVROLET TOURING CAR, AND WENT WITH THIS COLOR SCHEME, SILVER WITH RED FRAME AND UNDERFENDERS. nOT AUTHENTIC, BUT IT SURE DRAWS ATTENTION. (PARDON CAPS, ACCIDENTALLY HIT CAPS LOCK0!! 

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Looking good Gunsmoke, lots of work gone into your car and top.

 I hope you don't draw offence to constructive comments. I have seen 2 things that may be a problem, first one, the trim pieces you have made for under the bow clamp may be too thick, by the time you have fitted the windshield filler panel and top material in between you may not be able to get the clamp bolts to line up with the holes in the windshield stanchions. I will look for the original one I have and measure it, but I think it is maybe 0,6mm thick, will let you know.

 The second thing I see is the mounting point for the top frames to the body. Looking at previous pictures on page 2 , your car should also have a hexagonal spacer like the ones fitted to my 28 series 62 roadster, (pictures below) . These hexagonal spacers are original on my car and are there so that the folding top irons don't foul the rear quarter panels.

Best regards Viv.IMG_20210118_154918.jpg.4403622bcd3af9ccb66989eae295e126.jpg

Series 62 above.

Series 72 below.

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Thanks viv w,  appreciate your heads up. I currently have a 1/4" rubber spacer in top iron mount area by door, realize eventually will need a proper spacer perhaps 3/8". Top iron clears everything now, but top material may make it a bit tighter. These cars used a double ended bolt as you suggest, one end screws into body, other end takes the chrome clamping nut, and a hex spacer as part of bolt, plan to make a couple up soon. May have to make the clamping nut, I have 2 very similar that came from a horse buggy!

 

As for the stanchion trim piece, I temporarily secured it to the cup clamp with some 18 gauge sheet metal sandwiched between (I'll likely use 18 or 20 gauge), the holes a PO drilled in the stanchions will need to be very slightly enlarged (about 1/16") at top of hole only, I will use a rasp on my drill to do this fine adjustment and add some top material to the sandwich before final fitting. As you know, I am effectively building this car from scratch with very few original pieces, so I just go slowly and deal with what ever shows up.

 

Today I was fine tuning the inner and outer door handles (and made rubber pads, one is shown below, 1/16" rubber, not sure they used them) and still need one of these door dovetail wedges shown (have checked out Ford/Chevy suppliers, theirs are close but not exact), so if someone has one, let me know. Think same wedge was used in some closed cars..

 

Also refitting 3 of the side curtain socket pockets that got removed by the body man for some reason? They had been riveted on as shown in 1 photo, I'm using #12 bolts and lock nuts. I will then have the fun of trying to make the 4 brass finished sockets that tap into them (I have the bottom portion of one original shown in photo). Don't know if anybody makes or sells them. (not that the car will ever get side curtains!). They are just under 1/2" diameter, about 1&1/4" long and have a rolled top taking them to about 3/4" overall diameter as they appear on top of door edge (pic is from internet showing approximate size).

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Posted (edited)

I've probably said it before, but when rebuilding an old car with a lot of missing parts, "the evil is in the details". Awhile back someone told me the windshield on their car was 42" wide, so using remnants from a late 20's Chrysler Roadster frame I made one for my car, 42&1/16" wide and which is 1" or so shorter in height than an original. I also used pivots from an early windshield as shown here, resulting in a pivot to pivot outside dimension of about 42&1/4". I had previously installed the stanchions, secured the windshield, and made front bow cup locations so everything worked. I was never sure just how things would fit when everything was buttoned up solid.

 

So  yesterday I spent a couple of hours getting stanchions perfectly true, up/down, fore/aft and solidly bolted to cowl sockets. When I placed windshield in place.... it is about 1/2" too short side to side. Oops. Then I lowered top, and of course the clamping cups are also too close together, by 3/8"-1/2"! I'm not entirely sure what detail is wrong, but it appears some of the difference is that the CD8 pivots are a little beefier (see example photo) and stand further away from side of windshield frame than for the earlier Roadsters, like 3/16"-1/4" versus 1/16" which would make up about 3/8" of the missing 1/2". The extra standoff would allow for a better weather stripping.

 

Since finding original CD8 chrome pivots is unlikely. my option will likely be to cut top and bottom of windshield frame and widen windshield to what will work. This afternoon I have a friend coming by and we will check the upright stanchions for squareness. There is a possibility one of the cowl pockets (or both) has been pulled out of plumb slightly at some point  in the car's 90 yrs. If stanchions are square (or we tweak to get them square) then the dimensions for windshield will be set by spacing between top of stanchions. Also the top front bow will have to be disassembled and perhaps 1/4" -1/2" added. Neither of these are a big deal when you are doing your own work, but if you had someone working on car at $50-$75 an hour, yikes!

 

I also took time to remove inside handles and braze handle stop on mounting brackets as shown in photo (long part of rod underside gets cut flush with bracket). These stops prevent the inner pull handle from moving inward toward leather door panel.

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CD8 Roadster top clamp windshield.jpg

Edited by Gunsmoke
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Hi Again,

 I had a look on my series 62 roadster today the aluminum finisher piece is 1,2mm thick. The hex spacer on the top prop is made of 3/4in  hex bar and is 5/8in wide. The original top prop knobs that holds the top to the body are 1&1/4in diameter, however the ones on my Model A roadster look identical but are 1&1/2 diameter and have the same threads. If your prop knobs are missing, I would suggest buying a pair and the locking tabs from a Model A Ford dealer, very few guys will know the difference,

 Been looking at your latest pictures and I'm pretty sure the PO has cut the top off your windscreen stantions, I'm guessing your cars ones would have been the same as my series 62 at the top and the brackets to hold the top of them onto the posts would have been the same too.

 Herewith some more pics of my cars parts. I'm looking for the bits that go in the square hole on the pillars to support the windscreen frame, need 4 sets, 2 for my roadster and 2 for my G70 phaeton.

regards

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Posted (edited)

Good photos viv w, yes a PO in 1950's cut the stanchions, leaving about 1" sticking up, and drilled a hole as shown about 1/4" deep about 1/2" above top of the pivot to take a 3/8" bolt with a rounded end. Should work fine. As mentioned he used a low windshield as well (from a mid 30's Ford perhaps) and welded the Chrysler pivot parts to it very close to top of windshield side frame. Pretty crude, but it was a 1950's modified car. As mentioned, he also altered the top irons, all for the goal of lowering roof line by 1.5"-2". My plan is to leave this geometry alone.

 

E-116-YH, thanks for excellent original photos, especially the one showing the soffit material, trim piece etc, and the detail on the curtain sockets. Current plan is to find some 1/2" thick wall brass tubing and try to make something close using a good flaring tool, a body hammer and some trial and error. If 1/2" tubing is slightly large (you suggest finish dia is .481), I will look at simply filing/sanding down for a press in fit. These are only seen from top and I understand were painted body color. BTW, I saved copies of your photo and diagram, thanks.

 

Late today my friend and I pulled diagonals on the windshield stanchions after leveling the car side to side. Based on what we see, it appears the driver side stanchion is leaning outward about 1/4" at top while passenger side stanchion is very close to vertical. We will do some more confirmatory checking tomorrow, and if this is the case, we will "wrench it carefully" into proper vertical alignment. The stanchion socket below is riveted to a heavy steel brace, but should move a bit with some effort. If it gets to the point where diagonals are bang on, distance between stanchions at upper pivot will be about 42&3/8" -42&1/2" (currently 42&3/4") and that will be final dimension. Windshield and top clamps will be readjusted accordingly.

 

Here is a photo from internet (maybe one of Matt H's cars) showing the spacer at top mounting point on a CD8. 

 

 

1931 Chrysler CD8 top fastening (2).jpg

Edited by Gunsmoke (see edit history)
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Sometimes you have to accept close enough is good enough (or say "uncle"). Today I leveled the frame on jack stands and checked the 2 stanchions to ensure pivot points (where stanchions fold) across car are perfectly level, and they are. I then placed the upper arm in a fully vertical position fore/aft and tightened them in place. I then checked for plumb on the windshield side of each stanchion. Turns out they are almost perfectly symmetrical, but each leans outward slightly, passenger side 1/8" over length of upper arm, and just under 3/16" on driver side.  Since both stanchions are sitting properly in their respective sockets and are this close to being identical, I thinking that this is close enough.  We have no way of knowing what tolerance Chrysler established for these at the factory. 

 

I also checked the machined face of the upper pivot points, one is less than 1/32" out of vertical over 1.5", the other just slightly more. Again probably as close as one might expect. Next task is to fit the windshield and it's pivots to the stanchions and see if the small variation is noticeable, if not, will leave stanchions as is, and readjust windshield dimensions by including a 1/8" taper on each side to match stanchions and leave a uniform gap between windshield and stanchion (for eventual weather stripping?).

 

If gap variance at pivot is noticeable, there are a couple of options. I could make a 1/16" thick medium density rubber washer to go between pivot and stanchion (locking blocks are spaced off windshield by about 1/16"), it would compress to fill any gap, and seal from water penetration, which I understand was always an issue with these metal on metal joints. Second option would be to machine off a small amount (less than 1/32") of the lower portion of the stanchion pivot face to create a more vertical surface, a bit of fine work, but with the right tools not a big job. A belt sander would likely do 80% of it quickly.

 

These upper pivots are not likely to ever be used to tilt windscreen. With a Roadster, the notion of tilting the windshield outward seems redundant. Stay tuned.  

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I'm sure many of you have slept on your decisions (like close enough is good enough!) of the day and woke up with a fresh take. Me too! So early this am I set about tweaking the stanchions to get them perfectly vertical and dimensionally matching windscreen and top clamps. Took a couple of hours, but now everything buttons up perfectly. Stanchions were each moved inward about 1/4" at top by a bit of leverage and muscle, actually tilted easier than I expected. New photos show everything fitted, gaps between windscreen and stanchions are decent, for a homemade frame. I may do a bit of tinkering with this as I clean up the brazed joints later in the week. Also as viv w suggested, I put 3/8" spacers at top pivot points, still pondering how much effort to use in making proper parts. Overall interior shot of the work is shown compared to a factory shot. Still pondering a wiper solution, the factory install looks like an afterthought. Current thinking is an electric unit wired up driver's stanchion with an unpluggable connection under dash. This will pass road test/inspection requirements, and then I'll remove it (no wiper needed on a fold down windscreen and motor would be in drivers viewplane).  

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Posted (edited)

Spent a couple of hours this afternoon tine tuning the windshield then sanding/filing the brazing, and generally smoothing it for a coat of primer and a first look at the finished piece. I think it will pass, will need a few touchups here and there. Note the bottom rail follows cowl until a couple inches from end where the gap enlarges. This is to allow the windshield to fold without binding on cowl lip. I also made some 1/16" rubber washers/seal for metal to metal connection at stanchion pivot, (used an old inner tube). Makes for nice tight joint. I did shave about 1/32" off the sides of all locking blocks to allow for clearance to seal, as the shoulder on the steel pivot was only about 1/32". Note groove in driver stanchion for the eventual copper vacuum line to wiper.

 

Hard to believe but in this interior photo of windshield, only the 2 stanchions, partial top clamps and the upper 2" of cowl are original to the car. Everything else has been found, donated, stolen (well not really) or made including the full dash with gauges, all the pedals and toe board area, the steering, and the windshield and top. Now what do I say when someone askes if the car is original!!

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Posted (edited)

A bit of a look back, but you can imagine my excitement back in 2017 when rummaging thru a then 99 year old's parts horde in the attic of his barn, I dug out this windshield. Man did it look like what I needed. When I got it home I realized it was about 3" too narrow (about 39", I needed 42"), but sides fitted against stanchions perfectly. Unfortunately the lower 2 corners were rusted thru, and the curve of lower rail was too severe for the CD8. The old gent also had a couple of other partial Chrysler/Dodge frames, some solid, some straight, some curved. Told me I could have them all free. This was the first time I also saw the unique mounting pivots, even had one piece of the locking blocks, the special locking washer shown etc. These eventually enabled me to make the finished product.  Of note, these windshields (see pic of old one) used a U shaped brass insert, cloth (linen) lined, that set in the frame and held the glass, leaving  a nice neat small bead visible both sides. I have a few pieces taken from the older windshield and am wondering if CD8's used it, and if anyone makes this product. Plan to take windshield to local glass shop this week and see what they recommend for a "dry installation", would prefer not to set glass in silicone. All in the details eh!

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Edited by Gunsmoke (see edit history)
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