1940 Ford – Chopping the Top

IMG_3638My cousin Jim has been very busy since last time, as you can see in today’s featured image: the 1940 Ford has had its top chopped by about 1½ inches.  Also, if you look closely you can see the fenders have been modified to accept the headlights.  Jim has made special brackets to french the headlight buckets while retaining the original headlight surrounds (I’ll have more about this in a future post).

So how does one go about chopping a top on a 1940 Ford?  Well, you would start with a helping of courage and then “biggie size” that.  This is the kind of stuff left to the experts.  The famous disclaimer of “Do not attempt this at home, except by trained professionals…” comes to mind.  As you can see, Jim’s shop is very well equipped; matter of fact, this is the same room where we built bowtie6.

All pillars were cut and material removed, and it looks something like this (for those of you in the mailing list, please go to the website because galleries won’t show in the email):

As you have already figured it out, when material gets removed dimensions and geometry go to hell and things that used to line up, no longer do so.  The picture gallery above shows all pillars lining up as well as the windshield opening.  However, not all is so great.  Take a look at what the back looks like…

See what I mean?  Things don’t look so great here.  Amazing what taking 1½ inches off does to a top on 1940 Ford.  The back window opening has also taken a hit.  Jim plans to make a new opening to hold a new rear glass.  But I am getting ahead of myself.  By now, I am sure you are asking yourself “How does one fix this?”…

Well, this is where one must be good at a) using a welder b) having the skillz, c) talent, d) vision.  All welds – mind you – are just tacked welds using a TIG welder.  The welds look like this for a reason:  heat.  By doing tack welds like this with the TIG welder, prevents heat from warping the top.  This stuff takes hours do complete but prevents the top from “oil canning” which could take even longer to remove.  Pretty cool, huh?

And there you have it…  Something out of an old Frankenstein movie…  The top has been not only chopped but it has also been sectioned.  The solution called for a strip of sheet-metal, cut and shaped to fit and then welded in place.  This essentially “stretches” the top so the window openings and pillars all line up.  As you have already figured it out, there will be another cut (or cuts) where material will be added in order to make the back window and sides line up.

Chopping a top is similar to Fido’s asshole:  there are many and they all accomplish the same thing.  In this case, the top gets cut and shaped to fit.  I can’t wait to see final the result.  Stay tuned, I’ll have updates soon…

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