1930 Ford Coupe Top Chop
During a family barbecue over the 4th of July weekend in 1999 my
youngest brother, Sam (His name is actually Derron, but that's a whole
different story), and I conspired to chop my Model A coupe. I asked
him how long he thought it would take.
His reply was about 4
hours to cut it and about 4 hours to put it back together.
OK, double that, because everything takes twice as long as you think
it's going to when working on a car, and you got 16 hours. Cool,
what are you doing next weekend?
Let's do it!
The plan was for me to get a
spare windshield cut 3" during the week. That way we didn't have to mess around with trying to
find a glass shop open on Saturday. I would drive the coupe from my house to the shop where he
works (185 miles) on Friday, we'd chop it, and then I'd drive it home Sunday evening.
I took several pictures of the process and share them here with you. I must apologize
that some of them are a little fuzzy. I was using 800 film indoors, often at night, without a
flash. I should have used a tripod to hold the camera steady with the slow shutter speed. Oh
well, maybe next time I'll do it right.
Thursday night I used a DA sander to remove the paint
from the area that would be cut and welded.
I left my house about 1:00pm Friday and drove up to the
thriving metropolis of Lindsay, CA (pop. 8924). Got here about 4:00pm. The drive was without
incident in spite of the temp in the high 90's. With all the window glass removed except the
windshield (which was cranked all the way open) it was quite breezy. I kept the speed to around
65-70 mph (most of the time anyway) and was rewarded with 16 mpg. After dropping my luggage
off at mom & dad's place I went over to the shop where my brother works. They were done with
the day's work, at about 5:00pm but it still took about an hour to get everything moved around
so we could get the coupe into the shop and have enough space around it to work. Lil' bro's
boss is one very cool dude in that he gave us free reign of his place of business to do the
chop. Mucho gracias to Doug Deleo.
We got started at about 6:30pm. The first order
of business was getting the old windshield out and cutting the frame to fit the new cut
windshield. This is where the first problem reared it's ugly head. The spare windshield that
I had on hand is 1/2" narrower than the one that was in there so, my first task Saturday
morning was to find a local glass shop that could cut the windshield that was in the car. So,
we proceeded on Frinday using the cut windshield frame. Here is a shot of the cut window frame in
for a trial fit and measurement of the cut for the top.
We also took the trunk lid off to give a little
more access to top rear of the roof. You can see one of my filler tubes for the saddle tanks
in this shot too.