60's style Gasser Willys build

  1. langy

    langy langys rodshop

    Messages:
    6,111
    Location:
    London
    A few people have asked me to post my build so here it is !!!

    Bare with me as i'm copying slowly from another site.

    The whole car is being built on my drive outside as my workshop is full of customers cars.

    I'm intending it to have the look of a period 60's Gasser race car but with some modern bits and pieces to give me the performance i'm looking for.

    I will start by saying I will be using the fibreglass body I sell in my Hotrod shop, this is No1 out of our mould, Here in England there isn't much chance of finding a Willys shell and the fibreglass bodys that are available are pretty rubbish..

    This will also be a bit of a budget build but hopefully look Ok.

    Original Willys cars were very cheap cars and therefore the original panel fitment wasn't very good, A lot of work has been done to correct the really bad fitment parts but some have been left so as not to lose the period look.
    The doors & trunk are moulded in 2 halfs to make the fitment of hinges, locks and window mechanisms easier to install.



    Pic by Martin Drake
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    Parts list so far is

    GRP 41 Willys bodyshell
    1948-58 FX3 Taxi chassis
    Cadillac 500ci engine/TH400 auto
    9" Ford axle
    4.5" x 15 Ansen slot mags (front) 5 x 4.75" pattern
    8.5" x 15 Ansen slot mags (rear) 5 x 4.75" pattern


    As you can imagine Willys chassis's are bit thin on the ground here so I will be using a 1948 FX3 London taxi chassis, Yep I know its an unusual choice but its already boxed and has a forged front axle and parallel leaf springs and looks old :D
    The frame i picked up had been cut into several pieces for storage :rolleyes: :cool: So will be put on the chassis jig after its sand blasted ready to be welded back together.



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    The front axle is quite a nice looking thing with just a few lumps and bumps that can be ground off. I will also be drilling it.
    The front semi elliptics should cope with the added weight of the V8 Cadillac 500 i'm using as its a little further back than the 2.5 oil burner, If its a problem its easy to add leaves or get the springs uprated.



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    I'm going to deal with the front axle first, The stock rod operated brake obviously had to go along with the spindles, the spindles could be modified to accept other brakes/hubs but i found with a simple mod and spacer 37-41 early Ford spindles will fit a treat and allow the fitting of either 40 Ford or F100 drum brakes or if you wish a 11" GM brake kit.

    The main mod is with the kingpins, on the FX3 axle the kingpins measure 0.875" the Early ford measure 0.811", The mod will be to drill out the axle boss to 1" and then ream to accept a sleeve to take it down to the ford kingpin size.



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    There is also a difference in the axle boss thickness, The FX3 is 2.152" whereas the Ford spindles are 2.914", A spacer approx .250" will take up the extra space and if fitted below the axle boss will give a little extra lift to the frontend :D



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    The kingpin angle is the same on both so we got pretty lucky there :)



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  2. langy

    langy langys rodshop

    Messages:
    6,111
    Location:
    London
    Got the chassis back blasted and took it to my mates workshop who stores my chassis jig for me (its to huge for my shop), The ****** had a half built frame on it so will have to wait

    Seeing as i was somewhat stumped on the frame i decided to sort the various bits out on the front axle, The shock mount holes are tapered 3 degrees.



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    I turned up some tapered bungs with 1/2" holes to suit the shocks i have already.



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    These are pressed into the tapered holes and are really tight so don't need anything else.



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    There are some eared brackets cast in the axle for some sort of jacking system so were not needed, I will keep the upper ear as i may fit an anti roll bar and they are just in the right place.



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    Next i dealt with the kingpin size difference, The existing holes were bored out to 1" and a sleeve spun in the lathe with a 1" OD and 13/16" ID, These were then linished to be a press fit into the axle and then the holes was reamed to 0.815.



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    While the pillar drill was warm i decided to drill a few lightening holes in the axle, First i had to make a simple jig to hold the axle as the I beam sides are different widths so the axle won't lay flat on the table.



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    The jig was clamped to the table and a steel block wedge was put under the other side to keep it steady.
    All had gone well with drilling the holes until i got up to the 1/2" drill, then the steel became incredibly hard and was taking the edge of the drills in seconds, after sharpening the bits several times i resorted to using carbide drills and these chewed through it much better, I don't know why it suddenly got so hard, anyone know ???
    The holes were taken out to 3/4"



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  3. langy

    langy langys rodshop

    Messages:
    6,111
    Location:
    London
    Found a few spare hours yesterday so welded the various chassis bits back together as the original owner had cut it into several pieces to make it easier to store I've kept the original front crossmember as its a nice looking piece, someone had been at it with a gas axe so there were a few holes to repair.
    Once the frame was back together i noticed the front fixed shackle brackets were missing so had to make a pair, made them a little longer to get some lift on the front, I'm reusing the front shackles as they are nice pieces.

    The FX3 was originally 112" wheelbase so 10" of the frame has been removed to bring it down to 102"

    I will take some chassis pics tomorrow.



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    Here's the frame so far, It needed a lot of welding as the cuts wern't that neat, strong now though. Next job is to fit rear crossmember.
    I'm going to get the front axle and rear axle in and then hopefully the engine.



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    Well the frame is now straight and true, had to take it off the jig as paid work was queeing up. Now i have the basic frame sorted i can start adding the various brackets etc etc.

    I left the frame out last night and it rained and i now have a bit of patina on it , not a big problem as it will be media blasted again anyway and i just clean the metal where i will be welding. Its surprising how quickly things start rusting

    The rear coilover crossmember, centre section & front crossmember was put in on the jig so it keeps it all nice.
    I dragged the frame into the garden today as it has been really sunny for a change and the workshop is packed out anyways.



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    I wanted to get the front springs in place to check height etc etc, I had to cut the rear spring mounts i made as i made them to slip over the frame rails but i didn't notice that where they mount the inner of the frame was bulging slightly (probably been like it since it was made) anyway i decided to cut the legs off and tack weld into position just incase i need to move it. All the welding on this project is MIG.

    I made some front brackets to give a bit of extra lift and welded them into position, the shackles are the original rear ones as they are a little longer than the old front shackles and give a bit more lift.



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    The centre section is just a K at the moment but i will add legs going forward once the motor is mounted. the lower rail is dropped for 2.5" diameter exhaust clearance



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    I next got the spindles out and reamed them to accept the early ford kingpins and slipped them into place, next i put the disc/hubs in place, the disc kt is a Speedway GM kit for early ford spindles and fits very easily, I'm not keen on using old brakes and this kit is a very good price. It made a nice change working in the sun :D



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  4. stuvy Member

    Is this the willys that you stuck a pic up recently? Silver with orange wheels if memory serves correct

    I'm sure there's a guy in clapham, beds that has a willys. You more than likely know the chap he is called pike
     
  5. langy

    langy langys rodshop

    Messages:
    6,111
    Location:
    London
    Well its like the old days at the moment as i'm having to work on it on the drive, at least the sun is out

    Finished the rear part of the centre crossmember & welded on some of the body mounting tabs.



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    Got the wheels out of the lockup last night and removed the spinners as i won't be using them and found that someone had drilled the wheels to bolt on the spinner plate , Not too much of a problem but i hadn't noticed it before, I will TIG the holes up later, heres one of the 8.5" rears, The radials will be going soon.



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    Set it all up on the drive to get an idea of height, Its high at the moment but I put 3 x 200lb mates on it earlier and it dropped to a nice height.
    The Cadillac 500 is 625lbs but with an aluminium intake & headers is more like 580lbs so not too far off.
    Put the steering arms on and I remembered i had made a stainless tierod for someone a whie back and they had never collected it so tried it for fit, It was 3/4" to long so i put it in the lathe and shortened it, Fits a treat now



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    Hopefully i will get the 9" rear mounted tomorrow evening and the night after get the motor in place.



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  6. langy

    langy langys rodshop

    Messages:
    6,111
    Location:
    London
    Found a bit of time last night to start making the ladder bars, I had some stainless tube lined up for the job but the more i thought about it i really liked the idea of doing it the way they did in the old days with square tube.



    I had some 1" x 1/8" wall on the rack so cut it to the lengths required and then drilled some 3/4" square bar to use as slugs in the end of the square tube, these were welded into the tube and tapped to accept rose joints in the front and clevis's in the rear.



    Hopefully get to fit them tonight. They won't be fitted parallel like the old days though, that may well be fine on a strip car but this one will be street driven so they will be triangulated, Havn't made my mind up yet but the axle will be located by a watts linkage or a Panhard bar, it all depends whats laying about really.







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  7. langy

    langy langys rodshop

    Messages:
    6,111
    Location:
    London
    Managed to get it all welded up, would of had it on its wheels but i have ford shafts with chevy pattern wheels so need a pair of adaptors.

    Panhard rod tomorrow, or maybe a Watts linkage.



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  8. langy

    langy langys rodshop

    Messages:
    6,111
    Location:
    London
    Well i'm at the stage where i needed the engine & trans in, Main problem is that the engine & trans is in the lockup up the road and weights 900lb odd, While pondering this small problem this morning my mate Charlie turned up in his Ranger pickup :D Within a short while we had loaded up the engine crane and was on our way :D Thanks Charlie !!!

    Once back we unloaded it and jiggled it into position and put in a couple of temp supports, First thought was that the oil filter was going to be a problem but once we dropped the engine an inch everything was cool :cool:

    I knew i would have to put in a curved piece in the gearbox crossmember as it needs to be raised 1" but without the engine in couldn't be pre determinded, Not a big problem really.



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  9. langy

    langy langys rodshop

    Messages:
    6,111
    Location:
    London
    Well progress has been slow as its been p*****g down since monday :(

    I did get to make some engine mounts last night though, I made the basic shape a while ago but they didn't get used so they ended up on the parts shelf, Which make them handy for this project :)

    I wanted them to look old so decided to attach them to the frame with castle nuts and used Early Ford engine mounts.



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  10. langy

    langy langys rodshop

    Messages:
    6,111
    Location:
    London
    Well it stopped raining for a while so i cracked on with the rest of the engine mounts, I didn't want the motor high in the rame so used alternative mounting positions.



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  11. langy

    langy langys rodshop

    Messages:
    6,111
    Location:
    London
    No mate, mines grey with magnesium wheels, Yeah I know Pike, I went over one night to help with his, unfortunately is a very poor moulding.
     
  12. langy

    langy langys rodshop

    Messages:
    6,111
    Location:
    London
    Did the mod on the centre section last night, raised it slightly for tailshaft clearance, Couldn't make the mount though as couldn't find the TH400 mount i bought.



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    I did the panhard bar the other evening in square to match the ladder bars but forgot to post the pics.



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    I had a few hours spare this afternoon and my mate turned up today with a van so i got him to use it to pick up the body from my lockup, once we got back with it we played arund and mocked it up.
    The firewall was removed as it won't be needed.



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    I bolted in some temperary wood spars to hold the body at the right height.



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    This will have to be removed soon.



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    Drilled & bolted a fender on, and drilled and bolted the frontend together.



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    Next we mocked up to get an idea how it will look.



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  13. langy

    langy langys rodshop

    Messages:
    6,111
    Location:
    London
    Not much work yesterday as it was my birthday and Sue insisted on taking me for a meal and beer :D

    But i did sneak a bit of time in the morning, I picked up a pair of 9" shafts that had been drilled Chevy pattern so popped them in and bolted on my rear wheels, It looks completely different now, The tyres i will be running are gonna be 30" tall which is 2" bigger than the radials on the wheels a the moment.

    I also taped a door into position and laid the hood in place to give a better idea of look.



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  14. langy

    langy langys rodshop

    Messages:
    6,111
    Location:
    London
    These are the hinges i will be using, The u shaped bracket gets welded to the A post upright which then alows the hinge to be adjusted.



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    They were setup with a piece of 1/4" bar to align the hinge pins.



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    The firewall has now been removed.



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  15. langy

    langy langys rodshop

    Messages:
    6,111
    Location:
    London
    Well got a few hours in last night and started to make up the firewall, Its made in 3/4" x 3/4" x 1/16 wall box, It all bolts in and the box was free has it had a bit of rust on it so will get media blasted and powder coated, It will get skinned in polished stainless sheet as i already have some, It will be held in place with rivets for an old timey look.

    The frame will be tied into the door hinges, one thing i picked up talking to willys owners at Bakersfield was that on all the willys when you open the doors they drop, This obviously is because when the firewall gets shoved back the A post loses all its strength, gonna make sure the strength is put back in this one.



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  16. Tigman

    Tigman Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    2,381
    Location:
    Watford UK
    Looking Good Langy !
     
  17. EngineeringTatty

    EngineeringTatty Member

    Messages:
    74
    UK North
    Enjoyed reading that and seeing your pictures, thanks
     
  18. Stubradley1 Member

    Looking good can't wait to see more :clapping:
     
  19. Confused me there Steve...thought you had started another!
     
  20. langy

    langy langys rodshop

    Messages:
    6,111
    Location:
    London
    I'm gonna be starting a Willys pickup shop truck straight after this one.
     
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