Tag Archives: stretcher

    • Hollywood Hot Rods- How To Chop a Mercury with help from Eastwood

      Chopping a Mercury with help from Eastwood
      By Jim Aust/Hollywood Hot Rods

      Every since the first sleek new 1949 Mercury hit the street crafty restylers have lusted after examples with the roof a bit lower than the factory offerings. Sam Barris was among the first to chop his own personal Mercury, and the process would be repeated thousands of times over the next seven decades. Just as the title “custom” means, personally designed customs each have a unique style and equally unique method of creation.

      The guys at Hollywood Hot Rods have built a series of much loved custom vehicles so it’s only natural that they would have chopped a few Mercury’s along the way. Refining the process to a science, Hollywood Hot Rods get the job done lowering a lid on a Mercury (or any vehicle) with the help of various tools from The Eastwood Company. For this demonstration an Eastwood Shrinker/Stretcher is used to a few of the vital steps in the process completed. Follow along as Hollywood Hot Rods shows how they lowered a roof on this 1951 Mercury.

      Chopping the top on a Mercury is so popular at Hollywood Hot Rods that they have to wait in line for their turn under the knife.

      The easy part is removing the top, the tough part is putting it back on correctly.

      After lowering the roof the desired amount, the corners of the windows now require reworking to close up the gaps created in the process.

      This view shows the great deal of work that will be necessary to reshape the rear corners of the quarter windows.

      The first step is to trim out the rear corners so that new corners can be fitted in place.

      To fill the corners small strips of sheet metal are cut and folded 90-degees in a sheet metal brake.

      Next up the Eastwood Shrinker/Stretcher is used to shrink one edge of the custom new pieces to replicate the look of the factory corners in the newly required radiuses.

      The newly fabricated pieces are carefully fit into in the trimmed out window corners.

      The new window corners are tacked in place and checked again for proper placement before final welding is completed.

      Once the final welding is finished the corners are shaped with a die grinder equipped with a barrel drum sanding head.

      On this particular chop the decision was made to round-off the upper rear door corners rather than retain the square factory style corners.

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      Rather than cut the original door corners into multiple pieces, Hollywood Hot Rods prefers to create new sweeping corner from fresh sheet metal.

      Repeating the earlier process, new inner door corners are made with the Eastwood Shrinker/Stretcher. Once the new door corners are in place they are welded and smoothed the same way as the window corners.

      Just a few steps transformed this Mercury from a stocker to show stopper! Hit the Hollywood Hot Rods Website to see more of their work, enlist their services, or buy some sweet HHR gear!

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    • Custom Body and Interior Modifications- '51 Ford Shoebox Street Rodder Road Tour Car Project

      The crew at Honest Charley garage have been kicking butt on the body of this once-rotted 51 Ford Shoebox Ford. After replacing the rotted lower quarters, they moved on to making some subtle modifications to smooth out the body of the Ford while they have it in bare metal. Below Richard from Honest Charley shows you how they butt welded, lapped, and plug welded some of the patch panels on the car and a neat way they're reusing the OE Ford taillight while smoothing the rear quarters.

      After shaving and smoothing the exterior of the car, the crew moved to the interior to address the issues that stemmed from channeling the body over the chassis to give it the sleek, low ride height they desired. The first issue is that they needed to make a new package tray that didn't interfere with the four-link suspension, and looked original. After rolling some beads and fitting the piece in they have a strong, OEM-looking package tray that both looks good and is functional as well.

      With the floor pans and package tray in place, the team moved back and began working on the trunk. When channeling the Ford they ran into typical problems, and the rusty trunk floor had to be removed to raise it up to clear parts of the chassis. They made new patch panels and deleted the spare tire recess so that Jerry Dixey could cram all of his stuff in the car while he's driving it around the country. After rolling beads in the metal to stiffen the new trunk floor they welded they floor back in and they now have a factory looking trunk floor that doesn't hit the chassis.

      Stay tuned for future updates, we can hardly keep with how fast these guys work! More body mods and a roof chop are to come!

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    • Street Rodder Radio and Eastwood Announce 2013 Road Tour Car Build

      For the past two years we've been sponsoring the Street Rodder Road Tour and our Eastwood Summer Classic has been the kickoff event for the eastern leg of the tour. Recently we just inked the deal to once again become the official tools sponsor of the 2013 Street Road Tour build. This year the guys at Honesty Charley's Garage will be building the 2013 road tour car. The base car this year is a 1951 Ford that's in less than ideal shape.

      While at the 2012 SEMA show Brian Brennan of Street Rodder Magazine and Street Rodder Radio interviewed myself about last year's road tour car and we covered what's going into the 2013 car. We've already sent a large care package down south to Honesty Charley's Garage for the 51 Ford, and I'm sure more will be on its way soon. They'll be fabricating patch panels and performing some custom metal work on the car with our Pro Hammer and Dolly Kit, Economy Bead Roller, Versa Bend Metal Brake, Panel Beater Sandbag, and Plastic Metal Forming Mallets, and much more.

      Even though we're "officially" the tools sponsor of this car, the team asked our help in the fight against rust. Since they need to treat and seal many rusty areas on the car, they asked us to send them some of our innovative paints and chemicals. We were happy to oblige. They'll be sealing up and protecting hidden and boxed areas of the '51 Ford with our Internal Frame Coating, and treating just about the entire car and chassis with our famous line of Rust Encapsulator. You can be sure that the car will be free of ANY rust or corrosion; these guys mean business!

      Once the crew gets a little further along on the build they'll need to reassemble the car and turn it back into a roadworthy vehicle. For those mechanical projects they'll be using the full line of Eastwood Hand Tools. They'll be some of the first professionals to get their hands on our new ratchets, sockets, screwdrivers, ratcheting wrenches, aviation metal snips, and anything else a serious "wrencher" needs in their toolbox!

      Check out the full interview at SEMA at the link below. Some of the great personalities in the classic car and hot rod community today stopped by to visit Brian Brennan including Troy Ladd from Hollywood Hot Rods, Corky Coker of Coker Tires, and Brian Downard of Lokar Performance, so it's definitely worth the listen!

      http://www.streetrodderweb.com/radio/

      Watch this space as the build really is just getting started for the 2013 Road Tour Car. We'll be sure to give you some insider information on this years car as things progress!

      -Matt/EW

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    • Street Rodder Road Tour 2012 Car in Paint

      It seems like just yesterday we were visiting with the lads at Hollywood Hot Rods and the Street Rodder Road Tour 1940 Ford Project. We recently got some updates from Troy and the crew at Street Rodder Magazine and wanted to keep Eastwood fans up to speed.

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      With some help from Eastwood metal working tools the crew at Hollywood Hot Rods finished the chop on the 40 Ford. They recently sent it off to have a fresh coat of paint sprayed onto the car. Below is a spy picture of the tub still in the booth! It should be on its way back to Hollywood Hot Rods shortly for them to work some more of their magic and get the car roadworthy. Stay tuned for more updates along the way and be sure to come see the car in person at the 2012 Eastwood Summer Classic. This year you can be one of the first to see it in person as we kickoff the East Coast Street Rodder Road Tour!

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    • Pollock Auto Restoration- Vintage Automotive History in our backyard

      Some of the best craftsmanship often times comes from the shops and builders that aren't bragging at every cruise-in, swap meet, car show, and local bar. They are too busy cranking out quality pieces of automotive art and let their work speak for itself. This is exactly the way things seem at Pollock Auto Restoration, they are situated in an old part of town in Pottstown, PA (just miles from Eastwood headquarters) in a building that could easily be missed if you were just passing by. There aren't signs miles away, rows of cars out on the street, or any other things you see at other shops that attract customers. The cliental and cars that come into Pollock Auto are there because they know the shop reputation and its long history of building and restoring extremely rare and unique vehicles.

      The business and the building itself have a long history in the antique and classic car world and although the exterior hasn't changed much over the years, the inside of the building has. This location was originally a coal yard until the early 1900's. The building was constructed in the early 1920's as a silk mill until Levitz Furniture took over. Mr. Bill Pollock took over the second level of the building in the early 1950's and it became the home for his "showcase" of rare cars, a museum of sorts. Mr. Pollock had a ramp and industrial winch system built into the building (you can see it in the picture above) that allowed him to pull his cars to the second floor and easily rearrange cars in the building. To this day they still use the original winch and ramp system he had built!

      Ralph DeStefano started working for the Showcase in 1981 and Mr. DeStefano began operating "Pollock Auto Restoration" in 1995. Ralph and crew were master metal workers and quickly the business gained a reputation for their high quality of work. Fast forward about 13 years and the shop was taken over by Michel Engard who has been running his other shop "Ragtops & Roadsters" successfully since 1990. Michel and crew have managed to keep a lot of the vintage tools that came with the building and you can still almost imagine how things looked inside many years ago. The shop is extremely clean, every corner you turn and door you open, you'll see another line of extremely rare cars waiting their turn.

      We were lucky enough to get to learn about how they functioned smoothly in such a huge space. We even got to see some of their vintage, industrial-sized metal working tools in action like the PullMax and English Wheel. Amongst these tools we spotted an old Eastwood Shrinker Stretcher that they use regularly to this day! They also were happy to show off some of the retired tools that were left behind in the building. Sadly the bits from the foundry the previous owner built have since been donated to surrounding auto museums, but it was still neat to see some of the one-off antiquated tools around the building.

      We were delighted to get a tour around the shop and see how they truly were a "one-stop" restoration business. Nothing needed to be shipped off to other shops, they could do it all from mechanical to body/paint and even interior. Each department had a seasoned expert in that field that focused on that part of the build. This approach really lets everyone perfect their part of the process on each car and make sure it leaves as good or better than it would have from new! Check out the picture gallery below for a virtual tour of the facility and make sure you visit their site and like them on Facebook!

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