Modern Rodding TECH

Looks That Go Beyond Skin Deep Font
1. Eric Black’s concept drawing of the coupe gives us a view into the future and what we can expect this ’35 Chevy coupe to look like- amazing.
Chevy Coupe Gets Extensive Sheetmetal Work
By Ron Covell Photography by Rodger Lee Artwork By e.Black Design

ork continues on Greg Heinrich’s outstanding ’35 Chevrolet coupe being built by Ironworks Speed & Kustom. This time we’ll focus on the extensive body modifications. The body is lengthened, chopped, wedge-sectioned, and all the fenders are extensively reworked to conform to the big ’n’ little wheels and tires.

When doing extensive modifications, it’s important to know when to stop. If you chop a top too aggressively, the result is not likely to be well proportioned. Every element of a car’s body must work with the whole ensemble, so it’s a constant balancing act to keep everything flowing harmoniously. Rodger Lee and his crew at Ironworks have a long track record of getting it right.

They did not use specific dimensions for most of the body modifications–they relied on moving each element in small increments and kept tweaking and adjusting until it looked “right.” This is often the best way to get exceptional results.

If you’re going to cut a car body into pieces, the first order of business is adding reinforcements inside the body to maintain the alignment of the key components. Square tubing was used with lots of crossbracing to ensure everything stayed rigid.

Lengthening the body was the first step, and cuts were made just behind both doors and across the tulip panel below the rear window. These cuts were joined with a horizontal cut, which maintains the alignment of the belt line when the rear of the body is moved. After some experimentation, they positioned the rear of the body back about 2 inches.

Next, the cowl was sectioned to give the body a nicely wedged shape. This was done by eye, and the cowl came down around 2 inches, which drops the nose of the car around 3 inches.

Once all the cuts were fully TIG welded and metal finished, they focused on chopping the top. They worked with the doors first, since it is hard to gauge the proportions of the top without knowing the precise size and shape of the side window. Once the doors were tweaked to have the perfect look the roof was cut to match.

All the fenders were extensively modified, and you can follow the details in the accompanying photos. A completely new hood was made, which will incorporate elegantly hinged doors with a sophisticated linkage system that moves them in unison.

In the next installment we’ll look at many of the unique details on this car, like the CNC-machined billet aluminum running boards, hood braces, bucket seats, and much more.

'35 chevy ready for paint
2. This gives you a good look at the proportions Ironworks has achieved on the Chevrolet coupe. In the next article, we’ll go into detail on the fabulous billet aluminum grille, hood support structure, running boards, and much more.
'35 chevy before disassembly
3. In the last article we covered the chassis construction. Here’s where the body portion of the project started, with a good, solid ’35 Chevrolet Standard body and fenders.
chassis being rebuilt
4. An essential first step for a project like this is squaring and reinforcing the body with tubing. Once the slicing and dicing begins, this will hold the key components in proper alignment.
rear framework on '35 chevy
5. The plan calls for the body to be lengthened roughly 2 inches. Tape is being used here to lay out the cut lines.
another angle of rear framework '35 chevy
6. With the cuts made, the rear portion of the body is temporarily positioned for scrutiny.
fabrication being done
7. Once the proportions were visually verified, filler pieces are cut and tack welded into place to fill the openings.
fabrication of '35 chevy
8. The cowl is being sectioned roughly 2 inches to give the body a nicely wedged profile. The initial cuts in the sheetmetal have been made here.
another angle of fabrication and welds
9. The cut edges are carefully fitted, then clamped together in preparation for tack welding.
roof of '35 chevy being fabricated
10. Chopping the top was next on the agenda. The doors were chopped first, using the profile of the side window to gauge the amount of material to remove, both front and back. A slight wedge was incorporated here, too.
Roof fabrication almost finished
11. The center portion of the roof was removed first, then the cuts were plotted on the rear portion.
Back of roof
12. The entire rear window was raised in the roof panel so it could remain full height.
'35 Chevy almost finished
13. Before finalizing the chop, the car was wheeled outside to properly assess the proportions of the body profile. We’d say they nailed it!Before finalizing the chop, the car was wheeled outside to properly assess the proportions of the body profile. We’d say they nailed it!
Roof fabrication complete
14. The rear portion of the roof was angled, so the rear window is laid down a bit more than stock. All the joints are TIG welded and will be completely metal finished.
Fenders getting fabricated
15. The rear fenders were lengthened and reworked, with an eye toward matching the size and curvature of the massive rear tires.
Tire fitting
16. A new piece of metal is being shaped to fit the side of the fender. It’s being checked against the tire here to ensure it follows the contours correctly.
rear tire fitting
17. Here is the new fender side, temporarily held in place with Clecos, ready to be scribed and tack welded.
engine bay of '35 chevy almost completely fabricated
18. The front fenders need extensive rework, too. You can see that they have a massive overhang, which will benefit from a “nip and tuck.”
Front fender cut
19. The front corner was cut off the fender and is being scrutinized here in a new position. A template is being shaped to guide the shape of the fender opening behind the wheel, too.
Grill of '35 chevy
20. Large portions of the front fenders were shaped from new metal and tack welded into place.
Inner edges of grille shell.
21. The inner edges of the fenders were pulled in much more tightly against the grille shell. If you compare this with the stock fenders, you’ll see it has a much “sweeter” shape.
hood placed
22. The grille shell was extensively reshaped and a completely new hood was made. The vent doors in the hood side are mocked-up here; you’ll see these in more detail in the next article.
metal reinforcements inside '35 chevy
23. All the wood bracing was removed inside the body and replaced with elegantly shaped metal reinforcements. This body will be extremely rigid, without question.
Ironworks Speed & Kustom
(661) 399-8999
Modern Rodding

VOLUME 4 • ISSUE 30 • 2023