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The Beginnings of a Plan…Part II

So, looking at the photo-chopped ’53 from my last post, we can see I have a lot of decisions need to be made. All decisions at this point are only guidelines, but are extremely important because once we cut the car we cant “Undo” anything very easily (like we can with Photoshop).

Cut #1: Front “A” Pillar – This is the cut which everyone will notice first, it sets the groundwork for the next 2 cuts. A lot of customizers like to take out a ton here and make it look really extreme. I prefer to take enough out that it looks “right”. Make it look like it should have looked in 1953, if the GM designers were really trying to make a cool looking car; instead of a practical vehicle with nice visibility (over rated). This cut, as laid out in the pic is just over 4″. Perfect.

Cut #2: The cut across the top of the roof and B-Pillar. Nobody ever wants to make this cut and there are several schools of thought as for the best spot to start cutting. Some say “don’t cut it, move the pillars independently of the roof skin and add onto the back”. You can get away with this on a Shoebox Ford or a 50 Merc, bit not on this bubble top roof. You have to add material to the top though, because you are essentially taking the middle out of a pyramid shape. Once the front and rear are lower, nothing else lines up because the overall roof length is too short. My plan, cut in front of the pillars, all the way across the roof and scoot the top back until the tops of the pillars line up with the bottom. Then fill in the gap with a pair of LONG welds. The B Pillars I am going to be flexible on, because the roof angle and the pillar angle will dictate this cut. As it sits right now the cut it just over 4″ also.

Cut #3: The rear section. On this car it came with wrap around glass which someone “helped me out” by smashing to a million pieces. Wrap-around rear glass is notoriously a pain to deal with, it never lines up when the roof comes down and all the angles get weird fast. The plan for this: Cut it where it makes the least mess and work it out when we get there. This is not suggested for most builds but it’s all I have to work with on this gem!

Laying out a photo shop chop on a 1953 Pontiac Chieftain

Laying out a photo shop chop on a 1953 Pontiac Chieftain

Take the time to plan. Even if the plan is incomplete, as in my example with the rear window. At least you have a direction and most of the guesswork is removed. If you know the rear window is a variable you can plan for a solution as you go, but if everything is a variable you have a lot more issues to sort out on the fly.

If you have questions, ideas or would like a quote for building or chopping your own car please feel free to email me any time with the contact form on the sidebar. I will gladly quote full builds or complex one-off parts to assist you in your build. I’m here to help so lets go!
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