If you’ve seen the rendering for this year’s Street Rodder Road Tour ’51 Ford, then you know it’s gonna sit very low. When we got the Fatman Fabrications chassis in the shop, we quickly realized we would have to do a bit of work to make it sit where we wanted. Dipping into the hot rod and custom creativity, we decided to channel the body to effectively lower the ride height. After thinking about it for a few minutes, and receiving some guidance from longtime hot rodder and journalist Gerry Burger, we found that we could channel the body without chopping up the floors. Read more to find out how we did it…
Richard started the process by getting some baseline measurements of the ’51 Ford at its current ride height. Fatman set up the coilovers to be at ride height.
The body is removed from the chassis. We will have to modify the chassis but the bulk of work will be performed on the body mounts.
In order to lower the body over the chassis, we needed to relocate the rear crossmember that also acts as a mounting point for the coilovers.
That was easy! What’s next?
The body mounts on the Fatman Fabrications chassis stand off of the frame rail, so we’re cutting these off, and drilling a hole in the rail. Then, we’ll use a hole saw to create an access point for the body nut and bolt.
Beneath the main section of the floor pan, we replaced the rotten floor supports and body mounts with new ones from Dennis Carpenter. We will section these mounts to lower the body closer to the chassis.
We cut this section out, and plan to remove about an inch of material. Then, we’ll weld it all together.
Richard fired up the Millermatic 211 MIG to tack weld the body mounts. Once everything measured out correctly, he laid down a few beads.
And here’s the finished product. The amount of material removed allowed us to lower the body until the floor pans almost bottomed out agains the frame rails. We will install strips of rubber between the pans and frame to prevent rubbing.
Other body mounts had to be fabricated and welded into place. The things we do to make a car sit right!
We modified the trunk pan but had to make a few tweaks when we decided to channel the body.
Here’s what our new body mounts and floor supports look like after being cut down. We used generic body mount pads as isolators between the frame and body.
To give you an idea of the difference, we shot photos before and after from the same angle. As you can see, it made quite the difference, and we didn’t have to do a crazy amount of work. We also retained a comfortable ride, because we didn’t modify the suspension.