1929 Willys Whippet (Mid mount turbo)

kberjian

Active Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
179
Location
Alberta, Canada
Car(s)
1955 Buick, 1929 Willys, 2004 SRT-4
Was buried in my other thread but was requested to make it a thread by itself.

Here is the summary of how it went to date:
Disregard the references to Today or Tommorrow, the project started in April 2010 and the posts I copied over brings it up to the current time. I will post updates as they happen.



Wanted to do this for a while now and finally got the chance.

Started with this totaled 2004 Dodge Neon SRT-4, which has a 2.4l turbo engine that makes about 250hp stock and will make about 400 when I am done.


And this, a 1929 Willys Whippet Coupe that will be a convertible.


Loaded it all into a trailer from my parents farm and pulled it back home.


Started by mocking the body up to get some height dimension and just looks cool.



Stripped all the sheetmetal/extras off the engine/transmission/suspension setup.



Did some trial fits of the bodywork over top of the engine setup.


Had to cut the inner fenderwell out to get the coilovers and other items to fit.


Cut and fit the rear frame rails along with the transmission mount.




Attached some brackets to hold the drivers side strut and tacked it on. That side can hold it's own weight with the engine now just on those tacks so I am feeling pretty good about it.



The fender also fit over it perfectly and I will be mounting some tabs on the fender/quarter panel to mount at the front, back and on either side of the strut brackets I added.






Mounted the engine and did a test. I put jack stands in front of the frame I designed and built and ballasted the front of the frame. It held with barely any deflection when I let the weight of the engine down so I am confident that the welds and the design are sound. I had it all sitting there ready to mount the K member but thought, it is time to head in as it is after 9 and realized I had it sitting about a foot too far forward and I couldn;t close the garage door...
I decided to have the entire back half lift off in 1 piece. So I started welding the trunk to the outside body. I started at the top and tacked and aligned as I moved my way down. It all fit and looks pretty good. I am struggling at the top corners of the trunk lid where they put in lead to fill the seams from the factory. I have tried welding around it and find it just spits and is a pain. I used a torch and melted most of it out and started filling it back with small tack welds. It made it easy to lift the back half on now and it fit perfectly over the now shortened strut mounts. I will be framing it with 1x1" square tube and using 4 bolts with body mounts to attach it. Learning to weld on 80 year old sheet metal is fun :lol:



Stiffened the rear half. Bent some flat bar along the contour, and used some 1x2 tube along the top and bottom. The main mounts will be based from the 1x2 tube, that is why they are wider. I will be putting the 1" tube along the 3" flatbar after get better at bending it..... I am still trying to decide if it should rotate forwards, backwards, or just be lift off.




Picked up the seats and put them in and love how they look. A few small problems though. They were about 1" overall so I just compressed them together in the middle with some ratchet straps and am happy with how they fit now. Also, they are so tight in the middle I will have to mount the shifter in front of them and have the handle offset back to a comfortable position. The e-brake actuator will also have to be under the dash somewhere....


Sitting in the car was a huge boost to ambition so I mocked up the steering wheel and column as well.



The other seats were too wide and I determined bombers were too expensive so I tried my own version. Started with a carboard template and did a little bending... My arms feel like jello after all the hammering.





They are going to have a 4" cushion for the bottom and 2" on the back, hence the lip at the front and the sides of the back. I also bought some slides that I will mount them on.
Made the mounts for the seats. The drivers side is adjustable front to back by 4" if a shorter person wants to drive the car. The passenger one is fixed near the back. It is all tacked together for now but will get pulled apart for full welding after I put the floor in this afternoon or tomorrow morning and am happy with how everything fits.




Cut the floor plate and set it in. I am thinking I will remove the tilt mechanism from the steering column as I don't think it will be needed and it is in the way..... The driving position should be pretty good the way it is now, the only thing I will have to change will be to re-make the shifter rod to come up and back to a more comfortable reach.


Back from the dead. Been spending too much time on my other neon.

I decided to jump into my least favorite job.... the destroyed doors..... I started by straightening them as best I could and welding the big tears. I am hesitant to add new steel in as I am doing a rat rod and want as much of the original look on the outside as possible. I ended up swapping the doors side to side to get as much of the "good" door left matching to the cowl. The entire bodywork of the car was supported by wood which had rotted away 50+ years ago so the car is very crooked in some spots. After 10+ hours of work, I have the drivers door area almost ready to tack in. My plan is to seal the doors and just step over to get in. The body will be a lift off including fenders, cowl, doors, and running boards.







Back from work. Installed the main frame on the drivers side door. I also trimmed the top down so it matched the rear body work. A few more hours on this door then I can go tackle the other side.




I finished the framing for the inside of the body. I will be taking the door skins back off eventually to work them more or perhaps look for some replacements. I will be skinning the inside of the doors cabin in 16 gauge steel which will be screwed onto this frame. It will give it more rigity and protect in any crashes. Back to work away from home for 2 weeks....





Also built a mini hoist hanger to hang off the main beam in the roof to lift the bodywork off. It only weighs about 500 lbs so I am not worried about damaging the house.


I lifted the body off for the frame with the overhead hoist. The front fenders and rad shell will come with it too eventually.


In this picture you can see there was a 1.5" gap between the bottom of the body and the top of the frame near the back. The body was actually resting on the rear passenger strut tower and the old hinges I had at the back. I lowered the strut tower and I think I may have to lower the engine a few inches to have the right suspension geometery.



The steering column was at the wrong angle to be comfortable in the drivers seat so I modified the mounts to get a better angle, I plan on putting a quick disconnect on it so I can take it off to make getting in and out easier.



I was going to make a mock steel block that looks like original 4 cylinder dress it out with the intake, exhaust, valve cover, etc.... and use it as a fuel tank, but was a little worried about leaks.

Mounted the fender/running board to the main body. It require a little tweaking but I think it is looking pretty good so far. I need to blend the fenders in and do the fine trim on the bottom of the running board to clean up the line to match the fenders.





I had a few hours so I started to mini section the side aprons. I used 2" masking tape to mark the area to remove and removed with a zip disc. I also cut 2" out of the rear fender. The front fender actually had about 5" removed due to the angle it is at. At the front in the body line I moved it forward so it all lined up again properly. I ran out of time so I only tacked the front piece....



The otherside with the wheel pocket in the fender will be a challenge. I think I will just remove the pocket and fill the top.


One side is done so I lowered it down to the lowest the suspension would go to see how it looked. 35" to top of door and 2" of clearance. Finishing other side this weekend and building running boards again.



Assembled the front end and put some rims on it to check clearances before I bought tires.






With the car fully sitting on suspension for the first time I checked ground clearance / fender clearances. I know the rear tire is not centered in the fender but the body is not bolted in correct position currently.


 
Last edited:

LeVeL

Forum Addict
Joined
Jun 16, 2007
Messages
12,858
Having seen quite a few chops in my time, I can tell that there are few pixels missing... :p Awesome project!
 

kberjian

Active Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
179
Location
Alberta, Canada
Car(s)
1955 Buick, 1929 Willys, 2004 SRT-4
Been very busy lately with life stuff like teaching the godson how to weld/cut/metal work so we built him a little push car.


And building bunk beds for the hockey player exchange students my wife wanted to host...



And failing to get my neon ready to hit the salt flats this year. Was going to scramble to get down there until mid July when I found there are no tires available left this year. Guess I am just taking my truck down for the 130mph club.

 

JipJopJones

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Messages
4,479
Location
North Shore
Car(s)
1979 Cressida Wagon, 1981 Corolla Hardtop
Love the push car! I wish I had someone to teach me all that fun stuff when I was young.
 

kberjian

Active Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
179
Location
Alberta, Canada
Car(s)
1955 Buick, 1929 Willys, 2004 SRT-4
I kinda went crazy with it and wired it for headlights/brake lights and mounted a little 12v battery in the back of it behind the seat.
 

kberjian

Active Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
179
Location
Alberta, Canada
Car(s)
1955 Buick, 1929 Willys, 2004 SRT-4
I decided to bite the bullet and do the right fix for the back half issues I have been having inlcuding: the body was almost rubbing on the top of the coilover mounts, the suspension did not have enough travel, the engine was almost hitting inside of the trunk....

I removed 2.5" of vertical height out of the rear frame to lower the engine and suspension that amount. I also added in the gussets I wanted on one side. The plans to finish this area of the frame off are to box both "stubs" of the original frame that are sticking out, and add in the gusset to the other side.


 

kberjian

Active Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
179
Location
Alberta, Canada
Car(s)
1955 Buick, 1929 Willys, 2004 SRT-4
Finished welding the front crossmember up on the top side.

Reinstalled the engine/transmission and rear suspension. Bolted up some slicks to it to see how they would fit.


Dropped the body back on to see how the clearances look with the adjusted frame. It gave me about 1.5" of clearance under the body to the frame and engine. Only problem was the slicks do not fit under the fender.... Since the tires I run in the end will be that wide, I will be widening the fenders by 1.5" by adding in a strip at the top of the crown.


 

kberjian

Active Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
179
Location
Alberta, Canada
Car(s)
1955 Buick, 1929 Willys, 2004 SRT-4
I attacked widening one of the fenders last night. I ended up going with a 2.5" addition that was added in along the flattest portion of the fender. Masked out the straight line, cut it apart, tacked in additional material while struggling to form it correctly. I am pretty happy with how this one turned out. I will need to add the bead roll along the bottom of the back of it as well. This leaves a solid 3/4" clearance for the tires on the inside. I might get wider slicks/tires to fill it up more.




 

kberjian

Active Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
179
Location
Alberta, Canada
Car(s)
1955 Buick, 1929 Willys, 2004 SRT-4
Made a new running board to match the wider fender out of 16 gauge. Also tried out the new bead roller to attempt to recreate the body lines on the ruined doors. It worked ok, but I will need some more practice before I possibly ruin a full sheet.






Had fun messing around with the bead dies for a bit then tried one of the flanging dies. Apparently if you have too much tension it shears it.....

 

JipJopJones

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Messages
4,479
Location
North Shore
Car(s)
1979 Cressida Wagon, 1981 Corolla Hardtop
Nice. I'd love to have the resources to be able to do something like this. Maybe down the line in a few years or so. My inner grease monkey has been itching to get out as of late, and I haven't had a proper outlet for quite a while.

I assume you're just sort of learning as you go along? If so that's awesome!
 

kberjian

Active Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
179
Location
Alberta, Canada
Car(s)
1955 Buick, 1929 Willys, 2004 SRT-4
I am absolutely learning my my own mistakes as I go along.... but it is a lot of fun.
 

captain_70s

Forum Addict
Joined
Aug 6, 2008
Messages
6,209
Location
Glasgow, Scotland
Car(s)
'77 Triumph Dolomite 1300 + '83 Triumph Acclaim
I like the way your are keeping/adding the running boards. Always think 'rods look better with them.
 

kberjian

Active Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
179
Location
Alberta, Canada
Car(s)
1955 Buick, 1929 Willys, 2004 SRT-4
I tried rolling a full length sheet of 18 gauge for the door skin with the narrow lower bead. The first roll went great, but the second roll tore the sheet for about 4" about 3/4 of the way through. Due to only being able to get/transport the 2'x4' sheets of 18 gauge, I will be doing a long splice and using two pieces to fill the height of the door anyway. I will probably cut off this roll and try again another night....
 
Top