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I've always thought the hard tonneau one of the coolest accessories to these cars, if the aerodynamic theory behind its justification was a little thin.

The streamlined driver's headrests of the '50s were equally cool, even if they were mostly justified by 'scientific' antecedents like this:


But I've noticed you've stepped up your game in the area of CAD design by using a box from a space heater/ventilation fan - technically, an aerodynamic device.

This attention to detail is not lost on us.



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Last edited by Sacto Mitch
@Sacto Mitch posted:


I've always thought the hard tonneau one of the coolest accessories to these cars, if the aerodynamic theory behind its justification was a little thin.

It makes total aerodynamic sense on a car with a driver-only windscreen, or none at all. Behind a full windshield, either glass or plexi, not so much.

I drive three quarters of the time solo, and mostly when it's warm, so I don't feel the need. Besides, I have the canvas tonneau that I can run with.

It's definitely cool, though.

Very nice, heavy workable stuff I wish I'd had when I started the project. Hammers out like

@DannyP is spot-on re the aero effect of it. The Germans tested and the tonneau was second only to the "Buckelwagon" design which authorities nixed for lack of rear visibility.

I do think the tonneau looks cool even with the full screen, as seen on the car from which I took inspiration.



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Last edited by edsnova

A number of times I got to watch a black man in his 80s hand form brass and Sheet Metal for Stanley steamers the man was so proud of  is work he was always eager  to show interested people his craft in every detail. Unfortunately before I realized this would have been a great stop on the Pumpkin Run in Pennsylvania sadly, Clarence passed away

Last edited by Alan Merklin


I had mostly frittered away four years at college without finding any academic discipline I especially wanted to devote the rest of my life to when I asked a teacher I respected for some advice.

He said not to worry about it much. We are who we are and will turn out mostly the same no matter which path we take. We'll succeed or not, prosper or not, lead or follow, be brilliant or not, and ultimately feel fulfilled or not whichever craft, profession, or enterprise we choose.

I'm amazed at the number of people who are 'finding themselves' through YouTube channels - turning their passions into focused pursuits for which there would never  have been dedicated booths at any career day seminar.

Maybe YouTube is the new home for those lost legions who would have, in simpler times, majored in Sociology.


Last edited by Sacto Mitch

I can still remember sitting at some high-school function, listening as some sort of speaker or another droned on about "following our passion". I remember laughing out loud as I sat there.

My passion at the time was fast cars and pretty girls, and at the time I could afford quality in neither of them. In my limited experience, it was already pretty clear that nobody was going to just give me the money required for either of them. Regardless, I was pretty sure that if I followed my passions to their logical endpoints, I was more likely to end up in prison than being Time Magazine's "Man of the Year", so the whole thing kind of rolled off my back.

The "follow you passion" thing always sounded like the Haight/Ashbury philosophy of somebody who was blessed with either good looks or a trust fund (or both) anyhow. It was understood that smart-mouthed punks from small towns in flyover country would need to work in order to acquire things. The trick was in the matter of finding a trade or craft (and that it would be something practical was without question) which suited the raw material I'd been given, and which the marketplace would fairly compensate. I needed it to be tangible, something where I could directly see the results of my effort. Becoming a small cog in a mighty wheel was not going to cut it.

My problem was impatience. School seemed like kicking the can down the road, since I couldn't really major in women, cars, and heavy metal. I was wired to work, and so I worked. A lot.

I didn't have a friend named Steve Wozniak, so I wasn't going to "build the future". I'd grown up digging ditches and baling hay, and my lack of exposure to the nerve-centers of the Death Star left me with the distinct impression that my life's work would be... well... work. I understood that my vocation would probably not be a passion or a vacation, but rather something I'd need to get up and do every day for the next 50 years or so-- something I didn't actively hate, but also something I wasn't going to do just for the heck of it.

I was glad to eventually find something I was good at which was compensated at a level I felt was comparatively fabulous. My search was certainly not targeted in any way, and I doubt I would have chosen it if all of the options had been laid out in front of me. I certainly didn't leverage all of the raw material I'd been gifted.

But it suited me, and it turned out I was good at this thing and that people wanted to give me decent enough money to do it. It mashed buttons inside my head I didn't know I had. I wouldn't have done it for free, but I didn't mind the lousy stuff that drove most other people away. It was unquestionably better than any job that came before it. The stress that is baked in the cake releases just the right amount of adrenaline to clear my head and point me straight problems which need to be solved-- and if there has one thing I have consistently liked, it is an adrenaline high. The stubbornness that checkmated me in other undertakings drove me to solutions in this vocation. It's been a good fit.

My job afforded me the opportunity to explore many avenues I never would have had otherwise, and paid for things and experiences I never thought I'd have-- but I've never thought about doing it for fun. When I am done doing it, I'll be forever done with it.

I've got family and hobbies, and I try to live with a purpose greater than my own comfort in order to provide fulfilment. At the core, like most of us-- I'm selfish and lazy, and I've tried to shake these tendencies off. "Following my muse" has always seemed like a great way to make sure that nothing I did really mattered to anybody but me.

I know that there are people for whom work is something they'd do for free, but they seem to be outliers and freaks of nature to beat up old pipefitters like me. I look at it the same way I look at professional athletes or titans of commerce or exceptionally attractive people-- it's nice for them, but it has no relevance whatsoever to my situation. I feel like my situation is more common than not.

I'm running what I've got, and what I've got is baked in the cake. I'm not chasing after any rainbows until my slice of cheese is well and fully moved. I figure I'll know when that time comes. If that means I'm forever a small fish in a small pond, I'm 100% good with it... as long as I've got a family who loves me, a decent place to live, cars to tinker with, and some purpose larger than myself.

We should all be so blessed.

By the way, I don't fall into that hippy dippy find yourself bucket. I just have never known exactly what I wanted to do. I did know what I found interesting and ended up lucking into jobs that turned into careers, until I would be lured away into something else. Any efforts I exerted in shaping my my job paths failed for the most part. I got used to people saying "no."

I never thought I was describing you (and hoped you'd know I didn't mean you)-- just all of the gauzy "guidance" I received back in 1980 or so.

I preferred fast girls and pretty cars but whatever.

I flailed most of my life but that was the era we grew up in. I was a world class dope so my dad put me in aircraft school so the former military guys could slap me around some -it worked. From there everything seemed achievable.

Now, my son is graduating from a maritime academy. A whole lot smarter than I ever was. I told him repeatedly about all the things my dad tried to teach me and failed. Seems like some of my chiding stuck.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

It’s common this time of year to reflect on life and the things for which we're thankful.  I try to make it a daily habit and lately in these reflections I've stumbled onto something I’m continuing to ponder.  It seems to me the things of which we are most afraid, and the things for which we are most thankful, are largely things that are out of our control. Mmmmmm.
Anyway, I have been a lucky man.  I still am.  I have done many, many things to keep the wolves at bay.  I’ve made it, lost it all, made it again, lost it again, and managed to land on my feet yet another time.
Somehow, in spite of my tracing parabolic family finance curves, my wife and I raised two daughters that are way more accomplished in their 20’s than most in their 30's.  They're real braggin’ material and they make my heart swell to bursting.  I tried to instill in them the ability to take a risk and to live a life with purpose.
I also tried to let them know that the myth of “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is a myth.   I’m lucky now to be doing something I adore, and as a result I work harder than I ever have done.  (Dad's philosophy tenet number 67: If it proports to be a life philosophy, but it fits on a bumper sticker, it's probably a punch line.)
No matter what we do, there’s always an element of work.  Don’t avoid the work, revel in it.  Work is restorative, it can give meaning and context to all that we do. It's the only thing that moves mountains.
Everything I’ve done has in some way informed the things that followed. I still use things daily that I learned as a doorman.  The kind of care and planning that goes into working a job site in 38 degree rainy weather without freezing to death, can make a budget meeting with a board of directors a much more pleasant experience.  And even if that meeting gets unpleasant, one can always seek comfort in the knowledge that at least an icy trickle of water isn’t currently running down your butt crack. (Could be worse. Could be raining).
Nothing is waisted and effort is always rewarded…eventually, and not always how you’d pictured it.  There’s always something new to learn, and wonder can always be found in the gifts, expertise, and fortitude of those around you.
I’m no where near as eloquent as our Donald Hall of the pipe fitters, but he inspires me to share.  Thanks for all the hard work, Stan.  Happy Thanksgiving to all.

The buck starts here.


As usual, we're starting with scraps I happened to have saved from other misadventures.


The wide end pieces have previously served as a boat engine hoist and probably for some other things. They're PT and over a decade old—nicely seasoned, straight and hard as rock.


According to the profiles I took of the dash and rear scuttle, most of that closest piece above needs to be planed away. And I don't have a power planer or even an old school hand plane.

The flat pieces of cardboard and masonite I used to find the shape both seemed to lay-in just fine, but I couldn't really affix them at all four corners for a careful study all by myself.

Going to have to think about the next step, including whether maybe the next step is a full-scale mock-up in papier mache or carved foam to get the real news in 3-d.


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Just an aside, but the mention of the Mosquito (aeroplane, that is), in terms of the relationship between wood and metal, made me think of my father.

He was an untrained bucksaw carpenter, but was employed during WWII to build Mosquitos here in Canada.  He could build almost anything out of lumber - he once build our house using the plans he kept in his head - and I guess that's what was needed when putting together a plywood airplane.

So, never underestimate what can be done with a few sticks of wood.

Right, Ed?

Having never done this before, I'm no expert, but I guess making the form will take at least as long as the finished piece. I'm 4 hours into the project right now. If it takes another 10-12 to get the buck right, that's no big deal.

The actual part will only be 3-5 pieces: two plates with attachment studs to be riveted on the back, the main cover, and maybe a bit of angle tucked in along the door edge to stiffen it up.

This sheet material wants to be formed, so I'm hoping once I get the buck just right it won't be too terrible a struggle to make the actual tonneau.

@Sacto Mitch teak is too expensive for me but as an TD replica owner I agree polished wood looks pretty cool on an old car.

Ed, you might try emailing or calling Wray Schelin (Sha-Leen) at Pro Shapers for his advice on how to shape that.

He's about the best there is and runs regular classes on metal shaping.

My guess is he'll tell you to segment the buck more with narrower strips slightly apart to get the curves and flow you need, but whado I know.....  Tell him what you have for tools available and see what he comes up with.

Tell him that Gordon from the Porsche 356 club sent you - He should remember.

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

It is, I believe, slightly arched toward the outside edge. It will be folded over on the front and flanged on the other three edges, with the inside edge rounded over and the outside and rear flat at 90-ish degrees.

Here's what a real one looks like, flipped over (as stolen from


Gonna re-check the front-rear profiles tonight and transfer them to the edges of the 2x lumber. If the shape is as I think, I'll dig out my dado blades and run that last board on my table saw six or eight times, adjusting the depth as I move across to get the curve right, then finish with the belt sander this weekend. Pretty sure I'll want a solid or near-solid buck for this.

If it's curved like I think, the rear flange would be the only tricky one—and should not be too hard to fold in since the area under the panel is completely open. Think of it as a pleat. You could hide a couple of them under the mounting plate for that far pin and they'd be basically invisible.

Or (and!) before I even set it down on the buck, I can roll the whole panel in my little  bead machine, using two rollers with no bead, to stretch the top just a little and make it want to curve, as in an English wheel. I've also requested a set of spoiler dies for Christmas, which could impart a pretty major curve across the panel directly if needed (it won't be though).

Thanks, @Gordon Nichols, for reminding me of Schelin. If I still lived in Fairfield I'd probably indenture myself to him for a bit. I will reach out. There is certainly an order of operations to this that will make it either comparatively doable or damn near impossible. Maybe he'll tell me.


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Thanks for the picture Ed.  If I was doing this, I would wheel the panel to get the arch, and then I would make a set of tipping dies for my bead roller.  You can tip the flange in about 20 degrees each pass and get it close and finish with a hammer and dolly. In the curved corner I would try to shrink the metal, if you have one available.


Ed,  check out the videos by Lazze, he is a master of metal working.  Unlike others, he is not a big believer in beating up the metal with hammer and shot bag, but prefers to work the metal into shape thru wheeling and shrinking/stretching.  I had never done any metal shaping before watching his and Wray’s videos, and was able to make motorcycle fenders  after a few tries.

The front fender in the last picture on Trusty Rusty is one I made.


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Last edited by LI-Rick
@LI-Rick posted:


Ed,  check out the videos by Lazze, he is a master of metal working.  Unlike others, he is not a big believer in beating up the metal with hammer and shot bag, but prefers to work the metal into shape thru wheeling and shrinking/stretching.  I had never done any metal shaping before watching his and Wray’s videos, and was able to make motorcycle fenders  after a few tries.

The front fender in the last picture on Trusty Rusty is one I made.

Nice work, Rick. I'll have a look at Lazze's vids.

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