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More Speedster thoughts. Opinions needed.


Well-Known Member
Okay, I was in the shower and had a thought. Yea, more info than you needed. Well, anyway, I was thinking about a Speedster body and that a frame could be made out of 1 inch square tubing. Then the body panels could be attached with rivets and I'd want the rivets to stay. In fact, I'd want the rivets to be very visible. Think of an airplane type skin look. I'm not sure the rounded edges could be square tubing, but the rivets would still attach to rounded.

Is this something that could work? Fabricators.... feed my imagination!:lol:
You would have to use pop rivits, but it would work. A simple design without any compound curves, would be semi-easy to do on your own. I like the idea. :cool:
I'm not going to comment on the shower thing! :rolleyes:

There is a problem with the square tubing. When you make a bend in it, the inside and outside radius' collapse making riveting nearly impossible. Building the sub-frame for the body is easy to do using angle stock. I would suggest going to a sheet metal fab shop and have them brake up some 14g. or 12g. angles for you. Have them broke in various sizes, like 3/4"x3/4", 1"x1", 1"x1-1/2", etc. Also pick up a couple of 2'x4' piece of 14g. and / or 12g.

Look at the illustration below. The frame work from 'A' to 'B' is what you want to build. You just need to widen it. The only parts that need to be curved are the tops of the 'A' and 'B' frames. This can be done by cutting out the curved surfaces from the sheets of materal you bought. Then trim the angle where the curve will be and weld the curved sections you cut out in it. It would help to build a buck from plywood to get the shapes you want.

For the skin, you want to use 20g. cold rolled sheet steel. It is easy to cut and form. It is advisable to add a wire edge to the back side of the cowl skin. Makes for a nice finished look and dosen't leave a sharp edge. The fire wall materal is 16g. sheet. By use in 16g., you can roll some charater beads in it.

Rivets would be cool, but botton head machine screws are even cooler. I don't know about pops, they leave that ugly worm inside.

Just a little more fodder for you Fred. Now jump back in the shower and see what else you can think of.

Opps. Forgot the Illustration! here you go...
Aw shucks... that isn't workin'. The cowl frame work at the bottom of the page is what I'm refering to. The section from the seat to the firewall.

Thanks for the input, guys. I'm just tossing ideas in my head. I found a company that makes the body I like and it comes painted with upholstery. The bad part is, at $1,500 it would be a big part of the budget I have thought out for this. Something that one of you guys could fab is what I'm looking for. If I give my money to someone, I'd like it to be friends who need it for a job well done. I kinda want to keep this build in-house, as it were. With the talent on this board, I want to see what we come up with and do business with you guys.

Now....... I need to go scrub my back and think of more stuff to do.:rolleyes:
the pop rivets you want are true aircraft quality pieces, as the hardware store units are ment for pop riviting that lower panel back into your screen door and other whimpy tasks. Aviation units use a much better and stronger design, and should be properly sized for the thickness of the material your going through. this gets kinda expensive quick

a different option is cheap rivits, but use them just for looks, and instead spot weld the panels to the substructure where ever your putting a rivet, this way you get the look, the weld takes the stress, and the rivet covers the distortion of the weld

lots of steel fab shops have "pinch" style spot welders like used in the auto industry, and lots more have stud welders that can be used as a stop welder with the proper tip

for the substructure, if you want to use tube, file the tube with dry sand before trying to form the tube, this helps it keep its shape quite well and is worth a try. use VERY dry sand if you intend to heat the tubes to help shape them....more later when i think of it, lol
i have a tubing bender that supposedly will bend square tubing.. the bender itself is kind of pricey.. i've never used it on square stuff, so i'm not sure about it.
but it will bend the crap out of round tubing from 1" up to 2" with the correct dies..

Pipe Bending Machine, Tube Benders, Square Tubing Bender

another option for you is a shrinker/strecher, it would take a while to make the bends, and the fabrication, but it wouldnt be to tough to do i wouldnt think..

Shrinker Stretcher Set - Eastwood Metal Working Tools
Would a strecher/ shrinker work on 14g.?

yea that one i put a link to does 18ga.

you could build the frame and on the corners make a pattern for the top and bottom radius piece's and then just box the corners in.. then pop rivet to that.. dunno if that was a clear explantation or not..

something else you could do is make the frame from round tubing, and then weld tabs to that, then attach the panels to the tabs with rivets. i've seen people to rivet to round tubing also.
I've seen one of these bodies. They are very well built.

Fiberglass...Dick and his crew have been laying up bodies from a lot of years. They do an excellent job.

hotrod or carcraft has an article on a 2 seater speedster made of aluminum, all hand built, round tube underframe it was the guys first body he built..

think i would build a 2 seater, always funner to have someone on the passenger side to yell at :D`

That's a nice setup, Youngster, but I'm thinking just a cowl that gradually goes to the floorboard and two bomber seats mounted on a wooden platform.

If you look in my build pics, you'll see a pic and a video of me sitting on a wooden box that I used for a seat mock up. It was during that time that I got the initial thought on building a Speedster. In my mind, the only purpose of the cowl would be to support the windshield and have a place for the gauges to mount. In fact, a '23 cowl would be perfect, just extend the distance from the dash to the firewall by about 8-12".

Thanks for tossing the pic out and while I have not been chatting about a Speedster for a while, the seed has been planted and funds are being put away to get her started this fall. Right now is my "research and developement" phase.

Keep a slot open for this fall. You're going to be doing the frame and RPM is slated to do some the radius rods. This is going to happen and I look forward to the start of....."Miss Fortune"!:)

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