Saturday, September 22, 2012

What A Difference A Drop Makes

Dropping the headlight bar was something at first I hesitant to do.  My reasoning was that it looked fine with the stock height bar.  But after searching out a few examples online of fendered '29s with '32 grills it was starting too look like it really did need to be done.

BEFORE headlight bar drop
AFTER headlight bar drop

 Here are the before and after comparisons.

And now that it's dropped and on the car, I'm so glad I did it.  Turns out that it's must-do for hot rods --who knew!

It's only about a 3 inch drop, but the difference it makes is quite large.  The bar is now crosses the center of the grill.  And with the lights lower, the whole 'face' of the car has better proportions.

In a previous post I showed you how I installed the fenders on the hi-boy roadster and how I made a '29 headlight bar fit a car with a 32 grill.

But dropping the ends of the bar needed skills I haven't mastered yet.  I found that out when I tried dropping it myself and failed.  Luckily the talented Mr. Pete Eastwood was accessible to me.  I see Pete at many local hot rod events, later I learned that he drops bars like the pro while reading how others do it on the HAMB.

The jig I made that I couldn't use.

Failure: Here is my overly elaborate scrap-metal jig I built to drop the bar.  But due to never seeing how it's done, I was out of my element.

After Pete showed me the simple jig that he made, mine looks like a joke!  I won't share secrets of the master, but Pete has made dropping headlight bars a science.  For him, it's child's play.
I can't show you Pete's jig, but I can share one detail of his work found on my freshly dropped Model A bar.

Take a look at this close-up photo of the bar end.  Maximum drop, but with a quality of a factory part.

Now look closer.  Maybe you didn't notice, but the 28/29 bar ends are actually upside-down.  Pete cuts the ends off just shy of the light mounting cups.  Then flips it over before welding it back on to the center while in his jig and probably after completing the drop.

This is to start the drop coming off the flat fender mount in the downward direction.  It's an easy cheat to get the best look and the space to use factory style bolts.
The stock bar points up from the mounting, the new bar points down.  You can see it on the stock bar bolted to my jig above for comparison.

When I picked it up from Pete I was more then happy with the result.  The soft S-curves gave it the classiest look.  Thank you Pete!