My daughter and I have been working on her Speedster a bit at a time, almost 4 years now. I finally have a running chassis and good strong engine/drivetrain. Starting to fit the body and fenders. We bought the body outside Detroit some time ago, and its a bit of a DIY project.
It came as a bare body with a clean, uncut, wooden firewall. I made the critical cut to clear the engine and accessories and it fits pretty well. Also fit and attached the body attachment brackets. Getting ready to do the remaining cuts on the firewall for the steering column, etc.
The steering column seems to be from a later model car with a metal firewall. Putting the flange up against the wooden firewall with the lower end through the frame bracket, the shaft lacks about 3/4 in. from fitting fully into the bracket, the width of the firewall.
So my plan is to cut the firewall to allow the column to come forward to fully seat in the bracket, which should put the column flange just at the forward surface of the fire wall, then cut a metal disk to bolt the flange to and bolt the disc to the firewall.
Not as "Henry" built it per se, but then Speedsters weren't. Before putting saw to wood, does this seem like a reasonable plan, or is there a better idea?
Pics would be immensely helpful. I can tell you from fooling with my speedster that what you need to do is have your daughter sit in the seat and decide exactly at where she wants the steering wheel. That will dictate the angle and ultimately how you fasten the flange to the firewall. My steering wheel/column is lowered a good bit and I have a big fat angled wood block between the flange and the firewall, just some long carriage bolts going through everything.
I built my speedster body from plans available on the internet. I have the same problem with my 3/4" firewall thickness. Also the firewall is set back and is snug against the pan mount brackets. I am off 1.5" and don't have enough shaft protruding from the frame bracket to mount the steering arm. My plan is to cut 1.5" from the length of the steering tube. Is there any reason that won't work? Ed
Hi: There is a really neat cast aluminum spacer in Langs catalog. I just bought one for my project. Nice professional looking part. It fills the void left from lowering the column. You also need the wedge that goes under the lower bracket.
I ultimately lowered the wheel about 4-5 inches. The bride sized it up for me... she's 5'7" Also shown are the firewall wedges from hardwood and also make a bracket and mount the frame mounting bracket ON TOP of the frame rail. I also got rid of that stooped oil pan ball socket and went with adjustable frame mounted Heim joints. ws
The resident exspurts here all boo-hoo'd me for making several new steering parts, but I gotta say this: Henry Ford started somewhere with "torch welding technology" and a Neanderthal concept of metallurgy. The POLLINATOR runs a smooth 48 mph with no hands on the wheel for a block at a time anyways...
When I built my speedster, I mocked up the seating position first which included the height of the steering wheel, distances from the pedals, height and angles of the seat base and back. I figured the pedals were pretty well fixed, so progressed to the seat position, angles etc, and finally the position of the steering wheel - height and distance. A stock length of the upper steering column worked fine for me, I just needed to make an appropriate wedge to accommodate the flatter angle of the column.
Somewhat later, I committed the heresy of replacing the stock steering with a more modern steering box and that provides more options for angles and distances as well as increasing the stability of the steering on uneven surfaces.
A lower seat and different angles might have looked sexier but I was striving for an arrangement that I could drive all day without feeling abused. My body is no longer fond of the straight up back, sit on the floor with legs straight out routine.