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Behind the Build: Pat Ganahl’s Cross-Country Cruiser

If you were with us last month for the introduction, teardown, and subsequent new chassis building of Pat Ganahl’s cross-country cruiser Fordor sedan, go on and skip to the next paragraph if you’re not in the mood for repetition. For those who weren’t, here’s a quick recap: We’re devoting a series of articles overviewing the concept (making personal concessions for a comfortable, reliable hot rod to travel across the States with his wife alongside—and driving) and construction of Pat’s 1933 four-door, which he’s graciously employed his son Bill to handle the bulk of at his NorCal shop, South City Rod & Custom. So, let’s pick up where we left off.

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With the sedan’s chassis complete (to roller stage), Bill had but a few minor details to wrap up: installing the engine and transmission, fabbing up the exhaust system, plumbing the brakes, fitting the body, repairing/modifying various sheetmetal, building a trans tunnel, gapping the body and related sheetmetal, and so forth and so on. OK, so maybe not such a short list, but with Pops waiting down in SoCal to get the car so that he could get it all dialed in to his liking before embarking on his long haul, Bill was definitely keeping his eye on the clock.

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On a deadline maybe, but the younger Ganahl didn’t rush any of the abovementioned just to get ’er done. Fulfilling the elder Ganahl’s request for “fab detail,” Bill got rather crafty when recessing the firewall to accommodate the small-block Chevy, which in turn he cleverly worked into the transmission tunnel and toeboards built to accommodate the adjoining 700-R4 overdrive. Even the exhaust, though based on a Flowmaster U-Fit builder’s kit with their new HS2 laminar-core mufflers, was laid out within the Model 40 chassis’ tight confines and built with blueprint accuracy. And when it came to fabricating the sedan’s new rear floor section, no corners were cut, rather, holes were cut and blisters subsequently made for ladder bar clearance where the seat pan crossbrace integrates into the main floorpan section.

Next month we’ll wrap things up at South City before taking a drive up to San Gabriel Valley for a visit with Pat to see the nearly finished project—and get his personal perspective on the sedan, and quite possibly a few other things as well! Stay tuned …



The small-block Chevy and its 700-R4 transmission don’t afford a whole lot of room to stretch when stuffed between a pair of 1933 Ford ’rails, so to help ease the situation, Bill Ganahl opted for a Walker OE-style radiator with a Cooling Components Slim Line combo fan/shroud unit, which tucks nice and tight beneath the top tank …

… giving the fan-less SBC plenty of breathing room once it’s dropped in place. A front cradle mount (as opposed to side mounts) allows clearance for the Vega cross steer components as well as the center-dump exhaust manifolds.

To get the shifter back where he (and Pat) wanted, Bill modified the mounting bracket setup to locate off the tailshaft rather than over the top of the transmission case—which ultimately afforded a better fit/more clearance beneath the floor.

A Flowmaster U-Fit kit definitely saved Bill some time with the exhaust system, but he still had to squeeze it all in between the framerails—without it looking like it was squeezed in!


Using three-bolt collector flanges and hangers in the right places not only eliminates having to plot long runs of exhaust tubing, it makes for an easy install/disassembly too.


Speaking of easy, terminating the exhaust in front of the rear wheels is a direction many take—but not in this case. Up and over the 9-inch Bill went, bringing the tail pipes clear out past the rear framehorns, just like it ought to be.

With the first “fab detail” requirement of Pat’s complete, it’s onto the next detailed fabrication tasks: modifying sheetmetal.


Rather than install a whole new recessed firewall (another easy way out), Bill and Pat clearly agreed on keeping the original intact and (not-so) simply adapting the points of interference accordingly, beginning with the setback for the distributor and valve covers

… which transition directly into the transmission tunnel and out to the toeboards.


Essentially, Bill fashioned up an elaborate recess box out of cut and folded sheetmetal, as such.


The tranny tunnel and toeboards followed, with a bit more time taken dealing with component clearance, such as the pedal assembly, shifter, steering column, and so on.


The firewall and forward floor section are fixed, so of course they were welded in place. The tunnel is removable, so after being fitted, it was taken out and finished properly, including a nice little endcap.

Forward-most “fab detail” work commenced once the firewall recess was fully welded up and metal-finished. But there’s still more … plenty more.

Moving backward, the sheetmetal work continued with the rear floor section. Here, Bill has already made new inner subfloor channels to mount the rear of the body to the frame.


Since the main floors in the sedan were in such good shape, in order to provide travel clearance for the rear ladder bars, Bill simply added two pockets made out of sliced tubing.


Next, he whipped up a new rear floor, bead-rolled for rigidity, and welded it in place, wrapping up the major sheetmetal fabwork on the project. But he still had some further sheetmetal-related chores to tackle.

With the body mounted atop its new chassis, now all the ancillary parts had to be properly fitted and gapped—from the rear fuel tank apron to the fenders and running boards and, of course, the hood and grille.

And as you’ll see next month when we wrap this series up, the ever-so-important aspect of incorporating the right wheel and tire size combo to accommodate the stance Bill built the sedan’s chassis to ride at. We’ll see you next month!

The post Behind the Build: Pat Ganahl’s Cross-Country Cruiser appeared first on Hot Rod Network.

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