Building "Doc Hudson"
June 23, 2006

This is what we started with... a Petty Craftsman Truck and a 1952 Hudson Hollywood Twin H.

The Petty truck came without engine and transmission. Mark single handedly removed the body and this is what we ended up with.

The 1951 Hudson Hornet sedan was purchased from the same gentleman that I got the Hollywood from.

Coincidentally, Paul was in town testing one of our Porsches, so it was easy for him to come to the shop and and get fitted to the car. Gunnar lends him a hand with steering wheel spacing.

It was all hands on deck...Newman is like the fairy tail where you can feel a pea through 30 mattresses. If the seat ain't perfect, he ain't sitting.

Here I clay and tape all the hidden nooks and crannies in the grill so I can duratec and glass the whole front of the car in one layup.

I already made the hood, and now that the front end is roughed in, we positioned it on the chassis just to see how much we had to cut to make it fit. The other Hudson was going to be the donor for the roof. Because the sedan has a more laid back rear window, I wanted to use this roof versus a coupe roof because the car will be better aerodynamically. Here Andy and Jack are helping me lay the material on the roof.

I am eliminating making plugs and molds for the end result parts. The reason is time, which we never seem to have enough of.

The other reason is if I made the part right on the car, the inside of the part will be smooth, giving the effect that it's a steel bodied car. Remember, a normal composite part has a texture of the material used on the inside. Here, I've duratec'd the whole right side of the Hollywood (because it is a custom car, there is no chrome) and I am applying resin for the first layer of 1-1/2 ounce mat.

Andy gives me a hand because this baby is close to 18 feet long and it's difficult to do with one guy, even if you slow the resin down.

After the 4 layers of material have been applied (3 mat, 1 cloth), I give the whole side a skin coat of filler, block it, and prime it with duratec.

Now you can see when the part is removed, it's nice and shiny on the inside and boy is this part long! You can see I have already primed one side of the car and am getting ready to prime the other.

Now I am claying up the trunk joints to make the joining apron for the left and right fender to connect.

While I am doing the composite work, Andy, Mark and Bret are tending to the mechanicals of the race car. Andy is inspecting and installing the oil system for the McLearen built 410ci Ford engine.

Little by little, but in a big hurry, parts are being thrown at the car from every direction.

Now I have to make a 4-door into a 2-door. I have already cut and sectioned the roof in 3 places to make it short enough for the coupe, but now I have to cut, hack and chop all these window pieces into the end result.

Andy is trimming the part made from the 51 while Bret is helping me fit the front grill clip to the fenders that are already glued to the chassis.

It's starting to take shape, things are fitting pretty good, but a lot of cutting going on.

Everytime we glue a part to the car, it gives us a few more hours of energy each day.

This is the first trunk lid, which will be used for the movie press photos. It's easier to block sand the fiberglass when its on the car because it doesn't move around. Before I even remove the roof section, I do the work while it's stationary.

Little by little, day by day, with 4 of us working on the car, it's amazing how fast it's getting done.

The positioning of the parts are precise to the picture. The picture we refer to was given to us by Pixar and that's how we built the car...from a picture.

Even the bumpers are composite. I made the parts right over the old bumper. The bumper overriders were made separately from the existing chrome overriders. I laid up right on top of them and cut them down the middle to separate them from the original part. I then glued the two halves back together (on all 4 overriders) then glued them to the bumper. The left photo shows the bumper about to be glued to the body, but first I will prime it black. The picture on the right is actually the bumper being made from the old bumper.

You can see me holding up the overriders just before attaching. Now I am cutting up the blinkers and the front bumper and grill for placement of the smile.

Everyday I am doing 4 projects at once and the boys are doing the other 20. The rear bumper is now duratec'd and ready for gluing to the body. The quarter windows end up being 15 pieces to pull off the "Doc Hudson" look.

Even though the bumper isn't chromed yet, we really got excited because it looks so cool and only weighed a couple pounds. The smile you see in this picture is not as intense as what you see on the finished car. This bumper was made to please the Pixar people in case we test or play with the car somewhere else. We can change the bumper and not make it look so "Doc Hudsonish".

Disney has rules as to where and what the car can do because of trademarks and we abide by these. After about the first week of working on the front bumper and grill, it is starting to take shape like the rendering that Pixar gave us. The car has been pushed outside for the first time to check the ride height. It hasn't been changed since we did it. A little tuning at Charlotte, but the placement of the body was perfect.

Bondo is my best friend, but the good news is that it's just skin coats to fill the pattern from the fiberglass.

Black primer and we're both smiling, except that I have to do the other quarter window now. The first one is always fun, the second one was the driver's side and I had to make the opening bigger so the driver could get in. This was a pretty complex job.

When everything is glassed together, then the bodywork starts.

The part had to be finish painted on the inside because there was no way to paint after it was installed. Here, the part is duratec'd on the outside and the gray paint has already been applied to the inside.

The tape keeps the mess away from the good stuff when I glass the windows to the car. Here, the part is glassed in and it's duratec'd. The last thing we'll do is cut the windows out.

The car comes into the booth because I can grind, paint, and have pretty good visibility because of the booth lights. The biggest benefit is the fan, the mess is sucked from the top and goes into the air cavity in the bottom, so we all stay a lot cleaner while a very messy job is being done.

We use any method we can to hold things in place while they are being glued. Here, the rain gutter flange is being held with a piece of aluminum attached from the spray booth wall to the top of the window. When the part is cured, its placement is perfect because of the friendly persuasion.

Now the real detail starts. The bumper is finished inside and outside, but not actually glued to the body yet. I am fine tuning the window area for placement of the plexiglass window.

The hood did fit perfect at one point, then I turned around and it didn't on one side. To get a perfect fit, I did what you call a "Frankenstein cut". One cut didn't work so I had to do it twice. The part relaxed enough and then I re-glassed the slits I made with a buzz saw. After a little more bodywork, she fit perfect. The front end is ready to be glued. The clekos hold it in place while I glass the two parts where the seam has been roughed up.

It's hard to see, but there is a spoiler on the back that Bret's been making. We used an aluminum hinge and hard riveted it to a piece of aluminum that was glued to the decklid. Later, you'll see where we used NASCAR turn buckles to support the spoiler. Sometimes we go so fast that we forget to take pictures. I don't even have a picture from when I primed it or painted it in the spraybooth...oops! But, here's the grill and bumper painted with ALSA chrome. This is amazing shit. I painted it on a black base, but shortened the cure time because I discovered if the base paint wasn't fully cured (5 days required), the chrome took on an antique or black chrome look, which really made it look like the character rendering.

Bret is putting the rollbar padding in the cockpit while Mark, Andy, Dave and I are drinking beer. Notice that the emblem takes on a different layout. PL is for Paul Leonard, and instead of saying Hud-Son, on the bottom, we wanted it to say Doc-Hud. The piece sign is what I hope for after my customers see what we've been doing instead of working on their cars.

We haven't placed the windows in yet, but after this picture was taken, it was in the trailer an hour later on its way to Charlotte.

Here's the build crew: Mark Schomann, Andy Jensen, yours truly, Bret Plazak, and Dave Schnorr.

This is about 30 seconds before going in. The driver and passenger windows are removed because it is about 8 million degrees in the car. Goodyear supplied new tires, which we installed at the Petty shop before the whole show started in Charlotte. The car is currently at Preston Henn's Swap Shop Drive-in and is destined to be at the Pepsi 400 at Daytona next week. We really enjoyed this project, but now it's back to work and we will catch up some decade....ha ha!!

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