Hemmings Blog is featuring Michael Lamm’s Unauthorized Auto Biography published in installments. Here is a teaser and a link to the first post. Look for new chapters every week or so.
The actual top surgery didn’t take long, just an hour or two. I ripped out the headliner, lowered the windows and began torching. I left the windshield header intact but cut through the metal roof section just behind it, door to door, then proceeded around to the pillars, quarter panels and the section below the rear window.
What I hadn’t realized was that Chevys of that day contained an inordinate amount of wood in their body structure, and I kept having to put out little fires as my torch moved through various wooden parts that connected the roof to the main body. And that brought home another big difference between Fords and Chevys of that period: Fords used mostly steel body framing and Chevys (in fact, all GM cars) used wood, which made Chevy bodies considerably weaker than those of Fords.
Well, right after I cut and lifted the top off my 1932 Chevy, I jumped behind the wheel, started the engine, and began backing down the concrete apron in front of Miller’s Garage. As it happened, the car had been parked on the apron at an angle, so when the rear wheels rolled down into the street, I could sense the body torque slightly, and I thought to myself, “Uh-oh, that doesn’t feel good.”