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Steel Reproduction Bodies

Story & Photos By Jim Clark (The Hot Rod MD)

Steel Reproduction Bodies are now available for many of the classic hot rod and muscle cars that we all lust for. The list includes: early Fords, Tri-five Chevys, Chevelles, Firebirds, ’47 to ’54 and ’55 to ’57 Chevy pickups, a new Mopar Challenger coupe plus the whole spectrum of Mustang and Camaro Pony-cars.

Four decades ago when we were contemplating the creation of “Street Rodder” magazine there were no reproduction bodies like these available because the technology needed to create them economically had not yet been developed. Tom McMullen resisted our efforts to introduce the magazine because he felt that the old car supply would soon be exhausted and limit the potential readership.

Based on the technology at the time his reasoning was sound but fortunately he came to agree with our blind faith in the future of the old car market and authorized the introduction of the magazine. Pioneers like Dee Wescott from Wescott Automotive and Dick Williams from Poli-Form at the time introduced quality fiberglass reproduction bodies for many of the popular early Ford models.

These fiberglass bodies continue to offer a viable alternative to the all-steel bodies for those builders on tight budgets or wanting some other body styles not currently available in steel. The steel bodied reproductions really took off when a number of ’32 Ford roadster bodies were created. Their success has led to the explosion of steel bodies now available. This is further aided by the recent inclusion of the later model vehicles in the traditional hot rod events and activities.

Included here is a sample of the wide variety of steel reproduction bodies currently available as of this writing. New models are being introduced as demand dictates so if the one that you are hoping to build is not yet available, check out the web sites of the various companies offering reproduction bodies.

Ford Model-Ts

Shadow Rods new “LRHC Roadster” & “LRHC Roadster Pick Up”. The XL27- designed to fit ‘32 frames... and you! The two XL27 body styles have been designed larger than an original 1927 with the overall interior cockpit similar to a 1932 Ford roadster. Made larger overall: 3" taller, 2" wider, and 4" longer doors. Redesigned to fit ‘32 frames, original and aftermarket. Not an exact reproduction of the original ’27 Ford Model-T but a refined version based on the original.

Model-As & Deuces

Brookville Ford Model-As ’28-’29s and ’30-‘31s are available in both roadster and roadster-pickup versions. They are offered in completely stock configuration and with minor modifications that make them more suitable to mount on modified frames like the ’32 Ford’s.

Brookville Ford Model-Bs ’32s are available in roadster and roadster-pickup versions; plus a 1932 Ford 3-window coupe. They fit on original or reproduction ’32 frames and come either completely stock or with minor modifications such as smoothed cockpit opening on the roadster and an altered cockpit on the roadster pickups.

United Pacific Industries 1932 Ford 5-window coupe body was created from the beginning with only two options: (1) Original open insert roof, or a steel filled roof 
(2) With cowl vent, or without. It was created with precision tooling that accurately produces every panel exactly as original. It is only available with the standard height top so you can have it original or chop it to suit your own tastes.

Dearborn Deuce manufactures an all-steel 1932 Ford roadster body with a fully disappearing convertible top. Several body design changes were necessary in order to package this top mechanism in a '32 roadster. They kept them as subtle as possible, to preserve the original look of the standard vintage '32 roadster body. The doors have been stretched 3" rearward to meet the new top. They are reshaped at their front edge to bring the side glass forward. The cowl was reworked to accept a specially designed windshield that meets the side glass. The new side glass is curved, and it has been tooled exclusively for this car. It’s a great alternative to the stock roadster for anyone needing the weather-tight comfort of a convertible while maintaining the traditional roadster look.

‘33/’34 Fords

SAR (Steve’s Auto Restorations) produces these 1933 / 34 Ford steel roadster and roadster-pickup bodies. All bodies are built with die-stamped 19-gauge sheetmetal components that are assembled in precision fixtures under the SAR roof. Bodies are fully welded and feature full internal steel reinforcements, fit and hung doors featuring "bear jaw" latches and strikers, recessed and welded small or big block firewall, and fully welded floor and transmission hump. Smooth cowl top, hidden door hinges, and stock trunk lid are standard, but bodies can be built with cowl vent, stock style door hinges, and rumble lid. SAR (Steve’s Auto Restorations) Also produced this all steel version of the 1934 Ford 3-window coupe. It was built to the same standards as the roadsters but in a limited production run. They are not currently available but may be produced in another future production run.

Fat-Fendered Fords

Dennis Carpenter offers this all-steel “Ford officially licensed” reproduction of a 1940 Ford coupe. All of the structural details of the original Ford floor pans and body braces are accurately recreated and are stamped into high-strength 19-gauge thickness steel. Thicker 16-gauge steel is used in making some of the heavier bracing. The entire body is coated inside and out with a weld-thru silver primer that protects the sheet metal from corrosion. This classic Ford is one of those cars that seem to be on every hot rodders want list.

Tri-Five Chevys & Pony/Muscle Cars

Real Deal Steel is a source producer of a number of the steel reproduction bodies on the market. They currently offer a 1955 Chevy convertible, 2-door hardtop and 2-door sedan, 1956 Chevy convertible, 1957 Chevy convertible and 2-door hardtop. They also produce the 1940 Ford coupe exclusively offered by Dennis Carpenter. Real Deal Steel is also affiliated with Thoroughbred in offering these Mustang and Camaro pony-cars.

EMI (Experi-Metal Inc.) is a pioneer in the production of replica steel bodies and is the source for some of the offerings from companies that offer reproduction bodies. They produce what is known as a “body in white”. Their description of this process is as follows. Body in white refers to the stage in design or manufacturing when a product’s sheet metal has been welded together, thus the body “shell” but before painting occurs. The term “body in white” is derived from manufacturing practices prior to steel when automotive bodies were created on separate chassis with the engine, suspension and fenders attached. Wooden bodies with thin metal sheets on the outside were then bolted to the frame and then painted with a white primer. To date they have created ’55 and ’57 Chevy convertibles, ’32 and ’34 Ford coupes, their first hot rod type venture a ’32 Chevy roadster plus some late-model bodies.

Mustangs, Camaros, SUVs & Pickups
Dynacorn has been supplying replacement sheetmetal for classic vehicles for a long time. That led to the production of complete replacement classic bodies. Their extensive offerings include: GM models ’67, ’68 & ‘69 Camaro coupe and convertible, ’69 Firebird coupe and convertible, ’70 Chevelle coupe and convertible, ’47-’50 & ’52-’54 Chevy pickup cab and ’55- ’57 Chevy pickup cab. Ford models ’65-’66 Ford Mustang convertible, ’67-’68-’69 & ’70 Ford Mustang fastback & ’66-’76 Ford Bronco. New Mopar offering a 1970 Challenger coupe.


Steel reproduction bodies have made possible the continuation and growth of the hot rod and classic car marketplace. They replace hard-to-find original sheetmetal with rust-free new steel that, because of modern technology, have better fit and finish than the original. These new bodies are created as exact duplicates of the originals or with modern updates that make them more functional while retaining the appearance of the real thing.

Some reproduction bodies are produced exclusively by one source with no competitors offering to compete with. Others are available from multiple sources with different options. The investment needed to produce these very complicated reproductions limits the number of players so a few companies actually produce them for distribution by authorized dealers or contract customers. The list of available models and body styles continues to grow, so if you don’t find the model that you are hoping to build, a little patience may payoff, because new steel reproduction bodies are in the works and will be available soon.

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