Technical tips and assembly

Design and Flexibility: Almost all of the street rod body manufacturers build their bodies in a "one piece" body shell design. This includes the upper and lower rear deck, inner drip rail, and firewall. This technique will not prevent the corners of your deck lid hole from cracking. In our separate panel construction, it puts each of these corners together with a bolt together seam. That will allow the body to flex, expand, and contract. This movement will escape to the bolt together seam, and not allow it to crack in the corners, even after many years of dramatic abuse. That is the way Henry Ford built the originals. They designed the factory bodies to withstand that type of flexibility. This also makes our body look far more authentic to the original. Have you ever looked closely at the inner deck area drip rail on our body or an original? Please do, and compare it to the Fiberglass competition. We use this assembly technique on our standard, traditional bodies. Even a fully boxed new reproduction frame will have enough flex to eventually crack the corners of your rear deck area. The only time that flex is not a factor, is in our new Uni-Body design. Please take the time to explore that concept on this website.
Consistent alignment and fit: In order to save you from as many difficulties as possible, we assemble our bodies on original stock Ford  frames, not mock jigs. We can also build your body on your specific frame, at no charge, to ensure a perfect fit with no shimming from body to frame. Each body panel, such as doors and deck lid, are fit an assembled in the body it belongs, to ensure a perfect fit for each part on each and every body assembly.
Chopper Gun or Hand Laid Fiberglass:This may be the most misunderstood procedure in the fiberglass process. Most fiberglass manufacturers brag that they utilize the "Hand Laid Fiberglass" feature as a selling point. This is quite deceiving. Whenever fiberglass material and resin are applied to any surface, every square inch of that material needs to be hand rolled. A special roller is used to smooth out the wet material and "roll" out all of the air bubbles, and to ensure complete saturation of the fiber material. This process is the same, no matter how the material is applied. Applying the fiberglass materials to a mold with a chopper gun allows for a more uniform material thickness, and for a smoother, more saturated, intertwined mesh of fibers. When a piece is said to be "Hand Laid", that is the process of taking a pre made piece of fiberglass mat, then saturating it with resin using a bucket and a brush when it is laid into a mold. This process leaves the patchwork of all the separate pieces of fiberglass mat that was applied to the inside of the finished part. Also it is allot more difficult to build up significant thickness of material in certain critical areas of the finished part. To build thickness, you would have to "hand Lay" several layers on top of one another.  The pre-made fiberglass mat that is used to "Hand Lay", is made with a chopper gun machine in the raw materials factory. The cost of a chopper gun machine is very significant, putting it out of reach of most smaller manufacturers. Have you ever heard of a boat manufacturer boasting that their products are "hand laid"? We here at Gibbon, hand roll all of our materials, and utilize chopper gun and hand lay procedures for our material application.
Glossy Gel-Coat finish: The finished surface of our products are not always glossy and shine like our competitors. The reason for this is very important. We use an expensive sandable Gel-Coat, that is designed for  primer and paint application. Most use glossy finish gel-coat that is very polishable, but not designed to painted. Also the gloss is effected by how finely polished the surface of the mold is. We do not maintain a polished mold surface for our products. To maintain that finish, the mold requires regular machine polishing to sustain that glossy surface. Even after 1 or 2 times over with a machine polisher, the crispness of the bodylines and contours will start to fade. Look closely at the detail on our body reveal lines in comparison to others. Many competitors molds are so overly polished, that the body reveal lines of their bodies lack any crispness of the edges and seem to fade into the panel instead of being a raised molding from a flat panel. It is a very obvious distinction when comparing the detail.
Wood or Steel Reinforcement: This topic is mostly a matter of opinion. Both types of reinforcement work well if installed properly. In our traditional bodies, we primarily utilize hard wood for many reasons. First of all, Henry Ford used wood reinforcement in all of his steel bodies when these were produced in his factories. This allows us to duplicate the factory look as close as possible. Also, wood absorbs resin and adhesive well into its grain to make a very durable bond. Our wood installations duplicate the original as close as possible including tack strips, top bows, package trays, etc, and makes for a much easier upholstery installation. For some critical areas, we will bolt in steel structures to add strength for door hinges, column mounting, etc. A complete steel structure inside a body that is not of D.O.M. roll bar material, does not improve the safety of their body. Explore these safety features incorporated into our Uni-Body design. For safety, we will be happy to upgrade your custom ordered body with a hidden or exposed roll bar for your project.
Our Goal here at Gibbon Fiberglass, is to build the finest reproduction body on the market, that will outlast any other built to date. In our 39 years of producing these bodies, we have addressed many issues that insure the durability and finish of our product. We would like to share that experience with you during your shopping, purchasing, or hot rod building journey.