Manky's Pop project. - Part 2.

O.K, day 2 of the Pop build saw a different line up of Monkies back in the workshop. Tazet's away for the weekend & Janie & Dave were busy, so then there were 3 -Lunatic, PD & my good self. Flap arrived while we were still in the "Hmmm" stage -standing back, taking a good look at the job in hand & going "Hmmmm". He'd heard we had donuts. He stayed just long enough to plunder our comestible stash then buggered off to play with his Landrover. Nice to see you again anyway mate. Later in the day Mr & Mrs Lunatic Senior also came along to see what we were up to.
So- where do we start then?
Lots more bracing I think. We'd put a basic framework of lightweight tubes in before taking the body off the chassis & cutting the rear section off, but removing the roof would take with it any last semblance of rigidity. So a network of cross braces had to go in to minimise the risk of the whole thing collapsing like a big wobbly car shaped jelly thing. The doors, which we'd previously tack-welded shut, also had to come off at this point, which meant even more tubing. This thing's better braced than the Forth Bridge.
The original sills were supplied loose with the car when I bought it & closer inspection revealed why. The front ends had been repaired once before & rotted through again, while the bottoms of the A pillars where the sills attach were made up of 10% wafer thin steel & 90% filler.
I've checked the "Pop Brown's" catalogue & new sills go from 45 quid + VAT each to 95 + VAT, depending on the quality. They do A post repair panels for 85 quid + VAT each. So we'll repair what we've got with a sheet of new body panel steel from Loony's local supplier for 7 quid delivered.
I plan to run the Pop with an open sided engine bay -much discussion on the pros & cons of various engines has led me back to the tried & trusted, though boringly predictable, Rover V8 choice. So the inner wings have been junked with just a small spar from their top edge remaining to act as a brace for the bonnet flaps & rad grille. We've also trimmed back the A post leading edges to suit.
Luckily, someone's already done a pretty good job of filling the roof panel. After the War steel was in short supply so to save money Ford used a vinyl insert stretched over wooden spars in several of it's 40s & 50s models. A rodders' favourite trick is to use the large flat expanse of steel sheet from a modern car bonnet or van roof. The original roof spars are long gone but the windscreen pillars still have their wooden inserts to tack the headlining to.
I'd wanted to go for a 4 inch chop to bring the side windows down to the same height as the rear Moggy Minor one, but a phone call from PantherShaun, as we were literally poised to make the first cut, persuaded me to go for 3 instead. He & his helper, Grizz, were also chopping their Pop today & had stolen an early start on us. He advised me that 3 inches would bring the windscreen down to just over 7 inches tall, (he thinks that's the legal minimum), & that any lower would render the car undrivable. So 3 it was. Thanks Shaun.
Nothing very high tech about the actual cut. We measured halfway up the rear pillars from the swage line on the body, then 1 1/2 inches either side of that centre line to give us 3 inches. Fortunately the same moulded line ran through to the front pillars so they were marked, measured & a horizontal line drawn around each pillar on a band of masking tape.
Let the cutting begin! 
At this point we realised that if our braces didn't hold the thing as solid as a rock, the 4 corners would be left swinging about in space once the lid was peeled off.
Too late to go back now!
We now had a cabriolet cab. Or a pile of interestingly shaped scrap metal. The required 3 inches were then sliced off the pillars and the roof was plonked back on.
We were stunned to discover it actually fitted pretty damn well. The front windscreen pillars line up beautifully, with all the moulding lines flowing almost perfectly. Nothing that can't be finished to perfection with a little time & patience. Because the roof section's moved forward to line up the front pillars, the rears are about an inch too far forward. Sideways though, they're spot on. So we'll slice them off under the gutter line & slide them back to reattach in their original positions. With luck we won't even have to add any filler strips of steel into the rear of the roof panel as the cut line lines up with the bottom half of the pillars nicely.
Lunatic did a quick check of the symmetry of our cuts by making a cardboard template of one side of the windscreen, then flipping it over to check the fit on the other side. Spot on. Damn we're good! 
The front pillars are now virtually finish-welded with just a little fettling & smoothing off to do, while the rears are tacked in place for the time being to keep everything nicely aligned. Next time we'll slide the top of the rear pillars back & fully weld them too, before moving on to the doors.
Amazing what a difference 3 inches can make!  Much meaner looking now. Shaun was right, 4 would've been too much.
A bit more "Hmmmm" time -I'm having second thoughts about the green paint now! The black looks much more vintage &, much as I hate the very over-done satin black paint with red wheels combo, I like our red & cream logo against the black. Maybe get the body as straight as we can & go for high finish glossy black with the logo on each door & cream wheels to pick up on the cream in the logo? Perhaps with a simple red coach line along the swage line in the door panels, extending along the top of the pick up bed & the bonnet to tie it all in together?
Ahh well, time to roll it back inside for another night. All in all, a good day's work I think. Many thanks to Lunatic for his welding, (I'm not used to working thin sheet steel, as I mainly weld heavy gauge tube for trike frames). Also to PD for his able assistance. Thanks guys.