Aluminum tonneau

Somehow I ended up with a spare piece of 16 gauge 5052 aluminum sheet, exactly 2×4 feet. With the Spyder laid up on the rack for the winter I got to thinking about how to incorporate it into the project, as a finishing touch.

The answer was obvious: the hard half tonneau.

To refresh longtime viewers of this blog, and to inform new fans: I took my inspiration for this build from Spyder #550-0051, a French-delivered car that became a model for Revell and which now resides (I think) in Germany):

Mine’s a pretty good likeness, what with the blue with white darts, the full plexi windscreen, the five-across front grill bolts and the KPH speedometer.

REAL 550-0051
Poor Man’s version of 550-0051

Heck, I even got a cheeky replica license tag (show only!)

But to really get the look as close to perfect as we can (with the old Beck molds), I wanted an alloy half tonneau.

So I took a piece of cardboard and got going.

I made another copy out of masonite, then used that to guide my creation of a buck from some scrap wood.

I took profiles of the dash and rear cowl edge as well, then carved the buck with a dado blade, a router and a belt sander.

Then it was off to the YouTube School Of Metalwork. My father was a body and fender man, and I (obviously) have been working with aluminum for a few years now. But I still had lots to learn—and still do. Wray Schelin, Lazze and this guy—Jere Kirkpatrick—gave me the confidence to start hitting the material.

A little heat, a little hammer…

And before too long I had…

This first one came out good enough that I’ll make a few more for sale to other Beck/Vintage/TR Spyder owners. If you’re interested, contact me at this blog for details.


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