In automotive usage, a lead sled is a standard production automobile with a body heavily modified in particular ways (see below); especially, though not exclusively, a 1949, 1950 or 1951 model year Ford 'Shoebox' or Mercury Eight car. In the name, "lead" (as in the heavy metal) refers to the heavy weight of the body, and "sled" refers to the lowering of the vehicle, giving these vehicles the appearance that they were "slip sliding" down the highway.
Period auto body repair, by an auto body mechanic used to be achieved through a combination of re-shaping sheet metal using specialist hand tools and the application of molten lead to damaged body panels, fulfilling the role of more modern polyester fillers / bondo.
The same techniques were also used in high end low volume car production (coachbuilding) and adopted for aftermarket hot rodding body panel modifications.
In order to be classified as a “lead sled”, the vehicle was subjected to most, if not all, of the following body style modifications:
The entire process of removing badges, trim, and doorhandles was referred to as "shaving".
Grill modifications: the original grill was heavily modified, or substituted with the grill from a completely different make, model, and year car.
In the late 1940s and 1950s, plastic body filler and fiberglass did not exist. Instead, bar lead was used as a body filler. A true craftsman pulled and pushed out dents with body spoons, hammers and dollies until the sheet metal was as straight as they could get it. Any sheet metal that was still slightly wavy, the bodyman heated bars of lead and flowed the lead onto the body with an oxygen-acetylene torch similar to work done by a tin smith. The bars of lead were what we today call “solder” but were not the wire material we are familiar with today, typically sold for electrical or plumbing repairs. The lead bars or strips ranged anywhere from a quarter of an inch to one inch in width and several inches in length.
Lead craftsman call the process of melting the lead “running lead” and this is a highly specialized ancient trade passed from a master craftsman to an apprentice. An apprentice bodyman typically would remove the body part from the car and place it on a bench so as to have a fairly flat surface to flow the lead horizontally onto the body. In contrast, the master craftsman could control the heat of the lead in a vertical position without having to remove the body part, thereby saving time in performing the repair.
An apprentice bodyman most likely would have to grind and hand file the lead to a smooth finish for repainting. The master craftsman on the other hand did not have to grind and only had to hand file, if he had to perform any smoothing at all. The true craftsman controlled the flow of lead with his torch and most times could produce a satin finish without filing.
"Lead" refers to the body material used and the extra weight added by the repair material. "Sled" refers to the lowering of the vehicle, giving these vehicles the appearance that they were "slip sliding" down the highway.
As time progressed, plastics such as "Bondo" were introduced to the market. These plastic body fillers are easier to work with and eventually replaced the use of lead in body repair.
Some common late model lead sleds are the 1949 Mercury, 1949 Ford, and the 1959 Cadillac.
Among aircraft nicknames, "lead sled" has also been used as a nickname for a variety of US military aircraft, including the F-4 Phantom, F3H Demon, F-84 Thunderjet, F-105 Thunderchief, and SR-71 Blackbird. In particular these airplanes tend to be large, heavy or very fast. Despite this, the airplane's maneuverability is relatively poor. [ citation needed ]The F-105 gained this nickname during the Vietnam War. While the plane was fast in straight lines it was not very maneuverable, rendering it very vulnerable to enemy weapons.
A sled, sledge, or sleigh is a land vehicle that slides across a surface, usually of ice or snow. It is built with either a smooth underside or a separate body supported by two or more smooth, relatively narrow, longitudinal runners similar in principle to skis. This reduces the amount of friction, which helps to carry heavy loads.
Hydraulic rescue tools are used by emergency rescue personnel to assist vehicle extrication of crash victims, as well as other rescues from small spaces. These tools include cutters, spreaders, and rams. Such devices were first used in 1963 as a tool to free race car drivers from their vehicles after crashes.
A bumper is a structure attached to or integrated with the front and rear ends of a motor vehicle, to absorb impact in a minor collision, ideally minimizing repair costs. Stiff metal bumpers appeared on automobiles as early as 1904 that had a mainly ornamental function. Numerous developments, improvements in materials and technologies, as well as greater focus on functionality for protecting vehicle components and improving safety have changed bumpers over the years. Bumpers ideally minimize height mismatches between vehicles and protect pedestrians from injury. Regulatory measures have been enacted to reduce vehicle repair costs and, more recently, impact on pedestrians.
A string trimmer, also called a "weed eater", "weed whacker", "weed whip", "line trimmer", "brush cutter", "whipper snipper" or "strimmer", is a gasoline, electric, or battery powered garden tool for cutting grass, small weeds, and groundcover. It uses a whirling monofilament line instead of a blade, which protrudes from a rotating spindle at the end of a long shaft topped by a motor.
Car tuning is the modification of a car to optimise it for a different set of performance requirements from those it was originally designed to meet. Most commonly this is higher engine performance and dynamic handling characteristics but cars may also be altered to provide better fuel economy, or smoother response. The goal when tuning is the improvement of a vehicle's overall performance in response to the user's needs. Often, tuning is done at the expense of emissions performance, component reliability and occupant comfort.
In automotive engineering, a grille covers an opening in the body of a vehicle to allow air to enter or exit. Most vehicles feature a grille at the front of the vehicle to protect the radiator and engine. Merriam-Webster describes grilles as "a grating forming a barrier or screen; especially: an ornamental one at the front end of an automobile." Other common grille locations include below the front bumper, in front of the wheels, in the cowl for cabin ventilation, or on the rear deck lid.
A wrecking yard, scrapyard or junkyard is the location of a business in dismantling where wrecked or decommissioned vehicles are brought, their usable parts are sold for use in operating vehicles, while the unusable metal parts, known as scrap metal parts, are sold to metal-recycling companies. Other terms include wreck yard, wrecker's yard, salvage yard, breaker's yard, dismantler and scrapheap. In the United Kingdom, car salvage yards are known as car breakers, while motorcycle salvage yards are known as bike breakers. In Australia, they are often referred to as 'Wreckers'.
A custom car is a passenger vehicle that has been either substantially altered to improve its performance, often by altering or replacing the engine and transmission; made into a personal "styling" statement, using paint work and aftermarket accessories to make the car look unlike any car as delivered from the factory; or some combination of both. A desire among some automotive enthusiasts in the United States is to push "styling and performance a step beyond the showroom floor - to truly craft an automobile of one's own." A custom car in British according to Collins English Dictionary is built to the buyer's own specifications.
Bondo putty is an automotive body filler and a brand name used by 3M for a line of American-made products for automotive, marine and household repairs. The term Bondo is trademarked by 3M, but is commonly used to refer to any brand of automotive repair putty due to its popularity. It is also used by sculptors.
Panel beater or panelbeater is a term used in some Commonwealth countries to describe a person who repairs vehicle bodies back to their factory state after having been damaged. In the United States and Canada, the same job is done by an auto body mechanic.
An automobile repair shop is an establishment where automobiles are repaired by auto mechanics and technicians.
The preservation and restoration of automobiles is the mechanical or cosmetic repair of cars. For example, the guidelines of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) are to "evaluate an antique vehicle, which has been restored to the same state as the dealer could have prepared the vehicle for delivery to the customer."
The Mazda Nagare is a concept car that was introduced by Mazda at the 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show. The Nagare is considered to be an exercise in natural and organic car design to explore the future of Mazda automobiles. Its name “Nagare” translates into English as “flow” and the designers specifically studied motion and the effect it has on natural surroundings when creating this vehicle.
Kustoms are modified cars from the 1930s to the early 1960s, done in the customizing styles of that time period. The usage of a "K" for "Kustom" rather than a "C", is believed to have originated with George Barris.
Frenching is the act of recessing or moulding a headlight, taillight, antenna or number plate into a car body to give a smoother look to the vehicle. The name originates from the end result looking like a French cuff of a shirt sleeve, which has a ridge at the end. Also known as tunnelling, it is a common modification used on leadsleds and customs since the 1930s.
Vehicle restoration is the process of restoring a vehicle back to its original working condition. Whether the car is partially scrapped or completely totaled.
Paintless dent repair (PDR), also known as paintless dent removal, describes a method of removing minor dents from the body of a motor vehicle. A wide range of damage can be repaired using paintless dent repair as long as the paint surface is intact. Paintless dent repair may be used on both aluminum and steel panels.
Body solder is a type of solder used to smooth the surface of automobile bodies before painting. It has been largely supplanted by polyester body fillers, such as Bondo, and others, but many purists and auto customizers continue to use body solder, asserting that it bonds better to sheet metal, feels better, wears better, resists higher temperatures, and can be powder coated or otherwise chemically plated.
Soldering is a process in which two or more items are joined together by melting and putting a filler metal (solder) into the joint, the filler metal having a lower melting point than the adjoining metal. Unlike welding, soldering does not involve melting the work pieces. In brazing, the work piece metal also does not melt, but the filler metal is one that melts at a higher temperature than in soldering. In the past, nearly all solders contained lead, but environmental and health concerns have increasingly dictated use of lead-free alloys for electronics and plumbing purposes.
The Auto Channel - Car Speak-To-English Glossary of Terms