Story and Photos By Steve Temple

For replica fans, one of the big highlights of the 2016 SEMA Show was the Baileigh booth. Never have we seen an aluminum body being formed right there during this weeklong event. We could’ve hung out there all week just watching a Cobra Daytona Coupe taking shape right before our eyes.

The booth was promoting Baileigh Industrial metalworking tools, along with its classes in metal shaping. As Baileigh’s Shane Henderson notes, “There’s a renaissance going on now in metalwork.” But that’s just one aspect of the company’s overall focus, as it also offers woodworking tools as well.

The coupe body being fabricated was for Yocum’s Signature Hot Rods. How did Kyle Yocum come across the lines for this iconic car?

“We found a 3-D scan of it online,” he relates. “And then we segmented it into plywood templates every 6 inches.” While it’s close to the lines of the original, Kyle says his body is slightly longer and wider. He adds that he’s glad to be working with this type of material instead of his usual fare.

“Aluminum shapes really easy compared with steel,” he points out. “It’s like taking a vacation.”

We asked him about his particular techniques, as we’ve seen a fair amount of variation among different metalworkers.

“I’m a hammer man,” he says. “A power hammer is my shaping tool. My English wheel is gathering dust.”

That’s partly because the power hammer provides repeatability, and he plans to make more coupe bodies. He does use the English wheel for small items, but says it’s slower and somewhat less accurate.

Kyle also prefers to keep the aluminum body pieces fairly large, 3 to 4 or more feet in length, as they require fewer seams, and thus less welding and grinding. He cuts them slightly oversized, secures them with Clecos (temporary rivets), tacks them in place with TIG welds, and then butt welds the seams together.

To ensure the right contours, Kyle lays butcher paper on the aluminum panels as sort of a guide sheet. If there’s a fold in the paper, the metal needs shrinking. A cut or tear indicates the need for stretching.

While Kyle would typically provide an aluminum body mounted on a chassis, there’s another option for those who already own a fiberglass-bodied replica. If you’re looking to upgrade to metal, he can use the fiberglass shape as a mold to form a new aluminum body for your car. Proof that there’s more than one way to skin a Cobra.