March Update (April 3, 2016)

Great progress in March!

First, I got the drive shaft safety loop welded to the frame.

1 Drv Shft SL

I wired the dash gauges and switches. I created new side mounts for the dash. And I was able to get a trophy shop to engrave the panel for my switches.

2 Dash 12 Dash 2

2 Dash 5I like how the dash is shaping up.  I have one AC vent to the left of the steering wheel, one vent coming from the side of the driver side foot box, and another vent in the passenger side foot box.  I decided to mount the heater/AC controls on the side of the center console panel so it is out of sight.  (There is a rectangular hole in the side of the switch panel, hidden by the steering wheel in the photo above.)   After going back and forth about how to finish the dash and center console, I think I am going to have them powder coated in flat black.  Stay tuned.

I was able to get all of the basic electrical in place, including weatherpack connecters for all of the lights and switches, power to the electric e-brake and wipers, and wired a Ron Francis turn signal module to allow for auto shut off after turning.

The weather broke and Mark Dougherty came by to help me get the fiberglass body parts rough fitted and the headers/sidepipes sorted. First we flipped the main body over and removed material underneath the backend to allow it to fit over the gas tank.

The body went on easily, but we noted that it sat a little low on the passenger side.  So we sorted that.

Here is a shot of from the front of the car with the body on.

3 Body 6

Before mounting the nose/hood we trimmed about one inch across the back end because FFR intentionally makes the nose too long.  We attached the hinges/brackets with temporary screws (they are ultimately held in place by the fog light bolts), and we installed the side latches.

4 Nose 4

Now with bolts holding the nose in place (and a very fancy 2×4 as a hood support until I get to the hydraulic struts). We did some sanding and got the nose to close with the gaps pretty decent for now.

4 Nose 5

For the doors, I started with the frames, hinges and striker, getting the mechanism to work reasonably well before adding the door skins.

Then, having cut holes in the fiberglass doors, mounted the doors on the frame.  We fiddled and fussed with the hinge bolts for what seemed like a long time to get the doors to and gaps as close as possible.  We also sanded around the edges and the hinge openings where the frame seemed to be rubbing.  Then I tightened the bolts (to lock in the position) and removed the doors to install the handle/release  mechanisms.  Note that I also took the opportunity to line the inside of the doors with Dynamat heat/sound barrier.  I am not sure how effective it will be, but it added a little heft and thud to the otherwise lightweight door, so I liked  it.

5 Door 45 Door 55 Door 6

Now that the body was on, I could try to fit the sidepipes.  The headers seemed to match up well with the body hole on the driver side.  But the angle from the headers to the sidepipes was off, so we cut the headers and welded to make the turn.

6 Side pipe 16 Side pipe 26 Side pipe 3

The headers on the passenger side did not match the body hole at all.  So we had to make the opening bigger.  But we also had to cut and weld the headers to make it work.

6 Side pipe 46 Side pipe 56 Side pipe 6

With the body on, and all primary wiring and such done, I decided to put the rear hatch floor in place, and then added the access doors (for easy access to the fuel tank, pump, filter, etc.). It will ultimately have carpeting over it, but it looks cool in the meantime.

7 Hatch Floor 17 Hatch Floor 2

At this point the car was covered with fiberglass dust inside and out.  So I put on the tires, rolled it outside and used my leaf blower to blow it out.  My neighbors probably think I am insane.  But it worked well.  And it was a great opportunity to step back and see the body parts on and take some photos.

8 Roll Out 18 Roll Out 28 Roll Out 3

Although there are still many things to do to finish off the chassis and electrical, I wanted to start on all of the body fittings – things like lights, mirrors, windows, etc. that require making holes in the fiberglass body.  The goal is to make all of those holes now so I can then remove it all and send the body pieces off to the paint shop ready to go.  (The re-install all of those fittings without having to take a drill to the new paint.)

I went to work on the rear lights.  The rear brake and turn signals go through the fiberglass and the steel frame so they also function as anchors for the body.  I also added one reverse light on the driver side (FFR does not provide that, I sourced it from Finishline Accessories.).  I installed the license plate mount and light and threw on an old license plate to see how it looked.  Electrical connections were made easily because of my access panels and also having pre-wired the ends with weatherpack connecters.

9 Rear Lts 19 Rear Lts 29 Rear Lts 3

On to the front lights.  I started with the front markers and turn signals.10 Front Lts 1

I moved on to the fog lights.  As mentioned, the fog lights serve as anchors for the nose hinges.10 Front Lts 2

Then I mounted the headlights.  The cut outs were not big enough so I had to widen the holes. 10 Front Lts 310 Front Lts 4

Next I will turn to the headlight covers (plexi glass covers that have to be fitted and screwed on), the side windows, the side mirrors, the gas tank filler cap, etc.

Until next month, best wishes!

 

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