Delores Gets Some New Clothes – Part 2

After having successfully adhered flat vinyl to flat sheet metal, the challenged was stepped up just a bit for the waterfall.   Factory 5 provided plain black vinyl for the waterfall that you are supposed to adhere (seriously.. watch how to do it on YouTube).   However, I wanted it to have a bit more pop, so we stuck with the two-tone theme and added some ivory vinyl, quilted stripes behind the seats.

I cut the very nice piece of black vinyl they gave me into three pieces, and sewed two strips of ivory in between, measured so that they would end up behind the seats.

A Two-Tone Waterfall Cover


After this, I was bad about taking pictures, but basically, I took some of the new headliner I purchased and spray basted it to the back of the ivory section.  This would allow some cushion and make it stand out from the flat black.  I then quilted a seam down the center, as well as added some seams in coordinating thread to the outside of the black and ivory sections.  The sewing machine bobbin pulled a bit, so we had a lot of extra thread in the back that would have come apart if we weren’t cementing the entire piece onto the fiberglass – lesson to have another person help with the sewing by making sure the vinyl stays taut.

Drew then became a professional vinyl applier.  Working in sections, he slowly adhered the vinyl to the waterfall with contact cement.  It actually stretched pretty well around all of the curves.  We started with two pieces on the edges.  I think that the directions provided from Factory 5 said to do the same.  We had some issues keeping the very concave curves in place, but luckily they get covered by the seats so no one will ever know..

Another upgrade, I stitched the edges of our two-tone piece that would go over the vinyl edges.  The directions didn’t say to, but it looks a lot more finished.  We clipped the edges and brought them around the outside of the waterfall.  Overall, we are very impressed with the amateur upholstery job – and are much happier than the plain black (at least I am, I think Drew likes it (correction – he says he “really likes it)


Finished Waterfall, waiting for Speaker holes to be cut


You can see the finished seam (actually a false seam) that covers up raw edges on the side vinyl piece
All done (with carpet!)
Speaker holes cut


Delores gets some new clothes – Part 1

A break in the sewing projects has given me a chance to make Delores some new duds.  The kit came with plain black vinyl for the waterfall covering and quilted black vinyl door panels with no door handles (just a rod that you push) and plastic armrests.  I told Drew that if he is going to spend this much money on a custom car, the inside should look nice… I also couldn’t figure out how to open the doors from inside anyway, so we definitely needed some new handles.


Stock Door Panel


We are going with a two-toned theme on the outside, so we decided to carry that inside.  I found some cream vinyl and purchased some headliner.  First step was to remove the black vinyl that was glued to the metal door panels with a putty knife.  After it was removed, Drew fit-up the bare metal panels and pre-drilled all the holes for final mounting (this would have actually been very challenging if the vinyl was already installed…).

After the vinyl was removed from the metal panel, fitting & predrilling the holes on the fiberglass

I kept the quilted look on the door panels but made them two-toned with black and cream using the headliner as the quilted liner.  The sewing machine did just fine after I got a roller foot, leather needle, and upholstery thread.  After sewing the two pieces together and quilting with coordinating thread, I cut the finished vinyl to fit the metal panel then added the trim.  So far this is 99% like cotton quilting.

After the pieces were the right size, we watched some YouTube videos about installing auto vinyl.  We would have definitely done it wrong if we didn’t complete this step.

Step 1: Paint both sides with contact cement and let it dry.

Step 2: Sit the two pieces together and stretch to fit.

Step 3: Apply contact cement to the trim and back of the metal panel, stretch the trim around the panel and adhere to the back.

Step 4: Since I didn’t want a pucker at the seam (in order to attach some chrome trim here… possibly), Drew had pre-drilled me some holes in the metal that I used to sew the panel to the metal sheet along my seam after it was glued.  This also had the unintentional consequence of making the line between the colors much more clean.

The door panels look much more stylish than the plain black, plus new billet door handles.


Wow! The car looks much more complete that Drew’s blog posts!… Looks like he has some catching up to do!





Catch up 2017 (Body)

So its been a while since I have updated anything on the blog and I want to apologize to all my loyal fans (I think there are some out there).  2017 made a lot of progress after the go kart stage with still some mechanical work happening, but most of the hours going towards interior/body/etc.

I will try and do several updates in a mostly chronological manner, but some may get out of order since I have a lot of updates.

To start with there has been a lot of work on the body both fitting and trimming panels as well as me getting comfortable sanding and working with the fiberglass, but before we get into that… some shiny!  The grill came with a matte/machined/rough finish, and being the cheap guy that I am, I decided to invest some of my own man hours in attempting to sand and polish it instead of paying someone to coat it.  You can see in the pictures below it’s transformation, I went from 220 grit paper to 2000 (left over from when we did the Chevelle’s paint job) and finished with a buffing wheel and Mothers aluminum polish.  The results are pretty good, not a high chrome finish, but certainly shiny and looks a lot better than before.  I still ended up with some deep scratches and a few inclusions from the casting process, but they will most likely only bother me and I am proud of the result.

Prior to getting the body on, I routed all of the a/c and coolant hoses and had them crimped by a local shop.  Below are the manifold connections on the firewall and where  I ended up stashing the a/c dryer.


Next up, around March ’17 we fit the body and I started doing all the small cutouts and edits that are needed, you can see I was using some of the FFR stickers to mock up my gauge locations which are actually almost perfect matches to the diameter of the gauges.  Also below are holes for brake lights and access panels behind the firewall.

Below are some additional fitting work with the body and top, I used a ratchet strap to pull in the back driver quater panel before drilling the hole to get the right width of the door opening, also had to do some sanding to get the firewall to fit, but overall it went pretty well and the top looks kickass.  I had planned on bike fenders, but I am really liking the open wheel look for now.


The next topic are doors.  I have limited picture of that effort because it was so frustrating to actually get done I dont even want to describe it and I didnt want to take any pictures.  Honestly they still catch and need more adjusting  but I dont have the energy at this point.  Also below is a picture of me in my fiberglass cutting gear… safety first!  It was a long process, and the one thing I can recommend is taking your time and not getting frustrated.

The door handles themselves were pretty easy, but they feel too flimsy (both interior and exterior) and dont have clean stops to prevent you from over stressing the cable.  I am working on the fix for that, but no solution right now.


Laying out the gauges and the dash was actually a pretty fun bit of work with a nice looking reward at the end, Kristy was instrumental in helping pick the layout as well as helping to measure out and sketch the locations.  Strangely enough though, whenever the fiberglass dust started flying she was absent…

One other note is that we ended up swapping the provided a/c controls which were black with a polished set purchased from vintage air to match the gauges and other polished accents.

One last section for the body catch up post is mounting of the hood hinge brackets and headlights as well as where I ended up stashing the coolant overflow tank.  In its current location, with no load on the wheels, I get about 1/8″ clearance between the tank and the upper suspension arm, but when on the ground it opens up to a respectable amount.

Go Kart!

Its been a while, but I felt the need to share the glory of the first drive of Delores… or at least like 60% of her… maybe 50%… who cares, she drives!

Tested the clutch, transmission, and a little bit of brakes in the garage with it on the rack and then backed it out (I was a bit nervous I would somehow manage to plow through the front of the garage) without any issues although the harnesses certainly keep you in place.

It has a heck of a long nose in front of you and the driving position feels a bit far back, but the power steering and transmission worked great.

I was being very careful to not accelerate, but even with the tiny amount of throttle I gave it, it is amazing how light this thing is… go-kart is an appropriate description, if you had a go-kart with about 400hp.

Brakes were a little spongy, but I am going to bed them and see how much that helps since I really don’t want to have to bleed them again, but might have to.

And just to top it all off, it wouldn’t have been a true test of Gallagher building ability if I didn’t need to be pushed home!  The downside of not having a fuel gauge yet was that as I pulled up after about 5 laps around the block it died on me from lack of gas (important)

All in all a success, found a small fuel leak afterwards, but tightened that up and no problems!


A little here, a little there

Progress has been a bit slow recently, been going out to the property a lot and working out there with less time for Delores, but I have gotten a few things done in the recent weeks.  Mostly at this point I am cleaning up all the temporary arrangements I rigged up in order to go-kart the thing in addition to cleaning up wiring before I put the body on.

Getting the transmission tunnel in and the cover piece was the first bit of fiberglass I had worked with.  Initially I had it fit in without any trimming, but decided to cut about 2 in out of the middle section at the top so that I could squeeze it together and give us more room in the footwells.  The tunnel is set up to accommodate a wide array of transmissions and engines, so with a SBC and the tko500 I have, I had plenty of room to spare even after I slimmed it down.  slimming down the front meant that the patch cover no longer fit in its grooves and needed to be trimmed down as well.  Kristy led that charge by marking out the cover and me doing the cutting/trimming using a jigsaw and a wood blade.

Everything is in now, however I have all of the wires running through a single hole at the front of the patch cover and will need to seal it up with significant amounts of silicone to stop all the heat and any fumes from coming in.

We also installed the driver side seat which as I said in my previous post with the seat rails was a bit more DIY than I was expecting, but once it was all in the driving position is pretty good and I have more leg space than I expected (still not much!)


Last but not least, the grill finally arrived!!!  Its a cast/ground aluminum frame with machined aluminum fins, so that meant it was not appropriately shiny for this car.  So after a day of wet sanding and polishing I ended up with a result that I am happy with.

Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of me attaching the radiator and ac condenser, but it all went together fairly well with only a bit of fiddling with the holes to get them all to line up.


As you can see its back on the rack and taped up the grill to protect all my hard work.  The next steps are to get the heater hoses all cleaned up and routed through the heater and finally get the AC hoses sorted out and crimped.  Once those are done, I am going to try and clean up the wiring and start some of the body fitting.


The deadening of sound

So one of the downsides of a fiberglass body is noise and vibrations due to the panels being extremely light and them being… well… fiberglass.  My solution to this issue is to cover as much surface area in sound deadening and heat insulation material and seal absolutely all seams and gaps that I can.  The pictures below are of the start of it. The system is a 2 part system with the first layer being a heavy butyl rubber and heat barrier and the second being a dense foam for more deadening and insulation.

Kristy has decided that she will take over the interior upholstery and sound deadening and is so far doing a hell of a job.  Although I am not sure she is using the lift properly.


She has also declared the black on black carpet/vinyl not up to her specs, so stay tuned for some potentially custom amateur upholstery work.



Special Delivery

November 2016

Its been a while since I posted, the holidays got in the way of me making progress on the build.  Something about family and friends wanting to actually see me, foolish stuff like that.  I decided that my garage was getting a bit too clean and empty around September, so I put in the order for my second stage kit.  November brought the arrival of a special delivery in a pretty sweet truck.20161218_090237

Unloading was easy with the help of Kristy and the truck driver, especially since the fiberglass body only weighs about 60-70lbs.  This thing is going to be light and fast!


Factory five was nice enough to send me the 3rd set of exhaust pipes and mufflers for some reason, luckily they wanted them back so I got rid of one box pretty quickly.  When I had my dad and brother around, we fitted the body on to see how it looked, and I can say that I am pretty excited.


It looks pretty mean in person, and extremely low to the ground.  Unfortunately since I didn’t have the body and hood to fit up, I had mounted the brake reservoirs in a spot that the hood latch would clash with, so they had to be relocated.  It doesn’t look as clean now, but still looks ok.  I was limited in where I could penetrate the firewall due to the frame behind it.


That’s Kristy in the picture working on the interior which she has decided to take an interest/big part in which will be the subject of future posts.


Listen to her purr

November 6, 2016

The next steps after the exhaust were to get all the wiring connected (that I could at this stage) that was required to run the engine, namely the starter, distributor, alternator, ignition and all the ground points.  Also finally got the right sized serpentine belt, which looks good.20161027_195335

The wiring went fairly well, with just a bit of research being needed.  Having siblings and a father who are much more electrically inclined certainly helped in the process.  Spark plug wires have never looked so good.20161029_180107

Next step was the cooling system.  Unfortunately since I have ordered this in 2 stages, stage 2 contains the grill which is what supports the radiator.  Since I didn’t want to wait, I rigged up a solution that will do until I get the grill at the end of the year.

Still a bit of difficulty in routing the water pump bypass line and where I am going to tie into the manifold, but it will do for now.

Got the engine cranking, primed, and filled with oil and water.  We were about to try to start it up, but decided to get a oil pressure gauge to make sure we were still seeing enough oil pressure which delayed us by a week.  Once I had the pressure gauge rigged up dad came over and we gave it a shot.  First couple tries we were having issues with fuel not being pulled in since the lines were all empty.  Priming the lines sorted that problem but highlighted another… fuel leak!  After avoiding blowing ourselves up and fixing the leaking offender we had the beast up and running!  Ill see if I can upload a video on facebook or somewhere else, but she sounds good and runs pretty smooth.  I think I need to adjust the timing a bit, but everything seemed to be running well.






Exhaust Install

October 2016

Its been a while since the last update, been working on getting the exhaust in and finally got it sorted after some corrections from FFR.  wp_20161014_21_28_19_pro

I must say that working on the exhaust on the lift has made it much more convenient for fitting everything in, especially since FFR has designed a pretty impressive system that sandwiches the exhaust completely in between the top and bottom tubes of the lattice frame.


Initially I had an issue with the first pipes fitting since I apparently got an old run of pipe which had the flange welded on the wrong end.  I spoke with FFR and they promptly sent me out a new set of pipes which all fit pretty well.  You can see the mirror polished stainless steel which looks pretty awesome.  I am sure anyone looking at the underside of the car will appreciate it.  6 mounts and some cutting and grinding to make sure they were flush with the frame top and I had the exhaust in.  I think I still have a bit of adjusting to do since they arent as far back as I would like, but we will see how they fit on the body.

I have the pipes centered up in the rear instead of split because thats the only way I can clear the IRS mounts.  However, I think they look pretty good close together like that.  I have about 3/4 of an inch between the mufflers and the floor panel, so hopefully it wont get too hot, but the insulation should help with that.

Next up, finish some of the wiring and start this bad boy up!

Shiny parts make more power

October 8-9, 2016

This weekend was an accessory weekend.  Got the pulley system installed and the alternator and A/C compressor in… it all amounts to a lot of shiny polished aluminum and chrome!

I needed to measure out a serpentine belt, so I rigged one up with an old ratchet strap and will use it to find me the right size.



Also got some more of the wiring connections in and tried to finalize the fuel system.  I learned how to make up braided stainless hose connections without any of the special tools required, just need to figure out how to fit in the fuel lines with radiator hoses and bypass lines.  You can see one of the flexible lines that I made up and ran attaching to the fuel pump in the picture below (I also installed one of the headers to start fitting up the exhaust but didn’t make much project because the brother and friend decided to interrupt with beer… jerks…


On Sunday I got the fuel tank and aluminum shelf underneath it installed, a bit of fitment issues, but I think it will be ok… its only full of flammable liquid.


I think I am about ready to order phase 2 of the kit so I can get some seats and a steering wheel, but first… get this thing running!