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.

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.


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.