Sunday, March 19, 2017


One of my apprehensions during this process of building a car has been about the exhaust.  The kit version wouldn't work with my engine and headers, so it would have to be a custom design.  My expectation was that the car would go to an exhaust shop to have the tubes cut, bent, and welded, 
  but after seeing a number of builders online who did it themselves, I was inspired.  So here is a bit of how that went:

The list of materials was pretty simple.  Two polished stainless steel glass pack mufflers and four 90 degree bend 3" diameter stainless tubes.  Below is the first one on the saw ready to cut.

This will be one of the turn out tips.  Lots of burrs at the cut to be cleaned up.

Next for the front elbow.

At this point the tip and front elbow were assembled into the muffler and held into place with a sophisticated system of spacers and masking tape.

Then there were some wedge shaped pieces to make a bend matching up with the headers.

First wedge taped into place.

Fitting the second wedge.

After it was all fitted and taped into place the tubes need to be welded together.
Now I don't have the right equipment to properly weld stainless steel so all I could do was tack-weld it all together and then take it to a qualified welding shop.  This was my practice piece and it wasn't pretty.

Except for a little hole melted in my shirt it all went pretty well.

Here is the nearly finished (lots of polishing to do now) product.

What I have been most interested in is, how does it sound?
The video sound is WAY OFF from the actual volume.  It's loud.  And the engine is still running rough but I think I like it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017



When last we met, I had finished mounting the driver side door and was hoping that the passenger door would go better.

It did.

However, it was then time to mount the door latches.

As I started fitting them, it became clear that changes were called for.  The cables were much too long, requiring some tight bends (in order to fit in the door) which looked like a part that could cause binding problems in the future.  It's already hard enough to get in and out of the car.  The door has to open when you pull the latch.   So I shortened the cables and then had to figure out how to weld/solder new ends on them.  The brass contraption at the end of the cable below is the result.  Not pretty but it should work.

And now they work just like real car doors.

Fitting the rear deck glass to the body was next.  Or actually the body to the glass.  As expected, some adjustments are necessary.  The right front corner just wouldn't fit flush.  So out came the grinder and the body was cut down to fit.  In order to get it right, I had to cut clear through the body so some fiberglass work will be the topic of a future post.

I should have taken a before picture so you could see how necessary this was, but imagine the area below where the hole is cut into the body sticking up about 1/4 inch.

Getting a bit ahead of myself, I tried my hand at filling the body seams.  I picked a spot over the driver headlight.

1. Grind out the seams.

2. Sand, sand, sand.  I have enough of this red gelcoat dust in the vacuum to fill a quart jar.

3. Fill with fiberglass-filled bondo.  It's a lot stronger than the regular bonds.

4.  Sand, sand, sand.

That's one foot done out of about fifty.

I hope I get better at this before it's done.

Sunday, November 27, 2016


No this is not my car, but just a vision of what might someday be.

I have observed that for those who have taken on a project like building a car, frequently things happen that derail the work for a while.  Some lose their job or become ill.  Others move to a new home or lose their space to build.  Life happens to all of us and it seems that I am no exception.
In my case it was a triple whammy.  The first is here:

Yes, a motorcycle happened to me.

Next I was infected with the fly fishing virus.  Experts say it may be terminal.

And if all that wasn't bad enough, last February we sold our home and moved into this:

And so in the last year and a half, I have met several hundred delightful little fish, and Brenda and I have had to visit nearly 20 states plus Canada, putting over 22k miles on the bike and motorhome.  Who can build with all that going on?

Ok, finished with excuses.
Some progress has been made.

After engine start it was time to fit the body to the chassis.   I think the body went on 15-20 times for trimming and testing before it was right.  The body fastens at the rear through the taillights.

Then it was the hood.
Here it is suspended in place so it could be marked for cutting.

The driver's door was next.  What looked like a 3 or 4 hour task, turned into 20.

The door frame fit and adjusted until it latched correctly.  Or so I thought.

Finally here is the door mounted to the frame.   Probably took 100 times fitting, cutting, refitting, adjusting............

The gaps around the door are close enough for now.  They will get a final trim during paint prep.

With what I learned from this door there's hope the passenger door will take half the time.  So that's it for now.  My goal now is to make sure the next update doesn't take a year and a half.

Monday, April 20, 2015


This will be a short but (believe me) sweet update.
This morning with only 6 small items on the pre startup checklist I went to work and by noon the engine fired up.  What I should have done on the first start was carefully monitor the oil pressure, running the engine until it was fully lubricated.  Instead I was so amazed that it worked I just shut it off and walked away.  In subsequent startings, all of the gauges, dash lights, and turn signals were tested.  They all worked too.  No one more amazed than me.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

March/April Update

Okay so it doesn't look like the engine will be starting this month but there is some progress to report.
I was not happy with the dash endcaps.  They left large gaps exposing the framework of the car.  Since I want the interior to be a step up from race car standards, this had to be changed.



This will all be covered with a carbon fiber-looking vinyl, as you will see below.
The gaps will also be filled with some rubber edge moldings 

Next was the center console of the dash.  After fitting, trimming and mounting, I cut out the openings for switches and heater controls.

Here it is with the vinyl covering. 

The blank area on the lower right face of the console is reserved for a backup camera screen.  This car was not designed with rear visibility as a high priority.
Also notice the center tunnel cover is mounted in place and there is a shifter!

(Two weeks later.)
And now let's move into the April portion of this blog update.
 The dash instruments are installed and almost completely wired.  I need a right turn indicator light before I can finish up the dash wiring.

The 2 buttons on the left are for the turn signals.  Push a button and the turn signal will blink for a set time and turn off.

It's not the neatly organized wiring job I had in mind but the connections are soldered and heat shrink-wrapped so they should be durable.

Now to another challenge.  The crankshaft vent on the left side head has no place to connect to the intake.  The factory air intake box has a fitting molded in to connect to but since I'm using a polished aluminum air intake, a new solution was called for.  So over to the machine shop to make a new fitting.  The plastic one below was cut out of the factory air box.

I cut a hole in the rubber adapter with my die grinder.  Not perfectly round but it's rubber and flexed to fit.

Installed with a little silicone.

And here is the finished product.  I heated the hose and bent it to fit in the new location.

The checklist for engine startup is getting very short!  But I'm not saying when it will happen because the elements will combine again against me.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

February Update

Made quite a bit of progress this month starting with making a battery tray and mounting it into the car.
The kit calls for the battery to be placed under the floor of the trunk area but I like it up front better.  The front of the car could use a little more of the weight plus it is mounted much lower where I put it.

First step was to machine a cross bar to fit between the frame rails.

Next I took a piece of 5/8 aluminum plate that was laying around the shop and made the battery tray.

Here you can see the rear clamp holding the battery firmly onto the tray.

Easy to access, very secure, and the weight better placed.
That was a bit of work but it saved me from having to fabricate an access panel in the floor of the trunk area.   Speaking of which the trunk floor and sides are riveted in place!

Next I mounted the computer over the passenger footbox.  I'm not entirely pleased with this location but my choices were limited by the heater/AC unit which is located just above and behind it.
Going with a modern computer controlled engine means a couple hundred times more wire.

Another first for me was learning how to make braided steel fuel lines.
Center of the photo is the fuel pressure regulator located right behind the engine.
It's getting crowded in there.  My original vision of a clean uncluttered engine bay is fading.

And we now have a radiator!

So here is how it looks at the moment.
A long way to go but it is looking more like a car all the time.

Goal for March is engine startup.