Spring is springing

With some warmer weather finally making an appearance, the body is back off the car and work can resume.

The tempermental oil sender’s time is drawing to a close. The gauge is en route back to SpeedHut to be converted to take their new version.

Starting work on the installation of the new mechanical throttle linkage that I got for Christmas. I think I can just rotate the ignition box 180 degrees and so need to drill only two more holes. Then move the coil over to make room for the linkage.

29. March 2021 by Jens
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… and now what?

Having spoken to Swartz a while back, I got an odd email that seemed to indicate that he didn’t really have time for me. I wasn’t sure whether that was regard to the specifics of looking at the pictures I sent him ‘right now’, or that he just didn’t want the work, period. Well, it’s been almost 2 weeks and haven’t heard back, so I suppose that answers that question.

Next up, I called another local auto body shop on the recommendation of a local friend who I know to be a ‘car nut’. Called Joe Que after his web page contact form clearly didn’t work. Had a chat and he said it would be in the $12-$16K range. I think my heart stopped. That’s not going to work – was he expecting to build the car too?

It was then that I heard back from my friend George R. from the Upstate Cobra crowd. I’d approached him back in September but the quote he gave was more than I really wanted to spend. We spoke this week and I think we’ve come to a game plan … I’ll do most of the bodywork (the caveman work as he put it) where much of the labour cost would be tied. I’ll give her a covering spray of epoxy if I want to drive it over the summer, and then he’ll take her in the fall to complete the bodywork and do the paint.

So, that’s the plan du jour.

Today I thought I’d rehang the doors and perhaps crack the Rage Gold tin and have a go at some initial filler application. An hour on the doors (that driver’s side is going to be the death of me!) and then in for some lunch. It was a bit chilly in the garage (it is February in New York) so I thought I’d look up the minimum temperature for the Rage filler. 60F. F***! Looking out the window, 60F is not anytime soon.

So I may have to spend the time on the other areas to work on, notably getting the throttle linkage installed.

Except for that, I need an empty garage bay to place the body. And, as of yesterday, the Cobra has a stablemate – my son’s new 2017 Subaru WRX STI.

So for now, I’m back to the ventilation system design and dreaming of warmer days.

I did get some bling in the mail this week. The louvres from FinishLine finally showed up, together with trim bezels for the windscreen and rollbar from Mike Everson.

07. February 2021 by Jens
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… and we’re back on again

Spoke to Swartz Auto Body on Friday regarding body and paint. I had spoken to him about 6 years ago, not sure he remembered. Sent a bunch of pictures for him to evaluate and hope to hear back soon with some indication of price.

He’ll need to see the car in person, so spent today putting the car back together again:

  • Body on (thanks again to my pit crew helpers)
  • Front, rear, and side body mounts
  • Fuel filler and cap
  • Doors
  • Driver’s seat
  • Driver’s lap belt (enough to drive legally)

Next up will be replace the front and rear splash guards – needed since they can subtly change the shape of the body, especially around the doors.

Then hood and trunk lid back on, exhaust pipes back on, lights reinstalled, windscreen mounted.

Just hoping now for an email or phone call with an affordable estimate!

24. January 2021 by Jens
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… and we’re off

Team Ratsey assisted in pulling the body off.

Seems quite strange seeing the chassis exposed again, but gave me an opportunity to remove the oil pressure gauge that has given me such grief over the years. Will be shipped out to Speedhut and configured to use their new, all improved, oil pressure sender. No more heart stopping moments seeing that indicator drop to zero!

Looks like I’m going to have to shift the ignition box and coil over a few inches to accommodate the new mechanical throttle linkage. Good to see that all my electrical work behind the dash seems to be in place and nothing loose.

Cleaned up the underside around the wheel wells – planning to put something under there and smooth it out. Not sure if I’ll go ‘all in’ on undercoat as some do though. Also cleaned up the area around the side louvre openings – I have a pair on order but can’t size the holes until they arrive.

Today is unseasonably warm so recall to Team Ratsey to assist in moving the body onto the driveway where I can sand to my heart’s content without covering the entire garage with dust. Took advantage of that and knocked down most of the wheel well flashing with the Dremel and 60 grit wheel. Left some in place as they will need rounding off with filler.

Sun started to go down and the temperature quickly dropped so Team Ratsey recalled to bring the body back into the garage.

And that’s when wifey hit me with it. “I think you should pay someone to paint it”. Admittedly she’s said it before, but I’ve never really taken seriously the thought of shipping the car off, mostly due to the cost. “It ain’t cheap” as the saying goes. Will need to do some research. There’s certainly a reasonable outlay in doing it myself, not withstanding having to buy/rent a compressor and paint gun, plus paint, etc. And build a paint booth. And … And … And …

There are some things I want done though, which I’d need to negotiate with a painter. I want the hood scoop cut out and replaced with a riveted/bolted on one (yet to buy). I also want hidden trunk hinges – which would mean welding back in the trunk curved bar and mounting hinges to the inside of the trunk. That may be a victim of expense – will need to get quotes.

On the upside, it would free me to doing the under the hood work – the mechanical throttle linkage and the ventilation system. Of course, the painter would want the car for initial fitting and final fitment, so that might be tricky too.

Too many decisions.

18. January 2021 by Jens
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Reading for body off

Some final items removed today in preparation to removing the body. Dismantled the radiator metalwork, the front splash guards, and the rear body mounts.

Hopefully tomorrow I can conscript the family to help me remove the body.

17. January 2021 by Jens
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Minor progress

Struggling to find enthusiasm at the moment – maybe it’s the cold temperature, although I do have a heater that I haven’t even tried yet.

Small progress today – removed the windscreen and did the rough sanding on the top of the dash.

I think the body probably needs to come off next and tidy the underside, trim the wheel wells, round the cockpit edges, fit engine louvres …

Perhaps I’ll order those now.

10. January 2021 by Jens
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Following the Seinfeld Principle

It was warm today, 40 something degrees, which for New York in January is positively tropical. So forced myself into the garage for a couple of hours to generate some more dust – mission accomplished. Not a huge amount, but 2 hours of work is 2 hours closer to being done.

Also making good progress on the prototype control panel for my ventilation system. The microprocessor is successfully driving the stepper motor now that I’ve finally found the right combination of parts to use. Will need to add a buck converter to step down the car’s 12V power supply to 3.3V to power it, the full 12V can go to the stepper motor. Also to add a 10KOhm potentiometer to control the stepper position. Then to finish 3D printing the rest of the prototype and try it out. More to come …

02. January 2021 by Jens
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Turning $$$ into du$t

More sanding. Both doors done, trunk lid, and hood. still have the door sills to do but I’m finding that about 3 hours of sanding is my limit …

29. December 2020 by Jens
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I love sanding … said no one, ever

Having chosen to do my own bodywork (and possibly paint), there was always a lifetime of sanding ahead of me. Most of the body is now ‘prime sanded’ – taking off the shine from the gel-coat, but it still takes time, and it also still generates a sh*t-load of dust. The garage floor and everything in it is already covered.

Still need to do the door sills, the passenger door, trunk lid, and hood. 2.5 hours today and all I got done was the nose and driver’s door. Joy.

28. December 2020 by Jens
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What happened?

Not much in the way of updates for a long time. So what happened? Well, quite honestly, a mix of ‘Facebook’ and ‘not much’. As Facebook groups took on a more bloggy role, I was posting to those rather than here but feel like I’m missing out on capturing the history of my car. It’s fun to read back some of the older posts here and remind myself of the work that went into building the car as well as seeing how I did something. So I’m resolved to post more here.

The last-ish posts were when I’d painted the car with PlastiDip. I loved that look and got way more compliments than were really deserved given the state of the car – no body work, bare interior. It did look very ‘off the track’ though, which is what was so attractive.

A new found friend living locally is building a Daytona Coupe and when visiting him, I was somewhat humbled that he was doing bodywork when here was I, with 4 seasons of driving, still in a mainly unfinished car.

So, I decided that it was time to bite the bullet and get going. I don’t have the funds to get it professionally done right now, so multiple hours of YouTube videos and forum posts later, I started the strip down.

First off, remove all that PlastiDip. In hindsight I should have added more when I first did it, as it did not want to come off easily. Probably 10 hours of work to strip it off – a combination of rolling it off with my fingers and thumbs and using acetone to dissolve it. The major downside to this was that I wore off my fingerprints which made unlocking my phone really tedious.

Next came the rollbar, something I’d not been looking forward to. It took a great deal of effort to install it and I was fully expecting similar issues getting it off. The problem was largely due to the dropped rear so the holes didn’t quite line up and I hadn’t adjusted them. An hour of tugging, hitting with BFH, pulling, swearing, and contemplation finally gave result.

Next, off with the wheels and start on those mold release seems!

Seats and belts out. Some good cleaning needed here before the sound proofing and carpet can go in!

With 80 grit paper, begin on the gel coat. This not to shape the body but to get it sufficiently roughed up that filler will adhere. I did take the time to get the mold release seems as close to the shape of the body (or more) that I could. This should ease the sanding later.

Currently a little further along than this with most of the body prepared. Some left to do including the hood and trunk lids. But a break for the Christmas period.

I also hooked up our old 65″ plasma TV and soundbar in the garage so that I could have some entertainment while working on the car. What should play first? “Ford vs Ferrari” obviously!

24. December 2020 by Jens
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