And more than a month again between posts.
Here’s etching primer on the inside of the tub.
Here’s the inner front wheel wells smoothed and ready to prime.
The idea is to eliminate the “replica lip” where the body turns into the fender well. On the originals it’s just a radiused turn with hammer marks, while most replicas extend the body about a quarter or a half inch into the wells, creating a little shelf in there. Easy enough to grind away and smooth, and while we’re in there I made the brake cooling ducts and ground off the glass matt flashing on the insides of the fenders where some dudes tend to feel to see if a given car is “real.” So no, no it’s not “real.” But now it’s real smooth there to keep those guys guessing. Just a few hours’ labor. . . .
I’ve also got some urethane truck bed liner to go in there to keep any gravel from making spider cracks in the body—it’s tinted silver to further confuse the enemy. I’ll paint blue on top of that but I want the car set up so if any stone chips happen, they reveal either aluminum or something the appears to be aluminum—because I’ve pretty much gone insane.
The gas tank is finally ready for prime time as well, cleaned, sealed with POR 15 and painted.*
That’s a correct(ish) hammertone silver paint, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to make a cover for it that looks like the legit 550 tank. This is going to be another project; if I succeed, the idea is to make a steel cover that will fit over top and have hinges along where the tank straps are, so the outboard 3-4 inches can be flipped up to reveal storage underneath for a tool roll and maybe a California duster and some detail spray.
I’ve just begun the CAD process on this and already discovered that the Spyder Rule lives here too: more compound curves.
The original item took up a lot of frunk space —and I’d rather not trade it all for the authentic look.
Here’s the shifter housing in a more aluminum silver. I’ll probably change that to hammertone too before reinstalling.
The side windows are coming along. Still need to make the final attachment bits for these.
Here’s blue paint on the interior under the dash:
That’s not even bad, I think.
Above the blue, where no one who isn’t on the floor looking up can see, I painted the exposed fiberglass with more silver, the idea being that anywhere the blue doesn’t cover should at least reflect any light that hits it more or less the way hammered bare aluminum sheet would.
Speaking of which, the firewall is about done: here are the clips to hold the wire loom, and other clips with the last bit of hard fuel line already attached.
This is pretty similar to the original.
Here’s a closeup of my passenger side reinforcement V:I smoothed the back sides of the pop rivets to look like, well, rivets. Details, people. Turns out this is pretty easy to do with the 60 grit flapper on the angle grinder. I did it in the wheel wells too, and will do it anywhere a rivet tail might be seen by anyone examining the car.
Original (or, anyway, Spyder Factory, which is close enough):
On the inside of the fire wall, the overall flatness of the replica is apparent. So I’m going to try to make a “shape” out of some leftover insulation.
If I carve this up right, then cover it with the barber pole vinyl, it should look pretty convincingly like the original baroquely-hand-hammered item. As a bonus, the foam should cut some of the noise and heat from the engine bay.
If it doesn’t work, oh well: It’s just hours.
Part of the reason for the delay on this post (aside from having a regular full-time job again), is my lift broke. You may recall the February mishap. Well the leak got worse, and turns out the hydraulic cylinder was rusted from the inside.
At first I thought this hole was the culprit.
Turns out it wasn’t—or, at least, it wasn’t a defect. They’re made to let air in, so if you park the ramps down low (as I did), the cylinder gets nice damp air inside most of the length of it and rots.
I didn’t know that at first though. All I knew is it leaked. I bought a seal kit ($100) and, once I saw all the rust inside the cylinder, asked Derek Weaver/Direct Lift for some love. Got none: the warranty is one year for this part, and the new part is most of $800.
Not feeling like buying an $800 replacement cylinder for my $2,000 lift, I made this 6-foot hone.
Cleaned out the cylinder with some POR 15 cleaning solution (since I was already doing the gas tank).
Honed it with this and a little oil.
Cleaned it again, WD-40’d it and put it back together with this nifty new return line my neighbor’s uncle donated to the cause (he installs lifts every day).
So now any hydraulic oil that gets past the seals will be ejected back into the tank instead of the shop floor, and the air that gets in will come from the tank too, which is head-high off the concrete.
Back to the car: I painted the gear ratios on the trans because “race car.”
(Or because that’s what was done in period).
(At least according to The Spyder Factory).
I took the seats to my man Tim at KDI Customs to see about getting them slightly modded and recovered in the barber pole material. His price: $1,400. I like this guy (he did a great job on Bridget’s door cards) but I don’t mind telling you I tried to bid the job out to other shops before I accepted the estimate.
Here’s the license plate light housing. I epoxied a couple of bolts to the inside to act as studs, as original (the originals had 4).
And that’s how we roll these days. I now have to locate—in the boxes of parts I have or elsewhere—two little lights to mount in this, pigtail them and set the thing up to be mounted on the car, and paint it hammertone. Not all in that order.
So we’re cracking away at the little things and that’s how it goes until the full paint-up, engine/trans install and final wiring.
*Getting the fuel filler in that spot took a real machinist, my new friend Mike Rodowski, who volunteered to turn this part after my friend Jimmy welded the plate I made with stainless wire—which proved undrillable. Jimmy welded the new piece on and now we’re all good.