With the aluminum work all-but-done I turn my attention to putting the car together. The build manual says paint the whole thing first but I plan instead to dry-fit everything first, then disassemble, block sand, paint and put it back together.
But before we do that, there’s still a little surgery. Take this tonsil-like stalagmite thing under the dash:
As previously discussed, that’s gotta go.
The thing is there to allow the VW fuel tank drain to work in its stock location. The tank is turned 180 degrees for use in the Spyder, which puts the bung at the wrong end. The early Beck fix was to mold in this…thing. Which gets in the way of anyone wearing larger than about a size nine on their right foot.
The Thunder Ranch gas tank comes with the bung relocated to the new “front” of the tank, and the old hole welded over.
So the tonsil/scrotal intrusion is vestegal. Why TR didn’t modify the molds to zero it out is a mystery.
To make sure I could cut this out with no problem, I retrieved my gas tank from Jim, my neighbor-who-can-weld. He’d had the thing since early summer, when I brought it to him with a couple bits of scrap metal and asked if he could help a guy out. He says there’s a few pin holes in his welds he’d like to finish up when he has time. I think I’ll probably put solder on top and Por 15 inside and call it a day….
I chopped the offending nodule out and set the tank in to see if any protruded through the hole.
While the fiberglass cured I set about getting the holes drilled for my parking and brake lights, and my torsion bar ports.
The factory scribe marks did not agree with my measurements.
I measured it five times, leveling the car, the lift, the light sockets. I got them level, but there was no way to make them equidistant from the car’s centerline. I ended up centering them in their respective fenders as best my eyes could guess.
The fronts were the same: easy enough to level, and generally in agreement with the headlights, but not quite symmetrical to the car’s center or the air ducts.
There’s work to do in the wheel wells too: grinding rivet tails and burying them, and losing the “lip” from the fiberglass molds. Original Spyders has a smooth(ish) transition into the fender wells.
Just more stink and dust. . . .
With several layers of mesh and mat on top, I got to work smoothing the underside of the fuel tank well.
And filled the old gauge holes in the binnacle to make way for the real Porsche gauges of slightly different size
Three layers of mesh. one of mat, then kittyhair, front and back.
Then drilling the holes: 2.75 inches is right for these lights. The lenses look great, by the way: the right shape and the correct honeycomb reflectors too.
More filler underneath. This is Upol’s “gripped” body filler. It’s better than Bondo: mixes easier, goes on smoother, kicks faster and sands better.
I skimmed the gauge pod too.
I also filled the top of the tank well and smoothed it for paint. It won’t be show-quality (residing as it does under the fuel tank) but it will be finished. I set the tank in to check fitment with the filler and the hood.
I’ll have to open up the “slot” a bit at the top, so you can get a finger in there and pop the cap. I’ll probably open the edges up another 16th or so as well. But this looks pretty close to right.
Spent the day smoothing that under-dash part and trying to make the gauge panel out of 24-gauge aluminum sheet. Making these four holes in the right spots proved beyond my skill set.
That’s panel number 2. Four if you count the templates.
Turns out the binnacle is not symmetrical, nor is it quite as big as those on the original Spyders. This makes for a crowded layout when using the correct gauges.
On top of that, my four-inch hole saw is a bit wobbly, so it makes slightly oversized holes. The 4.5-inch one is not wobbly, but those holes are slightly undersized for this tach.
I expect I’ll be doing a lot of filing and fettling tomorrow.
To get away from that frustrating chore I got back under the dash to smooth the former scrotal intrusion site. Third skim of filler got blocked with 80, 120, 180 and 220-grit, which is a veritable joy given the tight confines and inability to ventilate. It’s basically a fiberglass blizzard, and there’s nothing to do but mush through it.
I got it close to smooth-enough-for-a-place-no one-can-see, and shot a little primer over it.
In most Spyder replicas, this is all carpeted, but I’m not fond of carpets in Spyders.
While I was under there (and to get away from the fiberglass blizzard), I fabbed-up a little bracket to carry the floor-mounted headlight dipper switch. These came standard on 550s, but not on replicas, which usually use the VW stalk switch instead.
I’m hoping to wire them both in, but in a pinch I’m going with the floor switch.
We’re almost done under here. After this stuff, it’s down to fitting the door handles, and then to the joys of wiring.