UPDATE (11/19/2021) The car is still available! My prospective buyer put down a non-refundable deposit, drove 2000+ miles from Utah with a trailer, inspected the car intently (he’s a former insurance appraiser), pronounced it very good, lowered himself in the driver’s seat for half an hour, discussed adjusting the pedals to get more leg room (can be done, I think!) agreed to meet at the bank this morning to consummate the deal, then called last night with misgivings: his hips hurt; he doesn’t fit comfortably in the driver’s seat. This morning he canceled the sale.Continue reading
Somehow I ended up with a spare piece of 16 gauge 5052 aluminum sheet, exactly 2×4 feet. With the Spyder laid up on the rack for the winter I got to thinking about how to incorporate it into the project, as a finishing touch.
The answer was obvious: the hard half tonneau.
Assembly complete. Now the sorting
Last weekend I pressed my lovely wife into service once again and we set the engine cover back down on the car and pinned the hinges, completing the Final Assembly phase of this build.
The car starts, runs and drives and is ready for fettling and registration.
Captain Underpan, Deux
A word about COVID-19. Not long after I made my last post here the nation locked-down due to a global pandemic of a dangerous respiratory virus. Everyone knows that right now, of course, but if this blog persists more than a few years it won’t necessarily be obvious what was happening outside of the context of the build.
The pandemic and its response has crashed the stock market and the real economy, prompting a $2 trillion federal aid package. Something like 20 percent of everyone is out of work. I myself am still “working” from home but am functionally unable, as of yesterday, to do the state court visits my job normally requires. My wife is working from the dining room table and we’re both still being paid, at least for now, and remain healthy.
But currently 200,000 or so Americans are confirmed to have the virus and some 3,000 have died, as the epidemic’s trajectory continues relentlessly upward. The world is a very scary place and frivolities like this car project have largely taken a back seat, even as I knock off the last few dozen tasks on my punch list. The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration offices are closed, some reportedly converted into drive-through virus testing sites. So instead of getting the car on the road this month, it may be a while.
That said, here’s what happened through February as I (blissfully, ignorantly) worked to make the aluminum undertray.
First I had to make two “stub-out” bits to cover the exhaust pipes on each side just aft of the engine crossmember. These are simple U-shaped bits, mainly, about 8 inches long, reaching from where the pipes exit under the engine to just past the muffler flanges.
I got them in and screwed them to the main underpan piece with self-tapping sheet metal screws, then set about making transition pieces to get to the wider full muffler parts. Once there I knew I could just drape aluminum over the mufflers and the tunnels would be done.
Captain Underpan! Part 1
From the beginning of this build I planned on making a louvered aluminum tray to fit under the engine and surround the exhaust. The original cars had them (though most were reportedly thrown away in the ’50s), and they would appear to be functionally important: VW engines like their cooling air to be, well, cool—not pre-heated by the headers and heads. Bugs and buses have tin to keep the hot underside of the car isolated from the top where the fan and carbs are sucking, so it seems logical to do the same with the Spyder.
Here’s the look we’re going for, courtesy, once again, of The Spyder Factory:
Front trunk & fuel tank fettle
Spent a few recent weekends away from Projekt Spyder. My MG needed attention (the engine came out and went back in twice because I botched a head gasket job) and family obligations intervened.
Still, progress was made.
Working on it…
Spent a few hours during the week re-doing part of my shift linkage bracket, touching-up the paint out behind the firewall, installing a few things, checking some other things and pulling out the transaxle to mate with the engine.
Paint is done
Tommy Martin delivered my painted Spyder to my garage this morning at about 10 a.m. The Voodoo Blue looks stunning on this car, and he did a superior job laying on the clear and buffing it smooth.
Paint is happening
Two Sundays ago I saddled up the Spyder on my friend Cory Drake’s car carrier, rented a UHaul truck and towed it 120 miles to the home shop of a guy named Tommy Martin.
Original style clam latches: done
I found a few hours over the week to keep after my clam latch project. Another nine or so over the weekend and we’re done. That’s 22 hours to make parts I was going to do without on this build. Glad I did ’em though.