Final assembly and fettling

It’s been a busy month. I got the engine back in but couldn’t get nuts on the motor mount bolts, so had to cut those off, pull them out and replace in the conventional manner, up from the bottom, thus ending my experiment in doing this operation more efficiently.

I salved my wounded pride by tackling the side scripts. I am happy to report they fit well and look shiny!

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550-style clam latches

Took a break from sanding this weekend and decided to try to make some 550-style clam latches.


Got pretty far along in the 9 or so hours I spent working from the junk pile. Why do this?

Three reasons:

  1. It’s cool. Original Spyders had these latches you turned with a long churchkey; the replicas don’t. More legit-looking detail is just better.
  2. The modern replicas use two Bug hood latches to hold the clam down—and they’re fiddly. It is reported that clams sometimes pop open on bumps, leaving just the wicked-cool leather straps to keep the clam from flying up and off and causing quite a ruckus out there on Highway 61. Adding a slot-lock as original can only make things better, from a purely practical perspective.
  3. I’m tired of sanding.

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Shifter, e-brake, fabrication, seats and compromises

Today, a short illustrated essay on replica compromise. As is known, the Brandwood cable shifter is the go-to Spyder replica shifter.* It’s reportedly easier to set up and keep in tune than the Jamar linkage shifter that used to come standard. Both are pretty different from the exacting engineering in the original 550, but the cable box’s bulk makes for noticeable changes in the replica Spyder cockpit. Here’s the car I’m trying to copy.

You can see here how small the original shifter housing is. At about two inches off the deck, it tops out about even with the top of the front bulkhead.

Whereas my cable shifter…


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