It has been a bit difficult to keep track of working time this month, as there is so much work to do that I ended up staring at parts for a long time, deliberating where to start.
4- 5 August 2018
I made some cardboard templates for the sill covers before hacking the aluminium panels and potentially get them wrong. I am not too worried to get scratches on these panels as they will also be skinned with carbon.
Before doing the pre-fitment of the cockpit section, I started with the seat fitment. To ensure I don’t drill holes in the wrong places, I carefully measured the distances for the holes on the floor and transferred them to a cardboard template. After this is where things went horribly wrong. Even though I double check the measurements a couple of times, I still ended up facing the template the wrong way around, so drilled some holes in the wrong place. I could kick myself for being so stupid even after measuring so many times.
Anyway, that just means I need some extra rubber grommets to cover these holes. Maybe I will call them inspection holes.
After fitting both seats, I thought about my dashboard layout, and decided that it will be easier to take a fibreglass mould of the existing dashboard and use that as a base to work from in my custom design. I used some release wax and PVA release agent before taking the mould.
While I was busy taking moulds, I did the same for the cockpit rear section in order to build a carbon panel since I did not have the Aluminium rear bulkhead panel.
After removing the carbon mould, I measured the locations for the rear roll-cage braces on the cockpit and started cutting the back of the cockpit using the Dremel tool to ensure I don’t chip the gelcoat.
With the help of my son, I transferred the cockpit to the chassis about 10 times, carefully measuring each time and taking off a bit more around the top hoops to ensure I don’t cutout too much.
Care needs to be taken when lifting the cockpit section, as it flexes around the center section, which means the gelcoat can crack easily if not handled with care. I also took extra care not to scratch the cockpit sides where it fits into the side pod bolts
The initial fitment of the cockpit section moved the side pods back a few mm, even after springing the front of the cockpit under the steering brace. This means the side pods were rubbing against the rear tyres.
Based on the measurements in the build manual, this alignment issue was also confirmed again where the side pods were back too far by 5mm. The issue was the underside of the dashboard, where I had to remove a few mm using the circular sander.
11-12 August 2018
After getting the cockpit section aligned, my son helped me again to secure the hinges for the front and rear clam shells
Although the rose joint hinges are adjustable, the fit on both clams were almost spot on the first time, only requiring some minor adjustments. Although the rear clam is quite heavy, they were both very easy to fit compared to the center cockpit section.
Now is starts looking like a real car. I could not wait to see what the lights looked like on the car, so decided my next job would be to fit the front and rear lights. The holes in the rear needed some work with the dremel sanding bit to get the new LED-style lights to fit, but this did not take too long. You definitely need a dust mask when doing these jobs, as the fibreglass dust goes in everywhere.
What a difference it makes with the lights installed? While busy at the back, I also enlarged the holes for the number plates slightly and fitted them as well. This was a 10 minute job.
I did a temporary fit with the front light units. Some of the information in the build manual is not very clear and refers to some of the older lights used in the GTR. I also have a few extra fittings in the bag which I am not quite sure where they need to go. I installed the GRP covers on the back of the lights which fitted without any modifications. I will have to come back to the front light units at a later stage to complete the fitment.
18-19 August 2018
With the excitement of seeing the body on the car, the obvious next step was to pre-fit the doors.
The top hinges had a perfect fit without doing any modifications. The bottom hinge on the cockpit section was no problem either, but the steel plates supporting the hinge mounting in the doors needed a bit of work to fit properly. The hole in the door is fairly tight when you need to fasten the nuts in the doors, so I ended up with many chafe marks on my arms after getting the doors fitted.
The gas struts for the doors are easy to install, and the car looks really cool with the doors wide open.
Using some cardboard, tape and modelling clay, I started working on the mould pulled from the dashboard to get some ideas of how I want to shape and fit my gauges, controls and aircon vents. This will take some time and perhaps a few iterations, but once I am happy, I can simply cover the new dashboard and install into the car.
Total hours work in August: 45 hours
Total hours to date: 315 hours