Project Phoenix: Custom '61 Dodge Dart resurrection: back on track, March 20
Posted 23 May 2012 - 10:26 AM
Well then...a little setback. While opening the hood, I broke the very brittle body again at a stress crack I hadn't noticed, but she's recovering. I used the cleaned-up hood for a fixture to hold the pieces in correct alignment, and epoxied everything this time.
Here I'm fitting the new chassis. I had started to use a donor unit from a Hemi 'Cuda, but got to looking at the '64 Dodge 330, and it's much more appropriate. The fit at the firewall is remarkable.
The repop of the original chassis plate is on the left, and the 330 on the right. The fit really is remarkably good, and the 330 is a good approximation of the original, even having the correct fuel tank orientation. According to my research, the Phoenix had a wheelbase of 118 inches, and the 330 was 119, so the suspension location to get the wheels in the center of the wheel openings is simplified.
Getting the ride height where I want it will require moving the stub-axle up to the centerline of the current upper ball joint. More on that later. The rear frame rails get modified considerably to get her down as well.
Though this is a small-block Chevy and I've decided to use a mid-'60s Hemi, I'm going to use the ZF 6-speed gearbox shown. It will require the tunnel to be extensively modified. The engine is also being raised in the chassis for ground clearance, and moved rearward as far as possible.
Chassis ride-height mockup, with the trans tunnel removed for clearance, as well as the tops of the rear inner fenders. They will be spaced upwards about 3/16".
Now that I've got a handle on the chassis, it's time to start on the body repairs. Here a mold from the repop body is being test fitted to the original. Perfect.
Isn't that the engine of a Monogram Callaway Corvette? It is a twin turbo version Of the Chevy V8. Why not use it completely? Would be different, to say the least...
Posted 23 May 2012 - 11:36 AM
Posted 28 May 2012 - 04:11 AM
Mold aligned and securely taped in place. Release agent was CAREFULLY removed from extreme edges of break so that resin would adhere all the way to the surface.
I coat of MGS 285 epoxy / 285 hardener thickened with Aerosil + 3 layers of fine model airplane cloth and MGS 285 resin / 285 hardener. Covered some stress cracks as well. Should have used the slower 287 hardener, as in the 90deg. heat, the resin was kicking during the third layer, which is why it looks kinda nasty.
Popped the mold off after overnight cure.
A little cleanup and she'll be good as new. In all honesty, I got the mold mis-aligned a few thousandths of an inch, and the molded surface is just a tad high, but careful bodywork will fix it. The repair is stronger than the original plastic, and the joins at the edges are forever. Forming parts in place like this is the same technique I've used sucessfully on 1:1 composite, 200mph aircraft. Same resin system too.
Posted 28 May 2012 - 04:15 AM
Posted 28 May 2012 - 04:30 AM
Modded crossmember, shortened arms, tunnel and floor being clearanced for driveshaft and pumpkin. All this is necessary to lower the car to where I want it, and still have pretend functionality. Have to make coil-spring pockets and shock mounts.
New front lower control arms tacked in place. Crossmember will have to be modified too.
Corresponding new upper control arms tacked, engine fitted to check for clearances. This will put the centers of the stub-axles where they need to be to get the stance of the mockup. Firewall is getting bumped back too, to let me move the engine back a little more. Patch in firewall is where HVAC unit used to live.
If I angle the headers in towards the block just a little more, they will just clear the torsion bars when installed. Steering cross-linkage will most likely be replaced by rack and pinion.
Posted 28 May 2012 - 05:44 AM
Posted 29 May 2012 - 01:55 PM
Posted 29 May 2012 - 03:04 PM
Posted 12 June 2012 - 10:57 AM
Posted 12 June 2012 - 11:45 AM
Posted 12 June 2012 - 03:56 PM
After the repairs were done on both sides, I added a 1/8 inch layer of cotton flock / epoxy mix to the insides of the quarters. Enough structural strength in the fibers to allow me to reshape the lower rear of the panels without worrying about going through the repair. The original car had some protruding molded things to fair in the bumper, and I decided they had to go.
Also made a splash mold of the Saleen Mustang hard tonneau, and made a duplicate, shown on right. Not perfect, but all I was after is the shape of the head-fairings anyway.
Starting to work in a narrowed Pontiac-ish rear panel........
...and with the hard tonneau, trying to bring out a little of the Jetsons feel without going over the top.......
Posted 12 June 2012 - 05:12 PM
The photos are bright and crisp.
Posted 12 June 2012 - 05:15 PM
Posted 14 June 2012 - 05:22 AM
Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:44 PM
Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:58 PM