I’m Happy and Thankful to have the wagon back on it’s wheels!
Archives for November 2009
My fabricator, Paul Moore, just out does himself sometimes. I wish I could take credit for this clean install, but I know when to leave the tricky parts to the pros. So I may have prepped the patient, but Paul did the surgery. Still lots of work to go from here: prep the rear crossmember and control arms, box in the butchered frame rails, build the coilovers, fabricate the rear disc brake system, etc, etc. But milestones like today sure keep ya going 🙂
Plus this part of the project gave me another reason to break out the plasma torch. “Arrgghh, fire good…”
We put the new front suspension in place to test fit our handywork. The coil-over struts, heim jointed lower control arms, TC rods, and steering rods will allow a lot of adjustability, as well as being stronger than the forty year old components we replaced. With a little time and a few spacers, we should be able to get all the bumpsteer out, and get the camber/caster/toe just where we want it.
Seam welding is a common technique used to increase the structural integity of production race cars. The idea is to provide extra rigidity to the body structure by adding extra welds where the sheet metal body panels come together. The factory uses just enough spot welds, seam welds, and bonding epoxy to hold the car together for road use. But the extra lateral stresses placed on the car by roadracing can allow unwanted chassis flexing.
Two seam welding techniques I was taught to use is stitch welding and rosette welding. Stitch welding is a seam weld that is started and stopped with gaps along a seam so that too much heat is not applied to the thin sheet metal used in body panels. And rosette welds are a way to weld together two panels lying on top of eachother without an ovelapping seam. You effectively create additional spots welds by drilling a small hole in the top sheet and then welding the two sheets together through the hole. My welds are pretty ugly, but getting better with practice.
Sunday morning surf report:
Half Moon Bay jetty, sunny skies, calm winds, air temp 55F, water temp 55F, 2 foot swells with fair to poor conditions. Perfect for Ol’ Guy surfing. Paddle out, catch your breath, ride one in, paddle back out, catch your breath for a little longer, repeat three or four times, go home, plop on the couch and watch NFL and NASCAR. I don’t get many weekends off so this was a real treat. The summer tourists are gone, the locals have the town back until spring, and life is good. As Mr. Nicholson said “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.
This weekend I attended the Big Bore Bash at Willow Springs Int’l Raceway, VARA’s final race of their 2009 season. The weather was as outstanding as the turnout, with sunny skies, temps up to the 70’s, and 175 entries. I worked as the pitcrew for my good friend Cuffy Crabbe, who was racing his 1972 BMW CSL. He had a good race and won A/Sedan, and as always, his car drew a crowd in the pits.
I spent some time visiting with my vintage-racing buddies, and strolling the grid taking photos. 2009 ended up being a season without a green flag for me, so I had to get my racing fix vicariously. Seeing all of these beautifully prepared race cars has certainly got me revved up to finish my project this winter.
Folks, this is the best way to get involved in racing on the West Coast. VARA, the Vintage Automobile Racing Association, has a Driving School and Test & Tune weekend every winter to get drivers ready for the upcoming season. The date for the 2010 event has just been released, it is February 6 and 7. As it has been for the past several years, it is being held at Buttonwillow Raceway, outside of Bakersfield, California. It is a big facility allowing the school and the t&t sessions to have plenty of room and track time without affecting the other group. If you are wanting to get your roadracing license, just get some top-level driving instruction, or shake the winter dust off you and your race car, this is a terrific event and well worth the expense. Mark your calendars now, and sign up early to support this great event.
Here’s a link to my post on the 2009 VARA-U.