February 7th

Red top?Finally it was time to get the stuff for the new car. So, we piled into the family MPV and set off for Northampton. Martin had got most of the stuff in but there were a few missing bits, which should be available in another week.

We piled all the stuff in the car and tie-wrapped the chassis to the roof bars and made out way back to Cambridge. The chassis, powder-coated in red, made a rather arresting sight on top of the silver bus.

There was one bit we couldn't fit in that the roll cage wouldn't go in the boot. We could have bolted it to the chassis but that would have been even more weight on the roof so I decided to leave it until next week.

Boxes of stuffInside the car it was the usual array of boxes and stuff, most obviously here the wheels and tyres.

The things that are missing at the moment are mainly:

  • All of the wishbones, as the ones that Martin got in were for a fully rose-jointed car, as opposed to the partially rose joint version which is the case for my car.
  • The steering rack and fittings.
  • The front uprights. Also, as a consequence of this, Martin kept the front brakes and hubs so that he can check they all fit together properly.
  • The roll cage, as mentioned.
  • Flexible brake hoses.

Wheels and tyresApart from all that I've got a huge pile of stuff now in the garage. That includes the wheels and tyres, as seen here. The wheels are reconditioned RS2000 ones, which just happen to be the good size (6Jx13) for a Fury racer. The tyres are the control tyre for RGB this year: Yokohama A048s which are 185 on the front and 205 for the rear.

I've had the Fury manual for a while now and it's not wonderful although it does come with a large collection of photographs which is probably the most useful bit. One good thing, though, was the fasteners that came with the chassis. It seems to be a complete collection of bits, sensibly separated into different plastic bags. They seem to have gone rather over the top on the rivets though, as 600 of them seems a bit extreme!

Awaiting panellingThe next thing to do is to start panelling the chassis. This is currently sitting upside-down on the garage floor, as seen here. The red powder coating (which is probably not correctly reproduced here) is certainly fairly iridescent!

Missing bushHowever, one problem, which Martin noticed, is that the bozo that welded the chassis has forgotten to weld in all the bushes for the crutch strap mountings. The picture here shows the outer crutch strap on the driver's side, but nothing similar is there on the inner side.

However, it's fixable. Martin is going to get me some more bushes, welded to some small plates. I should be able to either bolt these in or, perhaps, weld them to the chassis. The problem with the latter is that it would mess up the powder coating.

February 8th

Chassis back up on standsThe first thing to do was to start panelling the chassis. This is always a horrible job owing to the multitude of difficult to get at corners and the effects of popping a huge number of rivets. Having consulted the manual I put the chassis the right way up up on the stands so that I could get at it a bit better.

Once there I had a more careful look around and everything looked pretty good. What was nice was that there is an earthing point, actually there are two (!), welded into the chassis. This is a dramatic improvement on the Dax where such simple things are missed out for some reason.

Panel on outer rear of passenger sideSo, with the chassis up there it was time to get on with the panelling. The supplied panels are all "cut to size", meaning they're nearly the right size. I set about the ones labelled "Cockpit outer sides" and after an amazingly long time had them both fitted. I've used some Würth sealant/adhesive for fitting them, in addition to rivets, as it seems a good idea.

These panels look like the photo here. With luck I'll get a couple more fitted tomorrow.

By the way. The colour of the chassis seems to really upset the camera. Hopefully when I get some none-red stuff onto the car it will get a bit less wierd!

February 9th

Side imact protection I did a bit more panelling this evening. The bits down the side of the car are made doubly difficult by the side impact protection that the chassis has on the side. This is the pyramids that stick out of the side of the car. They'll be completely inside the sidepods once I get the body on. They're also stiffened up some more by the roll cage which has "legs" that go to the tips of the pyramids.)

Panelled driver's sideAnyway, after much faffing about I got the cockpit on the side of the driver closed in this evening. Doing this job is one of those things that's hugely eased by making templates. Sometimes you're tempted to try it without but it never works.

Actually, I might put a couple of self-tappers in this panel tomorrow, as some of the corners are just completely impossible to get at with a riveter.

February 11th

Slow progressI've put a bit of time over the last couple of nights into more chassis panelling. It's fairly tedious but I'm getting there. It will be really nice to get onto the mechanical bits of the build. Over the next couple of days I should get to the end, for now. There's a couple of panels I'm not sure about though, in particular the ones labelled "floor extension".

The rear of the cockpit, in this photo, is not actually rivetted in, but tomorrow it should be.

February 12th

Driver's side sidepanels inI'm still pressing on with the panelling, although my forearms are starting to protest about all the riveting. I've now got the rear panel in place and all the ones around the driver, with the exception of the floor itself. Next I'll go all the way around the passenger, although the footwell has a special end panel rather than the steel box that the pedals are situated in. After that, I can turn the chassis over and put the floor in.

And then I'll be able to get on with the real stuff!

Blackbird speed sensor mounted in 'blade engineI've borrowed a spare Honda Blackbird speed sensor from Dave Hackett. This looks, at first sight, to be the same fitment as the empty hole on the top of the 'blade gearbox. The connector doesn't match the loom connector though. With luck, though, it will at least patch up the hole in the gearbox. At best, I'll be able to bodge in some connection and use it anyway. Or at least I will if I actually do have a speedo.

February 16th

Floor panels in placeI've not updated this diary for a couple of days, so here's what I've been doing.

I've finally finished all the panelling, including putting a zillion rivets in the floor panels. I had wondered about getting a large sheet of aluminium and creating a completely flat floor, which is reckoned to be aerodynamically superior. However, I decided, for now at least, to leave it as separate panels for now, for ease of access. Of course, changing this later could be a lot more difficult when turning the complete car upside down won't be too feasible.

After that I put the car back on the chassis stands and attached one of the tunnel top panels, albeit using rivnuts as I probably want to be able to get these off.

Diff in its cageWith that done, I could turn my mind to things mechanical. First thing, I decided, was to fit the diff. At first getting it into position seemed difficult, then impossible and then I discovered the particular set of 3D movements required to get it into position. Then it was the usual spate of levering and grunting to get the mounting brackets to line up.

It's actually a lot easier to fit this Freelander diff than the Sierra one that my two previous kit cars have used as the mounting is rather simpler. I've also got a lot better at doing things like this. When I built the Westfield I remember it being impossible to get the bolts to line up. When I phoned the factory they just told me, correctly, to lever it with something big!

Box of red suspension bits, with superfluous comment on box!On Saturday I went over to the Kit Car Workshop to pick up some of the bits that I hadn't got yet. One important aspect was (almost) all of the rest of the suspension components. One thing that I think I'll try and do soon is to work towards getting the car in rolling chassis form, as being able to push it in and out of the rather cramped garage might be useful. Obviously, I need all the suspension to be able to do this.

One other thing I got from Martin was the bolt-in crotch strap mounts to use instead of the missing welded-in ones. I fitted these in the appropriate place, although I must to being a bit hacked-off about this, especially as I was never even offered a refund for this bit of the chassis.

Rear brake lines, and hydraulic brake light switchNext thing was to concentrate on doing those things that travel from front to back of the car, again a standard approach of mine. First thing, them was the brake lines. I'd bought some brake pipe and fitting and borrowed a pipe flaring tool from Steve Wiseman, another cam7er.

There's nothing much to say about this, as it was just a case of making the pipes the right length and attaching them in the right place.

The photo here shows a detail of the pipes at the rear of the car. I've mounted the hydraulic switch for the brake lights here. For some reason that I never understood this switch is often towards the front of the car. As it has to switch the rear lights it seems much more sensible to put it at the rear of the car. There's probably some fundamental problem that I just haven't thought about...

Handbrake lever mounted in transmission tunnelOnce the brake lines were in I mounted the handbrake lever, which came from Fishers with some really horrible bits of welding on it. I'm beginning to wish that I had sourced the donor bits myself now as some of the Fisher sourced ones are pretty gruesome. With the handbrake in place, it fitted nice and snugly, I fitted the handbrake cables. (All of which seems really daft on a race car that won't need a handbrake.) I haven't quite worked out how to route the cable itself as the handbrake quadrant is positioned on its side and there should probably be some way of keeping the cables out of the way of the prop shaft. (Earlier Fisher Furies had the hadnbrake lever on the passenger side of the transmission tunnel and the cables stayed entirely away from the propshaft.)

Wiring loom, tucked behind brake cable.After that I started fitting the loom, as made up earlier. First bit to fit was the wiring part of the loom. (The bits that connect to connector A and B in the wiring diagram that appears earlier.) I tried hard to keep the loom away from things like the propshaft bit I must admit that I'm having to guess a bit about where things will end up.

In the photo here the loom is heading towards the rear of the car where it

Wiring at rear of carsplits into two and picks up an earth line and connects to the brake switch. Without the bodywork, though, I've just coiled it up here for now.

Repositioned pedal boxLastly, I mounted the pedal box. However, I re-drilled the mounting holes so as to get it about 1" further forward, as it was mounted in the race car that I sat in at the Kit Car Workshop a while ago. To make this work properly, though, I'll have to reduce the length of the master cylinder pushrods a bit, and I need a die of a size that I haven't got to do this. Tomorrow, perhaps...

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