December 5th 

Race licence appears!I finally posted off my race licence application earlier this week and yesterday my licence arrived. I must admit that I had been assuming that there would still be some problem so it's quite relieving to see it. Of course, it cost more for a 2004 licence than what was written on the form as appropriate for a 2003 licence, but I'll forgive them.

Sobering thought though, this piece of paper has cost me about £250.

December 8th

New bench in positionI finished sorting out the building side of the garage (the other side's full of crap) at the weekend. The new bench in in position and now provides a huge work surface, which will hopefully make things easier. I need to screw it to the wall though, as otherwise as soon as I start leaning on that big vice all sorts of unpleasant things might happen.

I've been talking a bit more to Martin Bell at The KitCar Workshop about what I want to order. I'm going along to see him at the weekend to have a look at another race car chassis that they're building, in this case for the 750MC's Zetec-engined Kit Car series. This is being built for a customer who is also tall and has no seat and the pedals as far forward as possible. Hence, it will be an interesting test.

I also want to ask Martin about differentials. The Fury chassis can have either the Sierra or Freelander diffs fitted. There's loads of issues about this choice:

  • The Freelander diff is somewhat lighter than the Sierra one.
  • The ratio of the Freelander diff is ideal for bike-engined cars, not (quite) so for the Sierra diffs.
  • Neither of the diffs is available as standard with an LSD, at least in the desirable ratio.
  • Both diffs can have a Quaife ATB LSD fitted, but at a cost of about £500.
  • It would, perhaps, be possible to get a Sierra diff in the right ratio by getting a 3.38 one from a Granada and hybridising it with a 3.62 LSD one from an XR4x4. (The latter as fitted to the Dax.) The problem with this is that getting someone to do the hybridising would cost about £300 (although it might be possible to do it myself).
  • There are companies that sell ready-hybridised diffs such as Classic conversions but they're still rather expensive.

My current thoughts are to use an open Freelander diff at first, and later on convert it to LSD with the Quaife stuff. Assuming that I don't stuff the thing into some barriers somewhere first. One problem with this is that I have no idea where to get driveshafts from. The obvious problem is that it needs to fit a Landrover diff at one end and a Ford hub at the other.

The other thing I've been thinking about is the rear brakes. In particular whether it's sensible to use drums or discs. at the moment I'm thinking that drums would be fine, although not very pretty. However, they could well be lighter and make the handbrake mechanism dead easy, which is one of the reason's why they're lighter as they don't need to Sierra-style boat-anchor rear calipers.

Hopefully, Martin can set me straight on some of those things.

December 13th

Front suspension on car being built at KitCarWorkshopAnother trip up to see Martin Bell at The KitCarWorkshop today. I seem to be just about able to remember the way to get through Rushden now. What's more the B645 which is the road I get there on is a really nice road in places with some nice bends on it. It certainly seems to work well for my current road car (a Subaru Impreza).

One of the main reasons for going to see Martin was to have a look at a race car that he's building up. He's made this by mounting the pedals as far away from the driver as possible and, certainly with no seat in, it's pretty good for me. This chassis, interestingly, is actually rather more comfortable for me than others that I've tried, perhaps they've changed the design a bit?

That was encouraging and I took a few photos to help me see some things when I start building up my car. Martin confimed the delivery date for my chassis today which is January 31st.

While at the KitCar Workshop I finalised a few more details of the chassis order. As part of this I decided to go for the Freelander diff, if only because it will save a bit of weight. This is available at a really good price for a new diff. Although the new issue isn't a big deal really as even old Sierra diffs seem to be bomb proof.

I now know what donor bits I've got to source from somewhere, which I'll record on the To-Get page which has just appeared.

One of the things that Martin showed me was a new sort of front brake disc that is being manufactured by HiSpec. Rather than using an aluminium bell and a separate steel/iron rotor this was a simple steel/iron one-piece disc but obviously made to be as light as possible. It's rather cheaper than the normal ones so I'll probably go for that. If it turns out that other discs are better then I can sort that later.

Something else interesting is that I've been thinking of making my own gearchange mechanism having seen the example of someone who had used a push/pull cable system supplied by RCS Cables. It would seem possible to make a paddle gearshift with this too, although perhaps that should be kept for a while. Martin said that he had been thinking about exactly the same thing so I'll wait and see what he comes up with.

December 16th

It seemed to be about time to try and get some things so I started contacting dismantlers with the intention of getting hold of some of the bits that I need, either to exchange for suitably modified Fury bits or to recondition myself. After a couple if abortive phone calls I put in a couple of web based requests to 1st choice spares. (They do a system where you get a bunch of quotes either as phone messages or as text messages.) The first request was for Escort MkII front uprights, the second for Sierra driveshafts and rear brakes. The first request generated exactly zero responses, which is pretty much what I thought as RWD Escorts are pretty thin on the ground these days. The second generated about 10 responses. Apart from a couple of odd outlyers the price for these bits was about £140. As the donor price on the kitcar Workshop pricelist is about £170, and that includes some new bearings it really didn't seem worth struggling with rusty old bits.

So I sent Martin Bell an email upping my order for parts from him.

It doesn't leave me much to do though, so I'll probably have a start at making a wiring loom over Christmas. Or, I'll just doze off in front of the television!

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