Saturday, July 25, 2015

Now that the basic frame has been built and fit, it's time to cut the aluminum strap that will "sandwich" the mesh. The upper and lower straps are just a duplicate of the one's you already cut. Then I cut four "uprights" that will bridge between the top and bottom straps. I laid everything down on the table to mock it up. Then I painted all the parts. I know that I am probably going to scratch up some of the parts on assembly, but I'll just shoot another coat when I'm done. It would be too hard to get proper coverage if I tried to paint it once it was assembled.


Next I laid the mesh and bottom strap down on the base frame. I was going to start from the bottom making any adjustments for fit as I went along. I now drilled through the three layers of material. I clamped the parts with some strong spring clamps to the wooden board and drilled the holes. After I
did each section I riveted each one down. I drilled through the top strap, assembled that then fit the uprights. I fitted them making any needed adjustments, I had to file one which was a little too long. Then riveted them down. Be sure that your rivets are long enough to secure all three layers. I had to make a quick trip back to OSH.

I was going to mount this by screwing it to the underlying body panel. I drilled a hole at each end of the top straps and the bottom straps Earlier I had removed the screws holding the gas filler neck, I was planning on using one of these screw positions to mount the panel also. I placed the panel into position using strips of blue painters tape to secure it temporarily. I lined it up and drilled one screwhole into the body panel. I screwed this down loosely then drilled another  hole while maintaining alignment. This screw was tightened down a bit. The alignment looked pretty good so I drilled the bottom holes and installed the screws. I was very satisfied with the look. I removed the panel and re installed the filler neck screws except for one. I had thought of painting the underlying body panel black also. After mounting the new mesh panel I liked the effect of seeing the green color through the mesh. The contrast made the panel stand out a little more so I left it as it was. After I mounted the four screws I drilled a hole through the filler neck mount from inside the trunk and ran a screw through the body panel and my new panel. I ended up dilling another screw to mount the panel under the filler neck and I was done.

I had painted the tail light housings after masking the lens. I also painted the trunk lock bezel. The lights were painted black when I bought the car but the refresh really made the whole thing pop

The addition of the tail light panel matches the texture of the grille which gives my car a cohesive design. This was part of my goals. I wanted to do improvements to my car that complemented each other. Visible in this picture is the Boss 302 front spoiler that I installed. It's made of black plastic which matches the other accessories and gives my car that competition look. This is a common piece that cost me less than 75.00. It also has some actual aerodynamic benefits. I drove down to Santa Maria for a car show in May, a round trip of over 460 miles. The car ran great, but I was disappointed in the gas mileage. I only averaged 15 mpg at 65 mph. I later  ran a 100 mile fuel economy check at 55 mph. Fuel economy was 17 mpg. Before I installed the spoiler I did some coast down testing. I found that it took 14.5 secs. to coast down from 55 mph. to 35 mph. After the installation of the spoiler coast down time had increased to 15.0 secs. This means that aerodynamic drag had been reduced a bit, this should hopefully result in somewhat improved fuel economy. I plan on trying some other improvements. If you look at the front of the car, the body curves under which exposes the the entire front of the wheel to the oncoming airstream. The air can flow over the tire and into the fender well and will have to exit from around the wheel well opening and out the side, causing a lot of drag. if you look at at any modern car from the front, you will notice the the bumper or fender extends past the front of the tire. The oncoming air is directed around the tire to the side side the car preventing the air from entering the front wheel well. Originally my plan was to build a panel straight down from the front bumper and around the sides to the front of the fender opening. This is the kind of front air dam used by top speed racers at Bonneville. I think it looks cool, but it might be a bit much for a six cylinder street car. So my plan is to add a panel to the front valance panel that will cover the front of the wheel and divert air to the side. I was going to try to fabricate something but then I had an idea. There might be an existing "found shape". Something that exists already and could be adapted to work. Well I think I have just the thing. I'll get into that on another post. On my next post I'll describe how I built the front grille.


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