It is a funny thing working on a 40+ year old car. You can spend hours on a part of the car and it will absolutely look as though you have done nothing to improve the car. So why do it? Why spend all this time when you could just cage it and go race it? Well, we want everything to work and work easily. The last thing we want is to show up to any race, have a problem and run into an old rusty bolt that we have to wrestle with. Or a thread that strips out. It would really suck to have something small, dumb and easily preventable be the downfall of your race. So if the threads look questionable or the panel looks like it has rusted a bit to thin, well it is time for it to go. In the end the car won’t really look much better than when we started, but we will know that if we go to screw a bolt in the threads have been checked and if we are relying on something to be strong, well it will be strong.

So lets take a look around the car!

From the front of the car we can see fenders. All of the mounting bolts for the fenders have been checked and replaced if they were bad. You can also see the nose was replaced. The original was a brittle rusty mess that was covered in bondo. We will be bashing this thing up to accommodate a skid plate and if we didn’t replace it the bondo would have crumbled and the rust would have disintegrated. Yeah, it had to go and for about $20 for new metal it seemed like a good plan. Also you can see lots of places where paint is missing. Well, those were all surface rust originally. We took it down to the metal and treated it with rust neutralizing chemicals to just eliminate the problem before it becomes a big problem.

Inside we can see some new floors. The originals were polka dotted with rust holes. They sure did look pretty decent, but when you really put some stress on them, they just fell apart. So the first thing we did was to replace that. We won’t be using the OEM seat mounts so we cut those out and filled the holes that were left behind. We’re pretty satisfied with the new floor and glad that we don’t have to watch the ground go by through the floor anymore as we drive this thing. You can see the shifter in there and that was out for a while as well. Originally we took that out and pushed the shift linkage forward to make space for the installation of our King Kong.. but we’ll get to that soon.

So what’s going on back here? Well if you can see the front of the car there was a huge panel that we replaced because it was nearly an inch thick with bondo when we got it. We figured that would just pop off and leave us with a big hole at some point so that had to go. On the back the rear fender mount was one of the worst that was on the car. We actually cut a panel out of another car to replace all the bolts on this side. Down low just below the doors, you can sorta see… maybe not. But we are in the process of replacing the steel down there as well. This is the heater channels and they are notorious for rusting out. Unfortunately when they do you eliminate just about any ability to jack the car up from the sides. So we are replacing those and we may even put some rally style pin stand mounts in there to help out in the pits. Going straight to the back of the car you will see that there is no rear apron. The rear apron was a pile of crap as well but more importantly we would like to make our apron work for us. so we are figuring out a nice way to make a removable rear apron. That will be happening after our cage goes in however.

We have nearly finished our king kong install. I know, I know, “what are you waiting for!? We are waiting for a solid trans mount. If we just finish our king kong and box it in again we won’t be able to install our trans mount. That is… pretty important. We have done a ton of test fitting measuring and designing and have come up with a design then the unthinkable happened! Yes, the mill we have access to broke. WHAT!? Yes. so we had to delay and come up with a rework of the design. We are going to, at least temporarily, got with a steel mount made of flat stock welded together. Here’s the rework that will be cut this week.

Front View trans mount

Here’s a quick shot of the Aluminum version of our trans mount
Baja Solid trans mount

We went through all of the bumper mounts and replaced metal and threads. Man these were nearly all a disaster and most of the bolts that held bumpers on this thing over the years had broken off in there at some point or another. So all the threads are fresh and easy to work with. Hopefully these little time consuming tasks that we are doing now will be the ultimate time savers when we need them to work!

So what else have we been doing? Well all adminstrative work that nobody likes (well except for Jim Graham) but everyone has to do. We have spent a ton of time working on our website, our videos, sponsorship plans and of course the overall planning of the project. We’ve also been chatting with a lot of people. The more info you have the better and we want to know as much as we can, learn as many tricks and just plan before we do. We’re pretty excited about the community who has welcomed us with open arms.

We’ll be updating our webisodes a bit more frequently here in the near future so check back and definitely shoot us some comments, we are always interested to hear what you think of our project!