Page 2 The project begins
Page 3 Front end and doors
Page 4 Body framing
Page 5 Wheel tubs and more framing
Page 6 Door openings and more on the body
Page 7 The frame
Page 8 Steering, shocks and engine mounts
Page 9 CAD, lasercut parts and intake.
Page 10 Transmission and engine mounts.
Page 11 Roof and floor.

Karkmotuning

 

 

Roof and floor

The rear part of the frame, under which the fuel tank has been mounted was cut off. Plans are to mount it a few inches lower, and also to extend the bodywork downwards the same amount to make for a better look. There's also a possibility the rear part of the frame never comes back.
We'll see about that.


´

 

More work on the roof.


The roof will be glued on with body panel adhesive. Since the roof is a bit too narrow, in that the outermost edges bend down a bit too much, the roof has to be cut down smaller than ideal for gluing. To ensure theat the area for bonding is big enough, 1-1/2" strips of sheetmetal is welded to the roof sides.
The strips along the sides have had a bead rolled into them, to fit in a strong and easy to work lap joint.

Most of the sheet metal strips have been tacked to the roof sides.



When done, there is a distinct location for the new roof to lie down into.

The roof sheet here laid down upside down on a makeshift table, is cut down to size, and the primer and paint is ground off to make the panel ready for test fit and glue



The roof sheet was lifted back onto the body, and some small adjustments had to be done. Now that it fits nicely it's nothing short of amazing, how well the shape and crown of the Volvo V70 roof works on the Buick.

The strips that were welded in earlier, were adjusted bu hammering and bending, until they follow the crown of the roof, so there's less than 40 thou of space for the glue all around.

The roof glued to the body with 2K body panel adhesive.



This is the glue gun that was used. It features a blending nozzle, that presses the two components back and forht into eachother multiple times, before all coming out in a ready to use bead.

 

Aprons and running board planning

Time to turn to the aprons, since it's much easier to work on them now, before the floor panels go in.
As the aprons are in pretty bad codition, and it was decided that the best way to go about it would be to make new ones. New aprons were made for the Essex hot rod in 2007 before deciding to go fenderless, and surprisingly enough, it looks like they can be used for this project. Good thing they have been saved.



The mounting of the aprons took some planning, and work was started by making mounts for them. Eight mounts were cut and drilled using 1/8" thick sheetmetal.
The aprons will be mounted to the side of the frame, instead of sandwiching them between the frame and the body as per original.

Two 2 meter long sticks of 1-3/16" angle iron were acquired, cut to length and drilled four holes in each. Then the new parts were bolted together.

The assembly was then held in place, and the apron mounts welded to the top of the frame, as outlined in red here.
(November 2022)



The driver's side apron had made to fit the Essex a bit closer, and as a result it has to be widened a bit to fit. Luckily this widening is done where it won't show, so it should be easy work.
The strip that was cut out to make the apron wide enough for this application is clamped on here, and it just has to be welded before being mated to the mounts on the frame. The angle iron is going to keep the flimsy edge of the apron straight and true.

 

New wheels and tires

It always bugged me that the Cooper Cobra 275/60-15s looked too small, and even as the plans were to use widened steelies, the chance to buy four good looking slot mags was jumped upon.

New, bigger tires were ordered for the new rims. and here's a comparison. The new ones are significantly bigger. (285/70-15)

(November 2022)



The look is more aggressive now, and as the tires are higher, the whole car looks more compact.

 

Floor work


The B-pillars got small gussets against he floor. The little shelf around hte piece is there for the floor to weld to.



Four more body mounts were made, so now the bracing could be cut out of the body.


The lower cowl area is one of hte last places where rust repair is still pending.
This is the left side.

After some grinding, this side is done.


The right hand side was much worse, so a bigger patch panel had to be made.
First, a piece of sheet metal was cut out, and bent in the middle with the sheet metal brake.



Then the fold was bent back, and then bent back more, over a piece of tubing.

Then another bend was bent on the sheet metal brake. The final bend couldnt be done on the machine, so it had to be hammered to 90 degrees.
So here's our patch panel.



Here's how the patch itself was welded in. The top pic shows the rusty bottom of the cowl, and you can see where the little square brass "Body by Fisher" plaque has been screwed to the cowl.

in the middle pic, the new panel is tacked to the cowl

In th bottom pic the welds have been ground.

The firewall to trans tunnel has been welded in here. The panel is rosette welded to the firewall, and has small flanges to weld the floor to (red arrow).
The green arrow points at the little flange that is part of the patch panel we just welded in, and that the floor also will weld to.



Work on the transmission tunnel was started by making a half pattern. The it was raced both sides, to make a complete pattern, and ajusted until it fit decently.
Some people claim to cut sheet metal wothout ever using any paper templates, but some card boardreally made my day.

The cardboard pattern was then traced onto a piece of sheet metal and cut out.

The front most part of the transmission tunnel is welded in.
The sides along the transmission tunnel are bent to little shelves, or flanges, that the floor will weld to. The floor pieces in the pic are just more paper patterns made from thin cardboard.



The one by square tubes along the trans tunnel could be done, when the rest of the work was planned.
The braces that go from the midle of the door to the rear of the transmission, are a bit diagonal like that just to make for a more interesting bead pattern in the floor, come that time.

Work continued making the drive's side middle floor panel. The floor is a bit oversize in the door opening, since a piece that continues the bead along the bottom of the cowl and quarter panel has to be made. This whole thing has to follow the curvature of the bottom of the door. Only one of these parts came with the car, and it is severely rusted, and can only be used as a pattern.



The hole in the floor? The upper four link bars would hit the floor, so some kind of "bump" will have to be made here. Arrow points at the link bar.
(December 2022)

Floors are coming nicely, and using cardboard templates has proved efficinet, saaving from having to do multiple panels for any one space, so far. Working hard on getting it all straigt and level too.



A 1" sqare tube was welded in between the wheel tubs, to weld the floor to, and to give it some structure. This will be plenty strong when it's all welded into a unit. The rounded corners were bent around a pipe.
The vertical parts are also slanted, so it made for some interesting pattern making to get things to fit. There's a bead in the center, to make the panels fit flush. Everything will be rosette welded. The upper clamps in the pic is probably right at where the front edge of the rear seat will be. some floor work back there too, to get things all wrapped up. That area back there is all unplanned still.

Template making work was commenced today, with then extension of the transmission tunnel. It's a tight fit all over since I hope to be able to get three fairly comfortable pedals mounted. There is only between 3/8" and 5/8" of room between the transmission case and the tunnel.

I would have wanted a shifter poking up somewhere in this second part of the tunnel, but the BMW shifter is coming out of the rear of the transmission.



This is the original BMW 530 shifter. It looks to be awful far back, but we will make it work nicely even if I shorten the longitudinal shift link some 6". This will effectively move the shifter forward, so that will be about at the front of the seat.

At a buddy's shop with some big offcuts of the same material used for the floor.
I got busy experimenting with some bead roller dies, and pre-stretching on the english wheel. A square bead was chosen, because it's a bit unusual.

I kicked the wheel very tight and rolled twelve times over each line where the beads were going to be rolled.
¨ The beads are fairly substantial, so without pre-stretching, the sheet metal warped badly.



Back home, the driver's side middle floor panel is tried into its place. These middle parts warped the worst, butthey'll probably sort themselves out when they get welded in. The ends of the beads were tidied up with a chisel ground to a dull square end with rounded corners. There, at the rear of the door opening, a square stamping was made. I had tried hard to come up with something fun for the floors, and this is the one detail I came to think of.

A Body by Fisher plaque. I think it's a fun detail, also a bit GM specific. This one's been on the cowl, where it was cut out along with some rust.



So now there's a ton of drilling and plug welding to get the floors in.
A pneumatic hole punch saves a lot of time, but of course, it can be used only on the edges of a sheet, so the hles in the middle have to be drilled.

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