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spin_out HalfDork
5/30/17 7:35 a.m.

If you are going to build a Challenge car you should really have a welder. Miller has supported the Challenge for several years, and that's what I have. For me the second most important tool is a metal cutter. It seems like there is a lot of cutting involved with Challenge cars. I have a plasma cutter, but 90% of the time I use a cutting wheel on a grinder, or my trusty metal shear. It's a Harbor Freight cheapie, but it's been getting the job done for 25 years. (Yes, I should clean my bench.)

Here's the bottom of the refrigerator door rear spoiler. I made the ten support pieces by cutting out a portion of a file cabinet drawer that already had that tricky bottom fold. I used a combination of cutting wheel and metal shear. Then I made the other two bends by clamping on a piece of angle iron, and hitting it with a body hammer. Making wooden templates would have given a better final product, but I would have needed to make 6 of them, and that takes time. The braces are two piece because I originally planned to make the angle adjustable. This is really a drag race spoiler so it may not be very suitable for the autocross portion.... as in it might rip off in a turn. :) Luckily it is removable.

spin_out HalfDork
5/30/17 8:06 a.m.

I'm going to call this a Cheater patch. It's the bottom of the passenger font fender. Instead of doing it the right way and cutting out the old metal, I went right over the top of it. I know, I'm a bad, bad boy, but hear me out. 1) It would have taken me easily 6 times longer to patch it correctly because of the brace behind the rust hole. 2) I did clean off all the rust and it's coated front and back, 3) It's really low on the car, so look as hard as you want on the finished car and you'll never see the patch, 4) Because Challenge Car. This car will never go back to daily driver status; It's a race car. So it will not have to deal with weather and wear like a daily driver.

The small hole welded up was for the bottom trim we are not putting back on. That will go in the "Sell Off" pile. After grinding the weld smooth, and feathering out the bondo, I'm really happy with the repair. It's already back on the car instead of needing another few hours of work. Oh, about that patch, that I cut on my metal shear. I did a light bend on my metal break. I could have done it by hand. Anyway, I roughly shaped it and welded the ends in place... then it was Hammer Time. A series of tack welds and hammering got it into shape. You can actually see the tacks, then the fill in welds.

Thank you photoberkit

spin_out HalfDork
6/20/17 9:10 a.m.

This car has a lot of standard Florida rust. The floors, wheel wells, and bottom of the fenders are mostly good.... but Florida cars rust out in higher areas. (I assume it's the year round 110 percent humidity. :-)

This is the back of the roof near the hatch. You can see the part I cut out. That large hole... it was filled with Bondo. I assume one of the prior body-men had stock in Eastwood "all-metal" and Bondo. If there was rust on the car they covered it with bondo. Ughh!

I cut out the rusty area, welded a patch for the inside, then made a 3 part patch for the outside. Making the outside patch out of one piece of metal would have been a nightmare. Making it in 3 separate pieces worked well.

This back area is covered with a putty-like seem sealer patch from the factory. Unfortunately over time water leaks in and is trapped, causing rust. I sanded off the rust and made a steel patch that was roughly the same shape as the seam sealer I removed. It's not going to be particularly pretty, but it should be stronger than factory, and it's hidden by the hatch.

Here is the roof after grinding down the welds and two coats of bondo. It still needs a little bit of work but it's going in the right direction.

Normally I would have cut a patch panel off of a parts car to patch the roof. It would have saved tons of time and insured a better end product, but Because Challenge Car....

spin_out HalfDork
6/20/17 3:56 p.m.

For now we plan to put most of this year's effort into painting the SVO and getting the basics to work properly. Power-wise we are just: cutting off the exhaust and adding a turn down tip (home made of course), hopefully turning up the boost to about 17-18 lbs, and adding a cold air intake. On a turbo car with a good inter-cooler I don't know how much effort I would put into trying to cool the incoming air, but our inter-cooler is pretty small. Still I have way too much time into making a insulating box to go around the filter, finding a way to mount the cone filter, and making a scoop to bring in air from the fender. The scoop is part of one of my failed valve cover racers with part of an insecticide bottle attached, and the filter was a swap meet find.

On the plus side our SVO does have an inter-cooler, Limited slip dif with 3.73 gears, quad shocks, 4 wheel disc brakes, big sway bars, a T5 trans, 5 lug hubs, H&R lowering springs, 17" Bullitt rims, and a pretty Hurst shifter. The 5 lug bolt pattern may turn out to be the best feature of the car because of the variety of rims that become available.

Our pretty shifter. This is not the Hurst shifter that came standard on the SVO. The prior owner replaced it, but we do have the original. The Diamond plate on the floor will hopefully go in later to protect the paint from the driver's shoes, and to hide some welds. (Don't tell the judges.)

spin_out HalfDork
6/21/17 7:56 a.m.

The failed valve cover racer used as scrap metal reminded me of our $2012 Judges' bribes. These TR7 valve cover racers were also horribly slow, but they were built for form over function.

We built the valve cover racer that won in $2015 and $2016. For $2017 I've put better wheels on a VCR that was a tick slower than the winner. I've also been inspired to build a new VCR using the SVO door side impact protection as a platform. All the parts are collected, now I just need to find the time. One of our VCRs from last year took a little over 19 hours to build, but that did have a custom frame.

Hopefully we'll be bringing 4 racers to this this year's event that we can loan out to kids that attend. (It's awesome to see kids attending The Challenge.) I even modified a little trophy to give to the winner. Ok, I took an old car show trophy, drilled a hole in the base and pushed in a 1950's Champion spark plug, but hey, that's technically modified.

spin_out HalfDork
6/27/17 9:54 a.m.

Here is some of the underside rust (inside of the car) on the rear hatch. You know, they sell brand new lightweight fiberglass hatches for about $300. That's the smart move, but this is a Challenge car. I like to think that the SVO so desperately wanted to become a race car that it started it's own weight reduction process ...... by rusting. :)

The photo shows a huge hole below the glass, and a part of the glass' frame that's simply missing.

Here's the underside after several weekends of welding. I think I patched 38 holes in the rear hatch, about half on top and half on the underside. I've added little reinforced boxed holes to give me access to the rear spoiler hardware. Then I decided to use my step drill to make loads of little holes all over the inside. This is partly to make it look like I was trying to lighten the piece, but this is the secret part, I was actually trying to hide rust holes from the concourse judges by confusing their eyes with too much business.

20 years ago I used to flip the occasional $1,000 for around $2,000 by finding a deal and replacing a few broken parts (with junk yard pieces), then giving it a good shampooing and waxing. I'm a little skilled at polishing turds. As an example, our '94 Blue Mustang pictured earlier has molting clear coat paint all over the front end. For The Challenge I applied some interior plastic restorer to the nose and it hid the contrast of missing clear-coat bits. About a month after The Challenge my team-mate mentioned how the car looked so good at The Show, but now looked horrible. I said of course it looked good, I applied my used car magic at The Show.

As of this past weekend the rear hatch is back on the car and the bondo work is mostly completed. That's over 15 bondo spots just on the outside. I think I have 65 hours and counting into the rear hatch, and that does not include the refrigerator door spoiler. Yikes! In the real world smart men buy the $300 fiberglass hatch. I suggest that to anyone not working on a Challenge budget.

I like to refer to The Grassroots Challenge as "The Show". I assume I do it because in "Bull Durham" they called the Big league, The Show. For me it's the biggest event of the year.

Lof8 Dork
6/27/17 10:05 a.m.

Lookin much better! Your guys' builds always have such great attention to detail. Which is a much different approach than I have, which is mostly to find a cheap car, bolt on a couple of parts, and bring it :)

solfly HalfDork
6/27/17 12:29 p.m.

great start and a cool car to bring, is there a thread for the $2009 Civic?

Andy Neuman
Andy Neuman Dork
6/28/17 8:13 a.m.

Nice work so far. I really do like challenge build threads and the transparency it brings to the event.

spin_out HalfDork
6/28/17 8:55 a.m.

Sorry, no thread for the $2009 Civic. It was a very simple build where we got destroyed at the Concourse, about was 3rd from the bottom. Placing so low in concourse got us motivated and we eventually took a 2nd place with our TR7.

Florida Andy, I loved the year you showed up at Concourse with mud all over your Miata. When we sat down for the Town Hall meeting I realized we were sitting inside a dirt outline your car had left behind. That won't get you a great score, but I thought it was awesome.

Northern Andy, I've been following your build threads. I like your angle on things.

P.S. I think both Andys are getting married this year?

hobiercr Dork
6/28/17 9:14 a.m.

I need to come down and watch you do body work some weekend. For some reason it scares the crap out of me and I just need to do it a few times to get over the initial fear hump. Plus I need to learn how to weld...

The SVO looks great. I'm sure it will show amazingly well!

Lof8 Dork
6/29/17 8:59 a.m.

In reply to spin_out:

:) I got married on 3/17/17!

DatsunS130 Reader
6/29/17 12:47 p.m.


Makes a big difference. We did it on our 242 volvo challenge car. You can buy a shurflo pump from northerntool and use one of their coupons.

spin_out HalfDork
7/13/17 9:54 a.m.

Obviously my photos stopped working, so I deleted my entire account and am now proudly using Photo-Berk-It. Thanks guys. If I have time I'll go back and try to fix some of the old photos.

DatsunS130, I have heard of the water injection and looked into it. It looked really cool (literally), but it seemed a bit complicated for me. I'm paint and body, not mechanical. :(

I decided to add a few braces to the car. I added the interior brace pictured (all dumpster diving material), welded in Maximum Motorsports Sub-Frame Connectors, reinforced the strut towers and added a brace, and I reinforced the seams at the top of the hatch.

I decided to buy the sub-frame connectors because welding in crappy home made ones could destroy the future value of the car. I believe they were $95 delivered, so it was a bit of a budget hit, but I think the right move.

Since I'm doing so much welding on this car I decided to weld up the door lock holes, and the fender antenna hole. I then proceeded to put a huge scratch in the door lock bondo. That will buff out, right ???

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