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wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy Dork
7/11/16 6:10 p.m.

I am preparing to be shopless/computerless/ moving/ changing jobs, etc. In short, I'm shaking it up a bit. There is a fair chance my beloved Starlet will go to the back burner while I get this rust bucket on the road. The fact that this, my primary build is now closer to being roadworthy than my "quick and easy build" has everything to do with my waffling. Regardless, here it is. Probably still, the most expensive non-operational vehicle I have ever had;

In February '06, I bought the most unloved Austin Healey Sprite I could find. From MICHIGAN. To say it was rusty would be an understatement This is as close as I could come to a before picture. I was still using disposable kodak cameras with real film back then. Once I can find them, I'll scan some grainy pics from even further in the past. First thing I did was a tow bar. Then started cutting. Some of you may recognize the tow rig from my other build threads. Back then, it was under my brother's care.

With this setup, I could get it back and forth from work, where I had air, A plasma cutter, welder, forklift, and all other kinds of fun stuff.

First thing, I gutted the doors down to just shells, and welded them shut. I was so impressed, I took a glamour shot. Note, if you will, the new A-pillars.

Gratuitous rear 3/4 shot to flesh out the build thread, as well as some HOBART product placement. Meanwhile, I began a frame inspired by the stock one, only with 100% more 4AGE and T-50.

Woody
Woody MegaDork
7/11/16 6:15 p.m.

This is my new favorite thread.

nocones
nocones UltraDork
7/11/16 6:16 p.m.

I like where this is headed !!

NOHOME
NOHOME PowerDork
7/11/16 9:21 p.m.

It is comforting to know that when I start to feel like a glutton for punishment, there is you and your projects that I can fall back on.

As much as I like the pizza car, I can relate more with the Bugeye.

Dusterbd13
Dusterbd13 PowerDork
7/11/16 9:53 p.m.

You make me look like a slacker with no vision.

Thanks for being more demented and masochistic than me.

I'm in for the long haul on this thread as well.

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy Dork
7/12/16 10:02 a.m.

Thanks, guys, but I've got to point out that this is all just bringing us up to the present. I have not swung a hammer on this car in 6 years due to my own case of automotive ADD. I've got vision, all right, but the reality may be much closer to burning money in a 55 gallon drum, while delaying these car's inevitable slide to the scrap heap. Gotta learn somehow.

NOHOME
NOHOME PowerDork
7/12/16 11:27 a.m.
wheelsmithy wrote: Thanks, guys, but I've got to point out that this is all just bringing us up to the present. I have not swung s hammer on this car in 6 years due to my own case of automotive ADD. I've got vision, all right, but the reality may be much closer to burning money in a 55 gallon drum, while delaying these car's inevitable slide to the scrap heap. Gotta learn somehow.

When people I meet tell me that they would like to restore a car or get into the modification game, I ask them if they would be comfortable burning a nice crisp $100 bill every Friday while having a beer. It that makes sense then by all means they are qualified for the hobby.

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy Dork
7/13/16 11:33 a.m.

Next thing, I took it to the shop to Really start the demo phase. Alley Oop! And I proceeded to plasma cut out a ton of bad metal. I cut the bottom 2"off the rockers, and tacked it to my newly constructed frame. Then chucked it on some 4X6's and headed home. That was one Saturday. Towed it to the shop, cut it to bits,tacked what was left together, and returned home. Of course, I was 10 years younger then.

Some of you may wonder, Why this car? The reason is my parents courted in a Bugeye, and I grew up hearing them tell stories of that car. One story involved my father removing the windshield for the winter, and sticking a piece of plexiglass in the defrost slot like those English racing screens, and the two of them driving around until Mom's hair froze back. She always has been a good sport.

Also, my first car was a '63 Sprite, because even back then, you couldn't much find a bugeye. It was the color, and texture of an orange, but I digress. More later...

NOHOME
NOHOME PowerDork
7/13/16 12:23 p.m.

Still trying to decide if you are a genius or need therapy...keep going and I will ponder.

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy Dork
7/13/16 1:50 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME: Does it really have to be one or the other?

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy Dork
7/14/16 2:38 p.m.

At home, I made some sawhorses that put it at a nice working height (free advice: a build table would have been a much better idea). Below, you can see the rear frame section I built. From this point on, the whole project was much like building a ship in a bottle. Bracing was slowly coming out, while metal was going back in. There was plenty on the internet to inspire.

And, I found my new, lighter car was easier to transport. I could even load and unload it solo. There is a slight continuity gap what with the new firewall. Forgive me if you will, I'm milking this thread a bit as a creative outlet while I'm doing boring stuff like painting the porch, tiling, blah, blah' blah. I'll give better detail next time around.

rob_lewis
rob_lewis SuperDork
7/14/16 3:22 p.m.

Am I wrong or did you weld the doors shut?

-Rob

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy Dork
7/14/16 3:34 p.m.

In reply to rob_lewis:

You are correct, sir. The hinges were seized to the point that opening doors was much more ripping A-pillar than pivoting on hinges. The inner doors were also holey at the bottom. Knowing I was no body man, I welded them shut-YEE-HA!

It did come with the front clamshell, but there wasn't much below the grille, and it was surprisingly heavy. Bonus-Same problem with seized hinges!

Often., I make illogical purchases.

Fitzauto
Fitzauto HalfDork
7/14/16 11:59 p.m.

I like where this is going. Keep up the good work!

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy Dork
7/15/16 2:36 p.m.

Firewalls front and rear were the next step. The huge cutout in the passenger's foot well allows room for the planned Webbers. The massive engine setback was also a factor.

And on to the rear. The square tubing was set up to carry a cheap "fuel cell" I bought, and have since decided is a bad idea. Again with the continuity...we'll talk roll bar and transmission tunnel next time.

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy Dork
7/17/16 12:57 p.m.

I can't recall the exact order, but I tried to bend tubing with a Harbour Freight tubing bender, failed miserably, and eventually took my problems to a local Xtreme! 4X4 shop for a rear hoop, crossbar below the rear deck, under dash hoop, and side bars. They left it outside to rust. I went back several times, and eventually, they made a very nice 1/2 cage, or whatever you'd call it. You can also see the transmission tunnel/upper frame backbone I made.I started tinning in the interior, and shoring up gaps everywhere. Also got the top part of the column worked out, as well as the bones of a rudimentary dash. A new clamshell in fiberglass arrived via semi,and I started mocking up tires, and eyeballing everything. Gotta have tunes, so I cut up a yard sale tool box. I had to knock the corners down, because the space I had been being pretty casual about taking up was starting to get pretty sparse. Speaker boxes for some sweet 6X9s complete. Right along in there, I had to take it outside while I swapped a buddy's Nova over from an auto to a Doug Nash 5-speed. It took a while. More rust equals added lightness. I scrounged stuff for the suspension from the pull-a-part. Specifically, front uprights, and rear axle from one of those awesomely goofy Toyota vans from the mid 80's. They use the same center section as the mini-trucks, and have lots of locker possibilities on the cheap. Sorry for those getting Deja-Vu from my other threads. I like these axles, or at least I think I do. They work on paper, anyway. The axle went to the same 4X4 shop for a Tru Trac, and to be narrowed.

NOHOME
NOHOME PowerDork
7/17/16 5:17 p.m.

I stand by my previous statement!

I mean what the hell, sitting on the middle of the teeter-totter is no fun anyways.

What is the attraction to the suspension components from that particular van?

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy Dork
7/17/16 8:04 p.m.
NOHOME wrote: What is the attraction to the suspension components from that particular van?

That may be the symptom of a deep seated mental illness, but I'll try to explain. See those damnable wheels? I bought those for a failed AE 86 project. 14X8 Supra wheels. I wanted to use them. They are 4X114.3mm. That narrows rear axle choices a bit.The Toyota van was thick on the ground around these parts, whereas the Ford 8.8 was, to my eyes, overbuilt and too heavy for this application, and the RX7GSLSE rear was nonexistent in local junk yards. It (the van rear) had 4.10 gears, cheap, easy lockers, and was stout enough to hold a small block if not abused. They are not too heavy, and are designed like a Ford 8" and 9" had a little brother (7.5" ring gear). Early on in this project, in my naivety, I believed I'd use the stock brakes from the van in their entirety-drums, calipers, the whole shebang, and presto! have one sweet, Toyota powered British convertible by say, oh, 2015. As the story unfolds, we'll see how wise a move those van uprights were. About this time, I took a year and a half to study suspension design. I bought all the right books, learned the right terms, and studied myself into inactivity, because I couldn't design the perfect, no compromises front suspension. It took a long time for the idea that a zero compromise suspension does not exist to settle in. Wait, I'm digressing. I wanted to design my own double A-arm front suspension, and I found a single donor in the junkyard that had big discs, Bolt-on ball joints, and the proper bolt pattern (same as the MGB), and was from the same manufacturer as my intended engine. Aesthetically, I wanted to keep 4 lug wheels, because 5 would just be wrong on a Bugeye somehow. So, in way too many words, that's it: big brakes, bolt on ball joints, proper bolt pattern, cheap, available, single donor, strong, lockable rear, and cheap. I was obsessively reading, and re-reading everything available on the Ro-Spit at the time, and master Suddard had really impressed me with the idea of the one donor project (or as close as you can get).

NOHOME
NOHOME PowerDork
7/17/16 8:31 p.m.
wheelsmithy said: About this time, I took a year and a half to study suspension design. I bought all the right books, learned the right terms, and studied myself into inactivity, because I couldn't design the perfect, no compromises front suspension. It took a long time for the idea that a zero compromise suspension does not exist to settle in.

"Analysis Paralysis" as it is known in the trade!

I started down that suspension rabbit hole before I admitted that there was no way I was going to do a better job that a team of Japanese engineers, ergo I took the easy way out and just shoved an entire Miata under the P1800.

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy Dork
7/17/16 8:40 p.m.
NOHOME wrote:
"Analysis Paralysis" I took the easy way out and just shoved an entire Miata under the P1800.

I think I like your approach better, but barring creating a time machine, and slapping my past self bout the head and groin with a series of tiny hammers, here I am. Up next: Front Suspension Details!

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy Dork
7/18/16 6:38 p.m.

After all that studying, I came up with this: on the drivers side, I cut a little piece of 1/8" rod so I could just tweak it between the ball joints, as I had no idea how I was going to measure castor.

I was married to my lower frame rails, and I knew I wanted the top A-arms to angle upward to the wheel side. Those van uprights messed with that plan, and eventually, I added another box section below my original upper frame rail. Everything I have done will be revisited before I drive this thing. If under the heading of Camber Gain Under Bump, I get an answer of "some," I'm going to call it good.

I also built a box for Willwood pedals. I got Master cylinders and Dynalite calipers all around. I bought those Konis from some jerkwad on line, and it took something like 8 months for them to show up after I had sent a money order. I think they are part of some Hot Rod coil over special. $400 for 4 or something. I'm not even sure they are Konis. At bare minimum, I'm sure the springs will have to be replaced. Please don't judge. I know my actions were foolish. Just in case, here's ONE more angle. So, that gets us up to date, and moving day is approaching. There may be another post or so, but for a bit, all my projects are on hold. So, here's an overall of the most notable mock-up I did. Cheers, and there will be more, eventually.

nocones
nocones UltraDork
7/18/16 8:43 p.m.

My favorite part is all the parts.

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy Dork
9/13/16 8:46 p.m.

So, I sold the house, along with my beautiful custom built shop: and the Sprite stayed exactly where it has been for years. My Mom's garage. See, the story goes like this. Mom owns an old house split into 4 apartments. there is a 20X20 garage that used to be a perk of my managing the property. Well, let's just say I never quite got around to moving the Hi-Cost out of said shop. All the pictures from earlier in the thread are of the very same. Well, now the little British car has something besides my old motorcycle frame and spiders to keep it company-a LOT more. You can just see it tucked back in there.So, there you go. I am technically jobless, and homeless, but I did okay on the sale of the house, and am currently on the job market. Crashing with the girlfriend isn't all bad, either. The plan is find a job somewhere in East TN, rent someplace, and once my special lady friend sells her house, and leaves her job, get a new shop, ahem, I mean house...

I'll post once the next exciting step has been taken.

ae86andkp61
ae86andkp61 HalfDork
9/13/16 11:47 p.m.

Sweet; sounds like there are exciting opportunities in the horizon!

Indy-Guy
Indy-Guy UltraDork
1/14/19 11:02 a.m.

Bump.  Looking for an update.

 

How does this slot into your project priority list now that you have the Free Fiat?

 

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