I manage to work on the deuce about 15 hours a week. The build is limited mainly by funds but that being said; since I've been collecting parts for this car for 15 years, most of the major components have already been collected. The only thing left is the glass, but that will come later.
One of the tradeoffs of buying an inexpensive fiberglass body is that you need to do your own internal reinforcement. That's where I am now. I bought a Dave Koorey body which comes from the factory with doors and trunk hung, the doors latched, and electric window mechanisms installed. That's not bad for the $3600 I paid back around 1994. If I had spent another 3-6 grand for one of the "top quality" bodies then all the structural reinforcements would have been done at the factory. For my money I would rather do the reinforcements myself and pocket the extra cash.
The first order of business was to install the trunk latch. This isn't rocket science but does take some time and fabrication.
This is not a high dollar build so no electric latch mechanism is warranted. A simple cable run through a piece of brake line to a nut underneath the rear panel will work just fine.
The trunk work is being done first because once the passenger compartment steel is installed it will be difficult to get into the trunk to install the latch and the plywood that will mount the trunk struts and upholstered trunk panels. Here is one side panel installed. A cardboard template was made and then the panel was cut out of 3/4" plywood and glued in place with heavy duty Liquid Nails. I did a lot of research on this and Liquid Nails along with a small group of other products such as 3M 5200 marine adhesive will work very well bonding fiberglass to wood.
With most of the trunk reinforcement done the steel work in the passenger's compartment was started. A plywood pattern was made and then 1" square tubing was bent to conform to the pattern. This would have been a lot easier if I had a square tubing bender handy but since I didn't it was done with a bunch of pie cuts which were welded and ground smooth.
Once the first section of steel was finished it was fitted and welded in place.
With the measurements completed the rear trunk plywood was cut and installed.
Here's a view from the trunk side. Luan plywood panels will eventually be cut and upholstered and will be mounted to these 3/4" sections with Velcro.
The rear of the passenger compartment is now complete. Note the extra bar that will support the package tray. The framework is designed to be bolted to the frame as well as the floor of the body which will add strength and stiffness to the fiberglass.
The front framework is designed to tie the firewall, dash, and door locking plates all together. It bolts to the frame just as the rear framework does but will also tie the fiberglass firewall to a 14 ga metal plate which is welded to the framework. This will strengthen the area where the brake and clutch peddles will be mounted so it will be very strong and won't flex.
The bottom of the dash was lined with the same 1" square tubing as the rest of the interior and it is tied into the rest of the framework with bolts. The top of the dash will be bonded with fiberglass to the body later which will further strengthen the area.
Here is the 14 ga. metal plate which will mount the brake and clutch peddles. I'm using a reproduction Ansen clutch and brake peddle assembly which is designed to use a '61 Chevy truck master cylinder. This is the same unit used on the American Graffiti coupe. The bolts that will mount the assembly were blind welded to the plate so it can sit flush with the fiberglass firewall. The holes for the master cylinder will be opened through the firewall later.
Here is the seat frame. It is about as low tech as you can get. There aren't even any seat sliders for adjustment. Adjusting the seat will be done by removing four bolts (two each side) and sliding the seat to a new location and then just sticking the bolts back in. I don't figure this will be a problem since the chances of someone besides myself or my wife driving this are prety remote.
Here you can see the "High Tech" seat slider system.
The seat is the center seat from a '91 Chrysler mini van and is a perfect fit for this size car. Don't let the blue color throw you, it will be recolored black later.
With the seat installed there are about 4" between the seat back and the package tray so the seat can only move to the rear that much. If someday someone tall owns this car then all they'll have to do is remove the package tray in order to allow the seat to move further to the rear.
Here is the clutch and brake peddle assembly. Its a pretty compact unit and straddles the steering column. I'll find a convienent location for the matching gas peddle later. As you can see I have some patch work to do to the floor where the previous owner had cut holes for an under floor master cylinder/peddle setup. I'll also have to patch the firewall since the original hole for the steering column was cut based on a small block Chevy. I had to cut a new lower hole in order for the steering column to clear the heads on the hemi. Small price to pay for the huge amount of class a hemi brings to any ride.
Here is the final mockup of the driving position. For someone my height (5'6") this position is perfect. The column will have a 4 1/2" drop mount which I'll build later. A simple chunk of 2x4 makes an easy substitute for now. The seat frame bolts through the fiberglass floor to the frame. I don't trust fiberglass all that much so mounting the seat and seatbelts to the frame is a high priority for me.
My next project will be doing some fiberglass work. I need to make a proper shifter hump in the floor and patch the area where I had initially intended to mount the emergency brake. Because I'm now using a bench seat instead of buckets I need to move the emergency brake handle forward about 8". Then I'll remove the body again and start working on getting the under side of the body coated with roll on bed liner. Don't laugh..... that stuff is tough as nails and will last and protect better than paint.
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