Time is definitely the enemy…..and hell is other people!

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Yet again it is over a month since I last posted about anything. It scares me where the time goes. Thats not to say i haven’t done anything it’s just that of the many things i have on my 240z ‘to do’ list i don’t seem to be ticking off that many.

So let me think…..

The shell is finally back in my hands. Should be a good thing right? I am not so sure. In a way….yes, because I am in control of it now and we can move forward with all the fabrication work. The major wobble i am having with it is that I just can’t live with all the patchy repairs to the rear quarters and wheel wells and knowing that it will need more filler than i am happy with. It’s not the fault of the guys who repaired it, it’s just the nature of repairs without being able to replace the whole panel and with the original panels being so thin it is very hard not to get movement when welding new sections. I have had to tell myself that at this stage this is purely a cosmetic issue and I need to focus more on the roll cage and structure of the car. Making the bodywork pretty will have to wait for now. I am hoping that in the future I may be able to source a spare shell or rear quarter cuts so I can replace the old sections completely. I don’t know what it is with trying to do thing right that it just seems like it’s always one step forward and two steps back.

I have however managed to fit in finishing off the roof mould which is now with my friend Mick who will be making me a proper ‘pre preg’ carbon fibre roof panel. Unlike the usual carbon parts you tend to see for sale, this will be made in the same way as we make parts for many LMP, GT and touring car teams. Not just fibreglass with a layer of carbon for looks! I will do a full write up on this when it is finished with weights etc…but for now at least it is another job under way.

This is an example of one step forward two steps back. I had no intention of making my own composite parts for this car when i first got it (even though it is part of my daily work). I had seen a few companies already making parts for the 240z and know full well it would be cheaper to buy from someone else than to make moulds and set up to make my own. So with the assumption that there is a universal understanding of what is or is not acceptable as far as quality, I ordered a full set of panels for the Z in GRP. Thinking that at least this would be a good selection of parts ticked off the list. I ordered a bonnet, rear hatch, front fenders, doors, rear spoiler, roof skin and front spoiler. The service was slow to say the least but i was in no rush so it wasn’t a major issue. My big disappointment was with the quality of the parts (even though I had told them that I also worked in the composites industry) they arrived poorly trimmed and finished with lots of air bubbles and clumps of un sanded filler where they had tried to repair sections. The front fenders are a poor fit and shape because they never moulded the original returns etc. The doors are all but useless as far as i am concerned, the edges are far too thick compared to the originals. So now my intention is to make all of the panels that I need in carbon fibre. The downside of this (apart from the time lost and money wasted so far) is that most of the parts I have are not even good enough to make my own moulds from. So I will have to source good, original panels to make my own moulds from…….basically a hell of a lot more jobs added to the list!

The big focus now for the car is to get the chassis/rollcage sorted. I have made the decision that most of the front end is not suitable for a race car build. The chassis legs have too many bad repairs and internal corrosion and the top air tubes have also suffered a similar fate. I figured I am so far away from standard with the rest of the project that i may as well start thinking of what would be best not what is correct for period/originality. So the plan now is to make new fabricated chassis legs and tie everything in with the roll cage so it is more like an integral chassis rather than just a cage. I will keep the inner wheel arch panels so that it still looks relatively original in the engine bay, but will replace the air tubes with tubular structure tied to the roll cage and body. To do all of this we will need a proper chassis jig. I managed to find a factory chassis drawing online and have started modelling a jig in CAD based on the critical positions like the strut tops etc… I want to make sure the chassis is straight before we start final welding all of the cage in and i will also need a good reference for when the new chassis legs get fitted. So…..yet more jobs added to the list.

Not sure if you got from all of this that I’m having a major wobble with it all this month.

But on the plus side……I have a 240z shell, an incredible engine and a sequential gearbox (plus lots of other little goodies I’ve not talked about yet), so basically……………what am i complaining about!