Build Diary of a
Roadster (Kit Car)
Had a length of time away from the build, only for the stay in the
tin tent to end early due to rain! So came home and did a
bit more on the car, and had much better weather to boot!
Hard to see any difference to previous pictures, but have done the
passenger foot well bulkhead, wired the horn, spent money at an
electrical wholesalers on bags of electrical terminals and P Clips
so tided the wiring in the engine bay. Fitted the exhaust
rap and finally made a big metal P clip to hold the brake switch
Yes I know a lot larger pictures, but indulge me. I have two 4
point harnesses and the rear wheel arches on order. Next job I
think has to be the front wings, so need to make the stays.
31st May 2009
What a glorious day
for the last one in May. Well I set about working on the
wing stays and it took all day for me. Did not work from the
book on these as I could bend the 19 mm tube in one go, this meant
less welding and distortion and because of less welding should
perhaps be a bit stronger.
The first picture is the offside stay on the garage floor, if it
looks peculiar it is just that I removed the shadows from the
picture so it stood out better.
For now I have just
rested the wings on top of the stays for the next two pictures,
still undecided how I will fasten them on.
7th June 2009
A very slow week, with several one step forward and two back periods
as the jobs have been completed. On a positive note, I am now
a lot happier with the handbrake. I replaced the standard Ford
crescent shaped cable linkage with a straight bar, machine to have
two adjusters one for each cable. It is allows much
better setting of tension in the handbrake which now starts to
be applied from 3 clicks.
On one step backward, the wing stays, were removed and a section on
both sides ground out of the way of the front brake callipers.
This after the realisation that as the pads wear, the calliper moves
inward! Now both back on and the wings bolted through.
The second step backward. Made a lighting bar to hold the
headlamps and indicators, goes just behind the top of the front
frame. I dea was to use the indicators to cover the sharp
edges of the headlamp mount. Could only get square ones at the
time. but OK try them and fitted well.
Only to be told they would not pass IVA/SVA because the viewing
angle is not good enough.
So after consulting the manual, I found that each front indicator as
well as meeting set minimum and maximum heights and distances from
sides, must also be viewed 80 degrees outward and 45 degrees inward
from the front. So much for just using the Westfield site as
The picture below give an idea of what I mean.
This really means the indicators will have to be mounted on the
front nose cone on stalks to the sides, which is something I did not
want to do, or make stalks and bring the indicators forward on the
existing bracket. Ho hum!
11th June 2009
A few days since update, it is amazing how a small setback can mean
you do not feel like working on the car for a couple of days.
I decided to look forward, so stuck some paper together and set it
over the engine to form a bonnet. Once in place and taped
down, I pressed down over the edges leaving an indent showing the
required shape for the bonnet.
I also bought a set of lights for the back end of the car, one
of the to do jobs soon.
13th June 2009
Picked up a 1.6 CVH rocker cover to replace the standard one, it
gives a bit more clearance under the bonnet line. Now on hold
as I need to get fasteners to keep the bonnet in place and rubber
strip to lift it about 10mm from the scuttle lip to bring the
aluminium level with the scuttle and nose cone.
The front indicators have been moved forward by fitting modified
table legs! A test run of the engine on idle does not cause
them any vibration so there should be no issues. The
indicators should now be visible from the required angles.
The last picture is looking down on the engine area, I could do with
some form of graphic on top of that engine cover!
Tomorrows plan is to make the radiator grill, then may consider
fitting the lights to the rear panel, still not sure if it looks
better with lights on there or the rear wings.
16th June 2009
Text only update tonight, very little done over the weekend, called
in at an auto jumble in Garstang and bought some edging trim for the
cycle wings and for the bonnet, some closed cell foam strip,
1/2" square, again for the bonnet to hold it away from the
fibreglass and a fun rear number plate, nothing fancy just has BOF 3
on it! Made the front grill out of 8 mm aluminium tube, but
not sure if I will use it.
Tonight I have been cutting down the light pods to hold rear fog and
reversing lights. These are cut at an angle of 9 degrees to
keep them vertical when bolted to the rear panel. Anyone
watching me do this on my milling machine, using bits of wood, my
hands and a few wood screws, would have entered me for the Darwin
Awards. Luckily I left the garage with all fingers
Came to a major decision! I can not fit, the rear wheel arches
or bonnet without the side panels being fitted. Without the
wheel arches the rear light clusters can not be fitted, with out
lights fitted I can not finish wiring. So must put thought
into side panels.
18th June 2009
Made mind up, bought a 2.5 x 1.25 metres by 1.2 mm thick aluminium
panel this evening, had it chopped in two length ways and brought it
home in the car, just! The scuttle has been taken off tonight
ready to offer up the panel, mark it out and cut to shape with over
lap for folds top and bottom. It is covered one side in black
plastic to help prevent scratches. Cost £64 plus VAT
which I did not think was that bad, it will not do the full length
of the side, but will be jointed just behind the front wishbones,
allowing for a removable piece to be fitted in and around the
Last picture below is of my home made radiator grill made over the
weekend, I have been given some steel mesh, so will make a
comparison and decide which one to use.
19th June 2009
Ok started by cutting the
aluminium pannel down to 224 cm to get from top of rear wheel arch
to just behind front wishbones, cut a small triangular piece out to
get it to fit around the rear wishbones then clamped to the side of
Pushed in against panel to keep it close to the chassis and used a
permanent marker to draw lines along the chassis edge top and
bottom, ended up as shown below. Next stage was to use 25 mm
masking tape from inside edge of line outwards.
Using the masking tape means I now have approx 25 mm to fold over
the edges. Next use air shears to cut of the excess metal to
leave a side panel!
Tomorrow I will use this to make the other side panel, making sure I
do it the correct way round of course to keep the plastic cover on
I hope it works, I know it is not as per book method as it goes all
the way to the top join with the rear panel and folding on the arc
may be a bit of an issue, but I still have an option to trim that
22nd June 2009
It has been a weekend of hard hork and some more this evening.
The panels are on the car, still in black coat and have put the
scuttle back on the car with wheel and dash. A lot of bashing
with rubber mallets, drilling for rivets, de burring then refit and
fasten up. Tonight put a pear shaped (sort of ) hole in the
side panel for the exhaust to pass through and will refit the
exhaust when I can. I will work on the final pieces of the
sides to cover the front suspension area. The plan is to make
one out of cardboard then duplicate it twice in aluminium and
fit. Will need to remove a damper and spring to allow free
movement of a front wheel.
23rd June 2009
A bit further each night is the aim. Spent most of the evening
trying to slice down a length of 8 mm diameter copper pipe to form
the edge protection around the exhaust. There must be a better
way then an air powered disk grinder with a 1 mm thick disk.
Anyway managed to achieve some sort of result, this is another piece
to go on the list that may be improved later. Took the
protective plastic off, probably a bad idea!
Also working on a new front grill, using diamond
24th June 2009
Just an update now the adhesive on the grill has set. The side
fill panels are also underway.
25th June 2009
Have taken the front suspension off, disconnected the steering arm,
remove the brake pipe, just removed the lot so I could make the
small side panel, this is the nearside undergoing the work, offside
still to be done. Hope to have the side panels all done over
the weekend and get it back together again.
Down side, the wings stays are fowling the steering arms, especially
when the suspension is at the end of its downward travel. This
means rework to the bottom sections of the stays.
28th June 2009
Re made the bottom ends of the wing stays, so they no longer hit
against the steering arms. I spent a bit of time with the
exhaust clamp, grinding the upturned edges to remove them and end up
with a flatter finish. Re fit the brake pipes and bled the
system of air, removed all the plastic trim left on the side panels
and it looks like we are getting there!
29th June 2009
Started on the bonnet, placed the paper template on the aluminium
sheet, marked out and cut with air shear. Note the two bending
jigs. This is quite difficult and really could do with being
higher off the ground and a few more hands, but you get the idea.
Now it is just a case of bending the panel over the jigs in the
correct place, doing a test fit, bend it again, another test
fit, bend again, test fit and repeat until you are happy. I
will get back to it tomorrow night! This one will need all the
marks polishing out.
I have put masking tape on the edges of the nose cone and scuttle to
help stop scratches from the aluminium sheet.
1st July 2009
IVA/SVA Compliant catches arrived for the bonnet, so fitted them
this evening. It is not a perfect job, but looks good and I
will improve the bonnet when as I fit a few extra braces for the
bonnet edges to hold against. Still have to cut out the hole
for the air filter. Two pictures below:
4th July 2009
Mounted 'U' Channel to the inner edges of the bonnet, put in the
hole for the air filter and fitted a bit of trim. Also
finished the cut down type 9 gear stick and fitted that with it's
12th July 2009
Time for an update. The gear stick now has a home made cover
and trim ring, the speedo drive arrived earlier, so has been fitted,
getting the cir clip to fit was a real pain, had to clean out the
slot before it would lock in place.
Have also been working on the rear boot lid. Cut this out of a
sheet of ply and then covered with leatherette. Have sprayed
the roll bar in black and fitted all together. The normal bolt
heads seen here will be replaced by black cap head screws
soon. I managed to get some Gates, 2 inch (51 mm) internal
diameter fuel filler hose, lots of edging trim and adhesive trim to
cover sharp edges. such as holes for the wishbones, back of seat
belt mounts, wing stays etc.
The fog, reversing and numberplate lights are also on the back of
the car ready for the wings.
The small jam jar fuel supply has now gone and the tank piped up
to supply the engine. Fingers crossed, no leaks so
far. Next to do is the lid of the boot, I have wing mirrors on
order and my paperwork has been sent to DVLA to start the process
for VIN number.
26th July 2009
I have not done much but little bits here and there. The boot
has a lid but needs a lock and there is no storage area yet! I
have the date for the DVLA inspection and hopefully all goes well
that will be Tuesday the 28th July 2009. This is just an
inspection to obtain the chassis or VIN number. Hope to do a
few more things with the car when out such as weigh it on front and
back axles, get the steering checked and camber front and back
wheels and also if time permits get the breaks and emissions tested.
I have tried to learn a bit of metal spinning to assist with the IVA
test standard. This is for the exhaust. Below are
pictures of the leading edge of the exhaust system, which certainly
would not pass, so having made a former I spun an aluminium disk
over it and trimmed to size and fitted it. It is not perfect
but a lot better then original and if I can improve on the technique
will do one for the trailing section.
The exhaust bracket has also been redone bringing the silencer out
around 15 mm from the bodywork.
28th July 2009
The inspection by DVLA went OK today, took the car up the VOSA site
at at Kirkham a few minutes later I was ready to leave, this was a
check for donor parts in the build such as engine, gearbox, back
axle etc. and that the engine number matches that of the donor
V5. All seemed to be well and should indicate an age related
Managed a few other things while out. Had the brakes tested
and all OK with rear brakes and handbrake, front brake individually
will ramp up and lock the wheels, but when done together the
nearside is down 32% on the offside. So I read that as the
nearside is lacking braking effect and would tend to make the car
pull to the right under heavy breaking. That is something I
will have to look at, as all parts are new, I will need a bit of
head scratching first. Last to be checked at the garage was
the exhaust emissions, and that was clocked at 1.8% Co, so a smile
Near home I went to a weighbridge, the car is 640 Kg on its own and
740 Kg with me in it, (FB). With me still in it, I asked them
to give me front and rear axle weights and had 340 Kg front and 380
Kg rear. Yes that only adds up to 720 kg. It turns out
the weighbridge, meant for heavy goods wagons has a resolution
of 20 Kg. So estimate the car is around 630 Kg has a
balance of around 47% front 53% rear.
The weather was less then kind, I made it to VOSA dry but as I
left the heavens opened and continued to rain through the brake
testing and weighing, I gave up trying to keep the car covered.
It has been suggested that the VIN number should take around a week
to arrive and to ring if I have not heard anything by then.
29th July 2009
I used an afternoon in the workshop making jigs to test the camber
of the rear wheels.
They are basically just T pieces with a stand for vertical laser
lines made as accurate as my digital calliper would allow.
They fit on to the rim of the 15 inch wheels and allow me to project
a line and compare it to a vertical plum line. The rear camber
is set as close as I could get it to 1 degree negative on both sides
and I will do the front wheels when I can. Then the amount of
toe in can be set and the front sections covered up ready for IVA.
30th July 2009
Letter from DVLA in the post this morning with the VIN number,
starts off with SABTVR then numbers. I cut the number into a
flat length of steel and welded this to the chassis on the right
hand side as requested. Still have to get a VIN plate made up
for under the bonnet.
This was then sealed all around with Sikaflex and finally sprayed
Did the front wheel camber as well this evening here are a couple of
pictures showing the basic set-up:
The stick is there keeping the indicator pressed tight against the
wheel allowing me to go to the garage door and take
measurements. For general interest, over a height of 1145 mm,
20 mm offset is very close to 1 degree.
So the next thing will be to set up the amount of Toe-in on the
steering, lock it all up and cover the required parts.
5th August 2009
Did the front wheel Toe-in today and have covered the parts with
bright yellow heat shrink, Ugh! There is self centring on the
steering so that is good. I have replaced the front disk pads
in an effort to sort out the imbalance on the brakes but will not
know if cured until back on rollers.
Have added side repeaters, a lock to the boot lid. Still no
boot though! Last few things to do awaiting the wings are:
Get some mirrors on it, simple covers for the adjustable spring
rings and the mushroom second securing.
6th August 2009
Did the second fixing on the mushrooms today, something I had been
putting off for some time.
As the mushrooms are only held in by pinch force, it is considered
normal to have a second method of securing them. Many will
drill a hole through the steel casting and tap the mushroom for a M6
bolt. I did not like this idea, to me, it puts a hole in a
highly stressed part and may lead to fractures in the future.
So I came up with an alternative clamp arrangement that I hope meets
In the front hub there is a squarish void, as seen in this picture.
This gave me an idea of making a hook style clamp arrangement, that
would lock into here and bolt into the mushroom, the next picture
gives a better explanation of what I mean.
The small hole will let any water drip out (was really there from
the lathe work), the larger hole is clearance for an M8 bolt.
This view shows the bottom clamp, turned to fit
inside the mushroom!
These are handed so two made up and more welding to beef-up the
clamp. The top of the mushroom has two holes, both off
centre. One is tapered to match the Transit drop link, the
other threaded m8.
The m8 bolt pulls the mushroom and clamp together against the
upright collar and stops the mushroom from coming out of the upright
should the pinch bolt come loose.
Of course, the idea is it never comes loose, so use of split washers
and thread lock on the m8 and m12 bolts certainly helps.
4th September 2009
The rear arches arrived this week, but up to now due to the weather
I have not had chance to fit them. But at least I tried a mock
up with some 3 inch spacers on top of the tyres.
During the wait, and still to complete, is a car trailer to tow the
roadster behind the normal family car, it is getting there slowly.
6th September 2009
A break in the rain has given me a chance to do a bit more.
The trailer now has the sections complete in between the
wheels and mudguards are fitted, just a bit of paint to finish the
car deck, service the breaks, new tyres and then it will be ready
The rear arches have been fastened on, six bolts on each side should
hold them both in place. I need to purchase some 'P' trim to
finish the edge between the arch and bodywork, but it's looking OK
Rear light clusters and reflectors are next.
13th September 2009
The rear lights are on and finally wired, will eventually get some
form of wedge shaped spacer to align them vertically. The
mirrors are on and I truly think that the build is now coming to an
end. I will fit the decal for the brake master cylinder, edge
trim the bottom of the front suspension springs and locking rings
and ask a few friends to have a look over the car for their advice
prior to IVA.
14th September 2009
'Pushed' the car out of the garage swept up, and I took a few
pictures. The forms will now be sent to apply for the IVA
test. I am not saying the car is finished, will it ever be
finished? But at is at a stage of close to it! The
lights all work, the horn bip's, I am generally happy with it.
If you wish to contact me, please
E-mail by clicking on the following link and then remove the
© A Hodgson