Thursday, March 26, 2015

Test Drive

A quick test drive to make sure everything is working before the rest of the parts go back on. Good fun! The locals seemed to get a kick out of it.

I've got lots of work on the car to update here when I get a chance, but have been flat out working to get the car together for Beach Hop. I'll post a full update real soon!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

some of the latest

Here's a quick fill-in of some of the progress lately. I've been pretty much working full time on this thing, morning to night, although sometimes it doesn't feel like anything is happening.

I finished the tail panel, which was basically the last section of the body to be done. There was a bit of work to finish the shaved trunk lock.

Feels pretty good to have the body finally finished!

Before the motor went into the car, it needed a few things. One was to clearance the passenger side header to gain room between the torsion bar. The overkill headers pretty much touched the overkill torsion bars, and I wanted to raise the angle of the drivetrain to get some extra ground clearance too.

I set the header in a bin of sand to support it while I heated it up and smacked it in.

Turned out pretty good! Gains me lot of room.

In the quest for more ground clearance I also trimmed the lower flange of the Lakewood bellhousing and 'block-saver' plate. When I was testing the car the bottom two bolts and bellhousing flange bottomed out on a big bump on the road. Made a very loud noise and ate a big chunk out of the road. I'm not planning on drag racing the car so I don't need the bottom two bolts and the SFI rating of the bellhousing. The bottom edge was round so you can see I gained a lot of ground clearance by modifying it like this.

I also made up new front brake lines and installed the Willwood proportioning valve before putting the drivetrain in the car. It's so nice to bolt new parts onto a fresh body with new hardware!

It's so easy to install everything like this. I highly recommend it!

There's a lot more that's happened since these photos too, so I'll try and update this website more regularly. Cheers!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Japan and the Cuda

A lot of work has been done over the last month, well, two weeks of it anyway. The other two were spent in Japan, I had a great opportunity to visit the country, somewhere I've always wanted to travel to. Terrible timing for getting the car done though...

It was worth it of course.

Absolutely love the place, can't wait to go back and see more.

I'll post a full update on the cuda soon.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Slick underbelly

I've been looking forward to this view for a long time! I always planned to take a final photo of the finished underside while on the rotisserie, with the exhaust and lines etc on. Looks so rad.

The fuel and brake lines are on for good (first things bolted onto the car for real!), all mounted with stainless hardware and nice and secure. The exhaust and handbrake lines are just on for the photo, and will be coming off again. The exhaust needs the front flanges welded on, which I can only do with the motor, drivetrain, and headers in place to set the angles. The handbrake cable was set up for the drum brakes, and I've just ordered a disc kit from Dr Diff, which will require different length cables.

Booth days done.

With the paint job on the body finished I could mask it up, push it to the side, and spray the top coat on the doors. They came up really nice, that PPG matte clear coat looks so good.

And with the doors done that meant the end of the spray booth...

The space feels so big now that it's all opened up again. I'm so glad that major body work/paint stage is over! I plan to take the body off the rotisserie for the last time tomorrow. Time for final assembly!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Finished Body!

A major milestone on the project has been passed, the body is finished! Well, I still have to paint the tail panel when the body is off the rotisserie as it's obscured by the frame, but apart from that it's done!

It's not perfect but for a home job it looks great. I better make the most of it as once you spray a matte top coat it will only look worse over time. You can't buff anything out and matte finishes always mark easy. But right now it looks fantastic.

I had my fair share of trials and tribulations, setbacks and breakthroughs, but the end results are good enough to be worth it (just...  maybe). I think for future car projects I'm going to pay the pros to paint them, as right now I feel there's no way I want to go through this again!

It's been another steep learning curve for someone who's never done anything like this before. I can't wait to start bolting all new and clean parts onto this body for the last time.

I have to share a picture of the rad little spray gun I used for the top coats. This is the Spraylien, a limited edition DeVilbiss GTi Pro-Lite. I kept it real clean and it will be going back on display on a shelf once I'm done as it looks so cool. And it did an amazing job of the spraying as well. Bonus!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Lots of work has been going on lately, just not a lot of it posted online. None actually. So here's a good catch up to what I've been doing the last month.

Before I finished the body and pulled it off the rotisserie I figured I should use the spray booth for the other bits and pieces that needed painting. Turned out there was a lot, this image shows just a few. Parts were sandblasted then coated in Durepox, a really nice epoxy urethane.

The doors needed some work too. There were dozens of little dents and the construction of the doors didn't let me get to the other side to body work them out. So a little filler was used and those tricky 'cuda bodylines made nice and new again.

Ready for topcoat.

I added a drain plug to the diff housing before getting it blasted.

The rough old fuel tank was full of pinholes, so I decided I'd weld it up and add some baffles while I was at it. I had it acid dipped when I dipped the car body, so it was pretty clean. I used a tank sealer after I'd welded it up, as seen in the bottom left image. Not sure yet whether or not I'll coat the exterior in Raptor Liner.

Thanks to some rad local businesses I have some final 5mm alloy brackets for the seat. Big thanks to the Water Cutting Company and Kia-Ora Sheetmetal!

Final test fit of the trunk mounted battery and Pelican case bracket. I love this sort of stuff, I could photochop a rad robot from this image.

I reinforced the floor under the trunk mounted battery box with this bracket.

All sealed and painted.

The pedals were blasted, painted, rebushed, then drilled for the billet pedal covers. I'll probably get these anodised black with some other bits soon.

The fourth big shipment of parts from the states arrived. There was a big box with new front and rear glass too. I wonder if those 325s will fit... 

These were probably the coolest parts of the lot, adjustable rebound Fox shocks tuned by Hotchkis. Apparently very nice.

Lucky I have a spare room for all this stuff.

I added the final brace to finish off the steering quickener bracket, then it got prepped and painted too, along with all the other column bits.

Speaking of painting, here's some of the test cups I've sprayed to try out various top coat options. Most of them are to test the kind of sheen level (or lack of it) I want in the clear coat. I've ended up going with a PPG product designed for Lamborghini's.

Here's the car ready for topcoat. I sprayed it in sections, A-pillar and door jambs first, then engine bay yesterday. Tomorrow I'll be spraying the body, so I should have some images of the finished body soon.

Cheers and happy new year!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Finished interior and underside

The body is getting very close to being finished. The interior/trunk and underside is done, with final satin black topcoat and Raptor liner. Looks fantastic.

It was a lot of work to wash, wipe, sand, wipe, mask, final wipe, paint, repeat, etc...   But man does it look nice. I love the look and finish of the Raptor liner, smoothly textured with a classy industrial feel, if such a thing can exist! Good fun to spray too. Now all that remains is the top coat on the outer body and engine bay. Next week!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Spray booth and work

Here's the spray booth I've made to keep fumes and dust out of the house, and also to ensure a dry and warm environment for prepping and painting the body. The plastic sheet booth is sealed all around and has 4000cfm of filtered intake and exhaust ventilation. Works great! It's nice and warm and dry in there.

I've been stripping and priming the new body panels as there was quite a few tendrils of rust under the factory e-coating, mainly on the roof but a little on the quarters too. Not ideal as the e-coat is advertised as a solid basis for paint. So I stripped and deoxydine treated the panels and sprayed them with PPG expoxy urethane primer to ensure a long life to the body and paint.

Clean! Next up is filling the seams between the new panels, then painting the whole body and getting the thing off the rotisserie for the last time. Can't wait!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Another photo from the impromptu shoot outside STM after the dyno test.

I'm back at work on the car after a trip overseas, and currently setting up my garage for the body work stage to proceed, so work should be progressing rapidly soon. I can't wait to have the car back together again...

Friday, September 19, 2014

Syber 13

A crazy Gatebil-style S13 Nissan Silvia built to four-wheel drift. It features a set-back Chevy LS V8 with twin superchargers and a custom four-wheel drive setup. The front blower is mounted backwards and has its internals reversed so air goes in the bottom, gets compressed, and comes out the top and into the second blower mounted normally on top of the motor. I think it makes for a mean-looking beast head poking through the hood, and should have the performance to back up the looks. The radiator is in the rear, fed by the roof-mounted scoop, so when the one-piece front is removed you’d get an uninterrupted view of the front blower on its cantilevered brackets, and also of the front transaxle, and custom-built and white-painted suspension and spaceframe.

Another potential future build concept. I really like this machine, it would look rad as hell for real I reckon.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Joker

This is The Joker, or the Shakotan Demon, a Mashine Chop based a 1971 Dodge Demon with Japanese shakotan/bosozoku styling. I’ve been photochopping works-style overfenders and big ducktail spoilers on all sorts of cars for many years now, and think this one really suits the look well. It’s kind of like a big Mazda RX-3 or a KE35 Corolla. It’s called The Joker both for the purple and green colour scheme (which is based on two of the famous Mopar ’High Impact’ hues of the ’70s: Plum Crazy and Sublime, and also happens to be the Joker’s colours from Batman), and also because of its badass PPRE 26B turbocharged quad-rotor engine – a choice that V8 fans won’t find very funny!

Mashine is a project myself and good friend and fellow designer and car nerd Ash Thorp are working on. A way to indulge our crazy car fuelled plans and make big things happen in the future…    Keep your eyes peeled!