Monday, April 13, 2015


A few shots of the car from the last little photoshoot. Got a little break in the wet weather of late, so I took the car to a nearby spot with a nice industrial background.

I love the way the grey side looks from this angle. Having the rocker painted black makes the car look long and mean, ready to pounce.

It's nice to see the engine bay all cleaned up and looking smooth. A few things to finish of course, but it's looking good to me.

Loving the interior too. The black factory pieces like the passenger seat, dash pad and gauges, mixing with the black stripped interior and Sparco seat.

The day or so before Beach Hop I made a new bracket to mount the fire extinguisher on the flat of the floor. Looks much better than on an angle like before.

Now that Beach Hop is over it's back to work getting the car finished. So it's nice to have these photos to inspire me to get back into the garage. The machine is looking good!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Build Details

Time for a big update on the work done lately! I was too busy working to post the results here, but the Beach Hop crunch is over now, so here's the update as promised.

I installed a big fuel filter in the rear to complement the smaller one up front. In this shot you can also see the battery box reinforcement plate, one of the new Fox/Hotchkis shocks, rear discs etc. So nice to work with a clean underbody too.

The rear discs are a kit from Cass, aka Dr Diff, the man when it comes to Mopar differentials. This kit works with factory style tapered roller axle bearings instead of just the newer 'green' ball bearings, which apparently don't hold up to hard cornering. I also have Cass's heavy duty billet bearing adjusters, axles, and a bunch of other parts, great gear!

Brakes installed with new lines I bent up.

The front calipers were bead blasted, repainted, and rebuilt with new pistons, seals, and hardware. These are just temporary until I source some badass NASCAR brakes for the car.

Here's another shot of the trimmed bellhousing flange. Lots of ground clearance gained from this.

The finished rollbar. I had it powdercoated but the finish came out with a lot of texture and too much sheen/gloss, so I sanded it down and clearcoated it matte. Looks fantastic now.

The final steering quickener and column setup. Really happy with how this turned out. Especially as the quickener makes such a massive difference in the feel of the car.

Bolted in place awaiting the upper column section. All the grub screw lock nuts on the steering universals and adapters have been replaced with specially made half nylocks, as mechanical locking fasteners are required everywhere by the certification authorities here in NZ.

The custom handbrake handle setup. Visible behind is one of the backing plates for the driveshaft loop.

I installed a nice map pocket on the center tunnel for stowing small items. Love those hexagons.

The large gauge electrical cables for the wiring. These range from 70mm² for the primary length of the starter motor feed, to 16mm² for the alternator to battery feed. All triple crimped with the correct tool and high quality terminals. I really enjoy the wiring work! The heat shrink on these is temporary, and once everything is finalised I'll be using Raychem adhesive lined shrink on the ends, with the bulk of the cables covered in DR-25 heat shrink. Then probably all sheathed in a nylon braid.

To hold the electrical cables in place I needed some way of fastening them to the body. I remembered seeing something online once that I though was a great solution. Take a M8 washer, bend it, and tack weld it on. Then you can run a cable tie through the loop. Nice and simple, and easier, tidier and faster to use than a riv-nut and P-clip.

Here's one of the washers welded on. Just a little spot is stripped to bare metal for the weld. And if you're smooth with the welder and quick with the compressed air after, then the surrounding paint is fine.

A little bit of paint and they're done. I'm definitely a fan of this mounting/attachment method now. It's so easy to zip tie the cables and wires in place and snip the ties if another cable needs to be added or swapped out. I added a bunch of these washers around the body where I need to run wiring.

The finished trunk modules. The Pelican case is fixed down on its custom bracket, and the battery box is bolted into the reinforcement plate under the floor. The starter solenoid and alternator feed circuit breaker is also visible to the right. Love the way this all looks!

The positive feed comes out of the battery box and onto the 500A solenoid, where the switched feed goes to the 70mm² cable to the firewall junction and through to the starter. This way the starter cable is only live when the starter is being cranked, which makes things much safer. Also attached to the battery positive terminal on the solenoid is the feed from the alternator to charge the battery. This goes through the circuit breaker to protect things in case of a problem. The terminals on the breaker will be getting protective boots like the bigger cables when i find some that fit. Also just visible below the breaker is the ground for the battery negative cable. This is a M10 stainless bolt with stainless hardware that bolts through the nice solid rollbar support I welded in to provide a secure earth for the battery.

Here's the other end of those cables on the firewall. These junctions pass through the firewall, the 500A heavy duty one on the left for the starter, and the smaller one to the alternator. This side of the alternator stud also functions as the main power feed for the electrics in the car. The multi pin connector on the right is one of the Deutsch quick-disconnect connectors I'll be using in the car. They are heavy duty but lightweight alloy connectors designed for things like mining equipment and trucks. I love the Deutsch autosport Mil-spec connectors like in race cars, but they are overkill for my needs and don't come with the larger terminal sizes I need for this project anyway. 

These ones do the same job and come in a wide range of terminal size options. I have three going through the firewall to allow for quick disconnections of the whole motor loom, fans and lights loom, and a small one for the hood tach and other things on the left side of the engine bay.

Here's the little one for the hood tach next to the brake booster. The fittings disconnect with a quarter turn and are neat little pieces of engineering. Can't wait to wire them up.

However to get the car ready for Beach Hop I didn't have time for the final wiring. So I just did a temporary job to get the basics working. Half the things on this removable board are just mocked up and not wired in yet. This board sits where the heater box would normally be, behind/below the dash and above the passengers feet. The final plate will be water jet cut out of alloy along with all the mounting holes for the various modules. All the different looms coming off this board will have their own dedicated plug, so the whole thing will be quickly removable if needed to add or modify in the future. Did I mention I love wiring?

The dash and gauges needed to be rebuilt and reconditioned. Here I've masked out the needles for a fresh coat of orange paint. 

I also stripped and repainted the speedometer as the face was faded and flaking. I replicated the factory dial markings in computer software, and had them laser cut out of thin white vinyl. The other gauges needed a fair bit of work too, with some new decals in places, paint, and even the guts of a working gauge from another car swapped into the face from one of my original but broken gauges. That was fiddly!

They look great behind the freshly polished plastic lens and repainted housing. I'm looking forward to seeing how they look at night once I finish the light bar for the top. The awesome 70's dim green dash lighting that these cars came with is so cool. On a side note this dash cluster is actually from a 1970 Dodge Challenger, not a Barracuda. My car had this when I bought it. In fact the whole interior was a mish mash of different coloured parts from various other Cuda's and Challengers, none of it original to the car. I'm happy though as I think this standard dash from a 1970 Challenger (a one year only design) is the best looking of all the factory options for these cars.

I added a matching voltmeter into the ashtray, along with the switches needed for the Painless F5 fan controller. Easy access to them, but hidden easily too. 

I've been looking forward to this view for a long time. I've been in love with the 70's interior from when I first bought the car, so it's great to see it looking like new. Should look fantastic once I finish the switch panel to the left and make the hood tach!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Beach Hop 2015

Well, I got a functional kuda up to Beach Hop in Whangamata. It was a crazy couple of weeks leading up to the event, with many late nights, but it all came together in time. The weather at the Hop was shit unfortunately, and watching the car fill with water in the rain was a bit rough. But the main parade was mostly clear and the car was a big hit. Rolling through the crowds with open headers and revving the shit outa the engine, as all the kids yell for you to do, sure was good fun.

Beach Hop is always a great time, even with crap weather. So many BBQs, beers, rad cars, and 5 days of cruising a little beach town in the beautiful Coromandel peninsula.

This year I spent a few extra days after the event a little further south at beautiful Papamoa Beach, and the weather was much better. Put a bunch of miles on the car on some nice quiet rural roads.

The car ran great. No leaks or problems, and the steering and handling around the narrow winding roads was fantastic.

All in all a great trip! I'll do a big post of all the work that was involved in getting the car to this stage soon. Cheers!