I am reaching the stage where I think i need to work out where everything will go, seats, steering wheel height, elbow room on drivers side panel, dashboard, length of bonnet, windscreen height etc. Its one thing having a vision of what you want the car to look like, but its another thing if you can’t achieve that look because of xyz being the wrong size…
So this weekend, whilst MrsC was doing her bit for charity in the marathon distance Moon-Walk and the musician was doing her homework, i thought i would shirk a few of my parental duties and mock up the floor panel on the Falcon.
I am still a little undecided whether to make the floor from 5mm aluminium or use 12mm marine plywood. Both are in-period, but I think I want to extend the body slightly outside of the chassis rails which will require a small amount of cantilever support. But i am getting ahead of myself, first i have to learn (the hard way) how to build the bodywork. As a temporary floor, I have some roofing board which is definitely not up to the ‘real’ job but it is good enough for me to be introduced to some of the challenges in the forthcoming task for which I have absolutely no skills or actually any real idea how to do. Deep breath MrC you can do it.
I dragged the old roof board from behind the garage noticing that the along one edge the sheet had some rot present – hopefully the 6×4 sheet was still big enough for me to use though.
Challenge one, the gearbox sits slightly higher than the chassis rail and the handbrake sticks up vertically in the middle of the floor. So logically I have to make a cutout in the wooden sheet so that it can drop around the stickie-up bits.
Careful measuring showed me I had slightly more wood available than i needed which was good news. I have absolutely no idea what to do at the rear seating area of the car yet so I am allowing the panel to be too long for a moment.
Who would have guessed that a vintage car makes a decent saw bench and all the saw dust can be used on the recently spilled oil <coughs theatrically>. The first pass in the picture above got me close and merely needed a few small nibbles to fit around bolts that stick out etc, the handbrake lever, gearbox links that kind of thing. One thing i have realised that if i am fairly careful at the mocking up, if it works then i have a decent template to use on the far more expensive aluminium or marine play sheet.
I want, I think, about 3″ of overhand for the body which hopefully will mean that the front passenger isn’t constantly in my elbow space although to be fair it will still be pretty intimate. Next problem – the chassis rails curve upwards just behind the front seats but my floor panel is flat and overhangs the chassis rails. Temporary solution then – a coulee of slots in the floor panel so that the chassis rail can come through the floor. Clearly that won’t be good for the final solution but right now I can’t envisage the rear area so one step at a time.
If you have eagle eyes – you may notice that the brake pedal is resting on the floor panel, thats less than ideal as its quite tricky to use the brake with only your heel so at some stage I will have to work out how to lower the floor in that area by nearly 3″. More obviously, at the front of the floor, the panel is far too wide. This is on purpose so that I can think about how I want the bonnet sides to flow into the sides of the car. A graceful curve when seen from above is where my mind is. Now that i have a basic floor – I can work out where the seats need to be so that both MrsC and I can reach the pedals AND see over the steering wheel. The bonnet will be almost at eye level so this is important.
Fast forward an hour or two and I have popped the original bonnet onto a temporary support frame which enables me to play with steering wheel height, bolted both seats in and propped some hardboard into a very rough model of the bodywork merely to see if I am heading in the right direction.
And all of a sudden it looks like a car again… you know what? I think i can do this…