Popped over to see Chris and Dan, the artisans at ‘Bespoke Bodywork’ yesterday to see how they are getting on… its nice to see progress being made so quickly so I will continue to visit weekly to capture a few moments in time of the build.
We chatted about relocating the handbrake lever as it currently projects up vertically from the middle of the floor stopping just short of where the instrument panel will be. In its current location it limits passenger leg room and may actually hinder getting in and out of the car so my thought was to move it to the outside of the car. Right now its not too difficult to relocate but a decision had to made there and then as the floor and ultimately the bodywork will be built around all the mechanicals. An engineering discussion ensued and we agreed it would be reasonably easy to extend the main control bar out sideways, crossing above the floor just in front of the drivers seat, through the side panel and then reconnected to the handbrake lever mounted onto the outside of the chassis. You will have seen this style on many vintage sports cars and I now appreciate why they used to do it. Mounting the new extended shaft with bronze bushes will keep everything strong, secure and moving. The crew have all the tooling to make the mounts and bushes so I left the task with them to do.
The basic floor panels (18mm marine plywood) can be seen test mounted onto the low and quite subtle aluminum transmission tunnel. The artisans pointed out the tunnel was necessary because the driveshaft from the back of the gearbox to the rear axle needs to be able to move up and down to accommodate the vertical displacement of the rear axle when the car goes over jumps! (yes seriously, that’s what they said, but then they use their cars in hill climb competitions so I bow to their experience). The subtle transmission tunnel will accommodate the ‘jumping’ eventuality because it is preferable not to find out the hard way that there was insufficient room under the floor. Who knows what damage they have avoided simply by having this foresight
Also in place for a trial fitting was the base for the rear seat area which is mounted to give 6″ of space above the rear axle (again to cater for a significant compression of the suspension). Realistically this means rear passengers sit approximately 4″ higher than the front passengers so whilst I sat in place, checking out legroom etc, we also mapped out where the top of the bodywork side panels will be on the assumption that passengers will probably rest their arms on it. I am sure sitting there will be quite an experience as the rear wheels will be literally bouncing away directly below your elbows.
What else… oh yes attention is being given to building the replacement petrol tank at this time, with a wooden former having been made to shape the aluminum around and I was shown the substantial brass hinges for the bonnet which have arrived (very nice they are too). Delivery of all the metal to create the bodywork is imminent. The decision has been made to fabricate all the framework in aluminum which will be strong and light, both factors are important in a sports car with this much power