Welcome to my blog on turning a rusty old shed in to a thoroughbred Italian race car. In the last blog we saw the car it had been dipped, welded and a new side installed on the car. Some of the roll cage had been installed and a few bits had returned from the re-conditioners. In this episode the car is painted and now ready for the big build.
Driver positioning is really important when building a car for endurance so we took some time getting this bit right. The control surfaces the driver uses all need to line up with the natural ergonomics of being seated in the car. Italian cars are notorious for having off centre pedals, plus the need for brake bias adjustment we are using a floor mounted pedal box with integrated brake master cylinder. We have also decided to go with an electronic throttle and throttle body to give us more flexibility when it comes to engine mapping.
The seat has been mounted as low to the floor as possible which has resulted in a “legs out forward” position, meaning the OEM seat position was moved back significantly from the standard position. In essence, the driver’s seat is now mostly in the passenger foot well. This in turn means the gear linkage and steering column need to be extended, mounts fabricated and the new position fixed to ensure a comfortable drive.
All of the roll cage sections were welded in to place, including bars going right through the bulkhead in to the front turret in two different positions. In addition gussets were fitted to key angles and the cage was also welded to the body in key areas along the roof and sides. The final piece of the shell was the welding in of the jack mounting points for the air jacks in the corners of the car where the bulk of the cage meets the floor, given this is its strongest point. The dash was also test fitted and various bits hacked off in order to fit around the cage and new steering column position.
Most of the parts ready for building have now arrived and some of them are a demonstration of engineering excellence. In particular the machining of the engine components including the con rods, pistons, clutch, crank, cams (not pictured) and block. All of the components have been balanced and weighted to within a gram, the block has been pressure tested and honed ready for the new pistons. The head is away still being machined and the valves installed ready to be built up. Because this is a race car I don’t want to say much more about the specification but if anyone is interested, drop me a line and I can fill you in.
Other bits have arrived including ATL fuel tank, diff carrier, lower suspension arms, all four hubs (which were really difficult to source), wheel studs and most importantly the steering wheel!
Panels & Painting
Once the car’s welding had finished and the new panels had arrived the car was shipped off to the painters ready for the final paint to be applied. Colour was an important decision in the build and whilst there were red cars briefly around in the 1989 WRC, I ended up going for the classic white. For the interior and engine bay I went against the Lancia factory standard of light grey and opted for a classic dark grey look instead. This was mainly to cut down on glare during sunny days as well as during night races where reflections can massively reduce visibility.
Once I had decided on the colour (and there was much dithering) the painter ended up sand blasting the shell rather than dipping it given there was very little rusting of the metal since the last dip. The painter then applied a rust inhibiter to the metal, base coats and then the final finishing coats. The floor had additional layers of stone chip protection applied before the final finishing colour.
The next episode the car is built up, wiring complete, all components are installed and it is ready for the turbo and rolling road. Don’t forget to subscribe below, share and give the video a thumbs up.