Finally the day has come. This is what we all envision as the most anxious part of a restoration, paint. Being the meticulous person I am, I had several parts shipped to me and even visited the shop in San Diego to select a paint color. I knew I would regret it if I had not. Here is a shot of Miguel doing his thing!
Beautifully done Series 1 hatch. Once a rusty Craigslist purchase, and now, a beautiful work of art! One of my favorite aspects of this race car is that it is a true Series 1 car. Many do not know that the earlier cars had thinner sheet metal and were several hundred pounds lighter their later counterparts.
The CP production flares turned out stunning! These have to be my favorite flares, especially in race car livery and trim. The flares were bonded to be extremely strong and will take a beating before they crack.
It definitely feels good to see the car in its original skin. I can hardly wait for the family and friends of Loren St. Lawrence to see the car back on the race track!
The car sees daylight for the first time in just under a year! Can't wait to get the details and graphics on the car. I'll enjoy the fresh paint while it lasts...
The most exciting part of a restoration is of course when the car is ready for paint. I can hard contain the excitement seeing these photos sent by Miguel! After much painstaking back and forth decision making, we have selected a paint that we believe best matched the original creme! Enjoy the photos below, as the next post you will see some fresh paint.
One of the best parts about working with Miguel is that he sends me photos. I cannot stress this enough, and could never imagine being kept in the dark during a restoration. The sheer amount of detail put into this build has been a job in itself (mostly due to my OCDness)! As you can see from the photos below, we are trying to make everything it just right. Were race cars built to this detail in this detail in the 70's? Probably not, but I will rest better knowing everything I could have done to make this build perfect has been done. In these photos you will see body work, measuring, welding, and sampling of paint!
People often believe that the most expensive part of a restoration is the paint job. However, I can now say from experience that this couldn't be more false! The chassis of this restoration has so far been my largest investment and will most likely be the most influential aspect of the outcome. Another misconception of restorations is that no putty, filler, bondo, or whatever you want to call it, should be used. This is also false! Automotive body filler is essential to smoothing out surfaces in preparation for paint. Unless you have an limitless budget, a little filler won't hurt anyone - as long as it is applied in the correct fashion!
Here are a few more shots of the lovely stitch welding. Yes, I admit that this was not "as raced back in the day" by this particular car, but it may help me stand a chance against some of the Porsche 935's that will be in my run group!
As you can see from this next photo, the floor pans have seen better days. But hey, this is ORIGINAL! In a later post, we will tell the story of this car flipping top over bottom multiple times at Laguna Seca. The front clip was replaced, but the original tub remained!
So what do you do when you need better access to the bottom of the car? Create a dolly! Thanks to the Z Car Club of San Diego, Miguel is getting more and more business from the Z community. This allows him to make small investments to give him quicker turnaround.
Enjoy a few most shots of the body work and panel alignment process!
Admittedly, I have been quite lackadaisical when it comes to updating this journal. Luckily, the project has been moving forward! The sheer amount of hours I have dedicated to project manage the VIPS 240Z has been insane! Now, for some eye candy!
Being a race car all its life, the VIPS 240Z had its fair share of bumps and bruises. As you can see from the frame rails they were extremely beat. No problem, right?
To reinforce these frame rails, a set of Bad Dog frame rails was ordered. These custom frame rails are a work of art and extremely rigid. With the addition of the rear pieces,which connect the front and rear of the chassis, the car will definitely be set up to withstand the beating to come.
Next? How do we make it more rigid? Stitch it up! Back in the day, stitch welding was a racer's trick to making the chassis stronger. Since the car was stripped to bare bones, why not right? The engine bay, underbody, interior, and anything touching the suspension was all stitch welded. Overkill? Probably.
Anything that touches the suspension absolutely needs to be reinforced. However, we had to be extremely careful not to make certain areas too stiff. Generally you do not want to stitch went anything in the crush zone, or else you could end up doing more damage to the chassis in an event of a crash. Regardless, stitch welding just looks so bad ass!