30 May 2011

I’m still around; just taking a step back from pushing so hard, and have actually been spending more time with the wife. Have done a few new things, like going to a minerals exhibition where we saw some incredible rocks that came out of the earth. Then there’s a growing interest/distraction in backpacking – and I thought that there were a million choices in car stuff… Then there was the first gun show we ever went to, where my wife said it was like going back in time, walking through the open marketplace in Vietnam where you could buy virtually any pistol, rifle, machine gun or grenade-launcher you wanted. In backyard news, there’s another hummingbird nest not 50 ft from the first 🙂

And then there’s the car. The next panel – the last of the pain-in-the-ass panels – is finished other than fasteners, the one surrounding the shifter. I was going to leave the shifter open to show it off, but if and when the car gets rained on, water will run into the shifter and into the center tunnel and cause mischief (rust.) There’ll either be a leather shifter boot over the whole cutout as-shown, or as my buddy, Ron, suggested, a plexiglas box show-casing the mechanism, plus a small shifter boot. Regardless, having a 2″-wide center “tunnel” goes a long way to freeing up legroom.

Speaking of such, Ron stopped by in his authentic 1961 right-hand drive Lotus Seven. He twisted my arm (I hate driving other people’s stuff) until I gave in, and man is it elemental. It was amazing how tight the steering is; sneeze and the car will be in the next lane Right Now. It was hard to believe it only has a 1.3 liter engine, as 1000 lbs does wonders for performance; mine’s going to be something of a tank in comparison. I can’t imagine driving his car at the autocross, as the performance it so far up the scale it’ll really lay out the driver’s ability – or lack thereof. Driving on the right-hand side takes some getting used to but I guess I should just be happy I didn’t also have to drive on the left side of the road, too!

Gave up on getting carried away with the foot well paneling. It’ll just be made removable one way or another so that the shocks can be accessed.

15 May 2011

Welded in the “divot” to the curved section of the center panel so the driver’s seat now misses it. No comments on the welding, please.

Before the panels on each side of the center “tunnel” can be done, the panel at the forward end of the footwell needs to be addressed. At first I started with a flat panel across the bay immediately forward of the pedals but then backed off. The issue is once the car’s buttoned up, how are the inboard springs going to be adjusted? Not just valving, but especially ride height could be a real pain if they’re way down in triangular bay. So after staring at it for a while, the panels on each side of the center tunnel can extend forward and curve outward. This keeps the shocks accessible from above and behind their position. The bottom panel of the storage compartment will have to be removable to get at the shocks (and battery) but no problem there. The panels are needed to keep coolant from ever spraying on the occupants. That’s the trick about designing a car; not only is it deciding where stuff has to go, but how it’ll be accessible once it’s in-place.

The only issue is whether the heater doors will still work… Running the
panels forward makes the shocks visible from the passenger compartment
which is kinda cool, but the fact is lost because the dash completely blocks
the view – unless someone puts their head down into the seat cushion.

8 May 2011

Nothing accomplished on the car, but rewarding nevertheless.

As you know, a mother hummingbird had set up nest near our back window so we’ve been keeping an eye on her and her kids, watching nature at work. The babies have gotten huge (relatively speaking) and barely fit in their nest. Yesterday one was perched on the edge of the nest preening and flapping his/her wings, so we realized the time was near for them to leave. This morning, sure enough, one was already out of the nest, perching in a nearby tree. Went out to take a few pictures and not five minutes later, the second one flew out into the same tree. Mom kept visiting them for feedings, the babies calling to her with a very high squeak – and then they were gone.

Went and visited my mom and got back mid-afternoon, wondering if the baby birds might still be around. Went into the backyard and just sat quietly and waited, and, like right out of a movie, the two of them came flying extremely fast out of the far trees, slowed, and landed side-by-side on a branch near me. It was almost as if they were saying “don’t worry, we’ll be okay”, and by the time I thought it would make a cool picture, they took off and vanished. It’s amazing how a young bird can just “know” how to fly, and I’d have thought that mastering hovering, never mind moving in six-degrees of freedom, would take a while to figure out, but nope, they already looked like pros. I wish them a happy life. Happy Mother’s Day.


2 May 2011

Don’t worry, I’m still here. Being on-call means getting calls at any hour, including right in the middle of working on the car. That means cleaning up early, driving to work, figuring out what’s going on and and by that time it’s 11 PM… 🙁 Next time my boss asks “car done yet?,” I can say “well it would be if it wasn’t for the weekend interruptions.”

Before the interruption, the last nasty panel was finished, the last panel of several having caused a huge mental drag for some reason. I mean, they really weren’t that difficult, just very time consuming. Anyhow, after it was welded and beaten back into shape, the assembly was put back in position and the driver’s seat installed. It was already known that it was probably going to interfere with the center metalwork, and it didn’t disappoint. The area was traced out and removed. Not shown is a section of aluminum pipe trimmed to fit the hole to form a recessed area to miss the seat’s shoulder bolster. While the seat could have been trimmed instead of the center cover, it seemed better to go this route since the seat is stressed a lot more with me sliding around in it than the center cover.

The last picture? Yeah well sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and think about what’s been done and what’s left to do, all with a bottle of Costco’s finest!