17 March 2020

Moving pieces of the mental puzzle around, I realized that, without a full-size workshop/garage , this build will be difficult. It would require one car bay for the ‘Vette “rollerskate”, a second bay for the car that’s getting converted to sit over it, a third bay for all the parts as they come off, and a fourth bay for the “machine shop.” That’s basically twice the garage that I have now, but even if somehow this home’s garage was doubled in size, it cannot be one large area due to the exiting floor plan and plot. It’s just not going to happen. Because of this, unless we move (unlikely, especially now), the Corvair/van/Volvo/etc imaginings have to get shelved. So what does this leave?

It suggests using the construction technique used with Kimini, where composite subassemblies were used, carefully measured, the tube frame chassis build, and the composite placed over it frequently for test fitting. During the build, the cab assembly can hang up out of the way from the ceiling on pulleys such that it could be lowered and raised at will during the build.

This narrows down the ideas to something already under consideration: a pickup truck. The advantage of starting with a hot rod truck is that it’s already in three pieces: the front hood assembly; the cab; and the truck bed. I only need the cab initially because that’s where all the work happens. The cab gets placed such that it’s not interfering with the engine. I don’t want the engine intruding through the firewall because it gets crowded and hot, and it’s hard to work on the engine if it’s buried under the windshield. So that locates the cab. The front and rear suspension ends up wherever it has to be, and the engine and front suspension can either be left open, hot rod/rat rod style, or integrated into an existing hood/fender assembly, and maybe it’ll fit. Leaving it open though, means not having to worry about where the tires end up relative to the wheel wells.

This leaves the truck bed, which handles two issues rather conveniently. Since the cab was likely set back further than stock, the rear tires almost certainly won’t line up with the factory fender cutouts. No problem, the bed and wheel arches are cut to align it. Also, since I keep complaining that most cars are too long for the garage, the rear of the bed can be cut such that it just supports the rear wheel arches, while keeping enough internal volume underneath for the gas tank and mufflers. If the truck bed ends up being short, like 4.5 feet long, so what. The truck bed is very straightforward to fabricate, and also avoids the expense and shipping of a fiberglass bed assembly I’d have to chop up anyway.

There are several vendors advertising composite cabs for hot rod trucks (a stretched version is nice because the actual size cabs are cramped). Also, most have doors available, along with glass and electric lifts.

This is much more pleasant to think about, rather than certain other things going on right now!