With step number one complete, we focused our attention on plating the side rails. Again, this is a good step to take on your own Street Stock in order to increase the rigidity and performance of the frame. For example, the area where the stock body bushing mounts are is generally rusted and weak, particularly on cars that are more than 20 years old (ours is 33). If you choose not to plate these areas, you leave your race car open to structural cracks that will eventually lead to failure. Taking a little extra time to strengthen the whole frame will give you a solid foundation on which to build your car.
The next critical step is to install the mounts for the motor and the transmission using a dummy motor and trans. While doing this, we found that we were going to have to notch part of the frame in order to have clearance for the fuel pump.
The blue lines in picture No. 10 represent where the cutting is about to take place. With the fuel-pump notch completed, we moved onto assembling the car by installing new bushings in the A-frames and trailing arms, assembled the front suspension, setting caster/camber and toe and measuring the front tread width. We put our Quick Performance Rear End in and installed front and rear weight jack bolts and shock mounts. We even put the stripped and cleaned Performance Bodies Monte Carlo SS panels on the frame.
Now, many of these steps are going to be covered in separate stories about this build in subsequent issues of Circle Track. However, the purpose for assembling the entire car at this stage is to facilitate critical items like ensuring that the front firewall clears the engine and trans or that we have enough body supports placed in the proper areas. Not to mention the fact that we're building a complete rollcage with the all-important door bars. We'd look pretty silly if we built the 'cage and then tried to put the body on the car only to find that the cage was -inch too tall. So this process is really more about the classic Bob Vila quote, "measure twice, cut once." For a complete list of the steps Frank and his crew took to prep the car for powdercoating, check out the sidebar.
Obviously the car will have to be completely dissembled before taking it to the powdercoater. However, one thing you want to keep in mind is that any personalization of the car, such as extra bars in the rollcage, structural additions in the engine bay, and so on, must be done prior to sending it to the powdercoater. Additionally, you'll want to grind and clean all of the slag and rough areas.
"The slicker the framework, the nicer the powdercoating. Take pride in your work," says Kimmel.
Rightly so, this isn't necessarily a time-consuming step, and it will yield a much nicer finished look that will return you some added money if somewhere down the road you decide to sell the car.
With the frame complete and stripped back to just what is getting powdercoated, it's time to load up and head over to W.M. Kelly Company. We sent CT's Tech Editor, John Gibson, along to chronicle the process which you can read all about in "Takin' A Powder" as we take the next step in Project Bomber.
In addition to notching the...
In addition to notching the frame, metal had to be removed from the area around the bushing for the right lower A-arm to accommodate the fuel pump.
This picture shows the finished...
This picture shows the finished and plated modification.
One of the chassis modifications...
One of the chassis modifications is the addition of round tubing to help tie both front frame horns together for strength. It will also serve as the bottom of the radiator support.
The doorplate, which is mandated...
The doorplate, which is mandated by Kimmel's rules, is one solid steel plate that is 48 inches long X 20 inches high, and 1/4-inch thick. This plate helps prevent foreign objects from entering the driver's compartment and is a good idea for your car, too.
Body mounting supports and...
Body mounting supports and their attachment points must be fabricated with the body panels in place in order to ensure you have the correct measurements.
Notice how Frank completely...
Notice how Frank completely seals the area of the firewall that is left of the driver's feet with additional sheetmetal.