No, I haven’t died or lost interest

School, a graduation, some semblance of a social life, and a three week trip to South Africa, which was amazing, has slowed this project down a tad.

While away, I was in touch with a fabricator who will be installing a 3/4 cage in my car at the end of the month. Ryan, of Thompson Racing Fabrication, has installed roll cages in many of the rally cars in the area. I’ve seen his products prove themselves effective a couple of times and look forward to having his work in my car. The cage will get a full writeup upon completion. In the mean time, I’ll just say that Ryan and I have come up with what should be quite a good design given the constraints.

As for material progress, here’s what I’ve been up to:

In a previous post, I showed a window in the frame rail, in the engine bay. Fuel and oil lines pass through that hole and come out here, inches from the fuel tank.

This bar, passing from the dash bar to the frame rail, will experience quite a bit of load. I added a gusset to distribute that load across the frame rail.

Removing the drivetrain with the headers installed proved to be a bit of a challenge with these radiator supports in place as they protrude inward and reduce the available width. My simple solution to that was to make the radiator supports removable. The supports now slip over the post and bolt in, whereas before they were non-removable. Not depicted in this photo are the tabs that I welded to the bases of the supports for the attachment of a splitter.

My T56 transmission is out of a 2004 GTO. The GTO transmission has better syncros than the Camaro T56, however a Camaro shifter is strongly preferred for this swap due to its location. I had to replace the GTO offset lever with a Camaro offset lever in order to make the Camaro shifter work with my trans. The Camaro offset lever is the shorter of the two.

I chose an MGW F-body Camaro shifter because I needed a Camaro shifter anyway and this one has phenomenal reviews. The knob is a delryn piece that I ordered from ebay. It has a nice shape and isn’t very thermally conductive.

The hood is held up with a universal gas strut that I picked up on Amazon. One of them is enough to get the job done and while some companies charge over $100 for hood strut kits, I have about $10 into this setup.

My wiper motor relocation looked pretty haggard for a while because I didn’t have a tool that fit into this small space to clean up the welds. Fortunately, I was able to borrow an electric die grinder from a friend and that made short work of this job. With a tiny bit of body filer and some paint, this will practically look OEM.

After some CAD(cardboard aided design) work, I determined that a F-body Camaro air intake fits perfectly on top of the radiator ducting. I also picked up a K&N panel filter. The volume that this intake will draw from is a great source of cool, pressurized air.

For weight savings, the OEM dash is hacked up and this car is not going to get much of an interior. Accordingly, I needed a utilitarian housing for gauges, switches, power sources, and the radio. Yes, this car is still going to have a radio. Anyway, I used my metal break to make an aluminum structure to handle this task. The structure bolts to the transmission tunnel via nuts that I welded to the inside of the tunnel. This center console is easy to reach and is short enough for my GPS to mount to the top of it without hitting the bottom of the dash.

There’s a 12v outlet, and something that looks like a 12v outlet that is actually a pair of USB plugs. Those will be handy for keeping my phone and other gadgets charged during longer drives.

I gutted the doors and removed the OEM seatbelt towers in preparation for the cage. This lot of stuff weighed quite a bit.

As you can see in this photo of the passenger side door, there is not much left. The windows mechanisms were largely left in tact and I moved the cranks to locations that will be easy for occupants, whom are strapped in, to reach.

This is a brake line mount, positioned approximately how it was from the factory.

The other big task has been preparing the car for paint. The engine bay, interior, and wheel wells will all need to be painted. Accordingly, the engine bay has been stripped to bare metal, the inner firewall has also been stripped, and the wheel wells have mostly been stripped. The paint work, engine bay included, will most likely take place after the cage is complete.

I also fabricated mounts for the driver and passenger seats. This was something that needed to be done before the car goes in for the cage. I don’t have photos at the moment, however they are basic fixed position mounts with attachment points for the anti-sub straps welded in.

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