Man this winter has been unreal... Yesterday morning I blew snow for about an hour while I was letting the fire warm the garage... By yesterday afternoon we'd picked up another 10 inches and I had to go back over it again... We're at over 2 feet.
So, I managed to finish up the base for the driver's seat, and get it primed and painted and ready to reinstal the seat. I also managed to finish up the hood Dzeus fastener adjustment so they all work now... Today I might get back down there and finish up the harness mounts for the harnesses for both seats. The original bar location was to low for the mounting of the seats. Unfortunately when I had the cage done, I did not have seats yet and the fabricator was guessing I'd have the seats on the floorpan... So... No big deal, but I need to raise the shoulder strap locations...
I also need to weld a pair of braces in at the fuel cell that will aid in rear impact safety and a couple of small brackets for bolting on the radiator air box... Then the welding is done and I can get back to the final buttoning up of the car.
On the Miata front, I have the car stripped and loaded in the car trailer. It's going out for a SPEC LEGAL specmiata cage instal. The car was supposed to be at their shop on Friday, but the impending weather diverted us... I'm hoping to get there tomorrow, but the region is under a state of emergency and the auxilery drive to the shop has NOT been cleared yet...
On the dreaded black winged car front... got it back from a lengthy stay at the shop. Had the transmission completely gutted and rebuilt with much stronger parts, along with a new billet Guards limited slip, upgraded clutch/pressure plate, and upgraded clutch hydraulics. I've got a pile of new parts to instal on it. New monoball suspension components, new Xflow exhaust system, new front bumper cover and inner fender liners... Lots of bits and pieces.
So today was eventful...
I welded up all four side mount plates for the Dzues fasteners, and then drilled all of the holes in the bumper cover. I then mounted the pop-out aluminum Dzues fasteners inplace on three of the 6 locations... I ran out of pop-rivets, so that part of the project is on hold until I can get more rivets.
I also welded on the extension for the front tow hook. While I was at it, I added gussets for the oil filter relocation mount, and welded gussets to the brackets that hold the Dzues base plates for the MSA type 3 bumper cover.
While working on those issues, I moved to the mounts for the Carbon hood.
Once I get the rivets, I'll relocate one mount for the hood, and finish up the "prime" and "paint" on the areas I welded up. I'll then move to the seat base and the few brackets I need to weld in for the interior safety. Window net brackets and such... Then I'll move to the rear of the car and finish up the welding back there...
We're in final preparation for this coming season for track events, and I'd previously mentioned to the wife that I really expected to use the trailer a lot more this year. The "wants" list for the trailer is fairly large, since the trailer, although having finished ceiling and walls, is pretty basic. I've got a work bench with a grinder and vice, along with a wire wheel, but no power. I need to have a small subpanel installed, better lighting for the interior, an AC system for the roof, a source for heat, and portable power...
She's a good listener, that wife of mine... Along with some nomex and some upgraded suspension alignment tools, she bought be a very small, very quiet 2000watt generator for the car trailer. For $179 shipped, the thing is amazing. So now I need to talk with a guy I know who does a lot of work on car trailers and see what he'll charge for installing a small sub-panel, and outlets inside the trailer, along with some flouresent lighting. I've already sourced and will instal the AC unit later this spring.
On the car front, we've entered final discussions with the cage builder for the Spec Miata. Piper Motorsports did the cage in the Zcar for me in 2005 and that ran me $2400. I expected a race certified spec legal cage to run me well over $3000... But because I'm a repeat customer, they're charging me $2500. Can't pass it up.
The Zcar, which is the point of having a blog (so I'm told) on a Zcar site, is getting some new bracing welded in today. I'll weld in the final impact supports for the sides, and also finish up the DZEUS fasteners for the MSA type3 airdam/bumper. I wanted to be able to pull it off quickly and easily to load the car into the trailer... And that's what we're going to be able to do... I'll have a total of 6 fasteners holding the bumper cover on. PIcs will follow in the project thread. I'll also add a few braces here and there for other stuff, and some tabs for bolting the bottom of the airbox on to the radiator mount, along with the bolt tabs for the front tow hook. We're going to get rid of the Moroso switch box and use some of that KYDEX I ordered (I have a bunch of this stuff we're going to form for fender liners and other panels...) to make a console panel to house a flat switch plate. We're also going to bolt on an eyelet for the right side net to hook to off the mounts for the dash tube from the cage. I've also got a bit of welding to do on the driver's seat mount that will take about an hour... Once this list of items is done, I need to get a windshield mounted, and I need to DRIVE the car to debug it. That's pretty much it.
"Why doesn't he just finish it"...
I've heard that a lot.
Reality is there are 24 hours in the day, and they, along with the customer contract, the company, the family, and the life that gets in the way, take a lot out of me. I'm but a man...Shocker, I know.
This weekend I invited and asked Tom Harris, Joe G., Pete Paraska, Doug Carrow, and Glenn McCoy to come out and lend a hand... Now were getting the largest snow storm that has ever hit the east coast.
So I'll push on and hope to reschedule for January. Here's the reality: I have two months to get the Zcar done, the Miata sorted with a new cage, and the porsche fitted with a new seat and other new hardware. Reality is I'll focus on the cars I can IMMEDIATELY drive and IMMEDIATELY have my kids drive. Beyond that, everything else is noise.
We'll get it done, but it might not be in Feb.
... I was mounting mirrors and thinking "gee, maybe I'm within reach!" of finishing this project.
11 years ago I started in on a V8 Zcar and made a little bit of a name... And then life happened. First, I made a great car, and enjoyed it. Then I met others, thru this board, who had greater talent and made greater cars... Bad move.. I started wanting my car to be like theirs...
Years passed, and that car went south to North Carolina...I got distracted making control arms and selling them. That was a rude awakening... Vendors hated me because I was cheaper than them... Some members hated me because I wasn't cheap enough. I began to hate Zcars because, well all I did was trip around mine while I made parts for other peoples cars... And then I bought another "type" of car...
December 2003 I bought a Corvette. 1999 model with way to many miles on it for way to little... It still surved a great purpose. I started tracking again... A fair amount.
As time passes, we started a company that has become very successful. We sold our other house, along with that Corvette, and moved to a great home in the country on 5 acres in the woods, with no pesky neighbors. We also bought a cool BMW that wasn't cool enough for trackng, and sold it 6 months later, replacing it with one of my dream cars, a highly modified Porsche 911 turbo.
This car was and still is simply amazing to me, and everyone who has sat a butt in it. In the process of owning and enjoying this car, and posting about it here, I have created so many enemies that I've pretty much alienated myself here on HybridZ, [pretty much forcing me to resign as administrator of this board last fall. My friends know the truth. My foes? they can rott in hell, and I'll gladly tell them my feelings if we ever meet face to face, bank on it.
In the process of the last four years I've learned a lot about myself. I've learned a lot more about cars, and even more still about running a business. While others have come and gone, we've kept on keeping on. We are still managing to grow, even in these tough economic times. Then again, we're not selling doggie doors on the internet or driving semi trucks for companies for pennies on the dollar. We've managed to keep our overhead reasonable, our goals within reach, and our professional partnerships ahead of the mark.
On the car front we're sooo fortunate. I've managed to buy another car to continue learning, and more importantly, teaching others in (yes I'm now an instructor, meeting another of my personal life goals) and I've managed to convince my two sons into buying Miatas as well. We're so wrapped up in this Miata thing that we're most likely going to race a Spec miata in an endurance series...
Driving this little car has given me cause for concern with my Zcar. I haven't driven one in a long time, and with 400+WHP on tap, and no driving aids, it will be a handful. The miata has proven to be the most difficult car I've tracked in the last 10 years. It is soooo hard to manage your momentum while modulating braking at 10/10ths.
So we're getting close to unwrapping the Zcar for the masses... I'm looking forward to the day when I can run many fast laps around VIR. I'm sure this journey is far from over...
We're in the middle of sorting the final few issues with my project car... The goal is to get it to the track soonest (likely spring) so I can then think about sorting it.
Yup you read it here... The goal is to have the car "done" by the Watkins Glen event in 2011. It'll be in attendance and will have a for sale sign on it. It's time for me to move on to a dedicated race car, and I've pretty much taken my Zcar dreams as far as I dare go. Once this one is done and de-bugged, It'll go to a new home and I'll be done.