It is finally time to start my build log, coming into summer vacation this year. Brace yourself, this first post will be long.
A bit of background about me and the build: Over the weekend, I celebrated my 22nd birthday, and celebrated the day finishing the welding on the main part of my Haynes frame. I am currently a student at a local community college, and will be studying Precision Machining and CAD/CAM starting in August. I also manage a local pizza shop part time, and that, combined with random work on friend's cars, is how I fund my projects. I have been going to race tracks and autocrosses and riding in different cars since I got my first helmet at age eleven, and have always been into cars. As soon as I got my driver's license I started autocrossing, and started doing track days and driving schools shortly after. I am now a qualified autocross and high-performance driving instructor for my local chapter of the BMW CCA, and will be getting my racing license through NASA as soon as money permits. My personal experience with racing has been mostly autocross and drag racing. I worked at a shop that worked on trucks and trailers for some time, and spent the evenings building drag cars. My first car build ever was a 1988 S10
that was converted to a 13.7s car in 12 days following mine and two friends' high school graduations. Following that job, and a failed attempt at mechanical engineering school, I landed a job with a small exotic race car shop in my home town. I serviced and helped build several interesting cars, including Dan Gurney's Lola T70 from 1967. I left the shop after much verbal abuse from a coworker, and unfortunately the owner of the shop has since passed away. I bought a Hobart 125 welder, and taught myself to weld immediately before this project.
The car is a modified Haynes Roadster frame that I have built in my parents' garage over the past two and a half years or so. The frame from the nose to the rear firewall is complete, and I am going to have to redesign the rear suspension area, as I am not using the Sierra rear end.
File comment: Haynes frame with bonus GTS-2 racecar.
Frame.jpg [ 576.23 KiB | Viewed 1297 times ]
I started the project planning to use a complete Miata as a donor, and found a 1990 that had made too-close friends with a tree, and bought the whole car for $550, sans differential and seats. Over a week I stripped everything usable out of the car, and had the chassis taken away for free by a local wrecker. Since then, I have sold several interior and electrical parts, as well as the engine, as I had a change of heart for the drivetrain. I managed to recoup my investment into the Miata completely and then some, and still have parts to sell.
File comment: The Miata shell on it's way out.
Miata Shell.jpg [ 470.94 KiB | Viewed 1297 times ]
My new plan is to use the Mitsubishi 4G63 Turbo motor from a first generation DSM in a front-engine, rear-wheel drive setup. Thanks to Bill Hincher in Toledo, Ohio, I got a bellhousing made for a Toyota W-series transmission, which I sourced from a 1992 pickup. He makes a variety of adapters for different transmissions. My goal was a T-56 but I couldn't find one that I could afford, so the Toyota proved to be the smart choice.
File comment: W-55 with custom bell housing
Toyota Trans.jpg [ 554.47 KiB | Viewed 1297 times ]
The search for a differential was quite easy. A 1992 Eclipse GSX gave up its rear differential. I lucked out, having found a four-bolt differential, with a 3.454 ratio and viscous limited slip, which is the strong diff in those cars, and has the perfect ratio for my setup. The scrapyard parted with that for $50 and I was on my way.
My search for an engine has been...less fruitful. I found a complete engine that had been recently machined, and hadn't been put together. I bought the whole thing for $500. It even had some goodies like tubular headers!
File comment: The first 4G on the day I brought it home.
Bad 4G63.jpg [ 504.14 KiB | Viewed 1297 times ]
While waiting to finish my frame, I started purchasing support parts for the engine. I managed to find quite a good deal on a Hallman Boost Controller, Greddy BOV (real, not a knock-off), 14B turbo, socketed ECU, and a complete GSX wiring harness. UNfortunately, I took the engine to a machine shop to be inspected. Trash. Would require about $1000 of machine work to be usable, and even then I would be forced to run a higher bore.
My new plan is, when ready, to find a running front-wheel drive DSM, pull just the motor out, and sell the rolling shell. I'll do a minor refresh and slap it into the car and go. I don't have any intention of modifying the engine, as I am already going to be dealing with quite a bit of power. Rather, I am going to invest my time into very precise tuning to drag as much throttle response and usable power out of the completely stock engine. Estimates from a few people have said I'll be sitting around 290-310 BHP when it is tuned.
Anyway, here is the frame as it sat when I finished welding:
Completed main frame.jpg [ 499.37 KiB | Viewed 1297 times ]
Here is a nice picture I snapped of a weld I am really proud of:
Pretty Weld.jpg [ 343.66 KiB | Viewed 1297 times ]
For my first major welding project, I'm pretty proud that this is the only distortion I have in the frame. It's about 1.5-2mm lift in the center of the very back of the frame under the transmission tunnel.
Distortion.jpg [ 385 KiB | Viewed 1297 times ]
And the obligatory Vroom-vroom picture!
Vroom vroom.jpg [ 457.84 KiB | Viewed 1297 times ]
Anyway, I hope I didn't bore you all with this introduction. I am hugely looking forward to this project, and hope you guys find it as exciting as I do!