1149 Mono Replica

Believe it or not, through all this silence work has continued on 1149 during the winter. Kudos to Brady Pack who has been laboring along in an unheated garage in Ohio all this time.
As soon as the shift linkage is revised and made final, 1149 goes to the paint shop to shoot the monocoque within the next few weeks. Then everything gets reattached and after trials the car comes to MD for final exterior paint and trim. I forgot to mention that the car was actually road-tested in September of last year, and that we were able to find Wilwood brakes to match instead of APs, which have become prohibitively expensive. (over 2KUSD/wheel!)
So progress marches on, albeit slowly, and we are looking at vintage rallies etc for this fall. This is maybe one of the more protracted builds on this forum, but the quality of work done by Safir GT40 is excellent and slowly but surely things are coming to a finish. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/beerchug.gif

Ron McCall

Re: update on 1149

It"s about time you updated! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/beat.gif

I was curious about your progress.
What color are you planning to paint it?
Re: update on 1149

A dark red metallic which we thought was an Aston Martin color from the sixties- but it turned out to be a Mazda color from 1991 /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/lol.gif Despite that, I've seen it on a Ferrari, a Jaguar, and a DB4GT, and it looks great. The sill stripes will be white. We are not using the top stripe. The chassis color is a pewter gray metallic that I found in a duPont catalog, and the interior will be dark gray.

Trying to attach a photo here of 1149 on its maiden voyage last September. The numbers on the side are for ID purposes for video and not what the final trim will look like. Gelcoat primer is also not the final color, lol.
I think the file size is too big- I'll reduce it and post it later on today if I can.
Jimbo, pardon my ignorance if you get a Safir body, does that mean you get a GT40 series chassis number (1149)? Or, does the '1149' mean something else? Who owns the dies to stamp the body parts for the GT40 monocoque?
The number 1149 was assigned by the Safir guys who are also the folks who have the original body molds (from which my car's body was made) and the rights to the GT40 shape etc etc. Lots of people claim these rights; Safir are the only folks that stepped up and paid good money for it and all the parts and tooling. No one else did that.

The tooling is not composed of dies. It is a set of molds that the original bodies were made in. The molds required resurfacing and a lot of reconditioning, but they are the molds that FAV used in the 60s to build the cars back then. They were also used by JW Automotive and were used to build the Mark V cars as well.

Nothing like a timely answer, is there...
Just a brief note, which may duplicate one I put up earlier this year: we went out and picked up 1149 this summer from Safir GT40 in Milford, OH. Other than a blown trailer tire on the way home, no problems. I would like to thank my good friends Bill Rhodes (for the loan of his trailer, which usually houses a SPF 427 Cobra) and most of all Dave Sommers, who brought his diesel van (a ford F350, what else?) AND did all the driving, as I am the world's worst tow driver. Call me Mr. Jackknife.

The current status of the car is that it is here in Annapolis, and work has begun on what I hope will be the final push to get it done and out on the road. Thus far, we have inventoried all the bits and pieces accumulated and made by the Safir group. We have also gotten some metalwork done on the monocoque to correct fit issues with the body parts where they don't mate well enough. (just to be absolutely clear, this is more a matter of the fact that the car was built in three separate countries than anything else; if either of the chassis shops had done the entire project and had the body sections there, this would be far less of a problem, so it is a matter of circumstance, and no reflection on anyone's skill). We have replaced some small areas on the roof next to the B-pillars which were a bit wavy, and are changing the left-hand side B-pillar to make things line up nicely. We think we are about done with the metalworking; at least we hope so. We are fortunate to have a very good machine and welding shop next to the trim shop, which is down the street from the general service and body shop. Annapolis' industrial area may be small, but it has a surprising amount of what you need for things such as this.

The next phase is to align all the body sections and finish surfacing them in preparation for painting them. This is being done by a local shop which has staff expert in fiberglass and paintwork- there are a lot of folks around Annapolis, where one of the chief small industries is boatbuilding and glass and paint work. Meanwhile, I am working down a list of the remaining bits I need to acquire. Some of them will come from Jay Cushman's works- a tip of the hat to Jay for his prompt and knowledgeable help. We have an interior trimmer locally who can make the seats etc using a combination of photos on various web sites and my photos of the Marriott car, 1072, which is occasionally available to me to look at when it gets serviced.

I have decided to temporarily install a small racing fuel cell up front behind the radiator, in the space usually occupied by the spare tire, for the process of getting everything wired, running, and sorted. When that is done to my satisfaction, I will tackle the tank problem. Those of you who are also interested in boats may be aware that there are serious issues of longevity and safety associated with fiberglass gasoline tanks which are filled with ethanol mix gasoline. Not all poly resins are resistant to ethanol. There are also issues with aluminum and stainless tanks, which can corrode and leak. This can be dangerous in a car like the GT40 where the tank is contained in a sponson and vaporized fuel can linger. What would be ideal would be rotomolded plastic tanks, but the cost of them appears to be prohibitive. I would be interested in any suggestions on this. In the meantime, the fuel-cell will permit us to move forward and road test the car when it is done.

The folks at Safir (Bob and Brady) have continued to be very helpful and are still involved in my obtaining parts for 1149. As everyone involved has had to also make a living, raise kids, etc, they have devoted a large amount of their "free" time to this project, and I am quite grateful to them.

Steve C

GT40s Supporter

Note your comment above re "there are also issues with stainless tanks".

Would appreciate if you (or anyone else with details) would advise further.

Thanks, Steve P2125 with stainless tanks
What would be ideal would be rotomolded plastic tanks, but the cost of them appears to be prohibitive. I would be interested in any suggestions on this.
There is nothing particularly difficult about making a mold for these type tanks, just some time & steel, visit a manufacturer or two first, particularly those that make water tanks etc, all that really changes from water/fuel types is the composition of the plastic bead used--- Note, the manufacturers, not the middlemen, vendors etc, they know nothing & will only be interested in ripping you off--- In the case of the GT40 it should be able to be made in simplified form @ a lesser capacity than the originals to fit in the sponsons & with a bit of lateral thought process utilisation may even be able to be configured with filler plates at both ends to make it fit either side.
Re: roto molded plastic fuel tanks.
check out on-line catalogs, these vendors may have "stock" tanks that might work. Please stick with XPLE as the material. I have dealt with the following companies in the marine industry for years:
Inca Molded Products
Kracor Products
Moeller Marine Products
Tempo Products

All of these vendors to the marine industry are required to provide fuel tanks that meet U.S. Coast Guard Standards. These standards far exceed the Federal requirements for automotive fuel tanks. I have wittnessed many required "burn tests" on these XPLE tanks that showed excellent results.
Thanks for the replies on plastic tanks. I will follow up on this. The purpose of the fuel cell is for us to get the car running economically (maybe the stupidest word in the world when applied to GT40s, isn't it) and let me research the tank question.

I have some prejudices against metal tanks, which stem from what I have seen happen in boats. Now, to be fair, the situation in boats, especially here in the Chesapeake area where the water is brackish, is not the same as you would find in a car. But basically the problems are thus:

-aluminum tanks which are mounted in a steel monocoque will be subject to galvanic corrosion if the two metals come in contact. Other than removing the tanks and checking them, there is no way to continually verify that they are still serviceable. The process of removing them for inspection- sliding them in and out of the sponsons- will accelerate the process of removing whatever coatings are preventing the aluminum and steel from contacting one another.

-stainless tanks are subject to crevice corrosion in areas where the local oxygen tension is not high enough to maintain the oxide coating on the stainless steel. In marine metallurgy, stainless parts in underwater situations where the water is stagnant will develop crevice corrosion. Since water accumulates in motor fuels, and falls to the bottom of the tank, and there is no oxygen present, the potential for crevice corrosion and tank deterioration exists. However, removal of the tank for inspection is far easier, since there is no problem when the tank is slid in and out of the steel sponson surrounding it.

GT40s by their nature are left undriven for long periods of time; they are not daily drivers. Therefore, water and solids will accumulate in fuel tanks and possibly lead to tank damage over time.

In marine fuel tank practice, at least until recently, the gold standard was molded fiberglass tanks with a sturdy layup and made with a fuel-resistant resin. One manufacturer with which I am familiar (Hatteras Yachts) had a perfect record of tank integrity for decades- until ethanol was included in marine fuels. This mixture turned out to be lethal for many old fiberglass tanks, which deteriorated, leaked, and liberated various compounds that are toxic to carburetors, fuel lines, engines, etc. Bertram Yachts were similarly affected. Boats which had diesel engines have not been affected so far, but we don't know what they are planning to use to extend diesel fuels. We hope not ethanol. Ethanol is fine for drinking, but not so good for feeding to old engines, at least not through older fuel systems.

The best solution, at least in my opinion, is rotomolded plastic tanks which are really impervious to gasoline and ethanol and can be made in any shape. For those of us who are buying complete cars (also known as "people who are a lot more intelligent than people like me who spend eight or ten years recreating a 1965 automobile from scratch"), you are going to get the tanks that the builder puts in the cars. If I had aluminum tanks in a steel monocoque I'd change them out. However if I had stainless tanks in a steel monocoque, or aluminum tanks in an aluminum monocoque, I'd periodically drain them, I'd use a water absorber in the fuel, and I'd empty the tanks if I knew the car was going to be stored for more than a few weeks- like in the winter. And after a few years I'd inspect the tanks, inside and out. With modern fiberoptics this wouldn't really be that difficult.

Sorry for the long post. I have seen so many instances of metal fuel tanks leaking in boats (sometimes with very serious consequences including fatalities) that this is one of my pet worries.