Keith D and Daughters MK11 Scratch Build log

First, a thank you to my wife would doesn't know yet, but will very shortly that I have begun a new project. May you only see some of the bills and all of the smiles. The goal is to craft a machine with my young daughters and instill in them the love of speed and working with your hands. I'm hoping to give them what hot rodding and drag racing gave to me, without the pitfalls. So with that said here it goes.

For quite some time, well only 6-8 months actually, I have been lurking on this site looking, watching, learning and beginning the itch. After looking at a few of the cars for sale, I set out to do the unthinkable (slightly risky), buying a second hand flat pack kit by the beloved (insert other phrasing as you need to) Gt Forte . Not to fear as it was really just a base for me to start thinking dimensionally, it was not a bad purchase. The seller ( from this site) was easy to deal with and the kit basically held true. If you don't know and are shopping for a starter kit, the GT Forte Flat pack is not bad, but go into knowing a few issues will exist. Moderate to minimal communication regarding the construction, availability, delivery of the complete kit and fit/finish.

This particular kit either never had or went missing along the way a good deal of the pieces, about 25 structural pieces. Not the end of the world, but annoying. In the early stage of layout and construction, I found some of the laser cut items were the wrong angles or needed quite a bit of clean up from a what was likely a worn cutting tip. A few of the bits will need recutting, but as a starting platform, it was fairly predictable. I will update as possible to my album and here of the progress, starting with as all build should: A PLAN. After many a builds and many changes, I finally learned to get in with good somewhat detailed plan. More on that next time.

What a great project to undertake.. I hope your girls take to it well, and they'll enjoy the journey ahead.. Please keep this thread fresh and updated, there's a very supportive environment here!
right so the PLAN..

I really never knew that much about the GT40 or the MK11 until I stated looking. Famous last words, it will be a great last project, I promise. As with all things you dream, you make like you got it, then you improve it in your head, then build it 5 times. Well that is how it works for me normally. I wanted a all out race car. I wanted an high way terror. I wan to drive my daughter's in it and then give it to them. Yes, that last one is where I ended up being realistic about. So realistic, not my strong suit, but here is my chance.

MK11 is a big block monster, and I want that heritage (idea) to be available down the road, so the girls can grow into it. The car should be form follows function, it it doesn't need to be there don't use it. From a technology perspective the car should look like it fell out of the late sixties. Rifle drilled brass screws, wrinkle coat, Gibbs soaked magnesium or Dow covered where I can afford, dimple die and lightning holes everywhere. Vintage wheels and dress.

It will not be a full on correct or perfect replica or tribute. It certainly wont have an infotainment system or other nonsensical electronic distractions. Plug your ears, close your eyes and don't judge but I am a vintage Hemi guy. 392 Hemi to be clear. I like fords but have always improved them with a Hemi. This will be the exception to that, so you can put away the glycerine pills. Motivation will be a small block FORD ( 351) for the first stage of its life anyway. I'll throw more money into the transaxle/clutch than the motor, but I will use every trick I know to make it breath well and scream. Spending money on good parts and throw every ounce of labor/brain power I can muster at them. Best brakes I can get to fit. Bundle of snakes is a must. It is one of those recognizable details for me. Like sipping bourbon in a short thick rimmed glass, neat.

I have made some basic progress on the chassis, still a long way to go before it looks like an actual place to begin.

While the chassis simmers. The body, the body, the BODY? Well it is a hand full but, i got what I asked for honestly, albeit more than I should have paid for it. I came to the this site and the GT40 specifically because I saw the most amazing reaction to a body problem I have ever heard told, or seen. Raw, crafted and totally crazy ( sorry if this rubs anyone), in my eyes an artwork. The Jim Cowden hand made body on an RF chassis. It looks like a hot rod, it looks like a gentleman's racer, all and everything I wish to emulate for this MK11 project. Before you ask, laugh or fall out of your seat, I have some time in already with aluminum work, but not the complete skillset required yet. I will learn by fire and lots of questions, but I have formed subtle front engine dragster bodies and other metal related shaping projects. So like 70degree learning curve. To Jim and your crew, God amung men, thanks for the inspiration. Also Jackie Howerton. To have 1/10 the skill would be an honor.

Anyway, I must plug away at what I have to get the shape and dimensions desired. Fiberglass is like a special kind of hell, well somewhat. Here are a few images of the "Body" to be used for gleaning a replacement. Lots of things to correct. Just the rear clip for now.

For those that don't know Jackie Howerton...

I guess Steve Moal should also get a nod. All these guys are nuts and skilled beyond earthly means. A nice short one (or a few) will be had in their honor later tonight.
That body is going to take a lot of TLC.. :) Just my two cents, I love bodies that are finished properly on the inside too. body-filler smoothed out etc.
Whenever you have your car on display with the clamshells open (a lot), it'll look so much neater that way.

Yep. This body is a stand in. It is a mess, however once I have it cleaned up and corrected, it will become the form for us to measure and test/massage new aluminum bodywork.
I would like to test some ideas out on the chassis design for crush zones and flex. Is there a site or minimally painful way to test placement of tubes with out hiring a NASA engineer or a teenager to teach me how to use a computer? This is a new area for me as an 60's FED is a whole different animal.
Minimally painful is frankly to use 60's tech with straws & plasticine and physically model it. Anything else is going to involve a massive steep learning curve.

If you _do_ want to take the plunge (and if need be hire a teenager to teach you how to do it!) on the computer then Autodesk Fusion 360 (which is free for personal use alongside ) has FEA.

It's worth mentioning as well that you're going to need pretty top end software (or to be pretty skilled) to be able to accurately model a space frame with structural bonded aluminium panels, most software will do single part, once you get into multi-part, multi-material you're into a whole new world of software. You can fairly easily do a space frame by itself but it's not going to be very realistic, it's just going to give an indication.
Have a look at There's a lot of useful stuff on FEA and CFD software at the more amateur end of the cost scale. It's in the blog section.

Doc Watson

Lifetime Supporter
Slow down!!! at this rate you will overtake me!!! (although not hard to do). Excellent start on the build, one thing I would recommend is dont video it! trust me it takes about 4 x longer to do anything. Look forward to seeing it develop one question though.....
What colour will it be...... ;-)
Looks like its going to need some more finishing. do you know if its been done with a laminating resin and is fully cured or will it need top coating.
It is a mess, but for my (our)purposes it will work. It was shot with a chop gun, what i assume is at least 10 years ago, by the look and age of things. Then cleaned up ( in the loosest form of the word), for taking molds recently by Chris and his fiberglass guy. The top coat seems fine, but the fibers are very brittle underneath. I assume once I lightly sand and seal the underside it will be relatively stable. I don't intend to use the body in fiberglass form.
I bought it to form an aluminum body, having a relatively complete form to work from for both assembly and build up, then forming of the body.
Jim Cowden's car really struck me, this will likely be my last car (famous last words), so I want it to sum all I have learned and pass that to my daughters, while creating the drive and skillset within them.
exciting buildi! We bought an Active Power Cars "roller" and it's been a lot of hours (just got it street legal),...I can only imagine the amount of work you've got in front of you. Both of my daughters are helping, they're 6 & 8yrs old, so while not doing substantial work, we're spending a good amount of time in the garage together....

Good luck and look forward to seeing more progress!