Roaring Forties #36 Joe's Completion Log

I got back into the groove on my build back in May with the objective of having the car primed and ready for paint by the end of summer. I've put in a lot of time on panel alignment over the past 12 weeks, probably over 150 hours. I started at the rear clip, and worked my way forward, one panel gap at a time. I used a blue silicone model airplane fuel tubing as a gauge when setting panel gaps, like in this picture, where I was working on the rear-clip-to-spyder-to-door gaps at the air scoops.

You can also see the Gurney bibble has been installed. I did some fiberglass work on the interior to blend the Gurney bubble in with the interior roof panel. I also did what Hershal recommended and sanded the grainy black finish off the driver's side door when I had the door out for the Gurney bubble work. I'll spray the interior FRP surfaces with flat black epoxy primer. Still need to remove the other door and sand its interior. Same with the spyder, but I'm not going to remove that until I've completed all the panel alignment work.

One problematic area that Hershal and I identified way back when we initially fitted the body was where the front edge of the driver's side :)thumbsup:) door meets the roof behind the windshield. Even after sanding the door down past the gelcoat, the front edge of the door was sitting about 1/4 inch proud of the roof.

The solution was to shim up the spyder at the scuttle frame at the base of the windshield.

That got the roof to move up almost enough to be flush with the door front.

When fitting the door tops to the roof I installed the door eyebrows. I agonized over how to install them, and wanted the clean (and waterproof) look of having them glassed and filled into the roof, but I was afraid that I might need to adjust the fit of the eyebrows to the door in the future, and that it would be much easier to do if I simply screwed the eyebrows to the roof. If I ever need to adjust them, I can simply turn the three holes in each eyebrow into three vertical slots. They will be painted separately from the car, so I guess it'll be a little more work when setting up the stripes, as I will want the stripes to show with and without the eyebrows installed.

Here's how I set the gaps...I just built up the roof edge with some tape and then used a couple dabs of body filler to temporarily bond them to the spyder while I drilled pilot holes. I used self-tapping sheet metal screws.

As I make my way forward to the front clip I decided to take on a little more fiberglass fabrication work and build a set of "elephant ears." These FRP bulkheads fit in the front clip between the fuel tank holes and the sides of the body to seal the rear end of the front wheel wells, which are otherwise open to water and mud getting into the door hinge area. I obtained a pattern and made a slab of FRP by waxing a glass window and laying up about 6 layers of mat fiberglass. After much head scratching during the installation, I realized that the pattern I used was about 5 inches too short. So, using dimensioned photos that Hershal sent me, I made up a my own template and a new slab of FRP.

Here's one of them right after I glassed it in.

This is a rearward view of the right-side wheel well after the elephant ear has been installed.

So here are a couple whole-car shots from a few weeks ago. I have since fitted the front clip latches, fitted most of the panel gaps, installed the eyebrows, and prepped the doors, spyder and most of the front clip.

I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel, as I expect to have the body work complete and be spraying primer in a couple weeks. At that point I will take the primed and prepped car to a local painter who will base, stripe and clear the car for me. That leaves the fall and winter months to finish the wiring and get the powertrain running. I'd like to drive it next year.

Fit the windscreen in place

Quite often the spider sags slightly at the front and you'll need to re do the work

Ian, I've been meaning to enlist some help to dig out the windscreen, which remains in an unopened crate in my basement. Can you explain in more detail what happens when the spyder sags? Is this a result of shimming the spyder?

Ian Anderson

Lifetime Supporter

What happens is gravity takes hold and the whole roof section can slowly settle.

By doing so the window apperture will slowly decrease in size height wise as it deforms and this in turn will slightly push the top of the spider legs outwards.

Then you get your gaps right - install the windscreen and you have too much height on the spider in front of the doors and need to build the doors up again and adjust the shut lines at front corner of doors again.

That is unless you want to have your windscreen size adjusted to fit the hole! - A bit of a pain if you ever crack the windscreen and need it replaced - have to go through the same screen adjustment process

Well, gravity has been working more steadily on the car than I have for the past eight years, so it'll be interesting to see how the windshield fits. Ian, is there a course of action you suggest I take to prevent, or at least account for, the sag of the windshield frame? It seems if the windshield fits properly now, it will in a few months when I go to install it permanently. I don't want to do that until I've sorted the harness and fitted the dash and heat/AC controls.
Mark, I have a RF in the shop at the moment. Problems are, amongst many, that the wheel retaining spinners are very poor quality castings, very fragile, and that the threads are metric 53x3mm NOT 8TPI which is of course the historical standard. Secondly, whilst the spinners are closed caps, the adapters that they screw on to are very short, and the spinners do not go fully onto the thread, only covering half of that. Any comment on yours ? Frank
Mine seem OK, Frank, although when I was looking at them the other day I was wondering if they are deep enough because, just eyeballing it, it seems that they may bottom out before the wheel is fully engaged. Too many threads enegaged vs not enough. I do know that I could probably lose about 60 pounds of unsprung weight by ditching my heavy wheels and adapters and going to a nice, light 5-lug design. That's what I had in mind for a track setup.
Mark, I have a RF in the shop at the moment. Problems are, amongst many, that the wheel retaining spinners are very poor quality castings, very fragile, and that the threads are metric 53x3mm NOT 8TPI which is of course the historical standard. Secondly, whilst the spinners are closed caps, the adapters that they screw on to are very short, and the spinners do not go fully onto the thread, only covering half of that. Any comment on yours ? Frank
C'mon Frank, this was all explained to you in email correspondance between us on 29 and 30th September last year - you can''t use old RF1 spinners and adaptors with the new design wheels. Simple. It's a mismatch of parts and kits. I will start another thread later today so as not to distract further from Mark's.

Great to see you back into it Mark.


Great to see the progress Mark.
To make you feel better, I too bought an RF eight years ago and I'm only at the start of the body fit stage :embarassed:
Too many distractions, that's my excuse.

You seem to have the same problem with sag that I have with mine. Mine is going on 11 years(4 with the previous owner). I temporarily placed my windshield on the car for the 45th reunion and used regular caulk to hold it. It was just for the trip and then it would come off once back home. I was surprised at the gap that I encountered when put in place.
What I would suggest is to get the windshield out and place it on the car. Use some 1x2s of varying lengths to prop up the spyder at the appropriate height to meet the windshield. Once you get it at the appropriate height, check your gaps again and make any adjustments you need. I would leave the windscreen off the car until you are really done with all the interior work. It is so much easier to reach in through the screen area while wiring the dash and installing any interior items. In fact I would save that to be the last thing added to the car. If you intend to put a cage in your car, you should borrow a page out of the fabricators of Drag and oval racing cars and put clips attached to the roof and B pillars to the cage to hold the top in place. It really stiffens things up. These can be placed so that they are not noticed. They can be bolted or welded in place and glassed in to the body. The weakest point in our cars is the area of the roof just in front of the passengers seat. People will grab this area while trying to get seated or exiting the car. Before my new painter told me of the clips, I was planning to add a grab bar to the cage just for that reason. It also gives the upholsterer a place to tie in to if you add a headliner.
I have one suggestion from experience. That is to NOT paint your car until all the work is done on the car. This includes undercoating. I used the spay on type. and incorporated it in the front bay area. The look was unbelievably good.I have found that unless you are more than meticulous, you will ding the paint job on the car and components such as the roll cage in the engine bay area and other areas that will have to be touched up. You want all holes drilled/filled(for those mistakes in placement or equipment). all hydraulics in and functioning. The hydraulic fluid will attack the undrcoating if allowed to sit(read leaks). Don't ask me how I know. All the wiring in place and working. For instance interior lighting. Have the interior done as well unless your upholstery will overlap the paint. The upholsterer can ding it up as well.
Once you have it done, then you can strip the car(have lots of baggies on hand), send it to the undercoater(or do it yourself) and then to the painter. Then all you have to do is put it all back together for the final time. If you wait to do any alterations, like adding a spoiler to the rear or other body alteration, it is difficult to do the touch ups that will need to be done. It is simpler to let the painter do a little extra wrapping/ painting than to do touch ups later. Its better to have racing scars on your car than workshop ones.
I lucked out in that I added rear flares to my car. That exposed a flaw in the rear clips previous paint job(the previous owners not mine). He used epoxy primer and didn't allow it to cure. He painted it too soon and the resulting layers are soft more than 7 years later! So it will need a little more paint than anticipated.

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The street rod/replica legislation that's been in the works for over eight years here in MA was finally signed into law yesterday. There is a provision in the bill for cars currently under construction. If you register your car before April 2012 you get a free pass on emissions. After that, the emissions requirement is based on the year of the engine.
(so stop reading this and get to work!)

Hi guys, I just was thinking "what ever happened to my old car?" and came on here to see it. The last post was two years ago. Aanyone know if it is finished? Looks like Mark has done a great job so far. I am still messing with cars, My most recent project was to build the first in the USA V8 Crossfire. I removed the V6 and replaced it with a n/a AMG 55 engine. This project took two weeks to figure out the mechanicals but two years to figure out how to hack the Mercedes ECU. I know have 3 trouble free years driving and showing it. It now now thinks it is a German built Corvette! My next project is more in line with a GT40. I am looking for Lotus Esprit to power with the new Ford Coyote V8 from the 2011-13 Mustang GT. I thought this would be a nice way to have a reliable Lotus and a very fast one.

Ron Earp

Hey Bob,

Nice to hear you're doing well and still building some cars. I remember visiting with you in Texas before I got my RF40 in the states, I also remember that water loving cat you had.

I don't know how much further Mark has progressed on the car since 2010. I was also wondering about my 044 chassis that I sold six or seven years ago before RF went under. I'm not sure if it ever was completed and I haven't seen anything about it on the forum or elsewhere despite looking.

I used to have an Esprit and a 5L Coyote would be a great powerplant for that car. Tornado has put a 5L in one of their GT40s already so they would have the bits that mate to the Renault box in the Esprit. If you do such a project put it on the site down in the Cars, Wings, and Keels subforum for non-GT40 builds. I bet folks would like to follow it.