I took the above photo after spending all day working on the newest racecar. It was a particularly hard day of work and more than a few times I had questioned why I was doing this to myself, yet again. As I snapped the picture, I was suddenly reminded of a magazine ad that used to run in a lot of the car magazines I read back in the ’70s. I think this was about the time I was living in an apartment and building a small block Chevy engine in the extra bedroom but anyway, the ad pictured a guy sitting in front of his garage with his Camaro racecar facing out. It was a simple one car garage and I remember thinking to myself, wow, one of these days I would really like to have that situation. I guess you can say I reached that point somewhere along the line and just didn’t realize it until taking this picture. You will notice that in the bay to the left, our 9 second Camaro is patiently waiting for it’s service work too.
As I dove deeper into the Monza, there seemed to be an endless array of items that popped up needing repair or replacement. My goals initially for the week were to finish the car! I must have been crazy to think that I could get it done in a week. After a couple of days, I reevaluated the situation and decided that getting a much shorter list of work items accomplished was going to be as good as it could get for now. I decided that getting the tin work done, moving the fuel cell and getting the roll cage fixed were good goals. I tossed the thought of getting the dash done in there but wasn’t really counting on it.
With the car gutted out, I started with getting the new firewall in. First order of business was to make a template of the area that I was covering. It’s a lot less expense to cut up cardboard than to mess up a piece of tin. I had picked up a dozen pieces of poster board from the dollar store just for this work. With the template completed, I copied it to the firewall and cut it accordingly, then I ran into my first major problem. Between the cage, the top of the firewall piece that is already mounted in the car and the brake cylinder mount, there was no way to get the firewall in as a single piece. I ended up having to split the piece of tin down the center. I will make a nice looking cap cover for it as I finish up to cover the cut. With the firewall in place the pieces were the floor panels – same as before – make a template that fits, then cut the tin to match. The driver’s side was a bit challenging as a mount for the seat belt actually comes up alongside the seat. Getting that cut in place, then sliding the tin over it and around the cage mounting took some careful work. I then proceeded to the tunnel cover, which involved shortening it and slicing the back end side on an angle so that it provided clearance for accessing the rear u-joint. Last was the transmission tunnel. Once again making templates, I decided that I would fashion the tunnel into a one-piece unit which should make it easier to deal with when removing it. At this point everything was mocked up in place.
With everything in place it was time to think about how to fasten the various pieces in place. I am leaning towards fastening the firewall, floors and shaft cover with rivets then using quarter turn fasteners on the transmission cover. The dash is next and will get put in with quarter turn fasteners too. Next up is moving the fuel cell.