Build Update – 16. Work that body.

The one where great horrors are revealed and then, like in the best families or a Dr. Who episode, are removed by fire and replaced with shiny new soulless perfection.

As some of you may recall, after some trials and tribulations we managed to get the bushings and bearings on the suspension, the suspension on the car, the wheels on the suspension, and the whole damn thing rolled onto the trailer. We will spare you our searches for the correct size/thread bolts and etc. At least we can say that the newly painted pieces look great! As does the cage and the welding. Maybe that’s just in comparison though… Anyhow, after Ryan welded the trailer stand back together, we were ready to take it out into the damp.


It then sat in the Rally Sputnik Official Driveway ™ for two weeks while the bodywork folks got themselves a new spot to do longer term work like this. In typical Rally Sputnik fashion we hauled it up to that shop with the Jeep. The Jeep has a cool new rear bumper with integrated receiver which we have never used to haul with before. It does not have a spot to attach a ground for the 4 to 7 pin adaptor that the trailer needs. Nor does it have a brake controller. So we found the 4 to 7 pin adaptor, wedged the ground into the receiver (which worked for about as long as you’d think, and when you wound the trailer stand up the handle would contact the tire carrier and spark), and left a lot of braking room while we headed out into the rain. The spot we went to is close and is very much what you’d expect from Rally Sputnik,  who are the people who had a steel bumper custom fabricated for the Lada at a tractor repair shop for $20.


Yes, that’s a giant eagle out front, on a base wrapped in garbage bags.

Inside the actual shop, however, things are less sketchy, at least once you realize that’s a bodywork hammer and not a hatchet. And the guy doing the work is great.


(There’s a Karmann Ghia back there that is not related to us, which we’re not at all upset about. We don’t need an old unreliable car to go slow and look good – we can do that on our feet).

First off we got some shots of the car with the sills and rear quarters and torque boxes opened up; it was only possible to get a few without becoming more than mildly ill so no, there are no more pictures of this.


IMG_1094 IMG_1095


Yeah, the drivers side was pretty bad. That was the side with the structural spray foam in it. The good news is that as of Friday there was progress!

This was what removed:


And here’s what that was replaced with:IMG_1105 IMG_1112

The plan is to remove the pinch weld all the way along and replace it with that flat plate you can see started in the above so that we can use any point to jack from and also get a more solid spot to weld to. The new torque boxes are double-sided (two pieces of 18 ga welded together) and re-enforced inside. The welding to the floor isn’t done yet but that will obviously happen as well. Then the newly formed quarter panels will be welded on and wrapped around the inside of the wheel wells and the door frame. Here’s one started:


When this is all done we’ll vinyl wash the entire front end, interior, and all the pieces that are bare and then paint it white. This means at least part of the outside will be white too, which is what it used to be before it got painted blue.

The plan is still to finish the bodywork and paint and get it up to the shop in Alliston for the end of November so that we can re-assemble it through December. If life events would slow down for *one goddam second* – ahem – we’ll start to clean up the parts we have already in advance of finishing the bodywork, but the odds of that seem slim. Heck, we could even get ambitious and try to figure out what we need for our next visit to Don and/or RTM for any parts that are broken or missing, but that seems plain crazy. Best to not think about it too much. Besides, we’re also planning to take the transmission to get the synchros and forks replaced and we’ll either replace the rear diff or refresh it also, because hey, it’s only money, right?

Finally, we watched Easier Said Than Done last week for some motivation (we kick-started them some coin because it is a good cause) and yeah, we love seeing Antoine and Ken Block and Chris Duplessis – who are all much, much faster than us – talking about how expensive it is and how hard it is to get funding. Great! However, seeing it worked in that we’re still excited to get this party started. We will also be at Pines (in some capacity that isn’t racing, probably the VIP tour again) this year, so hope to see everyone there!


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