My plan to fill the
space between the front of the hood opening and the radiator is to cover
this area with a custom stainless steel cover, probably in two pieces.
I first took the time
to build a cardboard template of what I thought looked right. I made
numerous changes to the template before I finalized the layout.
Using the template, I
cut a piece of stainless and bent it in my brake to fabricate this piece.
It took multiple trial fittings before I finally got the fit I wanted.
Here's the part
mounted to the support angles of the radiator with countersunk stainless
screws. This gives me the stability I need to build a template for the
This is the template
that I ended up with.
Here's the piece after
I bent it and used a shrinker/spreader on the front lip to get it to match
the contour of the hood opening.
Above is the finished
product. I'm very happy with the way it turned out.
The area inside the
engine compartment around the front suspension components are open to the
wheel well and ground. I suspect that a lot of dirt and water will get
blown into the engine compartment from these openings so I wanted to cover
them. I made some male molds of the covers. I used some
construction board to outline the front suspension brackets and glued blue
foam to the boards until I got the shape I wanted. Some of this is
guessing and measuring since I can't exactly match the contour of the real
parts. I thought about molding the covers on the car directly but
because of the limited space in which to work, I quickly abandoned that
After sanding and
shaping the molds, I glued them to my table and then glassed them with three
layers of 9 oz. cloth.
One of the reasons I
like using blue polystyrene foam is that you can easily remove it from molds
by pouring a little lacquer thinner on it. It melts down into a fairly
small amount of blue goo that can be scraped or wiped off the part.
With the foam removed,
I temporarily put the part in place over the suspension to make sure it fit.
I had to trim the edges here and there to get the part to lay properly
against the frame and wheel well. After that, I applied to three
layers of glass around the edge of the part to form a flange. You can
see the Saran Wrap and Gorilla Tape that I used on the inside of the wheel
well to keep the part from permanently sticking.
When it was dry, I
popped them off the car and took them over to the bench to trim the final
shape. Not shown is additional layers of glass I added to the flange
after it was trimmed to thicken and strengthen it.
After about three
sessions of filling, sanding, and priming, I got all the pin holes filled
and I applied the final layer of primer. I mounted the part to the
inside of the wheel well with some chrome bolts and fender washers.
During final assembly,
these will be painted the same color as the interior of the engine
These parts have since
been sent off to Lone Star and moulds have been pulled from them so you can
now purchase a set of these covers from Brian if you are interested.
That allows you to cover up your suspension openings without all the work.
Next up is to find a
solution to the difficult problem of the cooling shroud. That work can
be found on the next page.