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V8 space frame Firenza; Continual head aches.
Topic Started: Nov 11 2013, 22:41 (2,627 Views)
megabertha

Hello fellow retrobates , here in this chapter you'll find a description of a man doing something that he hasn't done before

for the first time, he hasn't even seen anybody else do this in real life , has only read about it or seen it done in films or tv .

So i ask you not to judge to harshly , and to give constructive criticism where you feel it may be warranted.

Any sagely advice will always be appreciated, as I'm a great believer in the fact that I always have something to learn, and

that there is always somebody smarter than me around the next corner.

So take a Vauxhall Firenza and build a V8 spaceframed racecar , with a very limited budget , sounds good ... well that

wasn't how it started out . This project started as a replica of my own Firenza which itself is a pretty close replica of the

famous "Old Nail" car driven by the illustrious Gerry Marshall , but as tome rolled on it became slightly less Firenza and a

bit more of a monster.Posted Image

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The first set of pics are just after I'd married what's left of the Firenza shell to the Euro Thunder saloon chassis,

WTF is a Euro thunder saloon are the exact words I used when the project financier told me he'd bought one.. (so that I could "just" take all the mechanicals out of it and place them into the Firenza)

Well Euro Thunder Saloon Spec sheet reads as follows....

engine........ 5.7ltr V8 Chevrolet approx 350hp

gearbox........ 4sp Richmond built like something you'd find in a Chieftain Tank

rear axle........ Volvo 240 with l.s.d. (personally I think the designers were on it)

front axle ....... Mk3 Granada stubs with weld in bolts where the strut would normally be to enable top wishbone.

front brakes... standard Granada equipment

rear brakes.... standard Volvo equipment.

Chassis.......... yes it had one.... 3mm heavy wall box section and tubing everywhere and tons of it !

Wheels ........... 7"X 15" whit Wellars fitted with a toyo control intermediate.
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Spink

Respect!
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megabertha

After setting what was left of the bodyshell and the remains of the thunder saloon chassis on a large surface table ,
i was able to start making outriggers to join the two together. Posted Image
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megabertha

Then the two parts became one unit....
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GAVIN
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megabertha

Note the puny front uprights sourced from a Mk3 Granada (modified) and the steering rack looks like it came from a 1.1 Popular Plus..... I decided that big changes were necessary ... so i went to the parts dept: (the other shed, more commonly known as the cat shed 'cause that's where the cats live) and found a pair of XJS front uprights and MX5 steering racks by the score ('cause I break them) so a plan formed on the harddrive....
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megabertha

more later............
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Shelby 427 1965

Needs a V-


I have nothing bad to say about this.

AWESOME :)
You know... The Micra guy.
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megabertha

the steering rack as I was saying , I thought was a puny affair for a vehicle that was capable of fairly rapid acceleration and now with even bigger stopping power. So taking stuff that I am already very familiar with ie.. MX5 running gear i decided to try and use a power assisted steering rack from one. The mazda rack is almost half as big again in the diameter of the actual rack and according to my machinist was as "Hard as the Hobs of Hell" to work with , so I reckon the quality is there aswell.
So as the 5rack was much to wide , we machined a measured amount off what would be the "passenger side, both the rack and the mounting tube. This was done so that the pivoting ends where the track rods meet the rack itself , were as close to the same centers as the bottom wishbones. We do this in order that the arc that the outer track rod travels through is as close to the arc that the btm ball joint travels through, this helps to reduce "Bump Steer".

Jaguar XJS front uprights....
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Shortened MX5 PAS rack mounted forward of the axle unlike the original rack from the Thunder Saloon, i did this
just for a bit more room in front of the engine...
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megabertha

The wheels of choice are 16" x 11" compomotives , these were bought with nearly new Avon slicks and wets , sound like a lot of money spent , but surprisingly the 8 rims and tyres were bought for £800 which is pretty good as the tyres themselves would be a lot more than that.... Posted Image
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megabertha

these wheels are mint and just right for the job in mind, they are 120 x 5 pcd which fits old Jags and Beemers but not Volvo which as you will remember is what the back axle is from so a few measurements were taken and a set manufactured.

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megabertha

one more try tonight and then I'm quitting for bed..

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GAVIN
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Stick at er DC ;)
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megabertha

So...anyway.... having the choice of wheels thrust on me by good fortune, it was time to start considering

what sort of bodywork was going to cloth the beastie with. truth be told I had been harbouring desires to

build this sort of car for years and years, it's just the same old excuses of time and money, mostly the

latter excuse . This "contract" has given me the opportunity to gain valuable experience in doing this

type of project and has made me think a lot about the consequences of each decision along the way,

and although it's not perfect by any stretch it's starting to look not to bad and that it might actually work !

I will point out that this project has been dogged by bad decisions both by me and the financier , but,

and even though I'm not getting a great deal of ££££s out of it I am gaining in the shape of knowledge and

experience, which, I hope will stand to me for future projects.

So anyway ...on to the body work..... I'll post some pics later as i need to earn some wonga..
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megabertha

Please feel free to comment on any aspect of this thread... Cheers DC
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megabertha

So ..on to the body of the car. For this I wanted it to have the distinguishing features that the Firenza model is known for,

obviously the droop snoot, the distinctive shape of the wheel arch, and the curvy quarter panels. I.M.O. the Baby Bertha

car from the DTV stable was ugly ,an excellent car great at doing what it was meant to do , but ugly. It had lost most of the

features that made Firenzas .. Firenzas. So I wanted to attempt to retain as much of that as I could, but the problem

is covering all that rubber, the "standard" wide arch kit was to narrow by 5", so the only way round it (in my tiny mind)

was to make a standard kit even wider by splitting the wrap round front and putting a shoulder the full length of the car

in order that it looked very similar to the "Old Nail" kit but wider... this gave rise to the car's nickname "Big Nail" .

The tradition of nicknames was started by Gerry Marshall, that's why we have Old Nail, Big Bertha, Baby Bertha, and

soon "Mega Bertha" which is the subject of a future thread here on N.R. So i started at the rear in order that I had

something solid to work with..........

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megabertha

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megabertha

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megabertha

at this point I begin to get excited and believe that it will be ok.... little did i realise the trauma that would envelope

me when it came to dealing with the front section....

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GAVIN
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This is Epic.... Need an NR meet in this shed ;)
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