Ok so now the new front was ready to go on. I had taken all kinds of measurements prior to pulling the car apart and also took some of another RX2 sedan.
Lining the new front up was the hardest bit of the whole nosecut job. I can’t remember how many times it went on, was adjusted, measured, readjusted, marked, taken off, put back on, adjusted etc.
My 11 year old son was invaluable through this process.
He was the official “adjustment double checker dude” and general hand with lifting, holding and clamping.
Probably not as exciting as Playstation for him, but a good way to get him outside and involved.
Apart what seemed like an eternity of stuffing around, the front looked and measured out perfectly.
At this point I made some markings and tacked the nose on in 4 spots, as well as supporting it with stands and a jack. This was so I could trial fit the hanging panels and check their gaps.
Trial fitting hanging panels
At this point I was pretty happy with my efforts. Now I just had to pull it apart again, undo the tacks, finish cleaning everything up, treat inside the chassis rails of the new nose section and prime the firewall that would be behind the nose clip with weld through primer and simply re-attach.
An absolute bucket load of plug welding followed this so that the finish would look near factory.
Having never plug welded before, I did a bit of research, practiced HEAPS, found a great clip on Youtube of someone doing it, practiced again. When I felt like I had mastered it, I went straight to the car and got cracking. It actually didn’t take that long, but it required a fair amount of concentration. I was stoked with the effort. A few needed to be tidied up with the grinder, but all in all they came out great!!
After all this I wound up with something that looked like this.
You can see that I have put some filler over a couple of seam welds at the tops of the bay where it joins the body. From the factory this area is rough to say the least and does not flow. I wanted it to blend fairly seamlessly.
At this point I couldn’t resist temptation any longer and had to fit my Japanese mirrors that have been in boxes for ages.
Unfortunately they are not genuine Mazda, as they are not available new anymore and stooges want Ferrari prices for second hand ones.....So I went for brand new genuine Toyota TE27 Levin mirrors. Personally I like them better than the Mazda ones and at the end of the day I am building this car to make one person happy.....ME!! They will be painted in dark grey to better suit the car at a later date. The mirrors were a bargain!! About $300 including freight – and that was through a Toyota Dealership!!
You will also notice that I have changed the front from a series 1 to a series 2. I like the series 2 front better as I feel it flows with the twin round tail lights. Once again not original, so the uber purists will turn their noses up at me, and it will “devalue” the car. Don’t really care, I like it this way and the car will never ever be for sale anyway!!
I trial fitted some new bits like the radiator and overflow to make sure that any custom work was done prior to paint. I don’t want to be stuffing around come reassembly time, so everything is test fitted as early in the build as possible, so after the car is painted, it should just be a big jigsaw puzzle.
The ally radiator was an off the shelf “bolt in” for RX2,3,4 and series 1-3 RX7!
Yeah right. I reckon that it would go straight in an RX7, but not the RX2. I have since made up new custom aluminium brackets that lift the radiator and snug fit it. The overflow was simply a custom bracket using the factory location for the horns.
The oil cooler (a series 1 RX7 item) was also custom adapted to the bottom of the radiator on rubber mounted brackets. I initially bought a series 5 RX7 turbo one, but they are way too wide to fit neatly in the front of an RX2, so I sold it and bought the early RX7 one. It fits neatly, but only just!!
Early test fit of radiator
Some more engine bay stuffing around.....
Getting closer to the look that I was after ......
A few weeks after this, I got the bug again and decided that a few more things needed to be welded up and smoothed.
This is the final result of what the bay will look like. I am really happy with the result. It should look very clean and tidy with it’s hidden wiring. Also seam sealed all the joins on the strut towers etc.
Finished bay in primer
Also tidied up the trans tunnel. RX2’s have massive mounts in the tunnel, which restrict using a bigger box. The passenger side one was removed by a previous owner apparently by getting a Tyrannosaurus Rex to chew it off!!
Talk about rough. I welded in a new section which I cut from the donor car’s floor. I also repaired the shifter hole which had also had a lunch date with T Rex. They must have got whoever was in the back to change gears for them!!
Trans tunnel smoothed.
In the above photo please note the poor man’s hoist. I never new 20 litre drums were so handy!!
On that point, if you hadn’t already guessed this car is being built on a budget similar to that of a large Big Mac meal!! With day to day living expenses, a mortgage and 2 kids in private school, there isn’t much left over for the old girl, but she is doing OK.
Personally I like the financial challenge of building this car. I am determined to build it on a shoestring budget, but not cut corners or compromise the finished product. It is too easy in today’s society to build a “cheque book car”. Anyone can do that. This is a true homegrown “backyard” build up, not a car that that will go from shop to shop to get the current “this month’s trend look”. I am proud of this fact, and am determined to see it through.
I estimate this car will cost me the same as a current “Drive away, no more to pay” 3 door hatchback thingy. I am keeping every receipt as i go, so will tally them up at the end!!! Regardless, it will be a shitload more fun than any Korean hatchback!!
Until next time....