July 20, 2013
Our work/life balance has taken a turn for the worse lately, so we haven't really had much of an opportunity to do anything on the Locost, let alone write about it. We puttered around a few late evenings with the interior panels, and we were able to spend a full day nailing down the carpets, but that's about it. All the primered body panels are dry, but we've only sanded down two of them. The smallest two. We need to get moving on the rest of the panels soon, because we've scheduled final painting for the first weekend in August.
In order to get an idea what the car will look like when it's all green, we painted one of the small body panels with a spray can and clecoed it to the chassis. Unfortunately the panel is too small to give us much of an idea what the car will look like when it's all green. We're tempted to paint a couple more of the smaller panels with a spray can, but none of them is ready for painting, which is probably for the best. We're not 100% sure the spray gun will work better than a spray can, but we're at least 99% sure.
On another note, our theory about getting our cheap single-terminal horns to work by powering them through a cheap O'Reilly Auto Parts relay actually worked. We were only wrong about the price of the relay, which turned out to be 7 dollars instead of 5. Still a bargain compared to expensive two-terminal horns. Wiring the horns took only a few minutes, although getting them to work took a little longer, since we had to remove the steering wheel and file some copper bits inside the hub. Still worth the effort even though we never use the horn.
We ended up covering the interior panels with fancy vinyl from Moss Motors, the very same vinyl they use for seat covers in their expensive M.G. interior replacement kits. At $27 a yard we figured it has to be better than the cheap vinyl you can buy online for $12 a yard. We were a little concerned that the Moss Motors vinyl might be too thick and luxurious for side panels, but no, it's easily as thin as the $12 vinyl. Maybe thinner. The panels didn't come out beautiful, but they're black so it's going to be hard to spot most of the defects.
We thought we'd glue all of the carpets in place with contact cement, but it turned out we only had to glue them to the sides of the transmission tunnel. The floor carpets fit so well that we decided not to glue them in at all. We also added some generic floor mats, which don't fit that well but should protect the new carpets for a month or two at least. The edges are a little ragged and could use some seam binding, but even without ever having done it before, we're certain that's beyond our skill level. We'll just have to see how the carpets fare in day-to-day use.
We've known for a long ime that before we could finish carpeting the interior we were going to need to cover some holes in either side of the transmission tunnel. The hole on the passenger side is there to get a wrench on the transmission mount nut, and it's small and flat. The hole on the driver's side is there because the transmission doesn't fit completely within in the confines of the transmission tunnel. This hole is large and has parts of the transmission sticking out of it. The cover for this hole clearly would need some kind of bulge.
On several occasions over the last year or so we attempted to determine what sort of tools and materials we'd need to make this cover. On every occasion we failed to come up with an answer. Faced now with either devising a solution or delaying the project indefinitely, we dug through our spare metal bin and pulled out a flat piece of aluminum. In the past we've seen flat aluminum such as this turned into nice contoured shapes, and imagined we could do the same given the proper tools. Unfortunately we don't have the proper tools, and actually don't for most jobs, so we got out the big hammer.
Our first blows weren't directed at anything in particular, just somewhere around the middle of the 7" square piece of aluminum. Amazingly, the piece actually started to form a bulge. Not a smooth or pretty bulge, but still, we appeared to be on the right track, and so we kept mashing on the piece and eventually we had a crudely-shaped cover plate. We considered trying to smooth out all of the unsightly lumps and creases, but decided against it since the piece would soon be covered with carpet and would never be seen by the public ever again.
We next cut out the small cover plate for the passenger side, which turned out perfect by comparison. We attached both panels with #8 sheet metal screws and 1/32" rubber gaskets, so if it ever really bothers us we can always build a new cover for the driver's side later on. Although somehow I don't see that happening. Luckily, with both covers made of aluminum, we didn't see the need to paint anything, and so we were able to quickly cover both holes in the transmission tunnel and get the carpet on before anyone had a chance to comment.
So the interior is mostly in place, although we have to wait until the body is on the car before we can attach the outer side panels. One piece of good news, the door pocket on the driver's side actually appears to work. At one point we thought about adding a similar pocket to the passenger's side, but it was ultimately determined that the effectiveness of a second pocket would not be sufficient to justify the additional effort. And besides, we learned a long time ago on this project that if you get lucky with something and it turns out okay, don't push it. One is enough.
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