American Motors Xperimental full frame
Compliments of Ron S @ pro-touring.com
I kind of had this 1969 AMX fall into my lap. Originally thought I'd sell it, but after some investigation found the 2 seater was only 2900lbs from the factory. The more I looked at the car the more I thought it needed something. So it is going full frame, slightly stretching the wheelbase 7", running 335's on the front and rear, really should be experimental.
Already started stripping the car out, and building the chassis. I'm running a modified Jakes Rod Shop front clip, Strange F body Dana 60 set up for a torque arm, and watts link. It will be LS powered with a T56. Was going to run 315's on 11" wheels on the front, but figured why not put 335's on 12" wheels so I can rotate them(experimental).
Hurried to get these mounts made up before the Ravens game, I think I'll make some kind of gusset to attach the engine stands to the lower control arm mount.Good thing I have a few busted LS blocks for mock up. If this car was a little fancier, I'd have used the LS7 block
I am pretty good at beer drinking, and heres the new rack placement shots, at least the mounts.
My hatred of 9" rears is epic, the 8.8's arent bad, but the posi units on both are terrible. If you run a Detroit on the street, they are a PITA, the clutch type have a very limited life span with any HP, and the trutracs break if you put sticky tires on them. I know Moser just came out with that Wavelock which is supposed to be pretty good, but its $900 just for the posi unit.
The powerlok Dana makes is indistructible, and with the underslug frame, I don't want to have to be working on the rear.I know the Dana is stupid heavy, especially the one I'm doing. A full float 60, with torque arm mount cast into the housing, .250 dom tubes, and a watts hanging off the 3/16" rear cover. Alot of the parts showed up today. I'll post some pics as soon as I unbox them.
Got the one end of the tube done, the seal will push into the end of the tube on the housing side. Kinda cool that the seal has the axle guide built into it to make sliding the axle in easier, and keep you from damaging the seal. The Spohn torque arm came in, wow is that a beefy peice, 1" bolts on the money end, main structure is chromoly, super nice.
I've never tried to put my visions on paper,it would difficult to explain to someone whats going on up there ,and probably hard to put down on paper.
I did have my brother photoshop an AMX picture with the additional wheelbase though, you can barely notice the changes.
I looked at the Indy stuff, 20+K is way too many guckets for a power plant. I don't think I'll have half of that in the whole car.
Got the torque arm on the 60 center, will measure and cut the tubes and get the rear in the chassis,and the chassis under the car.
Payton King and I were talking about this today, we figured the best way to correct this would be to take the other set of holes in the dual bolt pattern hub, and install two hardend 5/8" pins in two of the extra holes, tig them from behind. We figure it would be a much tighter fit, and less likely to shear. Just seemed like the rings would be a pain, and easy to loose.
Built this structure to suport the back of the car and the rear bumper, once I stripped the floor this thing was really flimsy in the back. Also cut out the inner rockers, and installed these kind of Z shaped peices, because I've designed this chassis to bolt in, to make installing the cage, and interior easier.
To make it bolt in, I had weld these 68" Z shaped inner rockers that have holes which line up with the frame holes. I had to drill and weld 8 sleeves into the frame on each side. When you set the body down on the frame it is a glove like fit, and the top portion of the Z supports the car, and then you intall 8 bots in each side, and 8 more in the rear. Very time consuming to do it like that, but I'll be very happy I did when it comes time to weld up the cage, and when its done, I'm going to send it out for powder coating, cage and all.The bottom pic is the structure that supports the rear of the car and back bumper .
Got the engine stands welded in, and gussetted, and finally got the rack mounted and an alignment roughed in. Put the 335's on the ZO6 19x12's to check for clearance issues. Even at full lock, it looks like it clears everything.
The front axle center line got pushed an inch forward the rear six inches back. AMC has the engine place really forward in the car, measuring from the front of he engine, the engine is moved back about 10 inches. Not that I like it, but the Dana rear in the car is stupid heavy, with the Watts link and all the tubing I have planed for the rear of the car, I'll bet its close to 50/50 weight distribution. hell my Mustang is 49 front/ 51 rear.
Its funny I just cut an eyebrow in the frame so the boot wouldn't scrape at full jounce. The frame stub came from Jakes Rod Shop,it is designed to use a Mustang Rack, cut the steering arms off the knuckles, and run bolt on fabricated steering arms(just like Morrison, and DSE). They do this so you can put the engine in the stock location, I knew my engine would be pushed back, so I took a different approach. I went to my parts house, dug through all the rack boxes to find any rack that looked close, took home about 20 racks pulled the boots and started measuring the pivots. When I finally found a rack with the correct width, I had to do the same with the inner tie rods. I used the factory C5 subframe to determine correct rack placement which worked pretty well. I do have a bumpsteer kit for a Corvette, but haven't desided the fine tuning yet.
The 5 pins would probably be good insurance, the short comings of the Moser stuff wasn't evident until I got it. The price I got on the stuff for was so cheap that I can afford to make a few mods. I will be limited to 30 spline axles, I have a few 30 spline powerloks laying around here anyway. Its funny every 3/4 ton Ford pickup truck in the world used a Dana 60 with 30 spline axles, every 1/2 ton Ford pickup used a 9". I don't think this 2900lbs. pro touring car will have any issues breaking 30 spline axles, but if it does I'll let you know, its experimental.
The GMR stuff I really do think is the best, love the way Jason looked at the current offerings and improved upon them. The only thing I couldn't get out of my mind, was that all of it is custom. This car is going to be my driver, if I ever get a chance to join Bill and the group to RTTC, I don't want to get half way across the country and have an issue, and not be able to get parts somewhere in BFE. The Moser stuff is interchangable with Coleman, and most of the other manufactures. God forbid something happen to GMR, you be screwed, that stuff doesn't interchangewith anything. GMR is making stuff that looks like the best in the industry, but I think this car will work without a hitch with what I have, we'll see.
I love when someone says never happen, it makes me laugh. I have building cars for more then 30 years, and I weigh the pros and cons of every purchase I make. I appreciate that your such an advocate for GMR, hey its a good product, seriously looking at for my Mustang(more of a track car). Dude, have you ever seen the slicks on a Cup car? There is NOTHING I'm going to do with a pro touring car with 200 tread wear tires that will get close to the limits on these parts. Every Dana equipt Hemi car Chrysler built had 23 spline axles, and none of them ever had an issue, most of the early truck stuff was 16 spline,never saw alot of failures with it either. I could spend more, and it would be stronger, liked the bearing spread and the steel hubs on the Moser parts, and like that fact that they are off the shelf parts. Will have to a little time changing what I don't like, hell I modify everything.
Heres one don't don't see too often, a Dana 60 center section in an oven, cooked for about 45 minutes so the tubes would push in. The tubes had about .003" press, alittle tougher then I was hoping to get in, they are pushed in so tight I really don't seem like they will need to be welded LOL,looks alot like a 3/4 ton pick up rear.
Its kind of helpful that a buddy runs a driveshaft shop. I gave him the tubes and snouts once I cut them to length, machined the snout to a .003" press, pushed them into the tubes, then dial indicatored them for straightness, and fixture welded and cooled them on the driveshaft machine. The welds a gorgeous. Getting the tubes in the housing required a hot housing, a cold tube, and a 1" grade 8,fine threaded rod, about 2' long, and 2 big press plates. The rod does one tube at a time, pulling between the snout and the flat spot on the inside of the housing, from the inside of the tube. Sweated my butt off ratcheting them in.
Set the rear up on the frame, and put a wheel on, I have to admit I'm loving it. Will get the center crossmember and torque arm crossmember built tommorow.Hoping to get the body on Sunday
Got the torque arm set and the center of the rear crossmember built. Was hoping to get the body set on tomorrow, but it seems I'm going to get a Christmas tree instead
Had to build this shackle pivot for the torque arm. Its alot more sophisticated then it looks, the mount gets a roller bearing in each side.
Got the frame finished and under the car. The tire coverage issues are not near as bad as I thought they would be. Thing is crazy looking. The bottom ended flat and smooth.
Got a few pics today, kinda shows how the body attaches. Used 4 wheel drive lift blocks to locate the rear while I get the coilover mounts made. It almost seems impossible to make that body look good with that much drop, but that is what I said about the Mustang
I made new inner rocker panels, with nuts welded to the inside, then welded tubes through the frame. Kinda time consuming but I love that the body comes off.
I find it easier to build the perimeter portion of the chassis first, then I have something square to work off of. I'm sure the Morrison would have a more high tech, way to do it, I find it hard to keep something square with all the welding.
Main hoop got bent and tacked in tonight, the front bars started, Looks pretty good, need to get the watts link calculated before I get the rear bars in.
This thing is crazy looking
Not sleeping much , working 14 hr days at my regular job these days. I'm cheating on this build, I did all the chassis and will do the sheetmetal, but my buddy Domonic just opened a shop doing cages (DC Performance), and had an opening, and I jumped on it. The guy does phonomenal work, even he was suprised that I was paying someone to do something on one of my cars. My mad dash to get the body on the chassis was to catch his scheduling window for the cage. Its started now, so I might as well finish it.
Another odd view
Got the A pillar bars in tonight, loving how high, and tight they ended up. Hoping to get the rest of the Watts stuff built this weekend, car should progress pretty quick after that.
Got the fins welded on the Dana cover, had more time straightening the cover then I did making and welding the brackets.
Down bars are done, the door bars are next, and then the rear of the car is going to get real busy with tubing.
Getting closer on the cage, and got most of the watts laid out. Have an X that goes between the watts links, and the door bars, and she'll be coming back home.
The whole cage is 1 5/8" chromoly, if I remember correctly SCCA requires 1 3/4", so no its not built specifically for SCCA. I designed it to stiffen the car without adding too much weight, and for head room, vision, saftey, and ease getting in and out of the car. This is a driver, built to run in the A.S.S. (LOL). This will definitly be one of the safest cars in the series, and once I close everything up and put carpet(yes carpet) on the floor, it won't look near as busy.
The fuel tank has worried me since I dreamed up this build, I really wasn't sure how tight the rear compartment was going to be until the watts bars went in, now that they are in I can get it figured out. I think I can buy a poly tank from Speedway that has no holes in it yet, and stand it up rather then laying it flat, or build one out of aluminum. Either way I will have to fab the internal fuel pump and trough like I did in the Mustang.
The more I look at these pics my buddy Mark took, the more tempted I am to finish the flares and floor, bolt the car back together, leaving it in its original faded baby sh*t yellow paint. If only I could figure a way to fade out the quarters and fenders to match.
I'm loving how smooth the bottom will be
You got the mental part right. It will run along the torque arm on the drivers side, and alond the driveshaft on the other, in 3", go up and over the rear, and exit behind the rear wheel. Its kind of nice I get to do that from above before the floors are installed. I think the trans mount and exhaust will be the next thing as soon as the cage is done.
Yeah Andrew its the torque arm/trans mount so it kind of has to come out. I was a little worried about the strain of the torque arm, so that crossmember of made of 3/16", and the bolt together section is extra beefy, I need to study at weight watchers!!!!
Should all be tucked up pretty tight, just started the X bracing behind the watts, don't know why, but I really love the X's in a cage, makes it super strong and it just looks sexy.
Got the X bracing welded in today, looks pretty sexy, still gets one more bar across the bottom. Some door bars, and and few more in the rear, and this thing is ready for some sheet metal.
Still crazy busy at work, drilled the spot welds yesterday to remove the front clip. Originally I was going to try to use the sheetmetal inner fenders and core support, but figure I might as well have a jungle gym in the front to match the one in the back. My new game plan is to make a new firewall which will be part of the chassis with pedals and column. I need to set the engine and trans back in the car to see how big the dog house will be, really hoping I can use the original dash.
The cage work is about done, lifted the body back off to finish welding. Will set the engine back in this weekend to run the exhaust, and get the firewall built. Big tires are mounted on the front, just has rollers on the back.
A few more crazy pics
You know how it is, logistics are everything. This is the first build I've ever done that has had any 2 hands but mine working on it, but I can't lie, Domonic (DC Performance) has gotten the cage done in 1/4 the time it would have taken me, and I'm loving the work they did. My wife is a saint, my biggest fear in life is that one day she will wake up and realize what a putz I am. This car is rolling pretty fast, but amazingly its another fairly cheap build.
Got the body back on, and the engine and trans in it for mock up, I think I will have to go with the shorter torque arm, just too busy with that magnum 6 speed. Trying to deside what I'm going to do for power, my buddy Frank is trying to talk me into twin turbos, it really would be cool, but would add alot of weight.
My buddy Dominic just sent me this, to date my favorite picture ever.
A few more cool pics
I have been really enjoying this build, I knocked the chassis out pretty quickly, then Dominic got on the cage really fast and didn't complain once about how anal I was about bar placement. Now I've traded off some work with my buddy Frank, I'm fabricating the center console for his twin turbo project and he's doing the exhaust on mine. Its been fun working with other craftsman on these projects, usually I'm all alone in my garage with nobody to BS with. Kinda sounding like a baby, but truthfully it hasn't felt like work once.
I have built alot of cars through the years, but I have NEVER been so tortured trying to get exhaust to fit. I had a choice to make, the car could either have exhaust or seats. The torque arm eats up so much realestate that it makes it damn near impossible to have exhaust. Frank and I contemplated about 10 different designs, we even thought about a single 4" exhaust set up. In the end I cut a chunk of the frame and tucked the pipes under the driveshaft down the right side side, standing both mufflers on end, leaving just enough room for seats, and everything else. The tailpipes will go under the rear, and exit behid the passenger rear tire. Frank was hurried to get some pipes in before one of us changed our minds.
Worked on the tail pipes today, look just like Harley pipes. Turned out great, I think Frank had his doubts. Can't install tips until I make the quarters built.
Got the torque arm crossmember built, exhaust eyebrows were a pain but its done. On the fab tech side, if you place a peice of flat bar under the welded area, and clamp it down while welding it helps to keep the part from ending up shaped like a banana.
Thanks Ray, the one thing I love about this site is how everyone trys to watch out for one another. I was actually was talking to Coleman, and Mike Holleman who runs that setup this week. Colemans website isn't the greatest as far as pictures go, I found this pic in a Google search.
I'm agonizing on what to do with my Mustang for a floater. Love the Dana thats in the car,the only part on the car I know I'll never have to touch.
Can't deside wether to lop the ends of the Dana and make it a floater, or switch to a 9" floater. While running a 4 speed with direct drive fourth, I really need a higher rear gear, and I am as high as a Dana will allow 3.54, I'd like to run a 3.20ish gear which is no problem with the 9"rears. Like the Moser DBP setup which is similar to GMR with its bearing seperation, it just doesn't use as big a bearing, and I do hate the driveplates. This is messed up, I think I'm getting my threads mixed up. LOL
Haven't really had time to work on this thing(been thrashing on the Mustang), but I did get the front 335's on. I'm really diggin it.
Its funny you would say that Preston.
Finally got this car home and ready for some sheet metal work. Exhaust turned out good, trying to deside how much flare I'm going to need.
Trying to get an idea of what this thing is going to look like with a couple inches knocked off the nose and an inch of wheelbase added in the front. Moved the original wheel opening up, and forward to see what it will look like. Unfortunatly th original wheel opening doesn't have near enough flare for those 335's, but it at least gives me an idea. I do think it is an improvement over the original.
Yeah Justin, I tubbed my first car when I was 16. I have built alot of cars through the years, and have a long list cars I want to build before I croke.
Got the front clip setting there, have to deside if I like it or not. You can see how much I've taken off the front end.
It will be LS powered, but I've haven't nailed that down yet.
Did some measuring tonight, the car is 48" tall, about the same as the Mustang, but it is 12.5" shorter then the Mustang, and the 66 Mustang wasn't considered a big car back in the day. It has a 105" wheelbase vs. the Mustangs 108". Experimental ? wonder how it will all work.
Got the hood starting to fit, and wanted to show the mustang differences. Although the cars are ther same height to the roof, the belt line on the Mustang is much lower, making the hood on the AMX set higher,in turn making the whole car seem higher. I do like the wheelbase changes, think it really helps the car, though the purists will probably hate it. I think it was Jimi Day who said you could fit all the AMX fans into a Volkswagon.
Got the door welded up and hung, liking the changes more and more everyday.
Was hoping to find a better pic where you could really compare the two, but I'm striking out finding good pics of AMX's. Is that saying something??
Car is looking great, Ron. You've got good "vision" for making vehicles look better with somewhat "subtle" changes. Not that the Mustang or this project is subtle, but they're not not big, bling, added-wing kinda changes either. They're tasteful, enhancing changes. Keep it up.
Fuel tank just came in from ATL, its a shame I have no time to work on it. Space restraints made it very tall and skinny.
It uses the Bosch HP pump, its good to 700 HP. Here is a link to ATL's site scroll down to the bottom.
Really guys, its not anything to get excited about. I just inherited a 1969 shortbed 4x4 Dodge pickup setting on a newer 80's chassis, 5.7 hemi efi., 727, 205 t/c and Dana 60's front and back. Its a really cool old hillbilly truck, which I'm trying to get running before I switch back to the AMX. I'll post some pics as soon as I take some.
Took a couple shots of my new Hillbilly truck, I really like trucks for some reason.
EFI tech: When you can't get a new efi project to start, don't pour gas down the plastic intake manifold. Because although it may fire off several times, the belly that you don't see in the bottom of the manifold holds fuel, the fuel has no way to get out(well almost no way). If it backfires, or when it backfires, there will be a big explosion and plastic off the manifold stuck to the ceiling. Come to find out the hose inside the fuel tank had a pin hole in it bleeding fuel pressure, I did finally figure it out with help from my buddy Troy, and it runs great. Now that the truck is running, it will be AMX time.
On a side note, my pedals did come in today.
I kind of deserve a hard time for this one. The volt meter showed both the coils and injectors were getting power but, it wouldn't fire off. So to figure out if it was a fuel problem or not I used a water bottle cap full of gas, poured it in the throttle body and it fired right off sputtered and died. Thought maybe the fuel system needed to be bled. Plenty of pressue at the bleeder on the fuel rail. Tried the cap of gas several more times, started, sputtered, and died (pulling the pin on the hand grenade). Changed a bunch of wires I knew were correct on the harness (throwing the hand grenade), and hit the key again, and it was shrapnel time. Not only did plastic shards go everywhere, but the liquid fuel went everywhere (everthing was on fire).Thought it was a nitrous back fire, but no nitrous!!
In the end it only had 25psi of fuel pressure instead of the 58psi required, a small pin hole in the hose between the fuel pump and the top of the tank was bleeding off pressure not allowing it to run(what a pain to find, had to pull the bed back off the truck to get to it). I only posted this to try and keep someone else from feeling like the dumb as$ that I do. As you can see in the pictures the Hemi manifold as well as the Ls manifolds will hold alot of fuel which has no gravity direct route into the intake runners. Fuel for thought, and something else to hang on the wall of shame. LOL
Well, hillbilly Hemi truck is finally running and home, and now I get to start working on this car. Got the pedal box started, and it looks like I may have some tire clearance issues. Damn those tires look huge under there, hoping it ends up like the Mustang, where, no matter where the suspension is it doesn't rub anywhere, full compression, full lock the tires don't rub anywhere. These 19's are bigger though.
Started making the column mount, and pedal mount. Needed to recess the the column to put the u-joint where I needed it. Fabbed this tubing with the right angle, and 2 rings, one welded to the tubing with nuts on the back side, and one which will weld to the column to retain the column. All of that will weld to the pedal mount. Kind of a PITA.
In my attempt to keep the weight down for the first time in my life, in fabricating the pedal boxes, I am trying to keep the mounts as petite as possible. Because the body is going to be removable, the firewall and floors will be part of the chassis, which will bolt to the body around the perimeter. The pedal/column mount will get roll bar tubing mounting it to the cage. The tires look huge in the last shot.
Because of the wiper location is where my intake manifold needs to be, I'm going to have to close off the cowl. I've been dancing around this for a long time, I figure by summer I should be done.LOL
I'm not so much worried about the top of the intake getting wet, as much as I am the top of my feet. The closing the cowl will allow me to put the wiper motor inside the car, and work it that way. I really didn't want to do this , but saw no choice. The cowl is suprizingly a complex panel to make, it will be easier to just weld up the louvers 5 at a time, 65 in all, depressing isn't it!
Finally finished, I need to walk away from this thing for a bit. That was a pain in the butt.
The floor is littered with 65 little peices of yellow metal. I cut them out 5 at a time and filled the hole, figured that was the only way to keep its shape, and keep the warpage down. it worked, but was a time consuming PITA.
Started cutting the firewall out, and fabricating the new one. Slowly but surely.
Got the cowl pretty much done, now I need to start on the front down bars.
Started fabbing on the rear shock mounts, as everything in this build, I am very space limited. Wanted to keep the springs as outboard as possible, can't get over how deep in the hoop of the wheel the shocks are going. Still have some adjustments to make, but at least I know they will fit.
Started making the tubs, figured it would be kind of funky because of the removable body, and rollbar tube going right through the middle of it. Started with the angle shaping it to the tire, then made the side peice, and welded them together. The wrap around peices I need to make next, that was enough welding for one day. Getting ready to watch OUSCI.
Got the tank mounts made. I have a fear of too many LB's, been trying to keep this thing on Jenny Craig, but don't think its working. Hope to have the last of the mounts and chassis stuff done this week, so i can consentrate on sheet metal.
As soon as I get it back on its wheels I'll get you a pic Adam. Its really not as low as it looks, because it still gets a splash pan. Got the top mounts for the tank made , and the floor between the tubs.
There you go Adam, like I said there will be a bumper,and a splash pan below that. Looks like the top of the ATL will be covered with the splash pan on. Man that is a tall tank, look how much room it takes up.
Seem to be slacking abit, but I'm pecking at it. Got the tubs in tonight, the removable body makes everything harder, the tubs stays with the body when removed so they had to be slotted to get over the roll cage.
The only rust on this whole car was the rear window channel, so I cut it out and made a new channel that went from the door jamb all the way to the new tub, and then made a filler panel for the area where the extra 7" of wheelbase is. Unfortunatly now I have to do the other side.
Bored with the tubs, started on the flares for a bit, didn't really require that much bulge in the back, and still looks like a stock AMX, even with7 more inches of wheelbase.
Starting to get some of this stuff cleaned up, and figured out. This is definitely the most complete the car has been since I've owned it. You can kind of see what it is going to look like. The next thing, is to somehow getting the trunk lid hinged, due to the wheelbase change, and the big tars, the hinges about 3" into the air portion of the tires when closed.
Thanks Norm, and Andrew, I'll look into the newer hinges, that may work.
Here you go Adam, with the splash pan and bumper.
Kinda sucks building an AMC with all these nasty/rusty looking parts, you can't run down to your local 7/11 and pick up some new parts like you can with a Camaro or Mustang
I look at it like the 3 bears story, the Javelins were too long 12" more wheelbsae then the AMX, the AMX's were too short, I'm hoping this will be just right.LOL
In AMC's defence, these were really built as altered drag cars, and they worked well as such. They were some wheel standing machines, the Javelins were the road course cars. That said, Jimi Day has been tearing it with his car, getting ready to run one lap, super cool.
I can't wait to try something a little different in the rear suspension department, just too see how different it feels.
Just getting back to this car, started making the watts link mounts. Hard to believe I thought I was going to save weight, with the 1/8th" thick rear cover, and 3/16" mounts, I don't think this will be a feather weight. Still have a few gussets on the cover but its close.
Now that I have the rear mounted, I can run it over to the front end shop and get it lined up and the rear squared up so I can start roughing in the finished quarters.
Finally got the ungodly awful 4x4 lift blocks out, which were locating the rear axle. Got the car to my buddy Troys front end shop for an alignment, and to square up the rear axle, got some strange stares taking it over there. It was pretty damn close for eye balling it, the quarters will be next on the list, can't wait to see how it turns out.
Finally getting a few, and I mean a few minutes to work on this thing. Started welding the quarters together, trying to get some idea what it will look like.
If my life calms down I will. Got the down bars , and crossover in though.
The key is tig welding. The weld is so much softer that it smooths out so much better then when you mig something together. I did start cutting up some front fenders to cover those monster front tires, grafted a 1972 Javelin front flare on to a 69 Amx fender. Looks kind of oem, but I haven't got the front figured out yet. Can't figure if I like this better then doing a fender like on the Mustang.
Trying to get the nose to look right, but I know its not quite there. The merge from the 73 flare to the 69 fender is kinda funky. What do you think?
I know I can do the bulge flares, but I don't want this thing to look just like my Mustang. Trying to refine a bit more before I decide if I like it or not. I am leaning towards liking it. The rear isn't really done yet either, its just screwed on. A little more tweeking and and I may be there.
Thanks Torque, that is close. The real problem with this design, is that the quarter panel is more or less flat, no real beltline at all. Like a ski jump from the roof all the way to the bottom. So what I have to do is create a contour or bulge back there that will look good against what ever I do in the front. I think I've got it worked out, but have enjoyed the input along the way. I've got enough fender parts left, to make bulges like my Mustang has if I don't like humping my fendersI like to smoke after I do that.
I've been working on this hood for a while. The parts for these cars are so hard to come by, I had to deskin the hood, due to one extremely rusty hood and one crashed hood. Two to make one, cut 3" off the rear of the hood because of the nose job, and try to get them to hinge with a 335 front tire right where the hinge should go. Its been a PITA, but I think I've got it figured out finally.
Started making the back to the hood. Had to make an angle which would follow the contour of the cowl, now I have to make some hinge pockets, and filler panels.
Finally getting a little time over the long weekend. Got the core support made and bolted down, I've totally given up on the hood, and plan on ordering a fiberglass one. Got the side of the fender welded, and will hopefully get the top done this week.
Slowly pecking at the front end, still waiting on the hood so I can get the tops of the fenders done. Trying to figure out what I'm going to do for the nose(bumper/splitter).
The rear suspension in this car uses a watts link. In my normal knuckle dragging self, I welded up the watts mount on to the Dana 60 cover with a lot of adjustability, welding and warpage. After talking to Aaron for I long while, and looking at some of the cutting edge stuff he was doing. I decided to see what we could come up with in aluminum.
Aaron started the 3d design work, and in my opinion, it is nothing short of spectacular. He just started making aluminum chips, and I'm not ashamed to say it gives me abit of a chubby. The contrast between my parts and his is like comparing a couple of paper cups and string vs. a cell phone. Aaron just has the one side done, and sent me the pics today, and I had to post them. Like magic.
It's crazy isn't it Justin, ALMOST doesn't belong on one of my cars. Its fun working with someone that has the same level of passion for building custom parts as I do. I know Aaron is as busy as I am, we see each other at events maybe 3 or 4 times a year. I describe what I am building, and he does the same, and I can see the gleam in his eyes as he describes the processes of designing and milling out the different parts. It is a sickness, but man I'm glad he has it. Wow that sounded a little gay .lol
No sweat Mike, I really do think that the websites biggest attribute is the knowledge and experiences that most of us share. Some of these experiences are good learning tools, and some are total failures (I have a lot of failures), but Aaron I were just talking about how we are all standing on the shoulders of the guys that came before us. I've been building cars since I was 15, and feel I have a pretty good sense of what makes them work, but my lack knowledge in autox, and road racing were pretty humbling. With the help of guys like Kyle, Danny, Randy Bell, etc., etc. its amazing what you pick up on driving, and car setup. And everyone's lack of ego, and eagerness to have a good time makes what we do so much fun. Can't wait till this year.
Aaron has the fill plug installed in the diff cover, and some cool graphics. I now have the new $500 hood cut to length, and setting on the car, still have some clean up work to do, but its close. I'm about to set my sites on finishing the fenders, I believe I'm going to pull molds off the fenders, and have them done in fiberglass. It will be better for the just in case moments, you can't buy AMX sheetmetal at the Walmart stores like you can Camaro's and Mustang's. As long as everything goes OK, I'm hoping they will be done in the next week or two.
In staying with my AM"X" theme, I had to put a big X through the middle of the car for chassis rigidity. Took a while to fab this part with all the ports, holes, and welds. Turned out pretty good, and should stiffen the car, as if it needed more weight. It still gets a couple other bars that intersect with this bar, and I need to fab a new trans cross member, but I'm getting closer.
Got the transmission crossmember and the frame mounts built. Still need to trim up frame mounts, and weld them in.
Here is the finished product, had to make it that funky shape to clear the exhaust.
I think the majors snows are finally over, and I'm able to put the snow removal equipment out of the garage. Started dialing the fenders in, the 335's have made the it a bit of a job, but its getting there. Trying to do both sides together so its not so hard to replicate a month from now.
I usually feel like a have a pretty good vision as to what I'm building. This bumper however is going to be a trial an error exercise. When I got home tonight I started tacking some crap together to get some ideas from. The ends I haven't touched yet, but the middle is some kind of start. The lower section would get some vents, and it still would get a splitter on the bottom of it. In a couple pics I visegripped a piece of 3/4" square on the bottom to give it more height, but I don't know. I'll push it outside tomorrow and get a pic on the ground. What do you think?
Pushed car outside for major garage cleanup, bent a couple pieces of sheet metal over my knee to cover the blinker light and see what it looked like. I'm pretty sure the whole bumper needs to be taller. It is a funky looking car, but its starting to grow on me.
Getting the front bumper a little closer, I got the new bumper ends made, and am trying to get the middle figured out. To be honest I don't hate the middle now that the ends are fixed.
Because we got another 6" of snow today I didn't work, so I did get my bumper welded together. Had to close the license plate opening for the fiberglass work, because this is just a plug to make the mold off of. Reshaped the opening to make it more of a port (which will get cut out once the glass part is made) then a license plate hole. Roughed the mud in, and shot some primer. Turned out pretty good, still don't know what I'm going to do with the ends until I get the fenders finished. The splitter will go on the bottom of the flange.
I am truly getting my a$$ handed to me by these AMC front fenders. When cycling the suspension, at full compression these 19x12 wheels and 27" tall tires are killing me. I've tried everything, and I mean everything to try to keep a reasonably sized flare. When I get the fender to clear at full compression, the flare is just absolutely stupid looking. I think I'm going to have drop down to 18" wheels. The 335-18 tires are a full inch shorter, its not a lot, but I need every fraction of an inch I can muster. I planned on running 18" wheels and, Rivals anyway. I'm just not ready, and I wasn't sure what wheel I was going to run. Does anyone have a cheap 18x12 wheel with ZO6ish backspacing that has been scratched, dinged, slightly bent, that I could use for mock up? If not I guess, I'll try to search out replica wheels. Thanks, Ron
On a side note, if anybody wanted to know if 19x12 ZO6 wheels will clear big brakes, even 15" big brakes they will.
With all the changes in everything else, why should the torque arm be any different. With the X through the middle of the car, now there is no room for a shackle for the torque arm. My buddy Brian Schien machined me out these fancy sliders which will weld to middle of the X. Bought the little bearings from McMaster Car, should work pretty well.
I did come up with some 18" wheels, John at CCW graciously sent me a set to use for mock up.
Fenders pretty much kicked my a$$, the 19X12 wheels, and 27" 335's on the front are not conducive to attractive fenders. Ended up looking like a flared 66 Bronco. I ended up getting a set of 18x12 C14's on loan from John at CCW (thanks John). The 18" 335's are about an inch shorter in diameter then the 19's, which seem to have cured or at least helped the problem.
Nothing is going easy. Put my driveshaft in, and the 1350 yoke hit my torque arm slider box. Ended up making a driveshaft hoop out of some 5" pipe, which became a integral part of the slider box. With all the welding the bearings would no longer fit in the slots that Brian machined for me. So he surface ground the 4 sides, and remachined the slots. Smooth as butter now, but what a pain.
The driveshaft in this car is at kidney height so I always planned on running a driveshaft hoop, just not one this beefy. This car is starting to remind me a little of that Animal House line "Overweight and underpower is no way to go through life" Its close anyway.
Got the other side tacked together, trying to make them identical is the hardest most time consuming part. Yeah, this thing is low, had a hell of a time getting it off the jacks. Finish welding the sides tomorrow, and then form a piece of metal for the top. Then finally get to start flinging mud. Weird how the black wheels don't show well.
Got all of the welding done on the fenders, except the top panel. I'll fabricate the fender top tomorrow, weld it in Friday, and yehaa start making dust this weekend.
Was thinking about fabbing a pin style spindle for a C6 upright. Ordered a Nascar Grand National front spindle just to see its size and shape. Had no idea how big it was compared it to a Wilwood pro spindle. It seems like a packaging nightmare, but I think it is doable.
Did get the fender tops made, and one side tacked before I ran out of mig wire. Still have to fab the fender edge(where it bolts on) and they are finally finished, the welding anyway. The mud slinging is a whole new chapter.
My original thought was to machine a plug to close the hole in the upright which would incorporate the 3 bolt flange that would bolt in place. Then bore a hole in the center of it which I could press the pin into, and tig it in place on both sides. The problem is the pin is just too huge, with too much offset, throwing the scrub radius all crazy. I may get an Impala pin and see how bad it is. If its not going to be an improvement over what's currently available, there is no use in doing it.
Got the fenders finish welded and ground, will start smearing mud tomorrow.
On the spindle, I started really thinking outside the box. Stopped at a buddy of mine's 4 wheel drive shop, dug through and found a 4x4 front spindle that looked like it would fit. My buddy Brian turned down the locating index to the Vette upright I.D. Stupid big, but if I made a hub to fit this, with the unibearing standoff, I think it would work.
Torquedork, and I have been collaborating on what to do with my quarter panels, this what we have come up with. Reshape the rear window opening a bit, and install an eyebrow over the wheel opening. Love the way he was able to C14 wheels in gold on the thing, the dude is a real artist with a computer. What do you think?
Yeah Dan, you know I have brain damage.
Andrew, I'm just playing, trying to keep my self sane while doing body work. In the end I'll probably run the ZR1 stuff. Have talked to several engineers about this, its very deceiving how this stuff is made. If you think about a unibearing, all the bearing load is on one side of the wheel mount surface, and the bearings are only about 1/4" apart. With the old school bearing arrangement the bearings are spread several inches apart, one on each side of the wheel mount surface. It doesn't take an engineer to see that is a much stronger arrangement. It would put increased load on the aluminum upright though.
On a side note, I got the one side portion of the fender roughed in.
The driving force on the front was the 335's. It was either Mustang flares which I've already done, or something a little different. I've tried to keep the AMX flavor, and still meet the wheelbase/width requirements of the car. I purposely didn't go with a modern front bumper, but did attach the bumper to the fender which is kind of modern. Like everything I do you'll like it, or really, really HATE it. LOL
ONE DOWN, ONE TO GO!!
When you're doing something as miserable as smearing mud and sanding, its hard to stay on task. You'll take your motivation where you can get it. Funny how big tars, especially on the front keep me trudging through.
Torquedork was at it again, from stock to C14's on an Xperimental. I'm hoping I can do his photoshop justice.
Coolest one yet.
The rendering that Torque is playing with is awesome in my opinion. Unfortunately he can only do so much with the computer, the actual car will lay out slightly different. The lines your talking about Norm will have to be parallel to look right.
There is a lot that goes into body mods that are this severe. To produce that eyebrow from scratch would take a long time. I'd have to english wheel curve in the panel, machine a set of dies for my bead roller to have the correct profile, roll the brow, shrink all that material along that edge. English wheel the other half of the panel, tig the two together. Although doable, I would have months on each quarter. It was easier to find a donor, and cut them off. There will still be plenty of english wheel thumb smashing, and plenty of welding, but I figure a week of nights and weekends, for the first, a couple of days on the second.
Its been cool watching Torque play with the lines on this car, but in the end it comes down what can be done with the metal. While I'm typing this I'm looking out the window at the car pushed out in my driveway. Funny how different the car is then the rendering that is here. Wheelwells are way higher to clear the 335's at full lock, I raked the nose down about 1.5" to try and correct the way the cars always look like they are driving up hill. The way I look at it AMC did the hard work, all I'm doing is a little plastic surgery. A nose job, some lipo, and some double D's. LOL Its all an Xperiment, we'll see.
Everything is kind of roughed in, and I do mean roughed in. Now I need to fit it to the car, and clean up the edges. The nose still looks kind of long to me, even after cutting 3" off of it. Front end definitely shows off the need for the quarter panel mods. Man I hate body work!!!
It will be an eyebrow like the newer Javelins, with a bulbous flare like the front has.
Just because I love body work so much, I decided to make the front bumper, grill, and headlights as one piece. Figured if I was going to make the bumper out of fiberglass, I might as well it an assembly. Should clean the front of the car up, and make it easier to put together. Besides the grills for these cars go for $650, I will just run the stainless mesh like I have in the Mustang. Got the nose pieces assembled, will make the grill out of sheet metal tomorrow.
How to make a AMX grill for about 4 bucks: First get a bunch of scrap metal, Second weld it together. Done.
Last pic of the front end, this is pretty much it, down to just priming and blocking. The first pic is just for contrast old to new. Cleans it up a bit I think.
Just in case anyone wanted to see the plug just before it gets a mold pulled off of it. Still needs a couple prime and sands, but its made. Get yourself some a dat!!
Been working on my Mustang getting it ready for Motorstate. Did pick up the nose mold, need to clean it up, and make the fins for the area that bolts it to the fender. The fiberglass guy said it took a full week to get the mold off of my plug, pretty much destroyed the plug doing so.
The fiberglass guy is the only guy I know busier then me, he is running around like a one armed paper hanger. So I decided to make the rails on the nose mold myself, to speed up the process. The parts will come fast out of the mold he promises, so I'll get the mold back Monday or Tuesday.
Got the mold fins made and powder coated orange, turned out pretty good. Hope to get them back to the fiberglass guy today, so the parts can be made.
Have been busy racing and breaking my Mustang, but I did get some fiberglass nose parts. The detail on these glass parts is awesome.
Exploded a clutch in Michigan and still squeaked out a 3rd on the road course. Took 2nd at the Ohio Muscle Car Challenge over this past weekend. Really fun events, unfortunately keeping me away from working on this car.
Look twins, fit these to the fenders and get the molds done on them.
Built it out of steel a piece at a time.
I think it was a little of both. I have taken some time to fine tune on the car which made it light years better then it was. I do think the truck arm design has a tendency to push, due to the way the arms drive the power from the center of the car. Most other designs, leaf springs, 4 link, 3 link, even my torque arm on this AMC drive the car from just in front of the rear tires. The torque arm power pulls up and down on the center, but it drives from the links just in front of the rear tires. I guess we will see how it works out, if I ever get a chance to work on this car again.
After a couple of year hiatus, I'm finally getting back on this car. Working with Ron Sutton on a different suspension design, the torque arm I designed in the car he feels would be great for autocross, but not so great on the road course. He designed a decoupled 3 link for the rear, which I have just begun to fabricate. Trying to fit these mounts in my already busy chassis was a lot more difficult then I thought. Funny I ended up not having to move one bar, at least not so far.
I will leave the torque arm mounts in place and try both designs to see the difference. Hoping to stay the course and get this thing done.
Started with the front changes, control arms will be getting moved up an inch and forward .625. Never really liked the LCA mounts on this clip, so I cut old mounts off, and started making new ones. Still have to design and build the front mounts, but I'm getting there.
Funny Preston, I will be the first to admit that I don't know what I'm doing on suspension design. I've always copied a factory design, figuring no one had more money to spend then GM on design R&D. Knowing what roll center, ackerman, and bump steer are, means nothing without knowing how to apply them with something that works. I do think some of us have a good brain, for what work well, and will be strong when it comes to chassis design. Knowing precisely where on the chassis to weld those parts, (when it comes to link mounts), probably should be left to the pro's.
On the 3 link, their is no question in my mind, that the decoupled 3 link is the most tunable rear suspension design available. Being able to tune both acceleration , and deceleration is invaluable. Whether I'm skilled enough to tune it properly is another question, I'm looking forward to the challenge.
Ron Sutton likes two different designs when it comes to the decoupled 3 link. One involved a bumper for accel, and a second link and bumper for decel. The second design use a spring for accel, and a shock absorber with bump stops for the decel. I haven't desided which I will run yet, I designed my brackets etc. so I can run either. And of course the torque arm mounts are still in the car, so I always have that option if I'm going to do a lot of street driving, only 3 bolts to install that big bitch.
I did double up where the control arms mount to the brackets, one for strength, although I think the 3/16" bracket is more then enough. Two: to make assembly easier, trying to slide the control arm between those two tight brackets would have been a pain, sliding them on the little circles will call for less curse words.
Finishing up the rear mounts, Dailey dry sump allows me to run a tie bar across the two mounts, made it removable just in case I don't always have that engine. The bad part about the Dailey system is the oil pump hit the engine mount badly, so I had to cut it off of the frame. Next on the list is building a new passenger side mount, and engine bracket. I have a game plan for the fronts, we will see if it has the cool fact or not.
Motor set back in with dry sump pan and pump. Absolutely no room for a motor mount on the passenger side. I want it to be easy to get the motor in and out, Greg suggested a motor plate, but I feel like I'm to far along. I got an idea but we'll see how it works out. The adapter I made to fit the mismatched pan and pump worked out pretty good.
Did figure a way to sneak a motor mount between the headers and dry sump pump. Did it opposite the drivers side, put bushing on motor bracket rather then frame. Hangs way below dry sump pan, so bolts are easy to get out.
Another couple brackets made, only 100 more to go. Proud of the center bracket that doubles as a control arm and a motor mount bracket. Now I get to start on the front of the control arms, yippee. Thanks, Ron Sutton LOL
I will do what we discussed earlier, Humpster eyebrow with shortened window opening. I know your dying for me to get on that, unfortunately the suspension comes first, then I have to finish the front fenders for the new wheelbase change, and get them off to have the molds made. Then I'll get on the quarters, can't wait.
With as much travel as this car is running, the fender is going to require some surgery. Again
Got the fender clearanced to allow for this crazy wheel travel. 3.75" of up travel hitting nothing even at full lock. Started getting the flares together, I might like them better then before.
Ready for mud, now comes the hard part, duplicating it for the other side.
They are donor parts, its just faster. Put the ZO6 19x12 wheels on the front. With the enlarged wheel openings, they fit great.
I've always liked the colors on this car, red in the front, and Grabber blue in the rear. Don't really care for the lay out though. I'm pretty sure I will break the color at the back of the hood, slope down to about the first 6"ish of the door, and about 2/3 of the roof, down to the beginning of the rear wheel opening for the blue. I wish I was more photoshop friendly.
Honestly as long as its not what Tom said, I might try it. What a putz. LOL
My head is spinning from all the patriotic colors.
Did get one fender finished.
Got a chance to drag this thing out. First time in the day light in a long time.
Just drug the thing outside to move my toolboxes down to the new building. Won't be long now.
Retained the factory wheel lip, with a 73 Javelin hump on it.
Finally started messing with this car again, have the front pretty much roughed in. Messing with the back to see if I can find a version I'll be happy with. Its mostly tape and poster paper for now, once find a version I'm happy with I'll build it out of metal
I was busy building its space
Torquedork helped with correcting curvature of upper line with Photoshop. You can see how it looks a lot better following the roof line. Still have to look at it for a couple days before I make the panels.
My final pick
Started making parts in steel, still need a few tweaks, and the lowers fabbed, but its pretty close. The original quarter panel is still in place, you can see with the tape measure how much wider its getting.
Starting to get it tacked together, I think its turning out pretty well.
They were always an awkward looking car. Kind of geared toward drag racing like everything in the 60s. It was just a cut down Javelin, funny while dismantling a couple of these cars you can see where AMC cut the original Javelin chassis and floor and welded them back together. Everyone I've seen looks the same.....like someone stick welded it with the lights off.
I wanted to see with build if I could take a car that was almost a good looking car, do some plastic surgery and actually make a very attractive sled. I'm happy so far, but only time will tell.
Slowly getting it done
A little closer everyday
Slowly coming together
I use these highly sophisticated quarter panel gauges
Finally got the crudely welded together panels done. Pull some fiberglass molds off of these panels, then the part. Yahoo, then I get to do body work attaching them to the car.
The guy I used to pull the nose molds builds 80% of the dragster bodies in the country, all carbon. He recommended not doing them in carbon fiber. He explained about how strong carbon was in long flat panels, or in a tubular shape, but how weak it was on a complex shape with a lot of 90 degree angles. He explained how brittle it is, and how any shape corners in carbon will eventually crack. Considering he said my nose mold was the most complex mold he had ever done, with nothing but sharp corners, he recommended fiberglass parts reinforced in critical areas with Kevlar. So that it what I did, have to trust the pro's.
Quarter panel molds are made, now finally on to the car. See if I can finish some of the bottom stuff, and send it to the powder coater.
Got the last of the cage work finished, starting on tin work, filling in the little windows 1 at a time.
The body unbolts on this car, the chassis floor and all will be sent to the powder coater. The body may be as well, haven't decided yet. I will fill the voids in the floor with 1.75" rigid polystyrene insulation board, super light, and will make the floor flat. Then I will have some snap in carpet put on the flat part of the floor, like a boat.
I use a JD squared hydraulic/pneumatic bender, works pretty good.
I first made inner rockers with plates and nuts welded to the inside, then welded sleeves into the perimeter frame for bolts to go through. I'm sure their is an easier less labor intensive way to do it. but it works pretty good. The only bad part is the cage swells out at the A and B pillars, so you have to spread the rockers a bit when taking the body on and off. It comes off surprisingly easy though.
Starting to work through the exhaust
Wrapping up the exhaust, turning out pretty good
Quarter molds are pulled, still have to clean and buff them