Progress! I didn’t manage to do much this weekend sadly. Just made for a bit of a lazy weekend, which was nice in it’s own way, but after talking with Factory Five and Stewart Transport, then looking at calendars…well…I have my work cut out for me! The kit’s due to arrive around the end of August/beginning of September. Should be reasonable weather and out of the way of any important events.
That said, between now and then is not so long in time, especially time where it’s cool enough to work! I’ve got to:
1. Strip the donor of all its useable parts, get rid of the lifeless carcass and hopefully sell off as much of it as possible
A. Empty the garage enough that I can fit a car plus all of its innards into the garage! Consolidate consolidate consolidate!
On the plus side I think I can get rid of one whole tool box and if I move a few things around, I can probably clear enough space to get rid of or relocate the central work bench. The SV650 can go outside, and I’ll put a cover over it. The table saw can fold up, as I don’t forsee much work for it in the next month or two. I can move a few things upstairs (perhaps some of the boxes of FFR stuff once it arrives!). What I do still need though is an engine stand and a hoist. Motor’s on the back burner for a bit though, there’s plenty to do stripping the WRX, cleaning up/repainting parts, and organizing stuff. Besides the motor’s a ways into the build. It starts on Pg 156! That’s miles away from where I am now. That said, I do need to call the machine shop and schedule the Head Work…could take weeks depending on them…
Pg 28 is complete though! There’s a page or two ahead of the game that I’ve finished too, but it’s important to make sure I get everything necessary. Teardown finishes on Pg 52…so still a ways yet and the tough bits like suspension, trans, rear diff are yet to come.
Excellent! Finally got a bit of cool weather to begin the teardown on the WRX. Technically, I did pull a few things earlier in the week on Tuesday while I was waiting for a guy from craigslist to look at my old windsurfing gear. But technically doesn’t matter! This is the first real focused time I’ve had and the first after more thoroughly studying the manual. It’s a bit tough because there’s lots of ambiguous notes like take off the door latches, hinges, and all the hardware…does that include this little very breakable plastic thing?!
Nonetheless we have progress! The rear doors and rear seats are out (and listed on craigslist), but more importantly the door hardware has been bagged and tagged along with the rear seatbelts which will be used in the 818. Some excellent progress so far.
Which brings me to the second point of excellent news. I called FFR, sounds like a 6-8 week lead time, so I gulped a bit and pulled the trigger. My order has been placed… the 818C will be on order and damn expensive. Then again, I look at the price of a new car or even a used car a few years old and it seems like a bargain! To be fair though, my choice of vehicle does require a bit more effort… Next cool(ish) day, front doors, front seats, consoles, etc!
A Kit Car has always been on my bucket list. It’s just been something I’ve always wanted to do. funny enough when I sold my last ‘fast fun car’ a 96 Ford Mustang which ended up being neither, having a great many mechanical problems and just not generally being manueverable (I was used to Miatas)…Hmmm… an impressively run on sentence so far. Let’s restart, when I sold that POS Mustang I said my next car is going to be something I REALLY want. The SV650 was a bike I saw and immediately loved. For cars it’s much harder. Sure Corvettes are nice, the new Miata’s gorgeous, but I always wanted to build my own car. Funny thing, I had selected the DF Goblin as my kit car of choice. Similar to the Ariel Atom, but with easier to find components and MUCH lower price… I spent the last couple of months watching for a Cobalt to come up. I wanted an SS Supercharged minimum, but then I started pricing things a bit more and the WRX based 818 started to seem a lot more reasonable. Admittedly the justification is: if I’m maybe doing this once in my life, I might as well [insert large amount of money here]. That said my budget has ballooned to about 15-20k depending on how much I can get for the excess donor parts. Here’s the thing… a brand new WRX starts around 26.7k…Mine will be 1000lbs less and probably higher horsepower…and the project has started! Project Bugeye WRX is officially home!
As you can probably see the motor’s removed. That’s what really happened…I looked up craigslist for WRX’s and lo and behold I found a guy that was selling a WRX…head gasket blown and he had a forged internals short block waiting to go in… It’s like half the work is done for me! (sort of…the downside is, having not taken it apart myself, I have little idea how to put it back together). That said he was going for a hybrid build 2.5L motor paired with 2.0L heads and transmission. I made a few calls today to FFR as well as a machine shop that specializes in those heads. This’ll end up expensive, but I’ve already got my first parts to list tomorrow…and we had a garage sale this weekend…made about 400 bucks selling off old projects. Just sold some more craigslist stuff yesterday and today for 380. I’ll list the good condition STI trunk and all the door skins tomorrow. I won’t need them. This project will come together in no time! Now I just need to get the gumption to actually order the kit. It’s been configured and sitting on my laptop for days…It’s just…somewhat frightening to pull the trigger… It’s what I want though…it’s always been the dream… so many tough decisions though…convertible or hardtop? In the mean time enjoy this photo of our Mazda 3 with an extra engine in the back!
And an extra engine sitting outside the garage!
Wow… I must say this has been a pretty spectacularly eventful few days. Since I last wrote, the Mazda has had it’s alignment and then served as a faithful companion on a 6 hour road trip to visit my wife’s best friend in Joseph, OR. It was a nice trip. I made some delicious steak and skewers (care of our friend Heidi’s excellent purchases), then I remembered that of all the things I’ve done in my life so far, rode motorcyles and driven cars on racetracks, jumped out of perfectly good aircraft, learned…mostly how to windsurf and kite landboard, worked in machine shops on live explosives…no…the scariest thing to me is F—ing cable trams… I find them deeply, deeply unsettling. I love a good rollercoaster, but sitting gently swaying at 20-50 feet off the ground…not okay. Not even a little okay. I guess it’s just kind of funny, I’ve done things that I though would terrify me and not really felt affected, but then something that shouldn’t bother me at all, like the Joseph tram or pop-sickle sticks, no…that’s what’s really scary!
Anyway, I digress… the real news is that one of my long term projects is closer to fruition than ever before. As of Friday I committed to purchasing a project Subaru WRX! I cannot wait for this machine to arrive (luckily as we were soon to be leaving, the current owner agreed to hold it and deliver it next Sunday). So here’s the deal. It’s a 2003 WRX that had the headgasket blown, so the current owner sourced parts to build up a forged internals version of a 2.5L STI motor. In WRX circles it’s known as a hybrid build, Standard 2.0L WRX heads with a thickened gasket paired to a 2.5L bottom end. He had a machinist assemble it. I’m hoping for receipts to prove it…we’ll see. That said, the motor looks great. It’s still in the plastic packaging. Yes it is a jumble of parts and one hell of a big project, but I have plans brewing. Regardless this machine looks like it’s got a lot of good parts. Tein Coilovers (one needs a rebuild), a turbo or two, the original block, actually a pretty nice shape interior, and one hornet nest as a bonus! Okay not so much a bonus, but the current owner’s willing to deliver, which makes my life WAY easier. Can’t wait to tear this monstrosity apart and rebuild it in my own design. I will also admit with a delightful sense of…history? That this is nearly identical to the one my brother had back in the day… so if I can rebuild as something substantially more impressive that’ll just be icing on the cake of a very fun car.
To that end within hours of arriving home (as soon as the temperature dropped a bit) I spent a few more hours in the garage and managed to secure myself a new engine workspace! The garage, sadly still needs a lot of work. The triumph today was that I made a new home for large power tools and really cleaned off the former CNC workbench. I think it’ll do the job nicely for an engine/rebuild bench. I still need to go through the stuff underneath. There’s a kiln a single stage compressor and a bunch or other terrifying items below. Nonetheless…progress!
Oh and Thursday I had a fun game of Infinity! With a similarly detailed/cartooney battlereport. Those are pretty fun to make.