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03-25-2005 08:25 AM Rat - Seat Support Frame
The next step is to begin roughing out the interior including the floor boards, X members and seats. In reality I will be doing all three of these things somewhat simultaneously in order to make sure everything fits. Also, some of the brackets and supports do double duty as both floorboard and seat frame supports. However, I am going to do the step-by-step pictures as if I'm doing each separately, starting with the seat support. Just be aware you may see some parts already completed in some of the pictures even though I have not yet covered those items.

To build the seats I started by reading Don Taylor and Ron Mangus's book, "Custom Auto Interiors" which is available from Amazon.Com. I'm going to build about the simplest seat you can imagine, just a 3/4" thick particle board bottom and back rest with 4" foam cushions on the seat and back. However, the relative positioning of the bottom and back support are very important. According to the book, the front of the seat needs to be higher than the rear of the seat in order to support the under side of you knee/leg area. The exact differential in heights is a matter of personal comfort and I chose a 4 1/2" rise based upon measuring the seats in my '32 pickup which are fairly comfortable for me.

Photo #1 I begin by installing simple framework to support the front edge of the seat base. It is a piece of 1x1 tubing which runs the width of the interior and is held up by a supporting piece of 1x1 tubing at each end so that the support will be 4 1/2" higher than I intend to make the rear seat support. You can see the front support here directly above the transmission cross member.

Photo #2 The rear seat support will be attached to the front of the brackets for the rear 4-bar. I'd like to take credit for engineering this all in advance but I can't. The position of the 4-bar brackets just turned out to be at exactly the right place and height for the rear of the seat. The height of the rear of the seat does require, however, that the support be "C'd" up and over the drive shaft. This is fine because the seat support will then also provide a bit of protection in the event the drive shaft should ever let go. Here the pieces for the "C" have been measured, cut, and clamped into position for welding. Those with a sharp eye might see the small hole in the 1x2 tube on the left. You can ignore that. This piece was originally a part of the door frame but I made a mistake on it. Turned out to be a perfect size for this cross brace, however.

Photo #3 The rear seat support with the C now welded in is here being clamped to the 4-bar brackets for installation.

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  [Entry #150]

03-25-2005 07:34 AM Rat - Windshield Wipers
Before installing the top piece of the cowl I drilled the holes for the windshield wiper mechanism. With the cowl welded together I can now install the wiper parts.

Photo #1 is the Mazda pickup wiper mechanism I used. If you look closely you will see that the cross support had to be notched so the mechanism would clear a 1x1 tube which runs from the center of the lower windshield cross member forward to the center of the firewall hoop. The notch was so deep I had to weld in a piece of 3/16 flat stock (seen here just above the notch) to hold everything together.

Photo #2 When everything seemed to fit on the underside of the cowl I ran the wiper nodes up through the holes in the cowl and bolted the nodes in place. This is a close up of the driver side node. I will eventually have to do quite a bit of surgery on the wiper arms and find some very short wiper blades but I am waiting until I get the windshield glass before tackling that portion of the install.

Photo #3 I then fabricated a small bracket from 3/16 flat stock that is welded to the firewall hoop at one end and bolted to the Mazda wiper mechanism at the other. Here is a shot from under the cowl of the mechanism fully installed.

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  [Entry #149]

03-24-2005 08:24 PM Budget Update - 3/24/05
Rat on a Shoestring Budget as of 3/24/05

Donor - 1981 Ford F-150 400.00

Chassis & Body Skeleton 961.17*
Body sheet metal 221.55

Bolts/Fasteners/Hardware 166.32

Paint and Prep
Body Prep (fillers resin) 49.45
Paint (epoxy & fill primer) 119.31

Tires - front 141.56

Coil Over Shocks 341.46

4 Bars & Rod Ends 309.04

Steering wheel & adapter 36.34

Floor Shifter 70.99

Brake lines/hoses/valve/fit 103.29

Lights & switches 93.14

Moon Disks 59.80

Total $2,906.87

*Note: Some sizes and lengths of the purchased steel were not used.
Unused items will be deducted at the end of the build. Waste pieces, however, will be charged to the project'

Major Items yet to purchase:

Windshield $50.00 plus shipping (current quote)
Electric Fan & Switch $120 est-Jegs
Brake Lines $30 est
Fuel line $15 est
Mufflers and exhaust tube $75 est
Interior $100 est
Misc odds and ends $200

Estimated Total expenses $3,500.00

Other notes on budget:

I did not included in this list the Mazda master brake unit, pedals and pedal bracket which I had on hand from a prior project. For all of these items I could have adapted the donor vehicle parts but the Mazda parts fit much better and were easier to use. Thus, I did not charge them to this project.
Also, my wife surprised me with a set of new rear tires for my birthday. The existing tires look like crap (they are the original truck tires) but still have enough tread to be used on the project. So keep in mind I am not charging the rear tires off to the project - once I unwrap them and take off the bow.

  [Entry #148]

03-24-2005 08:17 PM Rat - Raw body is finished
And a couple more views.

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  [Entry #147]

03-24-2005 08:11 PM Rat - Raw body is finished
And these are some more views of the completed roadster body in its raw metal form.

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  [Entry #146]

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