Chassis/Body Part 1

A near 44 year old car is bound to bring it’s fair share of “issues” along with it when beginning a project like this. I fortunately was able to find a car that had very few of these “issues”accompanying it into my possesion. The normal wear and tear was present, very minimal body damage outside of a few dents here and there, and a very tiny amount of visible rust here and there.

The very first thing I wanted to do was make sure the chassis was able to handle all of the new found power and grip. So the car headed off to visit 510 master builder and famed racer Troy Ermish. We loaded it up on the trailer on a warm August night and sent it off for a few months worth of work. First task was stripping the car down to a bare shell.

Once the car was stripped bare, Troy and team loaded it up for a quick journey out to Lodi for a full media blast. The car was taken down to bare metal to look for any bondo, hidden rust, or anything else we needed to know. Along with finding out more about the car, the car needed to be bare metal in order to complete the next bit of work.

With the bare metal shell returned, Troy and team began the next stage of work. The front half of the car was fully seam welded and reinforced to help support the new found power in the SR20. Once the seam welding was done, Troy began building my full cage. The cage was spec’d to SCCA/NASA specs with a slight modification to the door bars. Most likely not legal for full competition, they were adjusted to allow easier entry and exit for street use. The rear of the car was tied together with full supports from the cage, adding much needed rigidity to the little car.

With the cage completed the car was loaded up again for a trip out to Lodi. Next up was a full body/chassis powder coat sealer to protect the bare metal body. After completing the full body coat, the cage was given it’s final finished coat in a fantastic satin black.

Sadly in doing the final prep for the powder coat it was found that the front floor boards were really rotted from rust and needed to be replaced. One of the previous owners had coated the floor boards in a layer of fiberglass and resin and we hadn’t noticed it in the early prep. It simply looked like a layer of weather sealer that the media blast wouldn’t take up. So new floor boards were ordered and after a few days they were welded in place. Looking like new the majority of the rust all taken care of.

The last bit of major work that has been done so far was replacing the rear tail light panel with a new piece from FutoFab. At some point the drivers side of the panel was pushed in or hit and was noticeably out of alignment. The stamped steel panel is a direct weld-in replacement for the exisiting panel and looks fantastic. First step is to cut out the old piece, and remove the old spot welds that connect to the quarter panels.


Stay tuned for more updates as the work on the body continues with the finished up rear panel, new dash, and modifications to fit the SR20 and transmission in the car.