Cleaning Up For The 2004 Shootout

Well, the plan was to have the Talon finished, ready to race for the 2004 DSM Shootout. Unfortunately, about a six weeks before the shootout, the outlook of actually having the car completed was very grim. There was just way too much stuff to do to the car, including cleanup, turbo mounting, and all sorts of different stuff. So, we were at a crossroads. It was either time to hurry our asses up, and not make it to the shootout at all, or it was time to clean up the car and bring it down to Norwalk, Ohio.

So, we started cleaning up the car. There were so many things to start gettin squared away, paint, some body work, some more paint, and then some paint. We also needed to finish up engine mounts, and get the fuel cell installed. We also had a lot of rear end cleanup, and the fuel cell cage needed to be made. So, it was time to get cracking.

We knocked out the fuel cell easily – it was already cut up, and just needed to be welded together. So, with that done, we moved onto the fuel cell cage.

But, why would you need a cage for a fuel cell? Well, NHRA rules state “When permitted by class regulations, fuel tanks located
outside body and/or frame must be enclosed in a steel tube frame constructed of minimum 1 1/4-inch O.D. x .065-inch chrome moly or .118-inch mild-steel tubing.” and the fuel cell hung it’s ass down from the framerails completely. So, we ordered up some 1-1/4″ 4130 chromoly tubing, and bent it up for the fuel cell cage. We also wanted to mount the fuel pump and all the lines within the confines of the cage, so that it would all be packaged very nicely. That wasn’t hard to do.

So, we had the cage, and the cell. Now it was time to finish up the engine mounts. This process was a bit slower, but it worked out well. We wanted to create stiff ass mounts, and give them a very boxed in type of look. So, Mark went measuring, and I started welding. I mig welded the mounts to the framerails, and then procedded to box it all in. I think they turned out really nicely.

After that, it was time for pain. I didn’t want to complete the paint on the framerails, because I wasn’t done with them. So, we opted to prime the rear frame, and the fuel cell cage. We also painted the front subframe, and finished up the engine mounts. The new front subframe and the engine mounts were sure to be satin black, because that color just looks cool, along with the new tubular structure for the front of the car where the IC and radiator mounts to the car.

After that, we started priming and painting the interior and engine bay. The interior needed a lot of prep work, and a lot of primer to become nice and smooth. Tons of work, but worth the effort. I chose a GM “pewter” color for the interior and engine bay to complement the red color of the car. I really liked the combination, and received many complements at the shootout and from other people online about the combination, and I was happy with how it turned out.

The other components added to the car needed a different color. So, in the engine bay, I painted everything that we added (engine mounts, subframe) satin black, and then the idea was to paint the structural components of the car a graphite that I really liked. So, I painted the rollcage a Dodge Viper graphite. When the rest of the rear frame is done, I will paint the rest of it the same color :-)

But that wasn’t all. After that, we had a few spots on the car that needed to be touched up. There was a rust spot on the driver side of the car, and a lot of work that had to be done to the passenger rear quarter panel and door. So, Mark and I worked our asses off – and Mark did an exceptionally fine job at working with the paint, bondo, and everything else to get the car looking fantastic :-) Thanks Mark! He’s anal about paint, that’s for sure :-)

Once all that stuff was squared away, we were ready to show our work at the shootout.