Attention turned to preparing the new chassis. It had been received a couple of weeks earlier from Falcon and some of the preparation had already been done. It was painted inside and out with Hammerite and the insides of the box section coated liberally with Waxoyl. Waxoyl was also applied inside all the tubular chassis members.
Note: The makers of Hammerite recommend that the paint be allowed to cure for six weeks before overpainting or the application of underseal or Waxoyl. We did not fully appreciate this when preparing the replacement chassis.
I had opted for the stainless steel bottom panel at £30 extra. This had to be drilled for bolts to mount it to the chassis, and the chassis had to be drilled and tapped. I used 5mm stainless bolts which I got from a local specialist supplier (on Day 7 some of these were replaced with 7mm bolts). Drilling stainless steel is never easy, so be sure to have plenty of spare drill bits, a good centre punch to start off with, and preferably some cutting compound which will speed up the drilling and extend the life of the bit.
The Falcon chassis did not have an underplate below the engine, nor one in the area behind the second cross member and in front of the box section at the front of the car. These are plainly optional but we decided to fit them, and to make them out of stainless steel to match the rest of the underbody. These can be seen in the photograph of the new chassis.
20 gauge stainless steel cost us £50 for a 6' by 3' sheet, obtained by ringing around the steel stockholders in the Yellow Pages. There was three times more steel sheet than we needed, but we somehow felt sure that the rest would come in useful one day. We also wanted to make up in stainless steel the small undershields that project from either side of the chassis to protect the drive-shaft gaiters. These also serve to locate the bottom mounting rubbers for the front wings. These were fitted and photographed on Day 12.
|Chassis painted with Hammerite and liberally Waxoyled.|
Stainless steel is not easy to cut. We foolishly tried a metal cutting jigsaw blade but within seconds we realised that this was no use - the blade melted. It turned out that the metal cutting disk on the angle grinder was really the only way to do it. Use of cutting compound again seemed to help but the stainless steel consumed cutting disks - probably four disks were needed for the whole project.
Day three was spent shopping for these parts, and beginning the fabrication.