Suprang Snip and Save

Hang your fenders; smash your firewall

The madness continues. My firewall wasn't accepting the width of the V6 very well, and my fenders have yet to be hung. How much work could that be?

Note: Captions are on top of photo renditions

A 10lb sledge can do wonders for your sainity, but it's hell on the lower back. Look how diminutive the original straight DOHC 6 bellhousing looks compared to the smashy smashy! I had to cut a little bit to get the engine to fit in there without moving it forward several inches.

Little bellhousing

I'm going to have to sit the engine somewhere... some steel cut in the shape of this cardboard stensil should get it pretty close.

Engine mount mount

And the transmission falls back a bit in the Mustang chassis

Shifter position

There... that should fit nicely. Hey wait! Something is missing... or added... or... maybe I got a little ahead of myself. Doesn't this thing need fenders?

Engine in place

Finally, I get to cut off some steel. The front radiator support for the Supra will simply not do. Away with you, foul metal! I welded a steel cross piece in front of the strut towers to hold things together while I sculpt. Oh yes, more steel will be added.

Front radiator support

Let's see what this should look like. People have asked me if I intended to keep the Supra front end. Well, in spite of the 80lb front bumper and freaky '80s good looks... no. Clamping the front sheet metal in place should give me some ideas about roughing it all into shape with minimal steel or fuss.

Fenders and hood

I made a stensil of the Mustang's radiator support. It's integral in positioning the fenders (made assembly easy in '65) so I'm using it as a guide

Radiator support stensil

More positioning and posturing. I'm wrestling with the top radiator support bar.

front fenders

I tack welded some supports onto the top bar to keep it in position while the fenders were on. Now that the fenders are off, I can get to work.

Tacked on supports

Now weld on the real supports

More radiator supports

File off those old positoning tacks. Now I'll have to locate it laterally.

Filed off

Lateral locating bars

Bars de la locating pour vouse

I welded some stumps so that when someone leans on my fender, they'll be relaxed and chatty instead of "Aw man! Sorry about that dude!" It's nice to know my fenders will be attached to the car, rather than just hung for show.

Fender stumps

Another view of my fender supports. About 2lbs of steel up high where I don't like it, but I gotta have it.

Fender stumps

I left a bunch of holes in my firewall. Let's clean them up. I cut some sheet metal and formed it into a boxy thingie.

Boxy thingie

Then I tack welded it and clamped it into place.

Clamped boxy thingie

Then I had to cut off the extranious metal (I love my plasma cutter). This is kind of tough to explain. Once the piece is tacked into place, I used a body hammer to shape the metal to the adjoining piece. Then I'd tack it into place. I continued the process until the metal was propery formed in place. Then I double back on my tack welds and stitch it all into place. No bucks. No fasteners. Just freeform sculpture.

Thingie tacked into place

Now I have a big hole to box in. The valve cover and head of the engine intrude into the passenger compartment, so I welded on a 2 inch strip of sheet metal on the side.

Start the box

And then I simply put a metal lid on the box I created. You can see the engine through the steering shaft hole. It fits rather nicely.

All boxed in