January 2003
January 3, 2003:
Happy New Year!  I returned from spending 14 days in Hawaii.  Had a great time surfing, golfing and most importantly, eating!   My sister was also back from Colorado so we got to play a lot of golf.  I wasn't looking forward to getting back to the cold weather in VA.  One unfortunate thing that I brought back with me was a cold.  Spent most of the weekend inside trying to get over the bug. 

January 11-12, 2003:
I was still feeling pretty lousy during the week so I didn't work on the car at all.  On Saturday I was feeling a little better so I started to test fit the hood hinge kit that I received from FFR just prior to my Christmas vacation.  As everyone can attest too, the hoop doesn't quite conform to the contours of the hood very well.   Plus the instructions aren't very clear.  They really should have more photos or diagrams because the written descriptions get pretty confusing. 
I tried bending the sheet metal portions a bit and clamped everything down.  It looked pretty close but I think that there is going to be some hood warpage if I bond the hoop to the hood.  I thought about the necessity of having the hoop portion in addition to the horseshoe piece that attaches to the hood at the front.  I figured that even with the online.cobra version of the hoop, there is no additional support along the hood up to the hood handles.  It should be fine too for this design if I just cut off the hoop. 


January 13, 2003:
After posting on ffcobra, I found that it is probably ok to remove the hoop.  Well, I cut it off tonight.  I hope that I didn't do the wrong thing!  I'm sure it will be fine.  I plan to rivet and also bond the sheet metal portion to the hood. 


January 16, 2003:
Our area is expecting snow tonight.  Before leaving work, the post commander made the announcement that Ft Monroe was going to be closed on Friday due to the impending snowfall.  It was supposed to be a day off for the military anyway since it was a training holiday.  The snow started falling around 9PM.  See pics.

January 17-20, 2003:
Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend!  It snowed pretty good over night as predicted and I awoke to around 6 inches of snow.  Took advantage of my day off to get stuff done around the house.  Later I drilled the holes that I had marked on the hood where the hood hinge was supposed to go and bonded it to the hood using the 3M blister repair stuff.  It is definitely on there permanently now!  I test fitted the hood on the vehicle and was relieved that there were no significantly abnormal bows in the hood to make it not seat correctly. 
On Saturday after changing the oil in my Honda, I bent the hood hinge plate that mounts to the frame at the Langley Auto Craft Shop.  When I got home to test fit it, I was extremely stoked that it fit perfectly.  Of course I knew the hood hinge arms weren't going to line up properly but I plan to cut them off and reweld them.  This is the technique that many people have done with lots of success. I don't feel like spending hours trying to bend and tweak those arms to fit! 
On Sunday I fitted the rear cockpit aluminum and began drilling some of the holes.  On Monday Derrick stopped by and gave me a hand riveting those aluminum pieces in.  You gotta love the look of that riveted aluminum on the car!


January 25,26, 2003:
Spent some time on Saturday brainstorming how to mount the seats.  This one of the two areas of the build that I hear people have a difficult time with.  The other is the hood hinge.  Reading many of the posts on installing the the Sube seats (FFR Street Performer) led me to believe that it was going to be difficult.  I even called up Mark Reynolds from Breeze Automotive to see if he built the bracket to help with the install.  There are several challenges when installing these high-back seats:
1.  It's a tight fit in the back of the cockpit
2.   The parking brake on the passenger side gets in the way
3.   The transmission tunnel can interfere with the fit
4.   Locating the best place to bolt seats to the frame
After sketching several concepts I determined that this can be done WITHOUT moving the emergency brake as many advocate.  I didn't like the idea of using the angle iron that is used to mount garage door openers as a permanent solution either.  I decided to create a mock bracket using softer steel that I can bend, then have my friend Roy weld 3/16" X 1" stock steel for the actual bracket.  If this works I will post more details with measurements and a material list.


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