2. That time just after you decide but before you know what you want

That was the title for a post I made on the GT40s website soon after I decided I wanted to pursue this project.  The full post can be found here: GT40s post

I’ll paste and update some of the text below to save you the hassle of going through another long series of rambling posts.


That’s where I’m at. I’ve decided I want to do this but I still need to figure out what the heck I want and how I’m going to do it. Kind of the pre-planning before the serious planning happens.

I wanted to piece together a post to introduce myself a little as I hope to become more active in the coming months (years?). I plan to start an SLC in earnest starting in January 2017 [pushing to ~March 2017 now]. So now I’ve mentally committed to doing this and I’ve started to piece together “the build”. I have a lot of thoughts and questions for the more seasoned folks so I figured what better way than to post! I figured this would be a good way to get my thoughts out “on paper” as well so bare with me as I can be verbose.

First off – huge thanks to everyone who’s contributed to the forum. I’ve read and re-read multiple build threads. I’m sure once my own car progresses there will be some eerily similar looking bits. “Copying is the highest form of flattery”? There’s just been a wealth of awesome stuff that folks have come up with and with certain things I struggle to come up with a better/different idea. So there’s going to be some copying – hope people don’t mind.

Goal: Put an extreme amount of sweat equity into the coolest car I’ll own. For me, this is going to be all about the journey. The end result, from what I’ve read, is going to be one of the most capable cars available. I plan to build the car side by side with my father-in-law. Cherries on top.

Use: Fair weather car, 50% daily driver if possible, unlikely to see a track day. I was heavily into motorcycle track days in my younger years and I tried some time in the car (94 mustang). I just could never get into the groove on 4 wheels but loved everything on 2. I am an avid “driving enthusiast” but I’m not going to kid myself by saying I’ve got the chops for anything approaching talent. My brother-in-law is a fan of HPDEs so maybe he’ll twist my arm into doing a few. Probably the right place to shake the car down without the worry of traffic. I’m in the Southern California area so weather year round is generally good.

In college I was on the Formula SAE team so scratch built cars aren’t unknown to me but the scale and refinement are magnitudes greater for an SLC. So I’ll say that I’m a relative noob when it comes to fabrication though I’ve built several motors and am very comfortable turning a wrench. In my professional life my design goals are purely function over form so I’m likely to struggle somewhat with creating something both functional and pleasing to the eye.

Basic thoughts on configuration so far:

The kit:
– Order full kit in one go, I want to get started quickly. Based on posts it seems Fran is willing to “hold” shipment for some period but floor space = $$ and I’m still working through the optimum order time. Since I’m still dabbling and not fully committed I’m holding off on contacting RCR until I get serious enough for funds transfer.
– Carbon exterior accents (rear wing, fender vents, rear window exhaust). I have to admit to some vanity and a love for things carbon. However, I do believe there’s such thing as “too much”. One of the things that attracts me to this car is the functional aero aspect. “To go fast, you have to go fast”. I’m really interested in driving a car that actually responds/handles favorably at speed. [All works of art except for the fender vents.  I knew the fiber layout and orientation wouldn’t be cosmetic quality but the wing and rear window vents are beautiful.]
– Front splitter – leaning toward race. Based on an old post it seems ground clearance is ~4 inches but I’ve seen photos of some cars with less than 2! Since this is going to be a 99% street car I’m planning on the lift kit but is that going to be sufficient with a race splitter? If ground clearance is too much of an issue the standard front splitter with optional tunnel upgrade would do – got to preserve the functional aero aspect. [I ended up going street version with add-on tunnels, said to be nearly as effective but maintains a smidge more ground clearance.]
– Race tail – love the race car look and the rear diffuser has me pumped. [Seeing the car with the rear diffuser attached really ties the rear together and I think it really makes the rear end look great.]
– Wheels – leaning toward Forgestar CF5 in titanium at this time. [I went with gunmetal gray CF10s, boy am I glad I did!  Not a very popular wheel choice for the SLC and I absolutely love the combination.]
– Gelcoat color – probably orange; I’m normally a very laid back person in my normal life but I want this car to look the part. I plan to paint the car myself and I like the thought of a bright metallic orange w/pearl because it’s not something you’d think I would do. [I went orange, really glad I did.  Photos and renderings don’t do the orange justice, it absolutely rocks in person.]
– Interior tub – carbon fiber, I feel this is one of those must haves for a street driven car. I know I don’t/won’t have the ability to fabricate anything that’s aesthetically tied together as well as the interior tub option. I feel the carbon upgrade gives it that little nudge toward super car look.  [It does.  Do it if you’re on the fence.]
– Lift kit – speed bumps. ungh.
– Standard mirrors – I’m not a fan of the hippo look. I have some ideas on what I’d like to do with mirrors but if they don’t pan out the standard mirrors would be just as great.
– Adjustable pedals – I’m short, my father in law is ~6′. No way I could build this and not make it so he could drive it too!
– Inner fender kit – I’ve seen folks construct their own fender liners/inners but that’s outside of my skillset.
– Factory body fitment – I plan to go with the motorized door actuators. Other than that, I think it may be best to leave this work to the pros if I want a car that’s got reasonably good fit. I’m sure this is something I’d likely mess up and my OCD would berate me endlessly. One of the things that pushed me way from the GTM and toward the SLC is the body fit issues expressed by many GTM builders. [I opted to take this on myself instead of having the factory do the cuts.  Turns out this was a wise choice, I’ve discovered my OCD for things like this have really gotten out of hand.  Better for me to do this on my own and make a mistake and live with it than to have someone do it in a way I might not agree with and just stew over it.]
– Seats – my original plan was to go with the standard seat for me (I’m 5’4″, 140lbs) and the gentleman’s seat for the passenger side. I think I read in a different thread that the wider option is too wide for the passenger side due to biasing of the floor space for the driver. My vanity is fighting me here a bit and I’m leaning toward deleting the factory seats and going with one of the two Tillett options which seem to be popular (B4 or B5). It’s a hefty price add-on so I’m trying to quiet down that little fella hanging off my right shoulder. Can someone confirm that the gentleman’s seat option is too wide for the passenger side? For those who have the factory option and Tilletts, are they really worth the cost? [I went with Tillett B5 seats, beautiful and fit like a glove.  Super comfortable to boot!]

My concerns:
– Almost no experience working with composites. I did some work with pre-preg CF in school but that was relatively easy to work with. Working with fiberglass sheet and epoxy is going to be a learning experience for me. I’ll need to hit up Youtube and the interwebz for some tutorials. I’m not likely to fabricate much but I have seen in builds where folks are building up or securing items with fiberglass. I think at a minimum I’ll need to do some of that. I like the way Bill (Rumbles) cut his rear vents, the thought of cutting into the body still has me worried but I’m sure with some practice cuts and the right tools I should be able to achieve a nice finish – getting a visually acceptable edge at cut locations is going to bother me if I don’t get it right.
– Fabrication – I’m good with light fabrication; most of what I’ve seen in other people’s builds look doable. My father in law is pretty good but the part that concerns me most is making my own exhaust system. I’m likely to cut/spot weld the parts together and take it out to a fabrication shop for final weld.
– Interior finish – My plan is follow Bill’s advice and get the car in a drivable state asap. I need to maintain momentum on the project so I don’t plateau and having a functionally operational car is going to be huge for motivation. Once the wiring and mechanical stuff gets sorted I can devote the time to cleaning up the interior. It would be a pain to constantly pull up the dash to chase electrical gremlins. Make it work, then make it great. I know nothing about working on the interior of a car but examples I’ve seen with either the rubberized paint (AllanSLC) or alcantera/suede coverings look doable. And my wife likes to sew! I know I’ll have to approach this carefully as my OCD is going to kick me in the shins if I execute this poorly.
– Noise – I plan to use as much sound deadening and close-out panels as I’ve seen other folks use. In a past life I trained myself to hunt down BSR (buzz, squeaks, rattles) and it’s something that’s ingrained in me now. It’s very difficult for me to drive a car and not pick up on noises. I suspect the powertrain is going to produce so much noise that it’s going to kill this part of my brain.

– LS3 525hp – I’ve read the 525 vs 480 idle quality is negligible. There’s also something about being able to say you’ve got 500+hp. Vanity strikes again.
– Graz V10 transaxle – I’ve struggled with this one. I’ve bounced back and forth between the Graz and the Mendeola 4.11 option but at highway cruising speed of 80 mph it’s about a 300 RPM difference. Seems relatively negligible to me. [I opted to go with the Graz V8 and I’ve purchased a set of drop gears.  Getting the drop gears installed is going to be quite the feat so I am on the fence as to whether I’ll be able to get them in before the car starts rolling under its own power.]
– LS7 headers – I really like the video Allan put together on how he constructed his exhaust system for an LS7 header. I’ve also heard the LS7 headers are a nice power bump (vanity) and are better for heat management (hey, something practical)

It’s been a while since I’ve driven a large displacement motor; my current car is a blown 3.0L with about the same redline. Listening to videos it doesn’t seem the idle quality/lope on the LS3/525 is too rough – will be an interesting experience without damping engine mounts! With my current motor at 3kRPM it doesn’t sound/feel like it’s being beaten. Does the LS3 “feel” like it’s too frenetic at that speed, or is this something I’m going to be able to live with? Living in LA it’s not often I get to cruise at 80 mph on the freeway so I suppose it’s going to be a small fraction of the driving I’ll be doing. Mostly canyon and stop-light excitement for me. In the canyons (with my current car) I’m generally in the 60-80mph range for a good majority of it. I don’t think with the SLC that I’ll be pushing it any more than that which puts me at 3rd if I want to really ride the engine or 4th comfortably. Going back to the Graz selection – getting stuck in bumper to bumper for 5 miles would likely kill my leg or the clutch by the time we got out of it. Hence my leaning toward the Graz though I know there’s a decently sized contingent of folks who think the gearing’s wrong for an american V8.

OK – thanks for letting me put this up and if you’ve made it this far another thanks!


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