Now that the front and rear clams were in decent shape it’s time to turn my attention to the center spider – I’ve always wondered why the center body piece is called the spider. Anyway, it seems like it’s been forever since I started working on fiberglassing and there’s still so much more to go … If the SLC represents one of the better/best bodies available for a component car – what are the others like?!
To be fair, I’ve created much of this work myself as I’m making modifications that I’ve deemed necessary (though I’m sure others would disagree). In fact, this entire post is all about body modifications that aren’t required, go figure. I wonder why it feels like it’s been forever since I started working on the body …
Wheel well shields [Allan’s mod]:
Before we get to the chopping, I need to cover the wheel well shields – see what I did there? Due to how I’ve run my coolant lines up and down the sides of the car, I had to expose the lower rear portions of the front wheel wells. This is a primo spot for dirt/water/debris to wreak havoc; it’s also a great spot for oncoming air to slip underneath the bodywork and create noise while the car is in motion.
I’m not sure who first came up with these but I’m pretty sure I first saw them on one of Allan’s builds. This shield is non-cosmetic as it will be completely hidden once the wheels are installed. I traced out the approximate area of coverage and used a combination of aluminum tape and packing tape to create the “mold”.
The shields will need more work to make them slightly less than “super ugly” – but not too much since they’ll be hidden once the wheels are installed. Some trimming, a little body filler, and some paint to complete.
Side intake modification [Howard’s mod]:
The SLC has 2 side intakes, 1 located on either side of the body, just aft of the doors. I’ve chosen to locate my oil cooler in the direct path of the driver side intake. I had originally intended to locate my transaxle oil cooler on the passenger side, but have since opted to not install a transaxle cooler. I’ve protected the area for a cooler in case I end up tracking the car more than I think. So for now the passenger side intake will primarily be used for cooling the engine bay.
The factory intake sizing is perfectly adequate for an oil cooler. I happen to plan on building a small duct to ensure all air entering the intake will be forced to flow through the oil cooler – mega cooling efficiency, but may be necessary if I get caught in stop/go traffic for miles on end (an oil cooler fan may be required, TBD).
As adequate as it is, there’s just something not quite right with how it looks. There’s a diagonal feature that runs between the front and rear wheels; the lower edge of the front wheel well vent is created by this diagonal feature. As this line runs from front to back, there’s about a 3″ gap between the lower edge of the side intake and the diagonal feature – it really seems like the lower edge of the side vent should also be formed by this diagonal feature.
Confused? Perhaps some pictures …
Thanks again to Howard for the inspiration behind this mod and for his detailed how-to located in his build thread.
Front wheel vent patch [Bill’s mod]:
Just behind each front wheel is a vent which relieves high pressure air from around the wheel. This helps maintain front downforce – pretty critical when trying to balance aero loading imparted by the large rear wing. Due to how the body mold was created, it’s not possible to fully close out the vent feature – there’s a whole portion that is completely exposed (not normally visible when standing beside the vehicle). This area of the bodywork isn’t normally visible unless you’re bent over with your head shoved into the vent.
However, if you’re a spinning tire flinging dirt and debris all around as you’re rotating – you get a great view into the vent …
Bill Phillips has a nice how-to in his build thread which talks about how he created his patch. I followed a similar procedure.
This is a relatively minor modification but if you don’t want crap getting into the interior of the spider it’s a requirement. It also gives the car a much more finished look if someone should happen to be peaking down into the vent.
Rear wheel well contour modification [Howard’s mod]:
Credit goes to Howard for this modification. As I did with the front, I decided to modify the rear wheel well contour. When fully drooped, the rear suspension hangs low enough such that the rear wheel makes hard contact with the bodywork at the forward edge of the wheel well. To remove the rear tire you’ll need to use a jack to support the rear suspension, then carefully slide the rear wheel off after having removed the lug nuts. What a pain in the butt …
Again, I decided to remove approximately 0.5″ of material as measured along the lower edge. To define my triangular cut-out I placed 2 lines going to a point where the wheel contour turns vertical, see below:
Now that a majority of the rough body modifications are complete I plan to shift focus back toward the interior of the car. With the interior complete, I’ll re-hang all the body pieces once again and pin the center spider down so I can finalize attach points for the front and rear clam. With things pinned down I’ll be able to final fit the doors and make serious tracks to getting this thing ready for final bodywork, paint, then onto the road!