Chapter 20

Recently I have been doing some of the little stuff that needs to be done to have a running vehicle. I bought a ready-made Rebel wiring harness at a swap-meet. I felt guilty actually shelling out for a “kit” to do wiring, especially as I really love wiring and was even in graduate school attached to the EE department until I added up the cost of all that good wire in all those great colors! Turns out that doing my own harness (which I have done numerous times) would have cost me more…. I still needed to make mods to handle the unusual things I did.  I have placed much of the electrical under the floorboards, accessible thru a hatch under the driver’s knees. I added a Chrysler pointless ignition with the control box on the driver’s side panel under the dash, accompanied by a J&S Safeguard. I used this device on the salt. It basically, on a cylinder by cylinder basis, advances and retards firing with hints from a knock sensor. You give it some simple rules to follow and it keeps you from holing a piston!  I have restored the headlights which came with sealed beam adapters, and run the high and low beams thru relays, with only a control voltage going thru the light switch on the dash.  I’ve been restoring the 1936 Stude instrument cluster and made a pattern which  will position it in the middle of the dash, held within a simple but elegant wooden face and bezel.  It looks like I will be able to use the 15 inch wheels and the tallest 15″ radials I can find. Between that and a spacer over the transverse spring, I will have about 3-4″ ground clearance in front.  The stance is not quite as dramatic, but it will be much more useable in the long run, and that has always been my first priority. Function over form!!! This may raise my CG height some, but I think I can still be happy with 1+ G cornering…… I was planning on a bench seat, but putting the MR2 buckets in there just feels so good! They are so “Ergregnomic!” I will however be cutting them off so that the tops are parallel with the top of the cockpit. I can always change this later or put a bolster in between for the occasional 3rd person. There is plenty of legroom for three as I have the shifting on the tree.  Still dithering on the rear bodywork. I have made up a rack to hold an extra LP tank which could be attached alone to the rear frame rail for a “Ducati Monster” sort of style…let it all hang out. I have two ragged Stude pickup beds which could be bobbed to add a little carrying capacity. About 3 feet of bed would balance the vehicle visually a bit and allow some interesting light treatments. The weight might also bring the back down a bit, bringing the front up.

Does this balance the vehicle a bit visually?

I could use this “package carrier” with our without the fender I fashioned from a 50′ buick hood.

The “raw” temp gauge which didn’t work and swung in the opposite direction of all modern electronic gauge movements!

Raw gauge graphics after some photoshopping will print out on decal. Note reversed number sequence.

Driver-side kickpanel is busy with hidden electronics

Preliminary templates for dash

Looking into hatch below driver’s knees you can see battery box and solenoid.

modified seat taking shape

In the raw….

  1. Zerk says:

    I think the entire front end looks fantastic! Visually very strong, and may need a short boattail or even a turtledeck in the rear to balance.
    Good progress!

    • tribaker says:

      Thanks, I finally received the right radiator. In the process of installing it and thinking about ground clearance with different tires and rims, I decided to “rock” the entire body upwards a bit. This was done with spacers under the front clip and the firewall as well as adding two more leafs to the transverse spring. Now, I can use fairly thin radials on the front (28″ or less) and still keep from scraping on approach to every driveway. This will, however change the stance to be somewhat less aggressive. Stance is form, not function, and will always get sacrificed in my build philosophy! I now have 6″ instead of 2″….

  2. interesting build. I have one suggestion. Are you aware of the principal of having your weight inside the triangle? It looks like your cab is really wide for a 3 wheeler and your sitting position is outside the line from the front tire to the rear tire. This will make it very tipsy when cornering.
    Fred V

    • tribaker says:

      Thanks Fred, I thought about that. I calculated the center of mass, then the height of mass (21″), then used it to determine cornering G’s. The body is about 8″ wider than it might be, but will be much more comfortable. The track is actually 63″ and the suspension is quite stiff, and includes a front anti-roll bar. The battery, trans, diff and fuel tank are mounted quite low. The rear tire is 10″ wide. Actually, the outside edges of the seats are 40″ apart and the wheelbase is 97″, so,yes you are correct, but other factors may weigh in. We will see this spring!

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