Project 10 The Hard Way – Phase 4: Getting the interior ‘stuff’ done

Phase 4: Getting the interior ‘stuff’ done

On any project car or even if you are just updating your street car for test & tune action at the local drag strip you have to eventually break the project down into sections to keep from getting lost on what the next goal was. I did this project car like this:

1. Make a list of what you want to do. (I know it takes a lot of paper and scratching out things!)

2. Chassis/brakes: I start with the dirty stuff so it gets easier. Roll bar, brakes, steering linkage, suspension pieces and getting an "affordable package" so you can finish it, not just dream about it.

3. Interior/wiring: getting the wiring finished up so you won't be having "issues" when you get to the track. Any wiring you do you should use the best components and shrink sleeve as much as you can if you add connectors. If you are adding an electric fan, use the relay. Make sure battery is securely mounted. You may not need to do a total rewire like I did, but I had zero wire in this car when I got it. Just plan ahead, take your time and if you do it right the first time, you will not regret it.

4. Engine/Transmission: No doubt the most expensive IF you are going to change the engine/trans combination. If your car runs good now. Use a premium engine oil (I like Schaeffers Oil), good K&N or WIX oil filter and go have fun. Our Project called for a strong, reliable engine and transmission combination and I think we have ended up with "exactly" what I was shooting for.

5. Tires and wheels: Nothing wrong with going to the track the first few times with your street tires to get a feel for drag racing but when it is time to get some "sticky and maybe wider tires" on your car, again; take your time and get the ones you want the firs t time. i called Weld Wheels and told their Tech guy what I was doing. He gave me the part numbers for the front and rear wheels. The front wheels were easy except I didn't realize the '84 Firebird had metric wheel studs *(How would I know, I was born in the 1950s!). He handled that issue. Then on the rear wheels I told him I had as tock width rear-end but I wanted to get the widest wheel that would fit. He knew I needed a 15"x10" wide rear wheel with 6.5" back-spacing. He also said I would have to "trim" the rear axle snubber-bracket off and possible do a little "hammering and cutting" on the inner wheel well if I was going to run a 29" to 30" tall slick. He was right. The wheels fit perfect but it took a few hours of trimming inside the rear wheel well to get everything to clear.

6. Fuel system: If you run a stock engine or slightly modified a stock fuel tank is fine. In our case we did not even have a stock tank when I bought the car so we installed a small fuel cell, QuickFuel fuel pump and new Moroso aluminum fuel line. Each car will need some planning to make sure you do not waste money on parts you don't need.

7. Exterior: I have never been one for spending much time or money on the exterior. I shoot for something decent and something I can hit with an annual wax job and go racing. Again, I know the "look" is very important to a lot of car guys, I sure respect them for the work that takes. I just want to race and spending a few thousand dollars on paint and body work would have delayed my racing too long for me.

That is a short "idea" on how I approached the "Project 10- The Hard Way" Firebird. I have went "over budget" in a few places and stayed under budget on a few other items. Bottom line is; I am about three weeks from hitting the track with "Project 10". I can't wait and YES... I expect there to be a "few bugs to work out" when I get there. This is a 100% complete build of a race-only car. I have done this several times so I hope "new car bugs" are minimal. As long as you check and re-check the work you do the first weekend should go as "smooth as possible".

Now for the latest "UPDATES" we have completed.

INTERIOR / WIRING: In keeping with my "budget concept" on this car I did all the wiring myself using supplies you can easily find locally. I also needed a dash as the only thing on the dash when I got the car was the top pad. I made a few cardboard templates and then has a local sheet metal shop cut me a piece of aluminum. I got lucky as after just trimming it a couple times it fit good enough I could attach it. Is it perfect? Nope and I don't care. It is functional and I built it.

I did get a Moroso switch panel with the lighted switches but you will need to have the wires and connectors. I probably drew up four or five "plans" on where I wanted the wires to go, where to mount the ignition, etc before I got it to look like I wanted (on paper). Then the time consuming job started of running the wires, battery cables, master shut-off, tail-light wires, etc. When you start getting supplies I suggest you try to get about 8 colors of wires to keep things traceable and I suggest 16 gauge for most accessory wires and I used 2 gauge battery cables. Solder as many ends as you can and use shrink sleeve or use connectors with built-in shrink sleeve (I love those). Be prepared to get a little frustrated when something doesn't go exactly right, it happens. Step back, take a break and get back in there. It will only get done if "you do it". I ended up pretty happy with my wiring job. It looks cluttered and that is OK. I would rather have my wires where I can get to them than have them all hidden and a bitch to get to if you need to fix something. Pretty wiring won't win races but functional and reliable will.