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Shaun 02-06-2013 11:48 AM

Next phase for the 66 coupe
A series of events and improvements to my 66 test car made me step back, take another hit from the go fast crack pipe and decide to take the car to the next level.
  • Year after year the car (and me) has become more and more capable in the corners. Corner speeds are a lot higher than they used to be with less suspension and less tire.
  • The brakes are now at a truly impressive level. Glowing red rotors and stopping distances 50' shorter at some tracks. This puts me closer to the kitty litter/walls before putting on the binders.
  • The wiring has become a cobbled together mess. It finally resulted in a fire while on track in October filing the car with nasty black smoke.
  • Although the 289 made 300rwhp it just wasn't enough.
So with a long Michigan winter and my ADD I decided I needed to take the car to the next level in safety, power and reliability.
  • Install a full cage. With the addition of our 70 Fastback family cruiser there will be no need for the 66 to perform dual duty as the street portion of our Street or Track test car. I can go full bonkers with the 66 and build the track car I've always wanted it to be.
  • Install a new motor. I collected parts for years to build my own motor but decided on a crate from Ford Racing. Unless a better deal comes along before I'm ready to order it I'm going with the Ford Racing 363. $8000 for 500hp with a 2 year warranty is a great deal.
  • Re-wire the entire car. It was extremely satisfying to cut out all that crispy old wiring!
  • Ditch the stock gauges and install a full selection of accurate gauges so I can monitor things and hopefully protect that new motor.
So I sold the 289 along with pretty much everything that was bolted to it:

Gutted the interior. This is what I started with:

The roll bar was an ok place to hook the shoulder belts to but far from a full cage. The door bars will run into the door cavity so I hacked out the inner sheet metal of the doors. I removed a total of 113lbs of glass, window mechanism's, sheet metal, sound deadner and brackets:

I mini-tubed the rear wheel arches. I should be able to fit a 9.5" wide wheel and a 275 tire. I have plans to flare the car and have 2 sets of Hoosier's to use up so I may not modify my existing wheels now to be wider. I'll likely wait until the flares are on and do it once. Here is a link to a step by step process -

For the cage I knew I wanted to hire 'the man'. I've bent and welded tubing but something this critical is better left up to a pro. I searched all over for a few months and finally found Chris Childs practically on my doorstep. Chris owns Angry Sheep Motorsports and builds lots of club racer cars as well as cars for GM and Chrysler. We had a few consultations and I dropped the car off last week. Its coming along nicely:

Pro driver at the wheel:

Lukesportsman 02-06-2013 12:02 PM

Nice A pillar fitment.

Are you staying 1.75 x .120 for full cage? I absolutely love the extra room that taking the door bars out into the door gives me in the race car. There is really no comparison and it also gives you a crumple zone too. Having the bar 2" to your side makes you question its effectiveness only exagerated by it being straight. Having a gentle curve out away from your side makes ALL the difference.

I haven't committed on the dash bar/removal yet on the 67', but after doing some body work on the mirror mounts (butchered by many POs) and then taking it off in hands.....Mine are now gutted too. Made that decision before holidays. Just too much weight when running with the silly things down anyhow at track. I'm thinking some strap style lexan for rainy days on home route.

Keep pics coming :)

Shaun 02-06-2013 12:30 PM

The main hoop, 'A' pillar, Windshield bar, shin bar, down legs, hoop diag., harness bar and door bars are all 1.75" x .120" wall. The roof 'X', rear down leg 'X', FIA bar and windshield corner gussets are all 1.5" x .095" wall. I may of sneaked under 3000lbs and could of used .095" wall for the main tubing but the additional weight also adds safety so I wasn't that bothered in saving a few pounds. I can make it up with power!

I have a meeting with Chris tomorrow to decide if we are going to hack the rear portion of the 'X' door bars into the 'B' pillar so they can be straight back to the hoop. Big decision! The other option is to have an 'S' bend behind the seats which is less hacking of the car but not as strong if I take a car in the side.

Lukesportsman 02-06-2013 06:15 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Until you mentioned it, I never really realized how much bigger the 94 is inside and that the hoop is sitting in front of b pillar. My vintage Mustangs (3 of them) all have hoop behind the "b" pillar area.

Tough decision. The Mustang is a early coupe. Ford built a few of them. All panels available, if a pain to replace. Dynacor makes replacement shells. Driver more important. Hospital bills are much higher than body shop bills. We bounce back slower every year on this earth.

But how to do this without it looking like a "hack" and keeping some integrity to the door frame? Might require putting a pound of reinforcement back in the end caps if scalloped for bars. You might regret cutting it tomorrow, but you might REALLY regret not cutting it if the worse might happen. I'm making this tough decision on a 911 also, just the sheet metal costs more there LOL.

S bends suck, but is there a way of triangulating it maybe to floor? brainstorming this without much success so far. The .120 is certainly the stronger route, but I might have shot for the <3000lb target. Chapman haunts me ;) Are you thinking door to door battles this year vs. open track use?

latoracing 02-06-2013 08:21 PM


Do you know off hand what the CL radius of the die that Chris is using on your cage tubing? Looks nice.
(might have to do some work on that seat riser for your new driver though)

silverblueBP 02-06-2013 09:26 PM

Shaun, you need to stop playing around and come do some endurance racing with us in Chumpcar!

Shaun 02-06-2013 09:26 PM


Originally Posted by silverblueBP (Post 4367580)
Shaun, you need to stop playing around and come do some endurance racing with us in Chumpcar!

If you put some decent suspension on it and a back window I just might!

fonebooth 02-06-2013 11:23 PM

looks nice-- i would have opted for the sub 3k weight area as well-- sure seems heavy for a stripped car.. you running vintage or some SCCA regionals ? the rules dictate more than anything -- lexan rear window- glass trunk etc

safety is more important than anything as was said-- my race car is full tube-- 1980 lbs with me in it.. and 275 hp.. i bought a Hans device now to start using it ..

Woodchuck 02-07-2013 12:44 AM

If you DID "S" bend the back of the "X" bar in to the rear bars, you could lay a piece of plate horizontally on inside radius of each part of the bend for a reinforcement. You'd have to slot the B-pillar and the door, but the B-pillar could be rewelded to the reinforcement and the slot in the door could be braced to keep it stiff enough. Just a thought.

silverblueBP 02-07-2013 09:02 AM


Originally Posted by Shaun (Post 4367583)
If you put some decent suspension on it and a back window I just might!

That is NOT Chumpdriver material buster!

Shaun 02-07-2013 09:09 AM

The difference in weight between 1.75" x .120" wall and .095" wall is only 41lbs over 100' but you give up nearly 10,000lbs tensile strength (edit - OVER 10,000lbs 55,303 versus 44,453). I haven't measured all the .120" wall in the car but I'm sure its way less than 100'.

I'm following the SCCA/NASA rules as far as placement goes, then adding a few extra tubes. The goal is safety more than meeting a particular min. weight.

I don't plan on any immediate door banging, going with the cage for safety, rolling display for my products and who know's, if time permits maybe some AIX down the road.

j persons 02-07-2013 11:09 AM

Be aware that 500 HP FMS 363 will need a 1" carb spacer to achieve the advertised 500HP. I think they also used a super victor intake. You may need a taller scoop.

Shaun 02-07-2013 12:00 PM


Originally Posted by j persons (Post 4367818)
Be aware that 500 HP FMS 363 will need a 1" carb spacer to achieve the advertised 500HP. I think they also used a super victor intake. You may need a taller scoop.

Yeah, they used a 1" spacer and Super Victor to get that number. I'm using a 750 Ultra Holley and a RPM Air Gap. According to Car Craft magazine that made more torque lower down. Gives up a little at the top end but I need low end to get out the corners.

Shaun 02-09-2013 12:00 PM

Jungle gym is coming along nicely:

We also have a plan together for the door bars. Still sticking with an 'X' but going to cut into the 'B' pillar slightly to keep the bars straight. With me in the seat, my elbow and mocking up a tube it doesn't look like it'll be as bad as I first imagined.

Applejack 02-09-2013 12:42 PM

To answer a question above, they're using a 6" die for all of the bending. I went along on the shop trip today and asked.

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