Here is the Formula Ford that I fell in love with in the mid 80's but never got. Well, 20 years later, this very original '82 Reynard FF came up and I was lucky enough to have it come my way. No longer competitive, but a neat car nevertheless. I have no current plans on racing the car, but a full restoration is on the way. Just picked up a 711M uprated engine, and working picking up a few more bits. Stay tuned for a full blow by blow restoration story.
After taking my son to races since he was born, he has finally seen the light and wants a turn at the wheel. Sending him to Karting School on Memorial Day and dusting off the old Karts. Figure next year it'll be off to Skippy and possibly this Reynard will be his.
The restoration begins 5/05. Still putting most of my time in the T594, but found a friend, Chris, who has taken up the challenge. The car stripped down quickly to reveal a straight and crack free frame. Biggest part of the entire restoration will be the body work and making a new seat. After the frame was stripped, we had removed all the aluminum and sand blasted the frame. The frame was then painted with an epoxy primer, DPL90, which I found to have a wonderful satin finish and is hard as a rock. Older frames that I had painted still show no sign of wear or chipping, even after several years of hard racing.
Here's my friend Chris working on the seat we borrowed from Gary Musciano, a fellow Reynard owner. The seat was in bad shape with holes, cracks, and thick foam glued on to every seating surface. It took me about 2 years of chiseling, sanding, peeling, grinding, and sanding just to get it to this stage (spare time). I re-fiber glassed the holes and put on a thin layer of bondo to cover the low spots. Nevertheless, the seat lost about 20 pounds from when I first started, but this will be our plug to make our mold. Chris is trying to get the seat level and will undoubtedly take many more hours.
Body was fully stripped to gel coat revealing a not so bad foundation save a few gel coat cracks. Nevertheless, The cracks will be ground out and refinished with hours of block sanding. The aluminum floor pans and roll bar shield was drilled off in order to sand blast the chassis before paint.
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10/30/05 - Wonderful Indian summer day which made the separation of the seat mould from the plug an easy crackle and pop operation. But we get ahead of our selves. The plug (original seat) was sanded, primed, wet sanded with 1000 grit, and then polished and waxed 6 times. I also use a plastic film that is sprayed on to the wax called PVA. The PVA is water soluble and acts as a barrier between the plug and moulding gel coat layer (the surface of our mould) so it doesn't stick or worse, permanently bond with the plug. Some professional fiberglassers skip this step and rely solely on the wax. I am not so brave. The gel coat (orange) is sprayed on top of the PVA and set aside to tack up. Once tacked up, layers of fiberglass and resin are laid up on the gel coat to form the mould. General rule is to make the mould 3 times the thickness of the parts you will be making. Since I intend only to make a few parts and not 100, I made it about 1.5 to 2 times as thick. I let the fiberglass layers harden for about a full day. Then with a soft blow hammer, I tap the mould listening for a slight crackling sound. Using a plastic wedge, you pull apart one edge and work your way around the mould, going deeper with each pass. The mould releases in one loud crack. The best part of fiber glassing. The PVA did its job and can be peeled off or washed off (see 3rd pic above). Now we compound, polish and wax (6 times) the mould (same as the plug) to "season" the mould for production.
11/6/05 - With the mould properly waxed and seasoned, we sprayed the PVA parting film and then shot a layer of gel coat with black pigment and let it tack up overnight. Next day we laid up one layer of 1.5 oz chopped strand mat (CSM) followed by one layer of 8 oz woven fiberglass, and finished up with another layer of 1.5 oz CSM. The woven adds the strength to the part while the CSM builds up the bulk. Popping the part out of the mould looks quite nasty and requires trimming the excess fiberglass and cleaning off the PVA residue. But once done, the part looked perfect.
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The sway bar that came with the car was for a later Reynard that allowed it to be adjusted from the cockpit. Since this blade type of bar was not original, we decided to fabricate an original set. Getting dimensions from fellow Reynard owner Allan Davies, we laser'ed out a set of levers and ordered a 3/4" solid 4130 Alloy rod from McMaster-Carr. The laser is accurate within ,002" and shows when the 3/4" Bar is slipped through the lever. Now all we have to do is to Tig weld the assembly together and we're done.
The infamous rear spindle. This is the cause for many of the catastrophic failures when the rear wheel assembly flies off the car at speed.
The main reason for these failures were the design and machining process that Adrian employed in building the rear stub axle. The whole assembly comprises of 3 parts, the CV cup, the Wheel flange, and the stub axle. The stub axle slides through the CV cup and Flange and holds the assembly together with one nut. The 6 splines on the axle is what bears the work in transferring all the power from the CV cup to the Flange which works well. The Cup is captured by the six tabs sticking out of the stub axle and herein lies the problem. Since the machining process had to allow the stub axle to fit flush against the CV cup, the splines had to be milled through the rear flange of the axle thus creating the six tabs. So, no matter how well you tighten the assembly nut, the tabs will tend to wear into the cup with use and in turn, will loosen the whole assembly causing more wear until the tabs break off and the wheel flies off the car. The other part of the problem is that the cup is not heat treated whereas the stub axle is, therefore making the wear even more likely. We are redesigning this system as of this writing where we will fabricate a new stub axle with a contiguous solid flange and a heat treated washer that should prevent this from ever happening again.
Allan Davies also had a chopped off tail section which was in far better shape than what I had on my body, so I decided to graft the section on to my bodywork.
The new tail fitted well and easily fiber-glassed in. Allan also had the Diaper which also fitted up nicely albeit a bit banged up. The Yellow/White with the Red stripe reminds me of the old Ryder rental trucks. Lots of cracks and weak spots to fix.
After studying various paint schemes and designs, we decided on a Eagle motif which follows the car's Bird like lines. We will use the same Indigo Blue Metallic as on the SR71. The car should be striking with the highly polished aluminum panels.
As mentioned earlier, the car was converted to a adjustable blade type of rear sway bar which resulted in the removal of the sway bar pick up points on the rear rockers. Allan Davies was nice enough to give me dimensions of the original in order for me to replicate them on mine.
Finally had the chance to get the sway bar tig'ed.
4/3/06. The wet and cold made it a great day to work inside today. Decided to tackle the dash. The original dash was an aluminum plate which was less than inspiring. I always like the T594 dash I made, but retro fitting the pod into the Reynard would not work, too wide for the front roll hoop. So I had to create a plug to pull off a mould. Using balsa and bass wood, I glued and sanded a perfectly scaled pod that looks factory. The rim bezel was the most difficult and was cut out of a 1/4" thick balsa sheet and sanded to form the round edges.
Not to bore you with the whole fiberglass process already covered in this website, the pictures below show the grey plug, primed and polished, the orange fiberglass mould made from the plug, and the finished part molded in black gel coat.
10-21-07 With some new found time and energy, it was back to the glass work on the car. The previous repairs were so awful, I found myself cracking sections of the body off and re-fiber glassing sections with pre-preg panels I made earlier. Biggest effort was to make the parts line up and fit squarely and flush. I never was a fan on how the diaper under tray was originally mounted, so the engineering juices started flowing for a better method. I decided to mock up a set of plastic "fences" that would be made on .060 Aluminum later. If I attached the fences to the upper body, I could use Duzes fasteners for the lower section. This way it would give a very solid mount and clean up the appearance at the same time.
With the body on the way and the expectation of a concour restoration, the shabby side panels had to be addressed. I found some .090 aluminum which was way over kill, but would polish up mirror smooth and repel the tendency to ding and dent. Given my access to NC punches and the full array of sheet metal forming tools, I found a louvering tool and went to town. I programmed the CNC punch and it spit them out in no time.
Meet PAT, my homemade Panel Alignment Tool. After making the panels, there were about 16 hole I had to drill to line them up with the nut inserts on the frame. I made this part using some scrape sheet metal, .050 I think, drilled a hole the size of the screw, and fold the strip in half. Then taking the correct sized drift and using a block of steel with a hole the diameter of the nutsert, I carefully lined up the drift through the drilled hole in the tool and pinged the folded side with the steel block as the anvil. The steel block acted as a form, and the sheet metal formed to the correct size and shape that was drilled in the block. If you go a little at a time with the pinging, test fitting frequently to the frame hole, it will come out perfect. The idea is to allow the pinged hole index to the nut insert with as little play as possible.
So once you made the tool, fit up the panel, slip PAT around the panel, and feel for the indent. Once you get a solid indexing, use a Sharpe to mark the panel to drill. I would drill the first hole, get the panel to fit right with the screw, and then drill a second hole when you are happy with the location of the panel, then with the two screws in place holding the panel, go around the panel with PAT for the remaining holes. And you are done with the greatest of ease. Neat huh?
January 5, 2008- Started to develop the side NACA ducts. Since the contours contained various angles and depths, attempting to make it out of one sheet was possible, but very difficult to bend. So I decided to make it out of 3 parts and have it riveted together. The recent Solidworks CAD training I had made this a snap.
Plus the 3D graphics generator from Solidworks allows you to rotate the finished part and test the component for a perfect fit. Very cool.