66 Miata Batmobile Build

Front Fender Pieces As-Is

For comparison, here's what I Photoshopped on top of:

These are the first pieces I've made with Polygal, which is corrugated polycarbonate sheet. It's nice and rigid, drills nicely and it's much stronger than Coroplast, BUT, it's not as easy to cut and I'm worried about it cracking when riveted, even with over-bored holes and washers to relieve pressure. Another downside is that it costs 3x as much as Coroplast. In any case I only got one 4x8 sheet of it to test it out.

Anyways the goal of yesterday's mockups was to decide where and how much to trim these pieces.

I was trying to figure out how the front fenders would be 'faceted out', and ran into some dead ends using the pieces as they exist thus far.

I worked up this new mockup that has the front fender lines continue for the length of the door (with a new door skin to match.) The front half of the fenders would have five segments with vertical seams like the rear fenders. This approach would be a little more rounded in the front. It would also be more unified with the rear.
Here's a different mockup based on the pattern pieces as they exist now - the front fenders would be made of five bigger pieces with sharper, clunkier angles.

I started the week unsure of how to 'facet out' the form, how wide to make the fenders, where to make the peaks and buldges, and how to reshape the top contour so that it's 'what I want'.

Picture one of my previous post I was groping around to figure things out.
Picture two was where I realized I was getting off course - the top edge was trimmed down a bit too much, the bottom front side piece was too flared at the front, the sharp bend that I dummied up in the wheel well wasn't going to work, etc.

So I went back to basics with pencil and paper, figured out a bold contour for the top edge and then worked out the three ribs for the front half of the fenders.

Today I worked out and attached the main rear ribs with all the pieces tacked onto the car.

I'm definitely liking the shapes I'm getting, and encouraged that the front fenders are going to work out.
The rear of the fenders depend on the front edge of the doors so I worked out and fabricated the new door skins:


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Also made some leading edge pieces that define the slope of the front fenders:


I drilled holes in the metal to control exactly where the bends go:


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So I installed the new door skins on one side:


I'd like the top half to look cleaner with a straighter top edge, so I'm designing two finish plates to go over the top half of the door.

In the mean time I realized that I can't mount the rear view mirrors onto the door plates because they have flex up at the top.
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This was the first rear view mirror bracket that ended up too wobbly:


I fixed the wobbly with a coupler nut:

But that just seemed like a broken window waiting to happen, so today I made new mounts for both sides:


Which are rock solid. I also ordered a matching vintage bullet mirror for the passenger side off ebay. My wife Sarah keeps asking for one because she wants to see the all the people behind us taking pictures.
Got two doors on, two of four top plates mounted and all of it painted black.

Had some problems with getting the paint even with a roller. Also tried spray cans of Rustoleum's new 'Satin' black enamel, which came out a lot more glossy than I expected. And then it rained an hour later.

I've found that Rustoleum flat black has a sheen that varies widely depending on if it's sprayed or rolled, how thick it's applied at once and how much it's been sun baked.

Anyways two more top plates and the doors'll be done.

Today I reworked some brackets that I salvaged from a $20 pawn shop aftermarket rear spoiler. You can see them on the bumpers. They're going to connect to a cross brace for the front fenders.

Yesterday I was beginning to worry that the front end has gotten too long.
So I did a mockup of how it is now (longer) as well as 5" shorter.

I made my first GIF of the two - posted above.

Also, in the mockup I shortened the 'chin' of the Bat-head by about 3", which I plan to do when the fenders are done.

I'm leaning towards longer because it's more insane, more silly, more bosozoku, which I like:



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