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Baja Forums -:- AzBaja.com Members -:- Projects and Builds -:- Build Thread
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Build Thread
Tell us about your Project, Were you at in tyour build. Post Pictures etc.
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dave46
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Post Post subject: Build Thread
Posted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 10:24 PM
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I've started this a couple times but I have trouble with the photos.
Here is the day I brought her home





Funny how I remember it looked a lot neater when I worked on it 10 years ago !!




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dave46
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Post Post subject: Re: Build Thread
Posted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 10:54 PM
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Here is the basics: unknown year Ghia body on a Type 181 (Thing) pan. A Thing BJ front end with Thing trailing arms, ball joints and spindles.
IRS rear, Rhino cased transaxle, Thing axles, CV's and stub axles.
The front & rear body sections were chopped off and there is a one piece fiberglass front end.

This car was conceived and begun by Larry Gates. Larry is known in the area for building high performance VW motors and transaxles. Larry had seen pictures of a Ghia racing off road out west. I got involved in the late 1980's when Larry asked me to help with the fabrication. The car was intended to be a all round boonie basher and off road beater, so it was function over form. The body was rough and we didn't care. But there are a lot of good parts in the suspension and drive train.

Larry & I designed, and then I fabricated the front bumper, front skid plate, front end bracing, long travel shock towers and stops, front wheel wells, seat mounts, cutting brake mounts, aluminum interior panels, aluminum firewall, gas tank mounts, solid transaxle mounts, transaxle skid plate, boxed trailing arms, upper & lower triple shock mounts, motor skid plate and rear cage.

I drifted off into other interests when the car was about 90% finished. It sat for a while until Larry wanted the room and he gave the car to his son Steve. I wanted to buy it but just didn't have the money. Steve stuck the motor in his Baja Bug and shoved the Ghia and all the parts in his barn where it set for years.

I would see Steve from time to time and it took years of pleading to get him to sell me Ghia to me. At first it was no way, then it was maybe, and then Steve agreed I was the person that should have it. I was finally able to purchase the car around 2003.

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dave46
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Post Post subject: Re: Build Thread
Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:41 AM
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I wish I had more pictures of the BEFORE on the chassis and the body.

Below - here is a view after removing the floor pans. The cross members are 1/2 x 1/2" square running from side to side. You can also see the fab'ed wheel well and the poor condition of the heater channels.



Below - The floors were totally gone so I fabricated a perimeter frame from 1" x 1" square stock. Then fabricated plates to anchor the roll bar. The actual floor will be fab'ed from aluminum and slide between the rollcage and the larger bottom plates. You can also see the bracket I made to tie the end of the torsion housing into the frame.

[img][/img]

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dave46
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Post Post subject: Re: Build Thread
Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:55 AM
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Sorry for the poor quality pics.

Below is the forward roll cage mount and you can see the fabricated perimeter frame and one of the cross members

[img][/img]

Below - a poor quality front on shot. All of the seams were welded and smoothed.



Below - another shot showing the Thing torsion housing with the factory under bracing. If you look closely you can see that the 1" x 1" and 1/2 x 1/2 are cut into the bottom of the tunnel so they don't hang down below. This should help us not get hung up on obstacles.



Below - rather than just continuous weld the seams on the sides of the frame horns, the seams were removed and the horns welded and ground smooth. You can also see one of the transaxle straps, some the the frame work and the mount for the rear bump stop in this pic. The tab under the frame horn is for the transaxle skid plate.


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dave46
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Post Post subject: Re: Build Thread
Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 04:29 PM
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OK. Here are some photos of the body after filling holes. patching rust, smoothing seams and primer.

Below - a shot of the drivers side front. The diamond shaped hole is to allow the down bars from the cage to the front end.

[img][/img]

Below - under the dash

[img][/img]

Below - front bulkhead

[img][/img]

Below - passenger side wheel well

[img][/img]

Below - passenger side

[img][/img]


Last edited by dave46 on Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:38 AM; edited 1 times in total
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POCman
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Post Post subject: Build Thread
Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 04:51 PM
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Looks like fun fun fun


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dave46
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Post Post subject: Re: Build Thread
Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 02:21 AM
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Thank you. It should be fun if I ever get it done. Here are some more photos.

Below - under dash / passenger side

[img][/img]

Below - under dash / drivers side. I am particularly proud of the heater channel that I fabricated myself.

[img][/img]

Below - underside of roof # 1

[img][/img]

and # 2

[img][/img]

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dave46
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Post Post subject: Re: Build Thread
Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 02:41 AM
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Below - shot the the rear showing flairs

[img][/img]

Below - from the front

[img][/img]

Below - flairs are fab'ed from 18 ga steel with hemmed outer edge.

[img][/img]

Below - the area behind the door is smoothed.

[img][/img]

Below - inside / rear passenger side. This area could use a little more work.

[img][/img]

[img][/img]

Below - you can see the end of the 3/4" tubing I ran across the back lip to tie everything together and strengthen the area.

[img][/img]

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dave46
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Post Post subject: Re: Build Thread
Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:53 PM
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Some pictures of the chassis

[img][/img]

[img][/img]

[img][/img]

[img]

[img][/img]

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MojaveRacer208
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Post Post subject: Build Thread
Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 03:28 AM
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This is very cool.

I gotta be the Tech Inspector here.
If that roll cage were to be used ...(and I hope it never is, but if the car gets used, there is a chance...And THAT is why the cage is there...Right?)...the way it mounts will NOT support the car. There needs to be bottom rails to the front beam and the rear torsion housing, with vertical diagonal tubes between the top and bottom rails ahead of the dash to work. As it is, the floor would fail and the weight of the car would crash around the cage. Think of the car upside down...Almost ALL the weight of the car is on those 4 pads which attach to plates welded to 1/2" square tube and 1" perimeter.
- beam
- tunnel
- seats with occupants
- engine
- trans
- suspension
- brakes
- wheels and tires
- etc.
Adds up to a lot of weight on those 4 points. Especially at the front.

I know the stock sheet metal floor isn't real strong either and that you are tying the modified pan to the body shell like stock. But you've cut away a great deal of the structural strength of the body shell. And your new floor panel won't be a load-bearing part of the structure like the original was. The upper bars to the top of the beam help distribute loads into the cage from hitting the ground with the front tires, but adding the suggested bars will dramatically improve that too. Adding gusset plates between the body and the roll cage uprights would also help a great deal!

Most of this looks REAL GOOD though.


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dave46
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Post Post subject: Re: Build Thread
Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:35 AM
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I will not disagree with your comments. I think if this car was to be raced off road then additional bracing would be a good idea.
I intend to drive this car daily on the street and maybe on the dunes in Michigan once a year. There are not any legal off road areas with reasonable distance to home.
Every thing is a compromise. As you may see in the future I will stay with a mostly stock suspension. If my money was unlimited I would go with a long travel suspension front and rear. Then at the dunes we would be able to drive faster and the chance of a high speed roll over would greatly increase.
The simple, inexpensive and safer method is to just slow down. So when used in this manor I think this car will be plenty safe. I just want it to LOOK like a race car. I always thought a class 8 truck like Robbie Gordons would be crazy cool licenced and street driven. But it would be very impractical.
My fiberglass tub buggy was built in the same style and has served well.

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Post Post subject: Re: Build Thread
Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:40 AM
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A picture of my dune buggy[img]

[/img]

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MojaveRacer208
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Post Post subject: Re: Build Thread
Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 07:32 AM
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dave46 wrote:
I will not disagree with your comments. I think if this car was to be raced off road then additional bracing would be a good idea.
I intend to drive this car daily on the street and maybe on the dunes in Michigan once a year. There are not any legal off road areas with reasonable distance to home.
Every thing is a compromise. As you may see in the future I will stay with a mostly stock suspension. If my money was unlimited I would go with a long travel suspension front and rear. Then at the dunes we would be able to drive faster and the chance of a high speed roll over would greatly increase.
The simple, inexpensive and safer method is to just slow down. So when used in this manor I think this car will be plenty safe. I just want it to LOOK like a race car. I always thought a class 8 truck like Robbie Gordons would be crazy cool licenced and street driven. But it would be very impractical.
My fiberglass tub buggy was built in the same style and has served well.

Oh....













Somewhere I missed the part about it being a just-for-show deal in this thread. When you said you intended to have "fun" with it, I interpreted that to mean driving it offroad at something a little more challenging than parking on the grass at a car show.

My Baja Bug is my daily driver and it has a sturdy roll cage. Not quite up to race standard, as I am VERY aware of the compromises necessary to drive it on the street every day. Bu tit also gets used offroad. The only place I ever got a car upside down though was on a paved public road in front of a cemetery. And in spite of all my years of offroading and winning a Championship offroad racing, the worst crashes I've been in have been on the street. I KNOW the difference between a race car and one used on the road as well as offroad.

There is a guy on here who has a Hi Jumper buggy similar to my old race car which he uses often to offroad on trails in Michigan other than sand dunes. I THOUGHT this Ghia might get used that way.

So if this is a thread about a trailer queen which needs that garden tractor in the background to pull it off the trailer, I'll hit the"Ignore" button and leave the thread alone.


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dave46
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Post Post subject: Build Thread
Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:14 PM
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I thought that the folks who visit this site might like seeing this project.

Maybe I was wrong.

I realize that my car is not as nice as a lot of the cars on here because I am not a professional race car builder / driver and I dont have a lot of disposable income.

But I dont see how this gives you the right to throw jabs at my junk.

I will not add any more posts to this thread.

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AzBaja
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Post Post subject: Build Thread
Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:51 PM
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Ok guys, Play nice.

From what I can tell you got fooled, O'well. He wants it to look like a racecar and it fooled you into thinking it was one. 2 ponts for Dave46.

My car has turned into a side yard queen and has not seen the Dirt in 3 or more years now and has not been on the street under it's own power for well over a year.

I'm still thinking this is a cool build.

Do not let a Fly ruin your soup, Spoon it out and keep on eating.


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Last edited by AzBaja on Wed Mar 28, 2012 09:14 AM; edited 1 times in total
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