Construction

This and the following three pictures show the rear suspension as fitted to the chassis. This picture shows the top view of the rear suspension as was supplied in the original KVA Kit. The rolling chassis had a Ford Granada front suspension and these fabricated trailing arms at the rear. The hubs were 4 stud 'Cortina' style but no brake drums or discs had been fitted.

The temporary tubes in place of the coil springs and shock absorbers were attached to what looks like ship's lifeboat derricks. These uprights were made from 3" by 1.5" steel tube and welded to the main chassis at the bottom and intermediate levels. The trailing arms were fabricated steel affairs pivoted from these uprights with a pair of four stud wheel hub of unknown manufacturer.

The rear view shows the wide open space for the engine and transaxle but the cross tube at the back would have fouled the transaxle unless it was raised higher which would not have been desirable.

I looked very carefully at the geometry of this system and decided that it lacked the finesse of a sixties race car. I then decided that it required updating to what I found out later to be the KVA "C" type chassis. This is an inverted wishbone and trailing arm system that was popular in the '60s'. I was able to measure a KVA 'C' type chassis and this enabled me to re-design the rear suspension. This is where the angle grinder came in useful and all of this suspension was removed. I decided that the front suspension was too difficult to modify without serious re-design and so I will leave well alone.

This shows the chassis alterations with the uprights removed. The 3" by 1.5" tubes were then cut and re-positioned inboard to meet the newly fabricated cross frame.

The fabricated 'U' frame was attached to the re-positioned main chassis members and cross braces were added to meet the original upright supports. Two 1.5" square tubes were added to carry the engine mounts.

The reversed 'A' frame and top strut were fabricated using 30mm steel tubes and 20mm High Tensile nuts and bolts. The weld-on brackets, inner and outer sleeves and polyurethane bushes as supplied by MK Engineering in Worksop formed the bearing system of the suspension.

With the brackets welded to the 'U' cross member, the wishbones and top struts were fitted with the polyurethane bushes and 12mm bolts.

The above two pictures show the uprights that were fabricated from 5.75" diameter tube, 1" and 1.5" square tube, 3mm sheet steel and the hub from a Ford Scorpio welded to the 5.75" tube.

The fabricated hubs were then mounted on the wishbones and the Scorpio bearings, calipers and disks fitted. I then decided that in the interests of safety I would replace the calipers with new ones.

A cross member was fabricated out of 1.5mm square tube and bolted to the 'U' frame with two 12mm bolts each side. It was then time to offer the engine and transaxle into position in the chassis to ensure that the drive shafts would align without excess misalignment.

With the top cross member removed the engine and transaxle were lowered into position in the chassis. Measurements were then taken to fabricate engine and transmission mounts. I have retained the original Renault transaxle resilient mounts to try to reduce engine vibration into the chassis.

The support brackets for the transmission were fabricated from 1" square tube and were tri-angulated for rigidity. I extended the supports to provide attachments for the rear body section. The engine mounts were bolted to support blocks which were in turn welded to the engine bearers. The top cross member that ties the rear suspension together was found to be in the way of the clutch slave cylinder and was re-fabricated to give sufficient clearance.

As this is a Mk III replica I opted for a central gear selector. This was the first attempt at a rod linkage using a modified Renault linkage but it suffered from lost motion and was abandoned.

I re-engineered the gear linkage to eliminate the lost motion using 10mm spherical bearings (rose joints). It was necessary to reverse the action of the linkage to give a conventional selector layout at the stick. Universal joints, from steering columns, were used to change directions and were obtained from the breakers yard. 0.5" bright mild steel bar was used throughout, running in 0.5" spherical bearings.

At about this time I decided that I didn't like the floor that was already fitted. It was a galvanized steel floor with the bottom flush with the bottom of the chassis and was attached to the top of the 3" chassis members (like an inverted top hat). I felt that this would create a trap for mud,salt and water and would shorten the life of the floor. I removed it and replaced it with a flat, stainless steel sheet covering the whole of the underside except for the area under the engine. I sealed the joint with polyurethane sealant and secured it with stainless steel, self tapping, roofing screw from Screwfix. This will probably add a little to the stiffness of the chassis and give a better air-flow under the car. I used the original Renault gear stick with the cable operated reverse release collar.The stick is connected to the 0.5" rod with a clevis which allows backlash free rotation and to provide linear motion the stick is anchored to the chassis by a strut with two of the original Renault rubber 'spherical bearings'.The push/pull action gives the 1 to 2, 3 to 4, 5 and reverse and the side to side motion gives 'gate' action. This gives a conventional selector layout pattern and not the reverse as some designs I have seen.

Another view of the gear selector showing the spherical bearings and clevis.

The original Granada calipers were changed to Stuart Taylor 4 pot billet aluminium calipers. The Granada ventilated discs were thicker than the clearance available in the billet calipers and 2mm of material was filed from the pad support fingers. The caliper mounting holes needed to be opened up from 10mm to 12mm.

The fire wall is mostly aluminium but the removable section in the centre is made of stainless steel and gives access to the front of the engine, for distributor and fan belt adjustments.

Another view of the fire wall and floor looking towards the engine.

The aluminium paneling is carried along the sides of the tub and is polyurethane sealed and pop riveted in place.

The fibre glass moulding for the front of the cabin would not fit in one piece and was cut in two, down the centre line, to aid installation. This meant removing the steering column and pedal box that had already been fitted. It was then realized that the molding had distorted because it had not been fitted soon after manufacture and was allowed to sink out of shape.The two halves were fitted at the bottom edges and centre upright leaving a gap at the top edges which will have to be filled later.

The fibreglass moldings protrude well forward of the front suspension

The Triumph Dolomite steering column and pedal box was difficult to fit as there was a conflict between getting the steering wheel high enough without the master cylinders on the peddle box obstructing the glass fibre paneling or the universal joint link offset too great and causing binding as it rotated. The cut out for the steering link is large as it has to clear part of the front suspension.

After considerable deliberation I decided to route the coolant circulating pipes under the floor. I felt that there was not enough room through the centre of the car because of the space required for the gear linkage and hand brake mechanism. I also rejected the side pods as it would have reduce the space needed for the fuel tanks and a hot fuel tank is to be avoided if possible. The above two pictures show the routing of the pipes. The pipes are fabricated from 50 X 25mm stainless steel rectangular tube with the ends angled and adapted to round sections to mate with the hoses at each end.

At the radiator end the pipes point towards each other and the flexible hoses will then cross over to connect with the radiator. This makes the connections at the engine end easier to run as the top hose is central but the bottom hose is offset to the off side. At the radiator the bottom hose is to the near side.

I have overcome the wheel problem by purchasing a set of replica Halibrand wheels, 7" by 15" fronts and 9" by 15" rears from Tornado Sports Cars. They look the business although the Mk III had Borani wire wheels.
The starter motor mounting on the Ford engine does not line up with recess in the Renault bell housing. I must cut away the bell housing or find a starter motor that does not have the overhanging bearing.

Having just bought an alternator from Tornado I find that the engine is mounted too high in the chassis. Unfortunately the 'U' shaped fabrication at the rear of the engine prevents me from lowering it easily. It must be cut away and reinforced else ware or else the engine will slope down at the front. I must go back to the drawing board. I altered the 'U' shaped frame to enable the engine to be lowered but the alternator position fouled the firewall. This was altered to suit.

I also fabricated a bracket and mounted the air conditioning compressor on the opposite side to the alternator and had to alter the firewall for the same reason.

The result of the alterations to the firewall to accommodate the drive belts and pulleys is a change to the overall shape of the firewall.The centre stainless steel access panel was reshaped to fit. Even though this has reduced the cab area slightly, I WILL GET IN the car.

Meanwhile I have been installing the air conditioning equipment in the cab. This is quite a neat American unit from Car Builder Solutions. The brackets were fabricated from flattened 12mm tube with holes drilled in the ends. The steering column and pedal box are similarly mounted but with an additional angle bracket to the chassis. There is not a lot to fix things to in this area. The brake master cylinder attached to the pedal box is a tandem unit and I piped up the dual brake circuits in diagonal form (front left and rear right etc). I used copper tube and brass tees and nuts from Car Builder Solutions.

The filter/desiccators unit is mounted with a stainless steel bracket fixed to the front central upright chassis member and the brake and clutch fluid reservoir was mounted on the cross rail near the centre. The A/C condensing radiator is mounted in front of the main radiator using the same mounting ties that hold the two 10" electric fans in place.

The master cylinder fitted to the pedal box was known to be ATE, as their logo is cast in, from what was thought to be a Triumph Dolomite but after extensive searching of the internet and contacting many stockist's of brake parts no one could recognize it including ATE. I then decided that for future peace of mind a replacement brake and clutch master cylinders was the only safe option.

I then removed the steering column and pedal box and stripped the pedal arrangement out.

I purchased clutch and brake floor mounted pedals from Rally Design complete with brake balance bar and ran the brake and clutch pipes through the centre of the car. I fabricated a throttle pedal with a tube across to the centre of the car to enable the cable to be run down the centre of the car. The 'T' in the brake line will have to be changed for a four way connector to mount the brake switch.

As the steering column was believed to be Triumph Dolomite I managed to get a set of column switches and the ABS nacelle moldings to pretty up the top of the steering column and switch area. This meant that the steering lock and ignition switch has been moved to the left hand side which is a little unconventional but I can live with it. The wiper and direction indicator switch have their function logo's upside down but again I can live with it.

The pipe runs for the heater and air conditioning system run along the passenger side of the cockpit which is a bit selfish (in summer) but seemed the best way. The air/con compressor and the heat exchanger are also offset to the passenger side so it made sense.

The radiator pipe work and temperature sensor in the flow line are mounted with Vulcoflex and pre-formed 90 degree bend hoses. The air con heat exchanger is mounted in front of the main radiator with the same special tie wrap system that secures the electric fans to the back of the radiator.

I mounted the windscreen washer tank and two-tone horns on the chassis at the front. The brake pressure switch is mounted in a four way connector with a rubber sleeve protection and the water temperature switch is mounted on the bulkhead on the drivers side with the control spindle through into the cockpit. The windscreen wiper motor is mounted on the chassis near the horns and the teleflex cable is mounted through to the single wiper wheel box.

The throttle cable is routed through the centre of the cockpit attached to the centre rail. I also re-arranged the gear selector mechanism to get the knob lower and to reduce the forward/backward movement to speed up gear changes. Only driving the car will test the gear changing action.

The brake pedal box is mounted indirectly to the floor with a stainless steel plate to avoid clashing with the water pipes under the floor. The throttle pedal movement is transferred to the centre of the car with a pivoted tube. This should all be hidden by the carpet and centre tunnel eventually.

I fabricated the central tunnel in two sections using 16swg aluminium. I have tried to keep the size as small as possible to give more cab space. The rear section has the handbrake lever showing through it with a hollowed out section to clear the hand lever. I will have to make a leather gaiter to mask the hole.

The front section I tapered towards the front to save space. It has the cutout for the gear lever which will also need a gaiter and a cutout for the throttle linkage lever (which I have curved to move the centre line of the cable over).

I added a box over the throttle lever which will provide a resting place for the left foot when not changing gear. This picture also shows the fuse, relay and flasher panel, (supplied by Car Builder Solutions) mounted on the fibreglass paneling which will be mainly hidden by the dashboard when fitted.

I decided that I could save money by fabricating my petrol tanks from 0.9mm stainless steel sheet. As my folder was limited to 36" maximum width sheet I made them in two halves and joined them in the middle. I welded a filler tube to the top surface at the front of each tank. The front end plates were then welded in. As I intend to fill the tanks with explosafe foam I searched for fuel level senders that were enclosed in a tube to prevent the floats from fouling on the foam. These were VCO units from Europa Specialist Spares.

I covered the dashboard with black vinyl over a layer of laminate floor underlay. It is not easy to get it to stretch round the compound curves but the result looks quite good.

I bought a set of instruments from Tornado Sports Cars with exception of the fuel level gauges as I had bought two senders from Holden and was unsure if they would match the Tornado gauges. The dashboard has had an extra hole cut in it previously and I filled it with a Smiths clock. The next job is to wire it all up and test it before fitting in the car. I think it will be impossible to access the wiring behind the dash after it is fitted.

In the mean time I have been studying the steering wheel and boss. The SVA requirement states that the boss should be collapsible. I have a Mountfield steering wheel with a rigid boss. I have searched the internet high and low for a suitable collapsible boss to no avail. However I have located a boss from a Chevrolet Camaro with the same wheel mounting but the wrong spline. With a little ingenuity I was able to adapt the Triumph spline to fit the Camaro boss.

The pitch circle diameter was almost the same and it fitted nicely.

The boss had a convoluted cover which I think has a plumbing source rather than from a Camaro but it fits a treat.

All it will take is a nice soft padded centre for the SVA but what it really needs is a Ford GT badge in the centre.

The cut down Triumph Dolomite column shroud (or nacelle I think they are called) fits around the dashboard and tidies it up quite well.

The wiring of the dashboard is quite a complex affair as the number of wires from the switches and gauges that connect to the rest of the electrics is 33 and to make it easier to wire the 33 are split into 3, 11 pin connectors. This allows me to complete the dashboard wiring out of the car. There are three connectors from the Dolomite column which control the wipers/washer, horn, direction indicators, headlight dip and main beam and the ignition and starter switch. This may not be as the original Mk III was but apart from the ignition switch being on the left side of the column it is quite a civilized layout, similar to a modern car. The 3 eleven pin connectors join the three column connectors and the fuse,relay and flasher panel (from Car Builder Solutions).

The dashboard loom was then wrapped with none adhesive PVC tape and it looks quite professional. I incorporated an interior light in the bottom flange of the dashboard on the passenger side.

I positioned the battery isolator switch in the bulkhead behind the seat such that the contacts are close to the battery terminals. I decided to mount the choke control on the bulkhead alongside the isolator switch for convenience which avoids the excessively long choke cable routed all round the houses. The fuel pumps are mounted one each side directly above the tanks and feeds via stainless steel braided hoses and copper tubes to a 'tee' at the top where the braided hose feed the carburetor. The electrical feed to the pumps is via a safety oil pressure switch which cuts out in the event of a crash where the engine stops and the ignition is still on.

I found that the area around the clutch was restricted and to improve this I reduced the height of the trunking at the front end by altering the slope. To prevent the left foot from resting on the pedal when driving I constructed a foot rest from 1/2" tube, flattened at one end. I then pressed a piece of A/C hose on to the other end.

Apart from the hazard switch which doesn't work unless the switch is fitted upside down. (there seems to be a manufacturing problem which is being resolved soon I hope). It is starting to look like a real car in parts.

I bought some combined hand brake and hydraulic rear brake calipers from Hispec Motor Sport for the rear. As the replica Halibrands have only small openings between the spokes I opted for the anodised aluminium instead of the more expensive painted calipers as they will not be seen. Unfortunately the wheels just foul the caliper and I will need some 6mm spacers to give me clearance. The bleed screw is at the front of the caliper so I regret now putting the caliper at the top so I will have to remove it when I bleed the brakes.

I fabricated two 4 into 1 collectors from 1.5" and 3" stainless steel tubes with short pieces of 1.625 tubes for connecting to the headers. The final design of these collectors was achieved by trial and error with toilet roll centres and 'sticky backed plastic'

This shows the inside welding of the collector showing the star shaped filler piece in the centre.

The components of the silencers supplied by Milner Off Road Ltd. are shown laid out on the lawn before assembly. The perforated tube is 3" diameter and the silencer halves are 6" diameter. The silencer is completed with 6" diameter end plates and stainless steel wool and what looks like Dolly Partons wig but is actually long strand fibreglass.

I made a bracket connected directly to the gearbox to support the silencers using stainless steel. As the engine and gearbox is mounted on resilient mounts the whole exhaust system will move as one.

Using mandrel bends, also supplied by Milner Off Road Ltd., I fabricated the cross over headers for one side just tacking the sections together. This shows the drivers side ready for welding. The cross over design of the GT40 is a complex piece of pipework!

The pipe joints were then fully welded and ground in an attempt to simulate a mandrel bent system. The outlet 3", 90 degree bends were cut in half and welded together to form an 'S' bend to get the exit point below the number plate area which will have to be cut away. I also fabricated a frame to support a heat shield to protect the bodywork as it is very close to the exhaust system.

I then fabricated the heat shield from polished stainless steel and attached it to the framework with stainless pop rivets. I am undecided whether to cut holes in the shield or leave it as is.

I bought a new 4 barrel 600 cfm Holley carburetor but needed to compensate for the changed attitude of the engine from its original position in a Mustang. The top of the manifold slopes up at the back to give a horizontal face for carburetor mounting but the GT40 position is slightly down at the front and this is compensated with a wedge from Real Steel.

With the Holley Carburetor I bought a Cobra air filter, also from Real Steel, which looks the bees knees or dogs b*****s.

I bought a Malory distributor with hall effect sensor and vacuum and mechanical advance from Real Steel. A set of silicone rubber leads completed the installation.

The next problem to sort out was seat belts. As a road car my first thoughts were to use inertia reel seat belts but I soon realized that there was nowhere to mount the reel so I changed to a 4 point full harness. The only structure to attach to was the box sections of the chassis, (3" by 1.5" cross member at floor level and 1.5" square cross member just below the rear window). I considered eye bolts but they would need to be 3" long with reinforcing plates. I decided a simpler method was to weld lugs on to these chassis members with 7/16" unf tapped lugs at the bottom and plain 13mm holes in the top lugs. The above pictures show the top lugs and below the tapped, bottom lugs. The belts have standard 7/16" bolts and spacer sleeves and the shoulder straps have latched plates.

The vertically welded bottom lugs are tapped 7/16" UNF for the standard mounting bolts and I will fit nylock nuts for extra security. Only the driver's side is shown but the passenger side is identical. The seat harnesses will have to be attached to the lugs before the seats are bolted to the floor.

After fitting the front clip and wiring the lights I realized the nostrils in the front panel needed to be cut away to clear the radiator fans. It was also clear that the nostrils lined up with only the top half of the fan area. To increase the air flow efficiency through the radiator I modified the nostril to direct more air through.

I bought bear claw door catches from Car Builder Solutions and fitted one inside the drivers door as below but then realized that the problem of linking the external and internal door handles was too complicated. I then bought door furniture from Tornado Sports Cars which come complete with the authentic looking handles and locking mechanisms. I filled the holes in the door with fibreglass mat and body filler.

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