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Discussion Starter #1
Finally, after years of deliberation, I have taken the plunge and decided to rebuild the body on my Alfa, seen here in a rally quite a few years ago.

(Not sure if this is the correct section in which to post this build, so admins feel free to shunt it where it suits...)


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I plan to build 3 bodies and 2 chassis. A new body for my existing car, a body/chassis set for my son and a final set for sale to help offset some of the costs in tooling up for this project.

The body will be hand shaped from aluminium sheet sections and welded as per traditional coach building methods. Tooling includes mandatory hammers, dollies, slappers, sandbags etc, and also uses machinery like the English wheel, pneumatic planishers, mechanical metal shrinkers and a stretcher.

In reconstructing the car, I needed to make a template of the original body on which to fit and weld the collection of individually shaped panels. This template is a 3-d steel frame structure accurately representing the contours of the original body shape - this is called a "buck".
Copying the Alfa’s body proved to be quite straightforward - especially having the original car to work from, but does take many long hours to get it all together.

To do this, I made a machine which is a large profile gauge attached to a dolly on rails. The machine tracks parallel to the length of the car and measures one half of the car’s width, with its innermost probe tracking the exact to the centre line of the body.

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The rails are set level to the base of the chassis, tracking to the longitudinal centre of the body. All linear tracking measurements are referenced from this plane as depicted above. This is by no means a new idea; however, for the sake of speed and accuracy, I made the plate in which the pins are located, detachable from the dolly so that said plate can be positioned on the paper plan and all its points traced out precisely.

As only half of the car is mapped, the plan is mirror-imaged to create a perfect symmetry.

As far as bucks go, there is much opinion and debate on which method and material is best. There are many varieties of materials chosen to build various bucks - wooden ones made from shaped timber sections and ply board, fibre glass, steel plus various combinations of all these. After much consideration, in terms of cost, speed, accuracy, and adaptability I chose to make a steel frame buck.

How the buck is made:
Once the contour plate has been removed from the dolly and placed on the paper plan, all the pin points have their info transferred onto the plan. The plan is then folded through its centre and the info is transferred in mirror form to the other half.

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Steel bar is bent to copy the exact contour drawn on the plan. Tools used include a bender, rolling machine, existing circular items (like wheel rims) as forms and a hammer and anvil for forging tight sections, or for straightening or lightening over-bent curves.

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The forms are made in two identical halves, clamped to the paper pattern at the centre and welded together. Legs of correct length zeroed to the pattern’s baseline are then welded to the form and reinforcement and triangulating rods added for strength.

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The form is then welded in position on the buck’s ladder “chassis”. Longitudinal steel forms are then added and checked against the car body using a custom-made profile gauge, shown above.

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Lastly, the buck was built as a single unit separable into 2 sections. This makes the structure less cumbersome and allows work on the rear of the bonnet and firewall.

Work on the body has already started, and I am about half way through shaping the rear section of the car. I will post the body build at a later stage when there's a decent story to tell...

Thanks,
Manny
 

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Others here may already know, but I don’t....

What is the origin of the operational car? Engine? Running systems?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Others here may already know, but I don’t....

What is the origin of the operational car? Engine? Running systems?
The car is a one-off special which was originally aluminium bodied. It was built and raced in South Africa by its creator and later sold. The new owner moved the car to Zimbabwe to be raced, where it was partially destroyed.
It returned to South Africa, I recall still owned by the guy who originally took it to Zim, in the late 70's and he commissioned a friend of my dad's to restore the whole car. The body was crudely filled and hammered, smoothed and used as a plug for a fibre glass copy. Thereafter it was used on the road but to my knowledge not raced.
A bodged early 80's attempt to modify some mechanicals and bodywork caused the original car to be abandoned. I have no idea what ever became of it therafter.
Securing permission to use the then badly deteriorating mould, I remade the body in glass and created a new chassis with more modern Alfa running gear.
I used 116 1800 (1750) engine and suspension, including a deDion and transaxle. Presently it has a unstressed 2.0 Nord turbo, also from a 116 derivative. Performance in power and handling is quite impressive with 50/50 weight distribution, and also around 200bhp pushing 630 kilograms.
I enjoyed many years of fun rallying and even entered a few informal races, where the car did us proud. Sadly, some 12 years ago, after taking a rear-end shunt on the road, I garaged the vehicle due to lack of interest in fixing a glass bodied car.
I've always wanted to redo the skin in aluminium, and have also wanted to build a few other one-off vehicles in similar fashion, before my time runs out!
My kid's out the nest, I'm near retirement age and my wife's an Alfisti - so, having acquired all the tools for this project and some skills like gas welding ali, I'm trusting I'll patiently learn how to form the skin too! Now, that's the difficult part...
 

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Fascinating work. Please post updates as you progress.
 

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Wow, very interesting. It’ll be instructive to follow along.

Bob


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Excellent work, as well as explanation. A HUGE undertaking!
 

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And I was complaining this morning because my exhaust was difficult to disassemble... now THAT's gonna be a piece of work! But really nice car :)

Pls keep us updated.

Sam
 
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