February '17

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Page 32 of 87

FEBRUARY 2017 THE SHOP 29 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ PERFORMANCE Borg & Beck clutch. Quattroportes came from the factory with Chrysler starters, but de Groot substituted a lighter-weight, gear- reduction unit from a newer Dodge truck. Brake and clutch pedals, as well as the master cylinders, came from Tilton. "I had similar pedals and master cylinders in my Ferrari 308, and they're very nice for fine-tuning the brakes." The elegantly curved accelerator pedal came from the donor car. "I just removed the rubber pad, drilled some holes in it, and painted it silver to match the other pedals." SHAPING WITH A CHEESE GRATER All the while, de Groot was evolving the eventual body design. "Because the engine is a close cousin of the V-8 designed for the mighty 450S sports racing car, I designed the body to vaguely resemble the 450S in silhouette. I say vaguely, because I did not want to build a 'repli-car.'" Quarter-scale drawings led to a quarter- scale model—half a model, really, which de Groot propped against a mirror, to get a sense of how the whole car would look in three dimensions. A relatively thin layer of modeling clay covered an armature made by gluing Styrofoam blocks together "and shaping them with a cheese grater." Wooden wheels and tires were cut on a lathe, while other details were fabricated from bits of sheet metal, rod and tubing, "just to get an idea of how the whole package might look." He made a plaster mold from the clay model, which in turn was used to cast several polyurethane "plugs." These plugs were then sawed, like bread loaves, into one-inch slices, some transversely, others longitudinally. Then the slices were mea- sured and replicated four times larger in plywood, and assembled into a full-scale wooden body buck. "The sheet aluminum panels were shaped away from the buck, with hammers and machines, until they fit the buck," de Groot explains. "Then they were welded together to form the body. Many people think the aluminum is hammered over the buck, but the buck is only used for fitting and stitching pieces together—the way a tailor uses a tailor's dummy." The original concept also called for prominent roll hoops, which didn't look as good in the metal as they did in de Custom-molded Lexan covers the modern headlamp cluster.

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