Organized Chaos, Version 2.718281828

Another attempt to make some progress on the poor Amazon 

 It was such a warm, sunny day Sunday that after untarping Charlie the Tuna, I decided to leave it outside.  My brn has a dirt floor anyway, so it really wasn't much different working outside rather than in, and I figured we three pasty white boys could use a little color.  The picture above depicts Brian attempting to accelerate the process of tanning, via use of a MIG welder.  Meantime, Rob and I are trying to see if we can hide in the trunk and drink beer.  

When I finally came over to see what Brian was doing with that welder, I banished him from ever using it again.  Here he sits, moping, and munching on a donut. Meantime, I take over the whole "joining metal with fire" process:

You may have noticed that rather than looking more and more like a race car, the volvo has been looking more and more like a dilapidated hulk that's been getting picked over by the vultures in a scrapyard.  But there's a good reason for this.  In order to build up, we must first tear down, and besides, every body panel is held on by only about 4 bolts, all of them the same size.  We figured that if we tore it all apart, we'd be able to make sure that everything was exactly how we wanted it for the race.  In the absence of having money, we thus were making good use of our abundant energy and enthusiasm.  It also proves that a bunch of geeky engineers can turn a wrench, too.  

Or drive a screw.  Recall the big, gaping maw of a hole ion the firewall where we removed the unneeded weight of the heater.  Well, we had to block it with something.  Enter a scrap piece of galvanized steel and a box of self-tapping screws.  Screws!

This is a gas tank.

This is the gas tank in the trunk.  Any Questions?  We decided to go this route for several reasons.  First, the stock gas tank is located far too close to the aft of the car (its ass) for our comfort, and the fuel filler is located directly above the rear (ass end) bumper.  When some chucklehead taps our rear end, a massive fuel spill could be one result.  We had thought about relocating the stock tank, but that would require many hours of cutting, welding, and sweat.  What we decided was easier was to drain the stock tank, and install another tank mounted in a fuel-cell fashion in the trunk.  By mounting the tank higher and further forward, it will be better shielded from the bumps and bruises we are sure to incur.  It'll also make it easier to repair fuel system problems, should they occur.  Relocating the tank here will slightly raise the center of gravity of the car, as well as shift the weight balance slightly forward, but it will improve the polar moment of inertia of the rear of the car.  I mention these three things not because they mean a damn to anyone, or will alter our chances of success in the race at all, but just to make myself sound smart.

Here's Rob, cleaning off the new gas tank.  Yes, that's a garden hose. 

Team picture.  Well, minus Jamie.  I think we were talking about him here.  No matter, he's still done more work on the car than our absentee team member, Matt. 

You may have noticed that Brian got a haircut since last time we worked on the car.  And I mean, got his one hair cut.  Yeah, that's a hell of a combover job.  Observe:

I can't get in trouble, because his wife took that picture.

But brian did more than weld poorly and blind us all with his lack of hair (which is further ironic considering he is the youngest team member, and yet has the least amount of hair).  He also waged a one-man war on the Bondo in the rocker panels, determined to replace it with sheet metal!

The Bondo.  1/2" thick, in places.

Grinding.

Reaching for donut.  Or practising for the 100 meter dash, we're not quite sure.

No more Bondo!

I was also busy adding metal to the Volvo, though in a different place, and for a differnt, less fastiduous reason.  As concerned as we were about the rear of the car and our ride-along gasoline bomb- I mean, fuel tank, we also wanted to make sure our radiator and engine were protected in the event of premature decelleration of an opponent proximate to the front of our racer.  (Some dickwad stops short and we crash into them)  Granted, the 24 Hours of LeMons is not supposed to be a demolition derby race, and with such a small car we'd be fools to pick fights with other drivers, but because the car is so small, we need all the more protection in case we do accidentally hit something head-on.  Hence, I give you, the secret weapon:

Radiator cage?  Check.  Bumper bracket reinforcement?  Check.  Hood latch strengthening?  Check.  Man, looking at this, you'd think I could weld or something.

Here it is pre-bumper reinforcement.  Also, here's Rob sabotaging our front susspension.  No, actualy he's just replacing the bushings on the shocks and sway bar.  "Replacing" may not be accurate.  The original bushings were nearly non-existent.  Luckily, I had some more decent specimens salvaged from the Penny Volvo.

Mentioned earlier were the dogs of Brian and Maria (his wife), who came over to help us with the car.  Here's Sandy:

And this one below, on the right, is Lucy:

After some initial trepidation (running away yelping) with the Volvo, Lucy eventualy warmed up to it.

Soon she was quite at home.

I think we may have a 6th Driver!

Well, she stinks about as bad as the rest of us, and her driving can't be any worse, either.  But, she can't pony up the dough to help work on the car.  Oh well.  We'll let her watch.

Oh, I forgot to mention, we had bad luck with electrical things on Sunday.  In the above picture, I am repairing a splice in the electrical cord of the angle grinder.  Wire nuts and electrical tape.  Safety Third!  Hey, at least I unplugged it, first.  Brian didn't think I had to.  In addition to the cord on the angle grinder, the insulation on the welding gun was coming off, so that got a liberal application of the black, sticky tape.  And then, just when we thought we'd completely surmounted all obstacles electrical, we were beset by the Prince of Darkness:

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!  Lucas!  And he's morphed into Japanese form and appearing on a Swedish car!  Save us!  Save our Souls!