I'm quite impressed by how the diet is going so far. Stripped of about 200lbs, the body roll is significantly reduced. The giddy up gain isn't nearly as impressive compared to how much better cornering and braking have become. I don't throw it into a corner waiting for body roll to unload the inside tires and produce a slide. It just stays flat and stable, even on old tires. I can throw the car around and it sticks a lot better instead of stepping out. I thought the rear would step out worse, but it's better about staying tucked. The rear gets blown around a bit on the highway, but not horribly. Where I used to chuck it into a slide, it insists on staying stuck to the ground. The steering response is also a lot quicker. There's less effort needed in the steering wheel, but I didn't expect that much improvement in response to directional changes. There's less understeer, too. It begs for slaloms.Throwing it around used to make the AWD work to bring the car back in line, but now it just sticks. This is a little like BRZ guys feel with being faster in the corners. The difference I see isn't in the AWD system. This is definitely chassis stability that sticks out.
I'm making a new dashboard from carbon fiber. All of the crap stripped out of the car takes up 1/4 of a spare bedroom. The interior is mostly cleaned up, with a need for numerous body plugs after chipping out all the sound deadening with dry ice and alcohol. I'll rattle-can with deep blue and clearcoat to cover up the factory primer. Next comes more CF interior panels, a racing seat, and steering wheel.
It's weird to see the interior that clean and empty after practically living in there for 20 years. Pizza delivery, college (twice!), prototyping parts, SEMA awards, a few girlfriends, shenanigans that shall not be discussed...That interior had some stories. I look forward to making new memories in there.
These pics show the transition from non-clearcoat paint to matte (flat) clearcoat. This interior won't be for beauty contests, so don't get your hopes up too much. Necessity dictates that I eliminate glare. The choice of flat clearcoat for the touchup and panelling was for practicality's sake and not a fashion statement. Whenever the car gets stripped for actual paint, then the interior will get a lot of grinding and prep anyway. I'm fine with this until then. Even with just what is already done, the inside isn't as hard on the eyes.
Wiring is so much easier, now. I'm not getting any younger. It's nice to have everything easy to reach. Some very mild custom wiring is all that is needed to clean up the details. I de-pinned the passenger door card harness and will make the first extension plugs there to move the window/lock controls to the dash. The harness that runs under the driver/passenger seat has also been rerouted behind the crash bar to clean up the floorboard. This wouldn't be recommended for a back seat since passengers can crush the wiring under the seat and make a fire risk.
The panels are coming along well and I want to unveil all of that at once. I'm struggling a little with the decision on flat black paint or flocking. Anti-glare is the chief motivator, so flocking does sound like a better choice. I hate all the over-played ricer mods, but this might actually serve a decent functional purpose and not look horrible. Unpainted with no attention to detail looks terrible. A matte blue finish, simple paneling, and mild leather work should round out the intended simplicity. A seat and wheel will come later.
In case you haven't noticed, I'm doing this really cheap and kinda flaunting it. Shitboxes are more fun than sponsored builds, and I intend to enjoy this. It's kinda nice to relax with a hobby on a day off and not be on someone else's schedule. Bean counters, public trading, online-marketing---these things can outright ruin a fun hobby and the personal relationship with your build and work.
I'm finishing up the dashboard and interior over the holiday break so I can have my little shop back and clear out all the crap excised from the car. There will be some spray painting and wiring left to do, but the minimalist structure will be in there. The interior is stripped, and anything added back in is purposely a minimalist exercise, with inspiration from bobbers and rat rods. "Race-inspired" just doesn't fit the description. I want to enjoy the minimalism and the noises of it all. There's a larger sense of freedom with bobbers and rat rods instead of more purpose with an actual race or show car. There's an eye cast towards faster SCCA classes, but I want to be able to enjoy that roadster feel and the road noise and the elements and sunshine.