Almost there

Finishing up all the little details. Car essentially done, appointment made for State Police inspection

Sill molding
Different designs offer different methods of placing a trim piece. The trick is how do you transition from painted metal(fiberglass) to carpet and cover the raw edge. I learned from some buddy’s of an aluminum extrusion, traditionally used for edging on tile counters. M-D Products part number A-813 gives a smooth aluminum extruded finish with a small lip to cover the edge of the carpet and screwholes to attach to the body. The molding is easily formed to the shape of the door opening.

IMG_5563 IMG_5562

Rear done, move to the interior

Sound and Heat Proofing
We road-trip in an air conditioned Miata – and the footbox on it gets warm. I am paranoid about footbox heat and I don’t think this puppy is going to play nice. To counter the heat, I have gone overboard. I am optimistic it will do the trick.

The exposed portion of the firewall is aluminum. Below it is a layer of Frost King Duct Insulation. (3/16″ dense adhesive foam with a few mil aluminum cover. Next is a layer of heat barrier film that came with the kit. Finally we get to the 3/16″ fiberglass foot tub. On the inside of the tub, I used a sheet of Second Skin Thermal Block. This is a 3/16″ mat covered with a textured aluminum. Claims it will block 1200 degrees. Further back on the transmission tunnel, I used Second Skin Heat Wave, a 3/8″ jute style insulation with an aluminum foil surface. Floors and rear wheel wells were covered in Frost King foam.  All this was sealed with aluminum tape prior to mounting the carpet.
IMG_5303 This photo shows the Thermal Block, installed inside the footbox. The pedal mounting plate goes over the top of this.

Rear wall covering
I really liked the finish of Jim Reiss’ rear wall on his rebuild of HM1006. He put aluminum sheet down and then covered with vinyl. Since I wasn’t as far along as he, I was able to finish the fiberglass surface of the cockpit tub with a little Bondo. It looks as smooth as the aluminum would have. To give it a little resilience, I then installed a 1/16″ thick vinyl drawer liner. Over that I glued the same vinly material as used on the dash and seats.

The carpeting is pretty straight forward. There are a few tricks – these are outlined on the carpet detail page. The choice of light tan carpet to compliment my leather seats sounded good. The light color is very unforgiving of any voids or mismatch. Black would have been easier. But I haven’t done “easy” on anything else.

 IMG_5466  IMG_5468 IMG_5470  IMG_5473


She’s home – back to work

Body on, final assembly begins.

Rear Body Mount mod
The Hurricane kit comes with the body “hard-mounted” on the rear. The quickjack mounts and tubes sandwich the fiberglass body to clamp it to position. I was concerned this was a long term failure point. I chose to modify the mounting to incorporate rubber bushings.

Once the hole location was verified, I opened the hole thru the body to 5/8″ diameter. I then fabricated rubber bushings to make up the space between the 3/8″ bolt and this new hole size. The bushing was 1″ diameter on the outside and held into position with stainless washers.

I’ve included some pictures of the completed parts. The new pieces, in sequence are:

1. 5 1/2″ long stainless stud, threaded both ends 2. Hex Nut 3. Flat Washer 4. Vertical mounting bar of frame
5. Flat Washer 6. Spacer with stainless sleeve 7. Flat Washer 8. Rubber bushing
9. Body 10. Rubber bushing with step 11. Flat Washer 12. Spacer with stainless sleeve
13. Flat washer 14. Quick Jack 15. Flat Washer 16. Hex Nut

IMG_5498 IMG_5500

Trunk finish
The original Hurricane kit includes carpeting for the trunk. But I chose to go one step further. I’d seen original cars with their aluminum trunks. Cool. But the aluminum trunk does create a maintenance problem. If you use the car, the trunk will get scratches. I saw how Jim Reiss modified his car during the rebuild and an idea hit. How about aluminum walls with carpet on the floor.

First hiccup was the back wall of the trunk. Remember that note I said about planning your build? Well I didn’t plan far enough ahead since the cockpit tub was mounted and somehow, I had to get aluminum on that vertical surface.  With some judicious grinding, I was able to slip a flat sheet of aluminum between the lip on the cockpit tube and the 2 x 2 frame that anchors the seatbelts. The edges are back behind the vertical frame pieces and not visible. Dodged a bullet there!

The side walls were made from .025 thick aluminum sheet, formed to fit over the fiberglass trunk tub. With proper layout and bending, I was able to glue the panels to the tub with floor tile glue. My bulb seal still slipped down over the walls like was planned.

My painter seals the inside of the body with paint before delivering the car. I had him spray the inside with silver. Now the inner walls of the trunk body match the aluminum pieces I put on. Well, not an exact match but a lot closer than the black would have been.

After the body was on, I started carpeting the floor. My first experience with laying automobile carpet. With the glue they recommended, I looked like a big fuzz ball. My hands were covered with glue and pile.

To help with fitting, I built a pattern from heavy construction paper, all taped together and with the edges touching where I wanted the carpet to stop.


Foot Box Vents

Everyone warns you of the temperatures of the footbox. We’ve done roadtrips in our Miata and know how warm it can become – and it’s only four cylinders.

I fabricated vent valves to resemble the original units. Unfortunately, after I completed them, I realized the footbox on a Hurricane kit is about 6″ taller than the original cars, required by the overhead brake pedals. Time to make set #2.

Local owners recommend the use of blowers to assist in moving air. These were purchased from the local BassPro superstore. I welded a couple brackets to the cowl frame. I didn’t want to mount them on the engine compartment sheetmetal. Noise can be an issue and this would give a much sturdier mounting.

Many builders connect the airducts to the vent openings on the front of the car. Not Original, Grasshopper. I used Aeroduct flange fittings (3″) to connect the duct to the sideway of the nose cowl aluminum. The airducts on the front of the car will be used for their original purpose, brake cooling.

I sandwiched a piece of screen wire between the aluminum cowl and the duct flange. Hopefully, it will keep a wayward bee or hornet from flying thru and into the footbox.

CSX3056_Vent IMG_3068 IMG_3837 IMG_3836
Original Fabricated
Original Ducting

AC Pedals onto Wilwood arms

Posted info on pedal modification to fit AC style pedals onto Wilwood clutch/brake assembly.

The Hurricane kit comes with Wilwood brake and clutch pedals. One of the first mod’s everyone goes to is to incorporate the AC pedal into your car. Just makes it look better.

Pedals purchased from Finishline Accessories come “un-machined” on the back boss. It is approximately 3/4″ thick. I mounted mine by machining a 3/16″ slot thru this boss, cutting the pedal arms on the Wilwood assembly to make a lever end, then cross-drilled for a 1/4″ bolt and nut. Hopefully the pictures will show how it was done

IMG_3629 Pedal_Rear_View_Angle Rear_View_Closer

When I cut the pedal, I only cut off the sides of the pedal. The upper part is the same width as the Wilwood lever arm, about 1/2″. Where it necks down to the web of the arm, I then cut this to the web thickness, about 3/16″. The very top and bottom edges of the pedal are still in place and serve to limit travel of the new pedal casting. Sorry, I didn’t take a picture before assemblying. If you can picture it, looking at the face of the Wilwood pedal after cutting it up; it looks kind of “T” shaped with the upper crossbar very thick.

After drilling and bolting together, I used silver colored silicon to fill the void between the pedal and the arm. This holds the pedal at the same angle all the time yet makes it somewhat resilient. Let the silicon cure at least 48 hrs before trying to test it.or you run the risk of it squishing out. (ask me how I know)

I used a longer crossbolt then cut the extra threads off so the bearing part of the bolt thru the pedal was the part of the bolt that didn’t have any threads. I wanted the maximum bearing contact area.

Brrr, it’s cold – heater and glovebox

garage is not heated and it’s 5 degrees outside 🙁

Positioned and installed heater and glovebox shell. I’ve begun the wiring process.

Heater Install – or – NOTHING goes easily

I found a heater kit for a BackDraft kit and jumped on it, being able to save some money over the kit from my manufacturer. I was in tall cotton, or so I thought. When I studied the kit, it was designed to be mounted in the engine compartment on the passenger side footbox. Not exactly period correct. No big deal, I’ll use the parts and put it behind the dash. Famous last words.

Twice I fabricated an aluminum plenum, mounting it behind the dash, over the passengers footbox. I was going to definitely lose glove compartment space but I was up to a challenge. The more I worked on it, the more I came to realize, it wasn’t going to work out. The combination squirrel cage fan and heat exchanger was just too big for the space available. If I wasn’t hung up on being period correct, I could easily fit it into or on the footbox. But that just wasn’t going to happen.

Back to the internet, research available heaters. The factory supplied kit was a 7 x 7 x 7 box with vents. I found the supplier of the box to be Maradyne Corp. in Cleveland, OH. A little more research and it turns out that Southern Air Hot Rods sells the unit at a very reasonable price. I could couple this with the ducting from the kit purchased earlier and be back in the saddle.

The heater arrived. More challenges. It just does fit thru the bottom side of the dash. Need to be sure I can get it in and out with the body installed. The mounting studs are about 1/2″ too long. With them trimmed, you can wiggle the heater in and out – but you do need to hold your tongue in a certain way to get it done! ! ! man, talk about a tight fit.

Checking the unit, I found a couple problems. When the fan turned, if the vents are full open, it hits the two side vents. Fire up my trusty die grinder and trim some clearances. The heat exchanger is held into the box with four sheetmetal screws. Mine were the wrong size – they would have quickly rattled out. Go to my parts bin and find four of the correct size. If you use the same fan, make sure you check it out before mounting it.

The box has three flap doors that can be opened to let heat into the cockpit. There are also two round plugs that can be removed to add ducting for the defrosters. I used 1 1/2″ PVC fittings and 2″ vinyl hose to run to my defrost ducts. If you are building a similar setup, the defrost ducts are available from Vintage Air.

Routing the hose in the engine compartment was non-eventful. I did install a shut-off valve in the feed line. The footbox gets warm enough in the summer, don’t need any additional heat when I don’t want it.

Putting a heater and a glove box into the same vehicle can be a little tricky. These photos show the beginning of my modifications to accept the Hurricane heater (Maradyne brand) and my home-made glovebox..

I made the glovebox by stacking and trimming foam to the size that would fit the area and trimmed for the necessary clearances. Once it was the size and shape I wanted, I then covered it with aluminum foil to serve as a mold release, then built up the exterior with fiberglass.

The heater has two outlets for the demister. The stock Hurricane kit doesn’t allow use of the one on the drivers side. I elected to modify the cowl bracket so I can run a hose from each side to the Vintage air demister fittings. This change also allows all three flapper doors to be used.

IMG_3768 IMG_3769 IMG_3770
IMG_3772 IMG_3773 IMG_3601IMG_3602
Demister fitting
Modified cowl bracket
Note modification of end to clear heater
Door Blank
1/2″ Baltic Birch
Installed face cover with padding.
Note gores around perimeter
Belting for opening
Test Fitting. Took multiple trims to make it fit and open properly
Back view.
IMG_4104Opened. Inside cover to be installed later. IMG_4099
My Dash

 This is work in progress, more pictures will be added as the project evolves.

Footbox install and mod’s

Foot Box Drop Frame Mod
Cutting the drivers side footbox on an angle not only adds additional room for your left foot, it helps transition the carpet nicely to the sidewall. This seemed so minute but every inch counts when you are trying to get your feet into the footbox. Cut the top (1″) and inner side (2″) on a slight angle to accomodate a new piece of 10 ga. that will run on a diagonal. Box the ends closed with scrap and tack weld the diagonal filler. Add a piece of 1″ x 1″ x 1/8″ angle from the front of the box back to the mounting bracket for the cowl brace.

Like I said, looks like a lot of work for just an inch of clearance but it really makes a big difference

FootBox_Mod FootBox_Mod1

A recent trip to the Hurricane factory shows me they have incorporated this feature into the new build

Still working on fitting body tub and aluminum firewall. Laying out all items that mount to footbox and firewall so final polishing can be done before installing tub. Applied modification to footbox for more clearance

Received replacement spindles and mounted correct units. Hurricane handles a problem in spades.

If you are familiar with the history of the Hurricane body, you are aware the first few cars had the vent louvers too far to the rear. There is a notch-out in at the top outer edge of both foot boxes to clear this. Hurricane changed the location of the louver to make it in a more correct position. But they haven’t modified the foot boxes, the notch-outs still exist.

In my pursuit of as much foot box space as possible, I decided to remove the notches. Not a big deal – I cut them out with my handi-dandy spiral cutter then glass the corner back to reconstruct it.

Don’t make the same mistake I did. The foot box on the drivers side is 1″ deeper than the passenger side. You need to leave about a ¾” chamfer to clear the rear edge of the aluminum louver which is installed later. The pictures show the cut-out and modification of a modification I made to get enough clearance.

I had purchased the aluminum firewall kit and decided I would incorporate a little “patchwork” to cover my change, rather than make new main foot box covers. You’ll see in the pictures, I formed and bent a couple pieces about 3″ wide to cover the modified areas.


Before Mod


After Mod


New 3″ wide skin
over modified area


Pass. Side Vent


Driver Side
Note footbox and
opening position



Had to add 1″
Not pretty but
it gets better


Heatshield repaired
and re-glassed


Firewall with louver


Drivers Side

Note additional space
Not a lot but
every little bit helps

IMG_3560Pass. Side Inside_Shot