Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Up to speed

About 2 years ago I started looking into getting a hybrid car. It was after Katrina gas was $3.00 a gallon and the Prius had a waiting list. A Civic hybrid cost $25,000.00 and it still used gas.

I started to research electric cars. I don't drive more than 10 miles to work and other than vacation and seeing my parents on long weekends 150 miles away everything else is in the range of an electric car. Vacation for me is on a motorcycle and I intend to keep another vehicle.

Electro Automotive has a kit for a Porsche 914. It is a great base for a conversion, being a mid engine car with two trunks for batteries. I liked the looks of the car and it was it a kit. I've restored cars before so I wasn't afraid of a 30+ year old car and last February I drove one back from Peoria, about 90 miles away. It was repainted in lacquer, had some body work done to it and rust in the usual places (longs and hellhole area) but very restorable. I've worked on far worse.

I drove the car around until May when I got tired of it leaving an oil spot everywhere from a leak in the oil cooler. I bought the instructions for the kit as well as "Convert It" and stripped the car of the internal combustion engine and components. After inspecting the rust damage I set out to get patch panels to repair the longs, latch area of the door jamb and sail panel. Restoration Design was a website I found when researching and placed an order. They didn't have the door jamb but found them at Mid American Corvette along with a couple of other things I needed.

When the order from Mid American Corvette arrived the door jam was about the thickness of foil and poorly stamped. The next day I received the same order again. They refunded the price of the parts but not the shipping on the second order. WTF? I kept the thin door jambs, you never know....

After waiting 3 weeks for the order from Restoration Design there was no reply so I ordered them from Auto Atlanta along with reinforcing for the longs from 914 limited.

The sail panels are very low grade and I sent one back (no refund on shipping again). I also received one door threshold sill from Auto Atlanta that was usable. The stiffing kit from 914 Limited was a great idea and easy to install with everything ripped off anyway. I ground notches in the bottom lip as shown to give more area to weld. They also set an inner rocker panel and the door threshold sill for the drivers side. Brad said they were from Restoration Design and are great quality.

The jam on the drivers side was pieced together the sail panel did not fit worth a crap and the best it would fit I needed to build up the front edge to match the door with weld.