Much of the new Firestorm was coming together at this point so we turned our attention to trying to get a body. We quickly realised that there was no such thing as a “good used funny car body" so the decision was made to buy a new Carbon Fibre Ford Mustang body from Hairy Glass in Florida. There are a number of reasons for this. It underlines the fact that we moved on and are not rebuilding the old Firestorm, this is totally different. Also, the Mustang lends itself better to the modifications we need to do to it for our newly designed inlets. Needless to say the purchase of a new body and shipping from Florida USA was an expensive part of this build and it took a considerable amount of time and hard work to make the funds available.
First stage of modification of the body was completed – body lengthened and cockpit moved, it doesn’t take a mathematician to work it out that doing this left an 18” gap on the rear deck! Once this was sorted it was now time for the final mounting of the body to the car. Roger is experienced with mounting funny car bodies but this is not a job to be taken lightly, what looks like simple tube work has to be strategically placed to avoid distortion of the body at speed and of course for it to remain stable. This again is where Johns aerodynamics skills come into play as he can instruct on high and low pressure area’s to get the maximum advantage from the mountings without a huge amount of tubework. Roger and good friend John Hughes spent a couple of long weekends mounting the body to get it ready for the next stage which was moulding the body around the inlets and at the same time the roof was narrowed. Saying it like that makes it sound like such a simple job - far from it, it took Carbon John and his guys weeks to complete the transformation but as with all their work it was worth the wait. We could all now totally envisage the amazing look of the New Firestorm - "Next Generation".
Eventually we collected our beautiful new carbon fibre Ford Mustang body from Liverpool brought it back to the shop and tried it on! It needed stretching by 8", we had known that because the last one did! What we didn't figure on was the cockpit being too far back (by 10 inches). OK so we'll move the cockpit forward and stretch the wheelbase and try it again. That's a royal we! We had already contacted John Hansell at Carbon-fibre.com, it was a huge undertaking but John had no reservations whatsoever he just said "that's not a problem, bring it to me". That's what we like to hear! Joking aside, absolutely anything that you require in any composite material from design right to the finished product can be accomplished by this company - I cannot recommend them highly enough.
Body Modifications & Carbon Fibre Parts
BODY MODIFICATIONS GALLERY
John had already undertaken the manufacture of the new air intake system which radically changed how the engine gets all the air it needs without compromising the stability of the car. John was invaluable not only working on the car with us, he also has a wealth of knowledge on aerodynamics for us to draw on.
Among the list of other parts made by John in carbon fibre was the roll cage hood, dash, top cover, spill plates, rear wing etc. The moulds were made in wood prior to being fabricated in carbon fibre.