Ultima GTR - Hours 1 to 50
Stage 1 - Panelling



Friday 22nd September 2006
Day 1

4.00pm and we are finally go !  The kit arrives in several large cardboard boxes.  I lift down the chassis with the delivery guy; it ain't as light as you think !  My guess is 200+ kgs.  But it is a work of art !  I can see why it is 5,000 + (with the RAC cage).  See below.

It fits perfectly on the dolly  :o) 

Sat 23rd September 2006
Day 2

Spent five hours or so looking through and checking all the parts in the boxes.  There are a lot of boxes, containing lots of parts and envelopes, which also contain mini envelopes.  Except for a few parts that could not be supplied in time (Ultima were pushed because of a car show and a diary "glitch"), I shouldn't have worried.  All present and correct, down to the last washer.  My mechanics knowledge is on the up too (e.g. I now know what a M8 nylock is).  


Although the kit is superb in every detail, there is one thing that blows your mind !  Well two really.  All 335/30/18 of them.  The wheel is pictures next to my Capri's 205/50/13.  There are no camera tricks involved - they are ****ing huge !!!



Sun 24th September 2006
Day 3 - Total hours 4

The panelling starts !

I filed my way around the welds and rails for the rear bulkhead (rather than nibbling), it's quite easy really.  My pillar drill saw to the holes although the chassis holes obvioulsy need a cordless drill are quite tough.  I made sure that I had a piece of cardboard on the drill bit so the ally panel was not banged by the drill head.  There are 77 holes in the rear bulkhead panel, all to be drilled, deburred, then the chassis rails drilled and deburred.  Care and precision is the order of the day ....

I made a template for the driver's side panel - there are at least five areas to nibble and the cockpit support member is particularly tricky as it sticks right out through the natural line of the panel.  The template (number three !) now fits perfectly, so I should be able to copy the template onto the ally panel.  That's a job for Monday evening - off out with the kids now !


Mon 25th September 2006
Day 4 - Hours 3 (Total hours 7)

Continued with side panels.  The driver's side is somewhat harder than the passenger side so the latter progressed quickly.  Saw, file, fit, file, refit, file re-fit.  You get the picture.  Now 12:30am - still up as fuelled by enthusiasm and caffeine.  Also have tomorrow off so should be able to crack on !  G'night y'all.

Tues 26th September 2006
Day 5 - Hours 3 (Total 10)

Onto front bulkhead.  A small panel but quite difficult as you need to get the holes aligned for the bolts and brake cylinders.  Best bet is to make a cardboard template (as always) and then press it onto the bolts.  A quick glance at CJ's invaluable build manual says not to rivet the top of this as the bodywork is rivetted on to this later.  Must make a mental note.  Anyway, by close of play I have 7 hours under my belt (net of kiddy and coffee breaks) and the rear, side and front panels are in !

I am not at all sure where the steering column hole goes nor how wide the hole is.  It looks very close to the top of the chassis rail.  Will call Ultima tomorrow.


 Haven't yet drilled the chassis rails, the panels are skin pinned only (great little tool those pins !!).  Will also try and keep the plastic wrapping on as long as I can, although I am aching to see the finished panels !

Wed 27th September 2006
Day 6 - Hours 3 (Total 13)

Happy Birthday Ben !

Party over and by 8pm the kids are asleep.  Off to the garage again for more panelling.  It's addictive stuff and I am well and tryly hooked !  Cold coke, Thin Lizzy on the CD and let's rock !

Next is the engine bay double skin panel.  This is a pig to fit, as it is too large to fit between the chassis rails.  Also, the two rear lower rails get in the way so they need sawing away as well as the weld above them.

Thurs 28th September 2006
Day 7 - Hours 3 (Total 16)

After a careful think and a long hard look at the manual and CJs diagrams, it's time to drill the holes for the handbrake cables (there are two lines and two calipers) and the centre G50 shift.  Ultima confirmed that the holes are 19mm (handbrake) and 22mm with the gearshift hole staggered 4 mm further out to the passenger side on the engine bulkhead.

Holes drilled, and with rivetting on the agenda, I thought that it's time to remove the plastic covers.  Oh boy, that looks great (excusing the thumbprints and the swirls of WD40 used to remove the silkaflex bonding agent !)



Fri 29th September 2006
Day 8 - Hours 3 (Total 19)

No "action" Thursday as the missus was out and about.  But another solid 8pm to 11:30pm performance spurred on by Gary Moore's excellent Blues and Ballads album.  perfect for rivetting, which is exactly what I did !  But first was the small job of drilling holes for the two side supports between the engine and rear bulkheads.  These need a fait bit trimming off them as the top and lower rails get in the way.  And I remembered not to rivet all the way across the top of th engine and front bulkheads (bodywork, remember ?).

Got about half way, so more pics and details tomorrow.  It's far too late ....

Sat 30th September 2006
Day 9 - Hours 6 (Total 25)

Up at 5:30 and into the garage we go.  The CD was still on Parisienne Walkways (on pause) so it was like I had never left !  Another hundred or so rivets and we are just about there, although a few are difficult to reach and will require blanking rivets.  Can you buy these or do I make my own ?  Hmmm.

The air rivetter is excellent and easily controlled, but the hand rivetter also gets used in the tight spots.  Watch those panels when moving around, they are sooo easy to scratch !  After a close shave (no damage done) I ended up slapping duct tape everywhere to prevent any careless penal scratching incidents !



Sun 2nd October 2006
Day 10 - Hours 4 (Total 29)

Just a few early hours to fit the engine bulkhead and rivet against the sides, lower rail and the engine side edges of the two support sections.  Perfect !

Mon 3rd October 2006
Day 11 - Hours 3 (Total 32)

The double skin for the cockpit was next.  Taking care not to scratch the edges of the widest part on the now bare side panels, it nearly fits first time.  Just the centre gear change chassis bracket to saw around and a slight bend helps clear the lower rivets on the side panels.

The tricky bit is cutting the 270mm by 270mm hole.  Forget Ultima's diagrams and head straight for CJs site, it is much clearer.  although when you have eventually done it you wonder why it took you so long.  It took me hours just to be happy that I was cutting the right section away.  And care, the pics in the manual are LHD !!!

Johnny nibbler came out of early retirement to help with the cutting.  If you do use one of these, they are a lot easier on a panel with a plastic covering.  Also, make sure you have plenty of air capacity in your compressor - mine is a tiny one and lasts only about 10 seconds on full nibble !

Tues 3rd October 2006
Day 12 - Hours 3 (Total 35)

Marking the chassis rail from underneath (which can ONLY be done before the lower floor is bolted into place) it's than a case of positioning the four support box sections and drill drill drill !


Bending over the 20mm edges is a pain.  Take your time with this, working up and down.  Ultima say use a "drift" (or wooden block) but this is hard to control.  I prefered a combo of wooden block and a nice rubber hammer.  Just make sure that the panel is clamped over a wooden table with a sharp straight edge.

Wed 4th October 2006
Day 13 - Hours 3 (Total 38)

Finished the drilling of the chassis and cross member for the cockpit double skin.  Again, take care and watch the shiny side panels with the drill.  It's hard work, but worth the result.  And look at those rivet hole lines - right down the middle !!!

Still need to silkaflex and rivet the four ally sections to it, but this can be done post weekend when the floor is in.  I sttill have Thin Lizzy playing - now have the live "Life" double album on.  John Sykes & Gary Moore are guitar Gods !

Thurs 5th October 2006
Day 14 - Hours 2 (Total 40)

Fitted the last double skin panel - the front radiator.   It's tricky to fit too, unless you insert it at a diagonal between the side struts, get the front edge under the side stuts then slide the back of it downwards (you'll know what I mean !).

By now, panel confidence was high and a brief measurement plus some furious late late night filing saw it in place by midnight.

Fri 6th October 2006
Day 15 - Hours 3 (Total 43)

Did the drilling for the double skin panel for the Radiator.  There are lots of holes for such a small panel ! Then drilled the holes on the chassis rails (x 3) plus the separate ally box sections.  Again, these can be silkaflexed post chassis floor.  I have half a dozen mates scheduled for Sat to help turn the chassis over.  I reckon that six is the least you need to be sure that you can do it easily without risk of dropping the bloody thing.  It is even heavier with the panels on, nearly 1/4 tonne now.

A couple of final jobs before the bottom panels are fitted.

1)  Fit the four bobbins on the radiator section, and drill two holes in the rad double skin to allow the bobbins to poke through (a 16 mm hole will be perfect).

2)  Fit the pedal bolts and centres, as access is limited when the floor pan is in.  And in it will be by close of play Sunday.

Sat 7th October 2006
Day 16 - Hours 4 (Total 47)

Chassis turn over time !  Forget the manual, which says "get some assistance".  Make sure you have at least 4 strong guys or gals to help, plus another 2 to move the dolly and get the axel stands in place !  This thing gets heavier my the minute !

Many thanks to David, Mark, Henry & Trevor for their help !

Before you turn her over, make sure that the pedals are tightened up - it's tricky to get a spanner in there when the floor is in.  And a "little helper" makes it even easier !

Then it was on to the panelling.  Simple stuff, just lots and lots of holes and drilling and deburring and ...  You know by now ...

Love the "pin cushion" shot, which I have seen so many times on other sites  :o)



Sun 8th October 2006
Day 17 - Hours 3 (Total 50)

Floor panels in place and right sided ready (nearly) for the fun part of the build.  Wow, over 50 hours to do the panelling. but I am well pleased with it all.  Not a scratch of missed rivet in sight.  All deburred and waxoyled.  And a real labour of love, I can tell you.  And remember to put a bead of silkastuff down the sides of the metal floor pan - there are some small gaps between the welds.

Thanks again must go to CJs invaluable site for all the hints not in the manual.

Finally, how do you get silkaflex off your hands by the way ?  What a nightmare material to use !!

Just the double skin top chassis panel and rad + battery tray then on to the spanner bits.  Can't wait !


 On to hours 51 to 100 !!

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