Hood Extractor Vents
Making convincing-looking hood vents with a race-inspired look was a lot easier than we thought. Once you get past the idea of cutting holes in a perfectly good hood that nobody repops, you're home free. Naturally, we made a cardboard template for a bezel first, then sent it out to our waterjet guy for cutting. (If you've got a Laguna, Advanced Waterjet has our template already on file, or they can cut one to your specification with a template you provide.) Once we had a piece we were comfortable with, we put the cutoff wheel to the hood to cut out the stamped factory vents. We start out here after the waterjet bezels were cut, the hood was cut to the bezel size, and the car was painted.
These race-inspired hood vents...
These race-inspired hood vents look way better than the stamped hood louvers, and they add some surface detail that was missing in our rendering. Note that the brushed aluminum bezels echo a common appearance seen in the headlight block-offs, the side-window block-offs, the spoilers, and the rear window straps. From any angle of the car, there's a taste of this same kind of surface detail, which is important for continuity of the theme.
We considered a coarse stainless...
We considered a coarse stainless steel wire mesh, but when we came across this scrap of perforated stainless sheet for free, we liked it better. We cut a piece out the size of the opening, put it in the sand blast cabinet to give it a rough texture, then hit it with some satin black paint before sandwiching it between the hood and waterjet bezel. Advanced Waterjet cut our hood louver bezels out of .063-inch (1/16-inch) aluminum for $75.
The rivet holes were cut into...
The rivet holes were cut into the bezel when it was cut with a waterjet, so we had to transfer these holes to the hood with a center punch. This was followed by the drill for the rivet holes. Another process that's ongoing is the gentle shaping of the bezel and the screen to match the contours of the hood.
Some manipulation of the screen...
Some manipulation of the screen was needed in order to get the rivets to pass through without interference. Heath Elmer operated the rivet gun while PHR contributor Keith Kanak gets the bezel and the screen to cooperate. Note that we've grained the raw aluminum bezel with a Scotch-Brite pad and WD40, which gives it a satin appearance.
You've seen hoodpins before, and you've seen these particular hoodpins before in PHR--they're the billet pieces from Hoodpins.net. Unlike your average chrome-plated speed shop variety of hood pins, these won't rust, and they have a precision machined look to them (they're billet aluminum). A pair cost $115, and the lanyard kit runs $36. To get the look we were after, we ordered three pairs of hood pins and lanyards--four hoodpins for the hood, and two to use as trunk pins! (This operation cost us $453 in total.) The ones on the hood are pretty straightforward, so you'll be able to figure those out on your own. The key thing is to pick a spot that has a good mounting point on the radiator core support, and a corresponding flat spot on the hood. Here, we're showing you the far more interesting job of making trunk pins. Note that in preparation for this, we removed the trunk lock and blanked it over when the Laguna was painted.
Hoodpins.net/Wilson Muscle Cars
The close proximity of the...
The close proximity of the billet trunk pins to the custom aluminum spoiler (see "Spoiling For Fun," p. 80) makes a nice visual statement and has a purposeful look. Unlike hoodpins, there is no readily available mounting point for the pin, so a mount must be fabricated.
You'll be welding in this...
You'll be welding in this area, so grind off the paint around the hole.
The hoodpin's mounting nut...
The hoodpin's mounting nut was welded to a flat piece of steel stock about 5 inches long. This will serve as the base for the pin that holds the trunk down, so it's got to be thick enough to do the job. Find the right position for the pin at a spot it can pass through the trunk, then figure out where you want to weld the mounting bar. Drill a couple of holes through the trunk driprail.
Mounting the scuff plate on...
Mounting the scuff plate on top of the hood (or trunk in this case) is relatively easy--drill the hood where the pin contacts it from below, check the clearance between the pin and the edge of the hole, then drill smaller holes for the attaching screws. Here, we added some RTV sealant to protect the smaller holes against rust. In fact, this was done for the rivet holes we drilled elsewhere on the Laguna.
The work will be clamped firmly...
The work will be clamped firmly in place for a rosette weld that will attach the mounting bar under the driprail. We used some adhesive paper from 3M that's designed as a splatter guard for welding. This protected the fresh paint while we were MIG welding the bracket. Before welding, move any taillight wiring harness out of harm's way.
Here's the finished trunk...
Here's the finished trunk pin mount after the area had been masked, spray bombed with satin black Dupli-Color, and our Soffseal trunk weatherstripping was laid in. Check out the lanyard, which keeps the pin from walking away! We're guessing we're the first to use Hoodpins.net's pieces on a trunk.
If you're going to sell the race car theme on a Pro Touring car, window straps are an instantly recognized cue. It just so happens that the aluminum straps they sell in Home Depot to secure water heaters to the wall are the perfect size and shape for this, and they're dirt cheap. While we were at Home Depot, we also got some foam strips that are used to seal between a window and a wall-unit air conditioner. They have an adhesive backing that can attach to the strap, and protect your window from the vibrating strap. The only other special ingredient you'll need is a nutsert tool, which we found at Ace Hardware.
Window blow-out straps are...
Window blow-out straps are used in race cars because at full speed, the air pressure that builds up inside the car is enough to blow the window out. Early stock car racers often had to dodge windows that popped out and shattered in front of them, or sometimes on them! We hope we never have to test the theory, but at least it looks cool.
You'll need to carefully form...
You'll need to carefully form the aluminum strap over the window trim, and on the roof and filler panel at the bottom. Lightly push on the ends where they'll be bolted down. The center of the strap should not bow out on the windshield. Work the bends over the window trim until you don't get any bowing.
Start by laying the aluminum...
Start by laying the aluminum water heater strap on the rear window to see where it looks best. We referenced some old photos to help out. Run a line of masking tape down the window; the ends should be equidistant from the edge of the glass so they are symmetrical to the car's centerline.
Use nutserts (also called...
Use nutserts (also called threadserts) for your mounting points on the roof and filler panel. These pieces install cleanly like rivets, they're inexpensive, and they look really sweet. Best of all, nutserts are genuine race hardware, so they work well.
Race-Style Gas Cap
A race-style fuel-filler door is a great way to add a race vibe to a street car, and we've seen it done a multitude of ways, from the motorcycle-style latch cap found on Steven Rupp's Bad Penny '68 Camaro, to aircraft hardware on winning show cars. This Cobra-style fuel cap kit for early model Mustangs is the first time we've seen a specific retro kit, and it's offered by a company called Mustalgia for $229.95. They also offer a C3 Corvette ('68-77) version for $249.95. The kits include a 2.25-inch ID fuel filler hose to connect from the new Le Mans cap to the existing tank. The cap can be oriented in any direction and locked in place. Underneath the flip-top cap is a Stant brand vented, locking fuel cap that snaps into the machined aluminum base. All hardware is stainless steel, and is included.
This bolt-on kit easily installs...
This bolt-on kit easily installs a Cobra-style Le Mans roller-latch fuel cap onto any early model Mustang, and is the only kit of its kind that we could find. It installs into the taillight panel at the original fuel cap, and uses the factory screw holes.
This Le Mans cap by Mustalgia...
This Le Mans cap by Mustalgia gives early model Mustangs a racy look, and is instantly recognized and associated with the Cobra-style flip-top cap on the original race cars.
Quick Trick: Spray Bombing
All hail the spray bomb! There's very little in the world of hot rodding-dom that can't benefit from a good hosedown of Krylon, Dupli-Color, or VHT. Virtually any part on a car can look as good as new with a thorough cleaning and a quick coating of the good stuff. We typically use Dupli-Color (www.duplicolor.com) because they have a vast assortment that covers a lot of applications. Some of our favorites: Chrome, Wheel Coating, Vinyl & Fabric Coating, Truck Bed Coating (good for a whole lot of stuff), Spatter Paint, Metalcast, Engine Enamel/High Heat, Caliper Paint, and the old standby: General Purpose Satin Black!