Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Creature Comforts

A couple of weeks ago I went to visit Motordrive Seats to try and sort out a race seat that would actually fit in the Spitfire. The Cobra seat I had before fitted pretty well but I thought I could improve on it.

Having spent a while talking to Allan at Motordrive about what could and couldn't be done I took away a bare seat shell for trial fitting. It's a very tight fit, as is everything on a car as small as the Spitfire, but it looks like it can be made to work.

The biggest issue was that to get the seat to go where I wanted it I've had to modify the floor of the car again. I'm quite tall and the floor is already lowered under the seat to allow me to get my head in under the roll cage for racing. To get the new seat in I needed to cut away the back of the lowered section and fabricate a new piece that extends the low part of the floor by a couple of inches.

All that sounds fairly simple. Just break out the grinder... The problem is that I hadn't been expecting to be doing serious metal surgery and the car is all fitted up with the new windscreen, dashboard, instruments and other things, not to mention the new paint. I've had to take great care not to embed grinding sparks in any of them.

Lack of space in the garage was also threatening to be a problem but a couple of consecutive weekends of good weather meant I could roll the car out of the garage and work in the sunshine which made a change!

Alternately attacking the floor with a cutting disc in the grinder and the Dremel for the awkward corners (plus judicious use of a large hammer) resulted in a hole in the floor of approximately the correct shape and size.

Another weekend's work saw the new metalwork fabricated and welded in place. I'll take a photograph next time I have chance to get the car outside (it's too dark in the garage). I'm quite pleased with the result although less so with the quality of my welding!

"Dry" fitting the seat seems to prove that it was worth all the effort so the next task will be to fabricate mounting brackets. As usual, none of the off-the-shelf ones will fit.

Just to add to the list of things to do, rolling the car back and forth has resulted in a nasty grinding noise at the back. I suspect one of my second hand Lobro joints in the rear axle is rather less healthy than I'd previously thought.

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