View original topic: SHMO's Baja Page: 1, 2, 3  Next
SHMO Tue Jun 07, 2005 5:16 pm

Here is a breakdown on my Baja Project.

The car started out as a 1969 Hardtop body that was badly rusted. It required replacing the rusted parcel area, passenger heater channel and a section of the front firewall. After that was complete, a lot of custom metal work was involved to turn it into the topless Baja you see now. All of the sheet metal work on the doors and the rear of the car were radiused to match the factory lines. The body includes a "trimmed" wide eye Baja kit, along with high mount race fenders in the rear. There are numerous body mods such as radiused reliefs around the rear shocks and metal detailing around the rear roll cage. The dash was also welded and smoothed. The body is painted in House of colors "tru blue" basecoat. The flames were done in prime time yellow, fading into Osha orange with viper red highlights at the tips. The flames were then wrapped with lime green pinstripes before the whole car was covered in PPG Urethane clear coat, wet sand and then polished.

The Interior of the car consists of Chevy Cavalier seats up front and a custom built rear seat, all covered in gray tweed. The door panels were custom built and covered in tweed as well. The dash houses White face Faria Gauges, Pioneer CD player and the necessary indicator lights. A custom steering wheel was used along with the modified factory steering column. The floors are covered in dark gray carpet. All of the wiring on the car was removed and re-done using late model relays and fuse blocks.

The chassis is mostly tubular but retains the stock pan as well. A roll cage is tied from front to rear and supports the suspension, shocks, bumpers, cage and so-on. The front bumper/skid plate and engine cage were fabricated, and all of the visible joints of the tubing were smoothed before being painted with a 2005 GM "Titanium" color.

The chassis was also stretched 4.5 inches out front with a 7-inch wider link pin beam, beefed lift spindles, disc brakes 1 1/8 aluminum tie rods, heim ends and other assorted pieces. The rear received tubular 2x3 trailing arms with Bus axles, 28mm Sway Away torsion bars, Type IV CV joints and disc brakes. The car has Bilstein remote reservoir shocks at all four corners. The tranny is an 091 shifted with a "old school" Hurst shifter. The motor is a mild 1915cc, but it has all of the "goodies needed for off road use. Things were added such as Full flow oiling with remote filter, hydraulic grade lines and fittings, sand seal, filters and degree pulley. The fan shroud was also modified to accept a type IV oil cooler before being smoothed and painted the GM Titanium color. Additonal motor parts include CB performance 042 heads, swivel feet adjusters, mild cam, "worked over" dual Kadron carbs with Scat linkage, Custom Vaccum advance setup with Pertonix ignition, Ceramic coated Tri-mill with quiet pack and a lightened flywheel.

There is more to the car, but this hits on the majority of the points. I hope you like it. Let me know what you think.


bk63rag Tue Jun 07, 2005 5:53 pm

Thats one nice looking looking baja 8)

Tim10 Tue Jun 07, 2005 11:57 pm


I'm embarrassed and owe you an apology...

I thought the flames were the magnets that were stolen from a Civic.

You must feel honored they turned your flames into stick-on clip art.

Tech Questions
I'm guessing you bent all the tube yes/no + comments

You're the only one I can remember with reservoir shocks --- how do you mount so that back seat people remain safe?

Truth on Welds... are you a master welder or did you grind and fill all of your joints?

Tim10 Wed Jun 08, 2005 12:01 am

Sorry for the bad note..

the question was reservoir shocks with a rear seat and protecting the passengers.

SHMO Wed Jun 08, 2005 9:38 am

Ya that was pretty funny about the Civic flames there Timmy :x . However, these are the real deal. I do custom painting as a side job (usually 10-20 custom bikes and cars a year). Here are some closeups of the flames. However, keep in mind that my camera is marginal at best. And the images are compressed, so the detailing and colors are not the greatest. They look MUCH better in person.

This is a little airbrushing I applied to the glove compartment

I did all of the tube work myself, including the bending and welding. I'm a certified welder. Some of the welds on the car are Tig, but the majorities are Mig welds. The joints were filled and smoothed prior to painting. You cannot achieve this look otherwise, regardless of the welder’s ability.

_=VWBaja70=_ Wed Jun 29, 2005 11:05 pm

Just checked out your gallery SHMO. Looks like good times in Mexico. Did you drive the baja all the down or tow it?

I'm on the Olympic Peninsula so if you are in the area pop an e-mail.


Herbie3Rivers Thu Jun 30, 2005 10:12 am

That is a beauty you got there. I like you color choices with the blue and gunmetal.

Enkiel Thu Jun 30, 2005 10:15 am

wow, the tube work is just amazing...

well, the whole baja is a nice piece of art

blarneyman Thu Jun 30, 2005 8:41 pm

Dude! I live in Everson, just down the road a piece. I'm in Lynden all the time and I've never seen that car. OUTSTANDING!!!!!!

I hope you are going to take it to some of the local VW shows!?

SHMO Fri Jul 01, 2005 12:59 am

Thanks for the compliments guys. I have had a lot of fun putting this car together.

As for Mexico, we had a blast. The car worked really well. We actually trailered it down. I couldn't imagine a 3000 mile road trip in a topless Baja to go off roading.... :shock:...I just had visions of me, the car, a broken part, 1000 miles of desert and a bunch of vultures hovering over

Here are a few more pics showing some of the sheet metal detail............

flipped cracker Tue Jul 05, 2005 10:14 pm

that thing is friggin' sweet.

imp558 Fri Jul 08, 2005 9:31 pm

I just read this for the first time, didn't realize the extent of the metal work and such until now. What a shame the cage will possibly need to be moified to allow for the extra length of the Ecotec. Will the hieght of the engine be a concern? Imp558

SHMO Mon Jul 11, 2005 2:12 pm

From my rough measurements, the Eco motor is about the same height as a stock Type I when you consider the fan shroud. So, height should not be any concern. As for length, it is rather close when you consider a rear mounted exhaust on a Type I motor adding to its overall length. The Ecotec has a side exhaust. I am hoping that the transplant will go in smoothly. My worst case scenario would be to completely rebuild the engine cage. And, that would not be the end of the world to gain roughly 100hp. :wink:


SHMO Wed Oct 19, 2005 10:37 am

Well, I thought I would update my progress on the motor swap.

The Ecotec was shipped off to Turnkey engine supply to have some work done to it. This is how it arrived back at my shop with the machine work, header, new coolant setup, wiring harness and adapter plate installed. Turnkey also swapped out the intake and throttle body to the Saturn style before bench running it on the dyno and setting up the computer calibrations. The cars horsepower will jump from approximately 80hp to 180hp. This should make this Baja a little more exciting.


SHMO Wed Oct 19, 2005 10:54 am

Here is the motor mocked up in the car. It gives a good estiamte of how it will look and fit in the Baja. I am going to be able to use the original engine cage I built for the aircooled motor as well. That's a bonus!

The motor would have clearance issues with the factory firewall, but I plan on rear mounting the radiator so most of the firewall will be removed. In this pic you can see where I had to "window" the sheetmetal slightly to get the motor into the car for mock-up.

I fabbed up a rough plan for the exhaust. I will be using this setup initially to get it started and drivable, but it will be loud. A quieter exhaust is in the cars future.

Here you can see the great ground clearance the Eco is going to offer. It barely fits within the confines of my original engine cage and skid plate. But it fits! The Ecotec mounts only slightly lower than a factory type I motor. It has even better clearance than a type I motor with a aftermarket sump.


SHMO Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:08 am

Moving on with the progress on the car, I moved to the radiator setup. I plan on installing it in the rear of the car, just behind the backseat and above the transaxle.

Here is the bodywork that needed to be trimmed.....Big old hole..haha
You can also see that I swapped to an 091 tranny. I had some issues with the original 002 tranny so I figured now was a good time to upgrade.

In these pics you can see the aluminum framework that I built to mount the radiator. The frame sandwiches the radiator in rubber. No actual bolts or fasteners are used on the radiator itself. The radiator I am using is an all aluminum dual row HOWE 27 3/8" wide X 16" tall. The framework will act as a mount, and it will also act as the ductwork to direct the airflow into and out of the radiator.

I don't have it sheeted in aluminum yet, but this photoshop job should give you an idea of how it will look when it is ready to be installed.

The framework and radiator mount into the car as one unit. This should make servicing the radiator pretty simple. When removed, it also provides a bunch of access to assorted drivetrain and electrical parts.

After I am able to sheet the framework with aluminum, the finished product will look something like this.


CopperBaja Thu Oct 20, 2005 9:51 am

WOW!!! :shock:

That baja is amazing!!! I can only hope that my bug looks 1/2 as good when I'm done with it.....

Do you have any pics of when you cut the top off of it?

SHMO Thu Oct 20, 2005 11:37 am

I'll look around. I think I have a pic after I cut the top off, but before I did all the sheetmetal work.


SHMO Thu Oct 20, 2005 11:45 am

Not the greatest pics, but it should give you an idea.


jps1145 Thu Oct 20, 2005 12:34 pm

That thing is really looking good.
Tell me more about the front. I think I've read or you PM'd me about a couple things...
You swapped frame heads, and intalled the new L/P head 4 1/2" forward?
Are you using the stock tank and not using a one piece front end?
How much did you have to clearence the frame head for your trick tie rods? Are your trailing arms stock length? Could you get away with longer arms with the stock steering box, or would you have to got to R&P?
I haven't started really updated my car yet, but it looks like I'd like to go a similar way you did. I don't really want to invest in the one piece front. I need to get a plan together and have the parts before I start.

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