Over the past 24 years I have made modifications to almost every part of my car. I will tell you some of the costs of the items I have put on the car not to brag but to help anyone thinking of getting into this hobby to do it with open eyes. Or those of you who have purchased a Cimbria or similar car and think you can have a perfectly completed car for under $5,000, you really need to talk to someone who has had their car for years. There is a reason turn-key kit cars start at around $35,000...minimum. To do it right is not cheap.
Let's start with the heart of the car, the engine. It started life as a stock 2.0 Ford Pinto. But I had it completely dismantled to the block, reconditioned the block, bore it out to the maximum allowable without giving up structural reliability, put in custom built pistons (each cylinder was measured and pistons were forged to fit each cylinder, eliminating all blow-by's, thus giving most hp that could be had), put in Mallory electronic ignition with a Pro Blaster Coil, custom competition cam (nothing too radical so it would idle nicely), custom built headers, and finished it with duel side-draft Solex PHH44 carbs. The end result is that the car can do triple-digits all day long. Total cost of the engine, plus the carbs, plus the ignition, the headers, etc., is a little north of $5,000. Nuts, I know. Hey, it's not a cheap hobby.
Cooling is via a large Ford Bronco radiator, installed up front, with a large electric fan with an over-ride switch to be used in really hot days, but I've never had to use it, as the radiator is large enough to keep the engine cool in the hottest summer days.
Oh yeah, a brand new gas tank was installed while I had the engine out, plus new high pressure clutch plate, a new competition clutch, new water pump, new oil pump...you get the picture.
So the engine is in the rear, using a Kennedy Engineering adapter plate to a stock VW transmission. Up front, in addition to the radiator, is the 850 CCA battery with installed battery tender which keeps the battery fresh when parked long-term, the newly installed overflow tank for the radiator, the brake fluid reservoir, the power release for the front hood (the rear hood is powered too), the jack, the tool bag, the condenser for the air conditioning, and the dryer with the safety switch for the air conditioning.
Yes, the car has air conditioning, which was just completed five days ago (today is July 4, 2012) and charged up with 134a four days ago. It blows ice cold. I bought the entire unit from Vintage Air and paid about $1,500. A local authorized dealer from Vintage Air wanted $5,000 to install one, including parts. I did all the work myself and saved $3,500. The compressor is in the rear with the engine (obviously), so it caused me to have to run about 36 feet of hoses (18 x 2) from the rear to the front. The evaporator is installed under the dash and unless you bend down on one knee, you won't be able to see it. I elected to go with the defrost option. There are two defrost vents on top of the dash and three cabin vents (adjustable) in the cabin; one in front of the driver and two on the passenger side. The control module is located just below the radio.
Speaking of the radio, my original one (yes, with a cassette player) stopped working last year, so I decided to replace it with the best Alpine had to offer. But to take it out, I needed to take out the top of the dash so I could reach the wiring, but to do that, I needed to remove the windshield, and to do that, I wanted a new windshield. More on that later.
So once I removed the old radio, I installed a brand new Alpine, with new Alpine speakers up front and in the rear, and added a 140 Watt Alpine power pack with remote control. Yes, it sounds beautiful. Oh, the unit also has blue tooth and hands free phone capability, and they work flawlessly. You know the deal...you are listening to music, a call comes in, the music stops, you take the call via the microphone in front of you, and hear the other side via the Alpine speakers. Even at highway speeds and the engine revving I have no problem carrying on a conversation. I highly recommend it. It also has inputs for iPods, MP3 players, etc. Cost was slightly north of $1,000.
I am in the middle of re-upholstering the entire interior. Thus far the top of the dash, the entire dash, the A-pillars, the roof, top portion of both doors, and the side front panels have been re-upholstered in tan colored synthetic ostrich leather. All the dash panels were custom built from ABS panels bought from Crutchfield. One person thus far has commented that the dash looks like it was built by Lamborghini in Santa Agata, Italy. Next will be the seats, followed by the rear interior panels. There is nothing wrong with these, but since I've done the front half of the interior, I might as well do the rest. After that, the carpets will be redone. Again, these are custom made carpets to begin with and there is nothing wrong with them, except needing a good cleaning, but I figure I might just as well replace them too.
Tires are 295's in the rear and 235's in the front, and they sit on aluminum Center Line wheels. Ridiculously expensive if you ask me, but they eliminated a ton of un-sprung weight, which helps both in acceleration as well as stopping. So I guess it was money well spent. Cost? I am ashamed to say $1,800 for the four of them.
The windshield is brand new, custom made laminated safety windshield, built off of my original Cimbria SS windshield. I am sure everyone has been following the story of the windshield, so I won't get into it here. Needless to say, it's perfect and really makes the car, especially with that gorgeous black border around it. Although I removed the old windshield myself without cracking it, I elected to have Safe Lite come and install the new one, which they did for $132, tax included. Not bad. The cost of the windshield? Way, way too much, because I had to pay for molds to be made. But that's another story. As I said, it's an insanity that I enjoy. Or at least that's what my wife says.
A note about the doors on my car. They are raised and lowered by electric actuators. I can't tell you how cool it is to see doors rise by the push of a button. The front hood and the rear deck are also released via electric power locks.
The chassis on the Cimbria SS model is heavily modified (or added to) to make the car safer and stronger. There are ladder style chassis components added to the rear, the sides, and the front. Also, there is a massive 2 x 4 steel bar behind the dash, extending from the left to the right side of the body. I plan on adding an X-Frame underneath the vehicle for added rigidity within the next week or two. I will post a photo once it is done.
The gauges are SW III, and all are in working order. In fact, since I had the dash out, I rewired all of it and put in new bulbs in all of them just in case any of them was about to go out after all these years of use. The speedometer goes to 160 mph. It's fitting for the looks of the car. I had it calibrated at a shop that does speedometer calibrations for police cars, so it's dead on in accuracy.
Brakes are after market disc brakes, both front and rear. Installation was just as much as the cost of buying them, so that whole project was north of $2,000. I did not want to install them myself, although I am pretty sure I could have, but instead elected to have an ace mechanic I was introduced to do the job. I just felt better about it. After all, it's fun to go fast, but you'd better be able to stop and do so reliably! As my physics professor used to say, "Great speed never hurt anyone. Sudden stop! Ah, that's a different story!" So I did not want to take any chances with the brakes. End result is that the car stops on a dime, repeatedly, without the brakes heating up. At 2,005 pounds (used certified CAT scales to weigh the car), disc brakes all around stops this thing without any problems.
My car was originally painted an egg shell color, but in late 2011 it was painted Candy Blood Red. I hand sanded the entire car myself, and it took several weeks. The paint was bought from Alsa Corp. But the paint did not adhere well, and one thing led to another, and I decided it needed to be repainted again. So just last month (September 2013) the car was painted again, this time I went with a two-tone with black on the bottom and Candy Blood Red on top. In person and under the sun, the car's paint job is stunning. That was money well spent, as it transformed the car in the best possible way and far better than I ever dreamed. See my builder's journal for what I went through to get it painted this time around. It was kind of stressful at times, funny and enjoyable at other times.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I took out the old VW style fuse box and replaced it with new blade type. Then I added another fuse box for the extra stuff I added. I still have about 8 or so slots free to add more electronics if I need to (such as a three-slot power outlet with USB port that I just added). That way I can power my cell phone, a laptop, an iPod, etc.
Recently I built a dome light using four strips of 4 inch LED lights, which I installed on hard plastic backing, put a custom cut glass over it, and sealed it all the way around. It shines like the sun at night.
Lastly, the car is hard-wired for a radar detector.
OK, I can't think of anything else, although I am sure I've left out a number of things. If you need more information, just ask and I'll tell.
The car is extremely reliable. I have driven it to Toronto, Canada, several times. Several times to Columbus, Ohio. More times than I remember to Long Island, NY. All over PA, etc. I wouldn't hesitate to drive it to California and back. During one trip, coming back from Ohio, I got caught in a massive rain storm and had to drive through it for over an hour. Not one drop of water came into the car, which, by the way, has new door and window seals all around.