This Sterling is the latest addition to my stable. A few of you know that I've been building a Sterling (for years) that is based on a very beefed-up vw chassis and a V6 turbo from a Nissan Z. The problem is that, while the project is fun, it's still a very long way from being finished. So I promised myself that if a particularly nice or unique RUNNING Sterling came up on Ebay, I'd throw my hat into the ring.
The result is this burgundy Sterling, #404. The unique feature that won me over was a well installed Mazda rotary engine as the power plant. The engine is from a '92 RX7 which was originally fuel injected. To keep things more simple, the builder (Jose/Joel Cervantes) installed a very nice aftermarket ignition and intake system (carbureted). The result is an engine that is SMALLER in size than the bug engine, not much heavier, not much more complicated in terms of its general electrical and mechanical setup, and makes about 155 HP without even breaking a sweat. I thought this was a good staring point for a fun Sterling.
Chassis is 1969 -- therefore IRS rear. He did not beef up the transaxle. (Hmm.) Some nice mechanical additions include dune buggy style modular hydraulic clutch and brake pedals set into floor boards that were lowered about 2 inches throughout the whole floor, not just under your butt. He also moved the shifter back about a foot and used a short-throw shift kit, too. Plumbing to the radiator was done very nicely, but I'm not convinced that the air flow to/through the radiator was optimized; it's unclear exactly which way he wanted the air to go (and I think the air is confused about this, too). But he swore the engine never overheated, perhaps due to nicely plumbed, dual oil coolers positioned behind functional side air scoops.
Joel did a very nice job with some of the custom body work. He fared in the high and the low air scoops on the sides in a subtle but unique way, and I think he did an exceptionally nice job grafting in some Camaro tail lights, too. By his own admission, he never liked how the dash and interior turned out, and I don't either. The interior will need to be significantly reworked with new gagues, a less kit-car-looking dash, and…some pretty cool surprises!! ;) But…fewer flames. J (I've always felt that with a car as unique looking as a Sterling, less is more) Also, although I really admire the custom work done on the hood, I have some ideas of my own that I want to implement instead. Joel is a very likable guy, though, and he did wonderful job on this car, and I felt almost guilty buying his Sterling. This was his baby, and I assured him I'd give it a good home.
So as such, I finally own a RUNNING Sterling…sort of. In reality, it occurs to me that this is just the latest project. I want to re-wire it, rework the hood, totally rework the interior, build some better redundancy into the hydraulic top, and…hey, wouldn't it be cool if it had a TURBO on that rotary!!?! Perhaps I should just concentrate on getting it on the road.