scratch built Mazzer roadster

Discussion in 'Maserati' started by wildegroot, Jan 13, 2009.

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  1. wildegroot

    wildegroot Formula 3
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    Nov 19, 2003
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    Wil de Groot
    #1 wildegroot, Jan 13, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    I've decided that Mark Eberhardt, fellow Ferrari 308 supercharging nut, is getting too much attention with his "308 V12 conversion begins" thread (under '308, 328, Mondials' section), fantastic as his project is. ;-) Just kidding of course. Mark is unbelievably talented, very fearless and a nice guy. If you haven't seen his mind boggling thread, check it out.

    Anyway, I've been working on a non Ferrari hot rod project for a while already (too long actually) and I thought I'd share it with anyone that might be interested.

    This hot rod is Maserati based. It started out as a very shabby 1980 Quattroporte I found at an auction in the DC area. It had a $500.00 "resale red" respray, lots of rust and about a quart of water in the glove box due to a leaking windshield. It was just what I was looking for. I always kind of liked this series 4-porte (quattro tank) because it had cool parts underneath what looked like Italian Detroit iron. The engine is an aluminum 4.9 liter, 4 cam V8 with four 2bbl Weber DCNF carburetors. The Euro version came with a ZF 5 speed manual trans but the US versions came with a Chrysler 727 three speed automatic (good for station wagons and police cruisers but I would have preferred the "Zed Ef"). It had sports-car type front suspension (components similar to DeTomasso Pantera) with coil-over shocks (which the 4-porte is too heavy for). Rear suspension was basically a copy of the famous Jaguar IRS with a similar heavy duty Salisbury differential and vented inboard disk brakes. Steering components include a ZF power rack & pinion and an adjustable Saginaw steering column. Except for the trans, the car had heavy duty sportscar type parts at a very attractive price. These cars were popular with high-rollers in the eighties for their luxury and exclusivity but there isn't much enthusiasm for them today.

    I took the donor 4-porte back to New Jersey and proceeded to remove all the mechanical components like the engine, trans, steering, suspension, brakes, instruments, door latches.... much of the remainder was parted out or went to the scrap yard.

    After removing a lot of grease and dirt I designed and built a sports car chassis and body to go around all the components. Because the engine is a close cousin of the original V8 designed for the mighty Maserati 450S sports racing car of the mid 1950s, I designed the body of my sportscar to vaguely resemble the 450S in silhouette. I say vaguely because I didn't want to build a replicar.

    One problem with the US spec 4-porte engine is that the back end was reconfigured to mate to the Chrysler 727 trans. It's virtually useless in any other Maserati for that reason and makes adapting the Tremec 5 speed over-drive trans I bought, difficult to adapt to it. Today, there might be a used Dodge Viper bell housing to fit it, I don't know, but when I started this project used Viper parts weren't to be had. After messing with a steel after-market Chrysler bell housing unsuccessfully I sawed the bell housing off of the 727 automatic trans, welded a plate to the back end and machined it to fit the Tremec.

    The engine itself seems to be in pretty good shape and I'm not planning on rebuilding it for now. It's been thoroughly cleaned and it's getting a valve job and a major tune-up for now. Later down the road I'd like to build a monster Maserati V8 with a supercharger. I've got an extra 2 liter Lysholm, screw type compressor (like new) on the shelf which will be perfect for it.

    Below are some pictures of progress so far which I plan to ad to in the future as the project progressed. If nobody looks at it at least I will. The picture below is how it looked this morning. More photos forthcoming.
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  2. lil squid

    lil squid F1 Veteran

    Dec 3, 2007
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    Yuliya
    That is a VERY interesting project, keep the pictures coming!
     
  3. Ackmann

    Ackmann Formula Junior

    Nov 23, 2007
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    Wayne Ackermann
    Wow, Talk about a creative, fun project. I wish I had half your talent. Keep up the reports and I'll follow along.
     
  4. Tillman

    Tillman Consigliere
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    Nov 26, 2001
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    Nifty!

    Hell, it looks pretty cool in it's current quasi-Atom mode :)
     
  5. Fenivision

    Fenivision Formula Junior

    Sep 25, 2008
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    Alexander
    THIS is where it's at! Great looking project. Love the inboard disc brakes. What's the wheelbase on it? It looks like it has a "short" wheelbase.
    Keep the pictures coming!
     
  6. alberto

    alberto Formula 3
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    Sounds very cool, please post more pics. Good luck with it.

    Alberto
     
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  8. wildegroot

    wildegroot Formula 3
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    Thanks. I have a bunch of pictures and will try to post more later today. The car was 99% constructed, complete with an aluminum body, but I then had to completely disassemble everything to paint the chassis and other components and to overhaul the mechanical bits. The body is still in bare aluminum. I just finished making the chassis a roller again the other night and have the engine, partially disassembled, in a stand. Hoping to drive it this year.

    Thank you for everyone's interest.
     
  9. Simon

    Simon Moderator
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    Aug 29, 2003
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    Very exciting project. Did you design and construct the chassis yourself?
    Do you have any pictures of the chassis construction. It looks great. Very professional.
     
  10. rdefabri

    rdefabri Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Jun 4, 2008
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    Dude, very cool - and in NJ no less (no slight to NJ - I live here...sometimes easy to forget that all the cool projects don't happen everywhere else)!

    As my early adult years were in the 80's, and I spent a few years as a valet (great job BTW) - I love both the Quattroporte and the Biturbo. Drove many of them on the job, and I loved the look and the nameplate!

    I never knew that the Quattroporte had such thoroughbred underpinnings...and the chassis you designed is artwork!

    Good luck with that, really fantastic!
     
  11. wildegroot

    wildegroot Formula 3
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    Thanks. The wheel base is 96".
     
  12. wildegroot

    wildegroot Formula 3
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    Yeah, for better or worse, the designs of the chassis and body are mine.
     
  13. wildegroot

    wildegroot Formula 3
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    Forgot to answer your second question. Sorry.

    I think I do have early pictures of the chassis being laid down but they're old fashioned film photos. They often don't scan well. I'll take a look. I do have some digital pictures showing the chassis without paint that I'll be posting later today.
     
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  15. wildegroot

    wildegroot Formula 3
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    #13 wildegroot, Jan 14, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    1st picture: The nearly complete chassis hanging sideways to finish tack-welding the floor panels in place. The center of the chassis has removable aluminum panels so that the bottom of the car is completely flat and fairly smooth. The wheels, 19" in front and 18" in back, were custom made by HRE.

    2nd picture: Test fitting the engine and trans. The chassis still had the earlier roll bars here. After a while I didn't like them any more and cut them off to install smaller, more discreet roll bars.

    3rd picture: Complete but unpainted chassis with drive-train, suspension, etc, fitted.

    4th picture: Chassis in rotisserie just after priming it.
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  16. wildegroot

    wildegroot Formula 3
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    #14 wildegroot, Jan 14, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    5th picture: Original quarter scale clay model of the body. Its actually a half model against a mirror. The design was changed several times since then but the basic shape was there.

    6th picture: A plaster mold was made from the clay model and several polyurethane plugs were cast from that mold. This photo shows one of the plugs being trimmed on the milling machine.

    7th picture: Plywood station buck (full scale) made using dimensions from the plugs which were increased X 4.

    8th picture: Front quarter view of aluminum body mounted on chassis. The body still needed a lot of metal finishing work and the car still has the bigger roll bars here. The entire nose tilts forward for engine access. The windshield is from a 55 Ford but cut down. A Lexan replacement is in the plans.
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  17. wildegroot

    wildegroot Formula 3
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    #15 wildegroot, Jan 14, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    9th picture: Rear quarter view with rough body. Oval openings in rear are for tail lights.

    10th picture: Fitting the aluminum radiator. It's covered with cardboard here to protect the fins. The Proportionated front brakes are visible here. I've since replaced those rotors with larger Wilwoods on Wilwood aluminum hats and replaced the cast iron Girling calipers with aluminum Brembos.

    11th picture: Bare interior. The steering wheel is an old temporary.

    12th picture: Right front wheel with newer brake parts peeking through. At upper right is the beginnings of a mold for a Lexan headlight cover.
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  18. wildegroot

    wildegroot Formula 3
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    #16 wildegroot, Jan 14, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    13th picture: Quattroporte suspension upright with Brembo caliper and Wilwood rotor fitted. Caliper adapter was machined from 4130 steel.

    14th picture: Original Quattroporte brake rotor on heavy steel hub on left. New bigger and lighter brakes on aluminum hub machined from 7075 aluminum billet on right.

    15th and 16th pictures: Nose on stand ready for being metal finished (smoothed) in preparation for final finish body work and paint.
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  19. wildegroot

    wildegroot Formula 3
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    #17 wildegroot, Jan 14, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
  20. wildegroot

    wildegroot Formula 3
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    #18 wildegroot, Jan 14, 2009
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  21. Fenivision

    Fenivision Formula Junior

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    #19 Fenivision, Jan 14, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2009
    Plain old speechless won't cut it here .... need something more than silence :D
    STUNNING! I'm still dreaming of doing something like that myself one day ... but I'm only 23, so I still have some time. I really have to congratulate you to your taste!

    What color scheme are you planing on going with? Red? Blue? Black? Or even a screaming Giallo? And don't forget the cross-stiched leather seats ;)

    EDIT: And are you going to stick to the Autometer gauges or are you going to go for "period" Veglia, Smith's or Jaeger's?
     
  22. wildegroot

    wildegroot Formula 3
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    #20 wildegroot, Jan 14, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2009
    Thanks. I could still change my mind but I decided a long time ago to paint the car red, plain monochromatic red.

    The interior will be very simple. The car has a pair of blue cloth covered MOMO racing seats, the floors will get rubber mats, the transmission tunnel and rear bulk-head will get removable diamond stitched vinyl or leather blankets with snaps to hold them in place as in old Indy racers. Originally I was going to re-use the instruments from the Quattroporte donor car but they were too junky and I went with the Autometer Ultra-Lite gauges which I really like.
     
  23. mk e

    mk e F1 World Champ

    Oct 31, 2003
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    That thing is amazing Wil! Just beautiful work!

    I’m going to add a link to this thread on mine, I’m sure anyone following my project will want to find their way here as well.
     
  24. wildegroot

    wildegroot Formula 3
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    Well thanks Mark. That's mighty gracious of you.
     
  25. gcmerak

    gcmerak Formula 3

    Mar 17, 2008
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    George C.
    Wil, it looks fantastic. You never cease to amaze. Looks like I'll have this project to follow as well as your awesome supercharged 308 project.

    Ciao,
    George
     
  26. wildegroot

    wildegroot Formula 3
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    Thanks George and thank you to the other complimenting people I haven't replied to. I guess this is my second "15 minutes of fame". :)
     
  27. 2NA

    2NA F1 World Champ
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    Damned cool!
     

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