The Wild 944 project started life after I saw my daughters boyfriend (Ethan) racing his Dodge Neon at the local SCCA autocross one weekend. I have been racing all my life but it has been at least 25 years (I’m 57) since I did any serious racing. In the past I have raced 4 wheel drives – off road racing for about 7 years, sports car racing (SCCA) for 5 years and dirt track oval racing for some 15 years. I have built street rods on and off for the last 20 years. I decided that this would be a great way for the family to have some time on the weekend to just get away and enjoy ourselves. Over these many years I have acquired a sizable shop where we can build pretty much anything we want, so what a better way to use the shop than to have a family project – and get back into racing!
TO BUILD A CAR THAT WILL RUN FAST, NOT BREAK THE BANK, AND LAST A NUMBER OF YEARS
One day when Ethan and I were out at a storage facility where he has some cars stored we spotted the 944 sitting in the stall next to Ethan’s, it was up on blocks with no wheels and no front end sheet metal, but it did have a complete roll cage with engine and transaxle. This could be a good start. After chasing a bunch of people down and asking a bunch of questions we managed to buy the car for $400, now the fun would begin. I knew this was going to be a relatively low dollar build, but I also knew that you needed to buy good parts, so that meant we would need to watch for those good deals.
We started out by acquiring a 4 bolt main 350 from a fellow that had one with blown head gaskets, the price, make him a pick-up pull trailer out of the truck the engine was in, so I did – Cost $30 for the hitch. I started watching E-Bay for used NASCAR parts; I got a Carbon Fiber Dash for $45, a NASCAR Steering wheel for $30 and a front splitter for $45. The engine parts ( see spec. sheet) I got off E-bay from a company called White Performance in Tennessee, these guys are GREAT, no BS just good prices and GREAT customer service. Ethan donated a nice aluminum wing for the back of the car from his stash of parts and we build a nice bracket/stand to attach it to the car. I found a good deal on a pair on new Kirkly aluminum racing seats, I will make the covers myself – I do upholstery too. I got 2 sets of Simpson 3” 5 point seat belts for half price by buying slightly used sets that are out of date for the big racing circuits back east that have dates on their belts, they are in like new condition. We are using the stock brakes for now just due to cost, but we did buy new drilled and slotted calipers and wheel spacers. As like most of the fellows around here we buy slightly used Hoosier tires at a huge saving, about $100-$120 a pair, our tires will be 27” tall by 10” wide on 15” rims in the rear, and 23 x 9.5 x 15 on the fronts. The wheels spacers will give us a 2” wider stance than stock and with the tire width we are at a 72” track width and at only 40” tall that should be a very stable ride.
We just acquired a second car for the parts we are missing and for some spares. We started by cutting the tops of the rear quarter panels so they could be grafted back on the our car, when the previous owner cut the body for the fiberglass quarters he cut too high for what we wanted with our steel expanded quarters like the ones on the white concept car photos. (see Photo Gallery) The front of the car will use the orange concept car as a guide along with our NASCAR splitter to form a very aggressive nose.
The building began by pulling the Porsche engine and building the adaptor required to mate the Chevy bell housing to the Porsche torque tube. Next we mounted the seats and the safety belts, the steering wheel and shaft went in next. Than we mounted the WilWood reverse mounted pedal assembly. We just started welding in the quarter panels sections, next will be the round bar that will outline to front and rear fender extensions. The mock-up motor is in place to check for clearance.
More to come.
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