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  1. #331
    Might as well be part of the furniture.
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    Is that a full stop or is there more to come?

  2. #332
    Might as well be part of the furniture.
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    I will finish it, but that seems like the end to an era; at least for me.

  3. #333
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    Took the Topo to JBs garage. By this time all the workshops had gone so it was JBs double garage at his house that had to suffice. We created a 'spray booth' by hanging clear plastic sheet from the rafters to the floor encasing the Topo body.

    Started to get it ready for paint using the normal prep of DAs, hand rubbing, repairing cracks and imperfections and then it all started. A trip to the local paint shop; we had them back then, you remember the ones that stocked car paint and had mixing stations to indulge your every whim, backed up by people who knew their product and had a fair idea of what your illiterate mutterings were describing. I want a sort of deep, but not to deep, metallic blue that will hold a good shine....

    First thing was the base colour: a Fiat metallic blue which we both decided was a good blue and would work with the Blue of the PT (tow car). I had already said I wanted some pearl over the whole car when it was all done so we asked for a Litre of that. Either the guy liked us or he made a mistake because he gave us a Litre of Pearl concentrate which we only discovered later on opening the tin.

    The blue was laid on and left to dry.








    I'm sure I had more pics of this paint job, but I can't find them.

    With the blue dry, we then turned our attention to the front end. We started to lay out the chequers and that's where the real work started. Its easy said JB. Just one white, one blue. Best you try this for yourselves, as it took us a whole day just to do the front end. Its kinda funny with the masking tape and confusion in the brain, how easy it is to remove the wrong parts of the design. Anyway after a full days sticking tape on, cutting the correct places and peeling away the squares not needed that only 10 minutes of spraying the white overcoat completed the job.

    Testing in a few less obvious places we carefully peeled back some tape. Best leave it for another 10 minutes. Eventually we bit the bullet and pulled all the masking tape off. Looks OK, but we will see in the morning what's, what.

    The next day we looked at our efforts and sat with the usual coffee and DrPs to decide if we liked what we had done. That will work, said JB. We moved on to the rear of the roof and laid out the lines, that in my brain connected them to the front end design. A bit of a flair here and there evolved the design to its final look...
    Last edited by fad15; 17-02-18 at 06:51 PM.

  4. #334
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    Quote Originally Posted by fad15 View Post
    I will finish it, but that seems like the end to an era; at least for me.
    I'm sure you could find other bits and pieces, don't look at it as the end of an era, as you will always remember the things you did together and as you do other things now and then you will think what JB would have done or said. I was in a similar vein when my dad died but now I have a rye smile when I'm doing something and thinking to myself he would not do it that way or if he was here he would be telling me off for whatever.

  5. #335
    Might as well be part of the furniture.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fad15 View Post
    I will finish it, but that seems like the end to an era; at least for me.
    Certainly it was, but an era to be remembered and celebrated for sure. However, the era lives on within you and those around you, and is never gone as long as it is remembered. Sharing it with others brings not only joy to those who hear, but extends the time's existence. Thanx for sharing a little bit with us who were not there, and kindly continue to do so.

  6. #336
    Might as well be part of the furniture.
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    He just puts it so much better

  7. #337
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    The chequers on the rear of the roof finished I decided to joint the front and back with some lining and that was that. Finally a coat of pearl over the whole thing finished the paint job off. It had taken 3 whole days and 1/2 of a 4th one. Sort of put the money charged for this type of paint scheme by professionals, into perspective... two of us for 31/2 days materials etc.

  8. #338
    Might as well be part of the furniture.
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    The chequers on the rear of the roof finished I decided to join the front and back with some lining, and that was that. Finally a coat of pearl over the whole thing finished the paint job off. It had taken 3 whole days and 1/2 of a 4th one. Sort of puts the money charged for this type of paint scheme by professionals, into perspective... two of us for 31/2 days materials etc.

    One of the kind people who sponsored me, and was also involved in the RC drag racing stuff I was running, offered to pay for the graphics, as the name 'Forward Thinking' was the strap line for their Company. Well you can't refuse a good argument so the Topo was put on a trailer and I headed for deepest England and the graphics studio. By the end of the day the car was finished and looked for every intent, at least in my eyes, like a professional race car.

    JBs approval was of course the cream on the cake. That's just the 'dogs' he said as we stood back and did that thing car guys do. Stood and looked at it for what seemed like 1/2 hour.

    There were a few mechanical problems to sort out, which were done over the next few months including rebuilding the steering, putting a new roll cage on that would allow me to get in the thing and a custom made header tank for the coolant. We also added a set of wheelie bars after the first trial runs at the airfield showed that it was capable of pulling the front wheels off the ground. With some of the upgrades in our mind, seemed to to better safe than sorry.







    The graphics were superb




    RACE TIME came next.







    Another ambition that we both shared had come to pass... next stop a dragster, but that never did.

    I had realised another ambition. To drive a real race car up a drag strip and get a timing ticket to prove it, all be it, a mid 11 second one.
    Last edited by fad15; 18-02-18 at 12:24 PM.

  9. #339
    Might as well be part of the furniture.
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    Just caught up with this....good to see you back on the stories again.
    There's a lot of us on here who do appreciate them, keep going.

  10. #340
    Might as well be part of the furniture.
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    Getting near the end now. We did a few meets over a couple of seasons, but always wanted to improve the car. The biggest problem was the FMX transmission. An early Ford 3 speed; it was not only the wrong one for this application, it was cast iron. We could watch the split times come down as the trans warmed up over the day' coupled to the fact that the standard converter would not allow more than a 1700 stall. This meant slow launches and a hell of an effort to hold the thing on the hand brake (rear discs only with no servo).

    I got the mick taken for tucking my cigs and lighter in my race suit and on getting out of the car at the top end lighting up to calm my nerves. This was particularly valid on on run in the RH lane. I could usually pull up enough to hit the first turn off but one time I had a strong 1/4 and decided to cruise by it. I am probably not the only one who has encountered the 'shifting' concrete slab at the top end in this lane, but when I hit it the rear end bounced and I mean bounced. Never experiencing this kind of thing in a solid rear end car before it took me by surprise..... CRAP, this ain't nice, followed by 'I'm just here for the ride' went through my mind as I dismissed the first thought of hitting the brake lever. A few bounces later and the car settled down again, leaving me loads of room to come to a soft stop.

    Talking to JB after the run, he said he could see air under both back slicks and that was from the start line!. Who says drag racing isn't exciting?

    The car sounder very strong, thanks to a JB engine build and several guy and girls in the Wild Bunch used to say they hung around at the top end just to hear it.

    I loved the Topo, even though its best run was a low 11, (did 9.9s with the NOs regularly) but that was without the NOS. It was a real race car, evoking all the exciting emotions you only tend to read about in books. Strapping in, loosely in the fire up road, waiting for the signal to move to the strip, pulling the harness so tight I could hardly breath, turning the 180* and seeing the strip stretching out ahead of you' its something special in an otherwise tedious life (Other half not in included in that statement).

    With the 351 rough idle in my ears and the constraint of the 5 point harness, coupled to a view of what's ahead obliterated by the hood scoop its time to move to the burnout box. Has to be done even if the car doesn't really have the HP lay a smoky trail, hit the throttle and wait for the squeak of the slicks as it find the grip again, then gently braking to a stop its time to back up , something I found really easy in spite of the fact I could not see where I was going. Remember to go back through the lights, yep done.

    This is the time my breath gets really short. It might be too may cigs, excitement or pure adrenaline that made me hold my breath from the first pre staged light to 1/2 way up the strip; worked for me so I will go with the last one.Flip the visor down, concentrate on the light, forget everything else.... staged, look at the last amber and then nail it, pull the shifter back, wait, pull it back again, keep the foot buried, its heading for the barrier... a little input to the wheel and wait, yep its coming back, oh and there's the finish line; push the shifter forward into N (we may need a plug cut) and cruise to a stop. As I hit the harness release button I am already unzipping my race suit to find my cigs. Its in my mouth as I jump down from the rear slick. That was fun, lets do it again.

    Funny thing is that when I watch drag vids I always look and concentrate on the tree, not the cars. Even find myself hitting the throttle when I see the light go down or just change from staged to amber to green. I can't stop myself doing it.







    Thing was the Topo had to have small rad due to regs so it was a pull back to the pits, cup of coffee, more cigs a quick nut check and back into the staging lane. Just kept going around and around getting more confident on every run. Best bit was a weekend of fun cost less than 100 quid. We changed the oil and plugs once a year, did a good maintenance job over the winter and just enjoyed the company and the car. Of course it could have gone the other way with upgrades, more cost, more breakages, more heartache, but for the two of us it was about time together and fun, and I really do mean FUN.

    JB, being JB did get quite serious with me at the end of each run on how we could do better, but that was his nature, he never forgot we were doing this to be together and away from the crap that life can serve up. He loved every minute of it, as did I. The serious face, your 330 was lower than the last run, why; the smiles, the laughter, the analytical talks a few days later, they were all part of a friendship that would never be broken. I often wonder if we had got into this a lot earlier what we could have achieved??. We came to it too late really and not having enough disposable funds coupled to a more mature outlook meant we did this 'JUST BECAUSE'
    Last edited by fad15; 17-03-18 at 01:25 PM.

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