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Author Topic: Project Digger  (Read 20753 times)
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The Metalsmith
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« on: Tuesday, 09 June, 2009, 11:00:28 AM »

Hi kids,
          The ECCA Committee are already aware of this, but I thought some of you forum regulars might be interested in what's in my workshop at the moment.

You all remember that I build custom cars for a living? Good. I've been cranking out quite a few stunners since I've been open (almost a year now, where did it go?) which drew the attention of the Army in regards to building their new burnout/exhibition/promotional vehicle.


On the strength of the rear suicide doors and other custom mods I performed on the Lexus IS 250 in pic 1, I got the contract for the new Army car 6 weeks ago, dubbed for the time being, "Project Digger". It's a 1978 Ford LTD ex Staff Car some big general was supposed to have used frequently back then. The back of it is in pic 1.


During this time the work has been progressing smoothly. Rear suicide door conversion is almost complete, seen in pic 2. I've replaced the engine bay inner walls in pic 3 with flat steel for that smooth look and replaced the firewall 0.9mm steel with some 2.0mm stuff. With a blown 1200hp Ford 460 up front they reckon that I'll be in the passenger seat for the burnouts at the Summernats ( yeah baby! ) so there's no way I was going to be behind 0.9mm if something decided to let go!

Still to come is the 4" roof chop and the thicker transmission tunnel install. I'll take a pic of the fuel tank install for you too.

And yes, the money I'm getting for this is being pumped into my reek. Just thought you'd be interested!

     Simon
     The Metalsmith
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Agroeureka
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Why does every part need a modification or paint


« Reply #1 on: Tuesday, 09 June, 2009, 11:36:11 AM »

Hi
Looking good mate
Will have to come an look after you have done the roof
I hade a chat to some of my ford loving mates about the roof and brazing of the panels all agreed this is not normal so the car may have a history of some kind from ford or it was damaged and an apprentice repaired it.

May be a roll over

Andrew
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The Metalsmith
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« Reply #2 on: Friday, 03 July, 2009, 10:06:49 PM »

Hi again kids,
                   The roof chop and the modification to the doors is now complete. I just have to finish the mods to the firewall and transmission tunnel and the initial contract is complete, on time and on budget.

I say initial because the Army were so happy with the first lot of work they've given me more. Looks like Project Digger will be staying for a bit longer! Keep a lookout for a 2 page progress story in Street Machine magazine, August edition. 

By the way, one of bigwigs at the car company, Lexus, has seen the doors on the IS 250 pictured above and apparently loved them. The car is now going to be on display at the Sydney Motor Show in October, parked next to the rival Mercs, Jags and Maserati's. I'll whack one of my new stickers on the windscreen. That should drum up some high profile business!

Things are looking good kids...

     Simon

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Agroeureka
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Why does every part need a modification or paint


« Reply #3 on: Friday, 03 July, 2009, 11:34:52 PM »

Hi
No pics Huh???
I have to come over and take a look

Andrew
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CyCo
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« Reply #4 on: Saturday, 04 July, 2009, 08:22:50 AM »

Sounds awesome Simon!! What a great way to get your name out!!

8]
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cruetoone
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« Reply #5 on: Sunday, 05 July, 2009, 05:56:22 AM »

congrats simon on the project very cool ... i dont suppose you got a link for the motor show do ya  Huh?
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The Metalsmith
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« Reply #6 on: Thursday, 30 July, 2009, 10:46:41 PM »

As recently updated on this forum at this thread:
                                                                     http://eurekacarclub.com.au/forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=7dbe5f28fd564df7b572c3be4cbd8b37;PHPSESSID=ad6bb481f0fecc8afd629cc2baefe099&topic=322.0

I thought I'd continue to update this story under it's original subject heading.

The short Street Machine article was only intended to be a "heads up" style of appetite wetter. The main story is due to come out in Street Machine Fords Magazine (SMF) in the September issue.

I know this because the very day after I posted the thread above, Scott Taylor from SMF rang me and spent an hour getting the finer build details off me. I've read his final draft for the story and it's flattering to say the least. AND this one comes with my business phone number. Now lets see what happens...
     
Thanks for the info regarding your mate recognising my business name Cyc-baby. I'm spending decent money on advertising with no way of knowing if it's working or not, so your feedback is welcomed. A knowledgeable friend agrees with you about advertising being a cumulative thing so I guess we'll see.

     Simon


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CyCo
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« Reply #7 on: Friday, 31 July, 2009, 02:37:21 PM »

A teaser to wet out appetites, I see. I'm fairly sure my mate also gets Street Machine Ford/Holden mags too. I pick up a copy on the occasion too.   Wink
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The Metalsmith
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« Reply #8 on: Thursday, 01 October, 2009, 10:03:38 PM »

Weeeeeeeell,
                         Its finally hit the stands, kids. Street Machine Fords Issue 18. Its got a magnificent red tudor Falcon on the cover (drool). Turn to page 120 and see Project Digger in all its glory.

As I've said, the story is fairly flattering from my point of view. I don't consider my skills to be anything special. I think anyone could do it with a little skill and know-how. Almost disturbing then to hear the top Summernats judge recently state clearly I'm already way better at what I do than 3 out of four of my car building heroes.

Now the big question: lets see if the publicity turns into phone calls offering big dollar jobs. If not, it's all toilet paper in a couple of months...

     Simon
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CyCo
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« Reply #9 on: Friday, 02 October, 2009, 12:21:03 PM »

Had a quick look today, looks the business. Money is a little tight, but it's payday tomorrow, so I'll be picking up a copy. 

 Wink Grin
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cruetoone
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« Reply #10 on: Sunday, 04 October, 2009, 01:23:50 PM »

congrats on an other write up .... Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool
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The Metalsmith
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« Reply #11 on: Wednesday, 06 January, 2010, 11:31:53 AM »

Ok kids,
                Here's the biggie on this subject. After many months of furious preparation by the Army, Project Digger has been completed with more than 2 weeks to go to its major public unveiling at the Summernats.

Painted, buffed, trimmed, tuned and tweaked: the donk is pumping major HP. Part of my deal with the Army was that Susie and I score free tickets to the 'Nats for the entire weekend so we'll be there with bells on... er, make that direct NOS injection!

My mate in charge of the project, Benny Hewlitt, reports that the finished product is mind-blowing. The official unveiling will take place at a dedicated ceremony at the Summernats elite hall this Friday night (8th Jan) at 8:15 pm. I'll be the one inside the barrier almost completely chubby, with an unbreakable grin.

As a follow up to the story in Street Machine Fords, I was hopeing to get some big dollar work in the door as a result of that story. In reality though I haven't had a single phone call relating to that advertising. I told ya's! Nothing more than toilet paper. Maybe I'm in the wrong business...

See you there you freaks!

     Simon

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cruetoone
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« Reply #12 on: Wednesday, 06 January, 2010, 02:28:52 PM »

the wrong business are you insane cars are a great business to be in... the summernats looks like a great event an down in canberra to people are talking about it on another forum so make sure you take business cards .... Wink
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CyCo
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« Reply #13 on: Wednesday, 06 January, 2010, 03:23:36 PM »

Simon, wait until the unveiling, I'd say that will be the moment when people stand up and take notice. By that I mean the people out on the streets, not in the industry. It's the customers who count in the end.
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The Metalsmith
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« Reply #14 on: Tuesday, 12 January, 2010, 11:33:45 AM »

Disappointed!!
                                     I should've known. The Army is still way too politically driven to actually stick to their word. Yes, Susie and I were lucky enough to get our tickets to the weekend through my old army mate Benny who had to do it on the sly because the new 20 year old lieutenant ( lewy) of the project chose not to want to know me.

We were also promised a sneak preview of the car before it was officailly unveiled on Friday but on the way in to the pavillion this new lewy is suddenly in my face giving me attitude, whether I'm ex-army and built the car or not. He tells Susie and I to wait outside for an hour while they "polish" the car then leaves through another exit so he doesn't have to deal with me.

Okay. I know it's all the lewy because I can see the looks on the young diggers' faces. They know who I am and they're ashamed of what the lewy is doing. So anyway, we rock up to the officail unveiling. Susie and I'm in the front row, not inside the barrier. The veil goes down and it's apparent to myself and several other onlookers that the paint is barely above average.

 I have a good look first before I speak to the actual painter who confirms that the apprentices who did the initial work stuffed it and at the 11th hour he was called in to fix the unfixable. Some of the crowd is listening to us while we discuss the blemishes on the body when the lewy is in my face again this time calling me names and threatening to have me escorted from the building. WTF?

Throughout the announcing the speaker was instructed not to mention the car was built by anyone but the Army. This theme carried over the following day as the promised advertising from the projects' many contributors failed to even exist. Bloody sign was supposed to be as high as the truck. Nothing. Not even a hint of anything other than the Army did it all.

One of the legend car builders viewing the car asked who did the rear doors. Before the lewy could say anything I yelled, "I did!" and walked around to speak to him. At length, after explaining to the gathered crowd everything I'd done to the car the lewy was in my face yet again asking me to leave. I was about to get real feral ( I've always wanted to hit a lewy, especailly one that desperately needs it and believe me, I would've utterly DECKED him ) when I caught the look on my good Army mates' face that said don't. Ok mate. I didn't want my mates copping any repercussions.

So Susie and I left. We didn't bother going back on the Sunday. We'd seen enough of both the Summernats itself anyway and definately enough of the hospitality we recieved from certain sections the Army.

The next chapter in this saga takes place when Street Machine magazine puts the car on the front cover in either Feburary or March edition. I know the writer, Scotty Taylor, won't be intimidated by the Army when writing the story for the article and will stick to the facts. It'll still be a very interesting read though.

     Simon

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