More slow but steady progress during September on ol' Blue. After removing in excess of 50 lbs of "stuff" out of the doors I needed a way to open them. So I fabbed up these door handles which are somewhat like those people use in fiberglass doors. Once again I was reminded how cheap those store bought "kits" from Bickle or Quartermax really are after spending quite a bit of time making these handles from scratch myself. I haven't weighed the new ones, but they are pretty light - they are made from 1/8" aluminum and about 6" long. The bracket that attaches to the upper panel of the door is steel, it might weigh a 1/2 lb at most. The release mechanism is just lightweight steel rod bent like the stock ones were on each end. No fasteners and super simple - they can't vibrate out. I've also been working on capping the sides of the firewall off where the air box was removed. I"m sure Kurt will be happy to know I've removed the part of the firewall he kept snagging his skin on. I used 20ga sheetmetal for the cap and removed the inner panels where the old foot vents were to save a couple lbs. Of course welding 20ga is always fun, but it worked out and didn't add too much weight. The fun part is the sealant that seems to leak out of seams in the firewall when you're welding. The cap should seal off the back side of the firewall - I didn't really like the idea of leaving it open on the ends where fire and/or smoke could make it's way around behind the fenders. Unseen is all the clean up work I did under the car. Dirt, oil, and welding required some clean up and repainting under the floorboard. It's looking a lot nicer under there now, definitely not show car quality, but should pass the 40' test.
Still working on the firewall, but I'm getting closed to finishing up on my to-do list. Sunday I made these aluminum cowl plates to cover up the big holes in the cowl. Since the hood I'm using replaces the OEM cowl cover, it left two big holes at the top that I didn't like the looks of. So, after a lot of surgery to the top of the cowl so the plates could lay flat, and a handful of Dzus brackets I've got some handy dandy covers for it now - and they don't weigh too much. The area around where the wiper motor used to be had to be split and sectioned, then rewelded in order for the plates to sit flat. Also had to make a piece to fill in a hole near where the left wiper arm was. What looked like simple project turned out to be quite involved, but done now so I can move on to the next project.