Progress can be a funny thing; or at least the feeling of progress and/or accomplishment can be. Sometimes, you can engross yourself for days, weeks or months in a project, step back, and look at your work only to see that visually, you have very little to show for it.
There can be moments within that same process that a few simple tasks can transform those endless hours of work into something visual – something that everyone can see and appreciate. We’re beginning to enjoy a few of those moments within project Vega Resurrection!
Jeff Hayes and his staff at Purple Hayes Performance have worked for months on the Vega – I know they have because I’ve seen the small gains just like I’ve seen the obvious, can’t miss ones – and now that we’re nearing the end of the Vega’s stay at his shop, he (and I) can step back and really begin to appreciate the progress visually.
So what’s new? Jeff and his guys have mounted up a new fiberglass front end and hood; both of which are Harwood pieces that I purchased through JEGS. The factory steel doors (roll up windows) are mounted and the factory rear hatch has been re-installed, with some re-engineered hinges and hydraulic assists.
Everything in the trunk area is done: my Nitrous Express bottle is mounted with a slick NX billet mount (also purchased at JEGS). The trunk area also houses a pair of battery mounts, in addition to a custom aluminum fuel cell with a separate tank that Jeff added for gasoline (I plan to run the car on alcohol) – to use as a primer system and with the nitrous.
Moving toward the front of the car, once Jeff and I began to examine the 40+-year-old steering system, we quickly realized that it was… Well… Suspect at best. So Jeff re-engineered the steering linkage and replaced all of the old hardware. I didn’t feel unsafe before (mainly because I never really realized what I was working with), but suffice to say – I feel a bit safer now!
I found a replacement fiberglass dash from Hairy Glass. It’s essentially the same piece that was in the car, just with a few less holes (some of which appeared to be made with a hammer) than the original. Jeff got it fitted, and is currently setting it up to house a new Auto Meter LCD dash and data logger (the same dash that we have in our dragsters, and had in the Corvette – I love this setup… And it looks badass).
In addition to the fabrication work that Jeff has been doing, I’ve gotten a bit of a jump on ordering parts for the “new” whip. As you’ll see throughout the process, I will go to my grave with this car for two reasons: First and foremost, I love it as much as I’ve ever loved a machine (and I’m not one to get attached to my equipment). That’s a good thing, because the second reason I’ll have this car for the rest of my life is because no one will ever pay anything close to what I’m going to have wrapped up in it to own it for themselves! But that’s okay; it’s going to be exactly what I want. And at this point in my racing career, that’s priceless (at least that’s what I’m trying to convince my wife)!
Some of the products that we’ve accumulated thus far include a set of Ohlins TTX-36 shocks. I’ve been using Ohlins products for years (we’re a dealer), and I couldn’t imagine going any other direction. When Jeff asked me about mounting a shifter, I called up my buddy and racing legend Peter Biondo at Biondo Racing Products and ordered their Pro Outlaw. Same deal: we’ve been using this shifter in the dragsters and Corvette, I like it, and I want to stick with what I’m used to. It’s a really nice piece (and the carbon wrap will fit right in when the interior is done)!
Finally, while I’ve been running K&R Performance products for the entirety of my racing career (including the Vega in its previous life), it was in need of an upgrade. I’ve sent the existing delay box back to Kevin at K&R for a freshen-up and a new carbon illusion cover. I also went ahead and ordered twin dial boards for the Vega so I won’t have to muck up my new windows with shoe polish. K&R has integrated their dial boards with the delay box – so that the dial-in you enter in the box automatically appears on the dial board (great idea).
Since I intend to do a fair amount of No Box racing, however, I went ahead and got a separate controller for the dial-boards that will stay in the car when the delay box is removed. Since the K&R switch panel was over 10 years old, I went ahead and replaced it with a new model as well.
The Vega shouldn’t be at Purple Hayes much longer; but that doesn’t mean we’re nearing completion. Once Jeff completes this phase of the process, I’m going to have it all acid dipped to remove 40 years of grime, paint, and everything else. Then it’s going to powdercoat. Then it’s going to my buddy Shawn Johnston’s shop for paint. I am utterly and entirely undecided on paint color. All I know at this point is that I want something simple: probably one color. So if you have any suggestions, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.
Once Shawn works his magic, then the real fun begins! The Vega comes home and I begin to tackle the arduous task of final assembly.
Look forward to several more (and more regular) updates to this blog throughout 2018. In the next edition, we’ll discuss what we’re doing for power and torque conversion on the Vega Resurrection.
Maybe the sexiest purchase in the Vega Resurrection to this point: a set of Ohlins TTX rear shocks. Luke Bogacki Motorsports is an Ohlins dealer, and I’ve run the TTX series shocks on my mono-shock American Race Cars Dragsters for years. But I’ve always told customers that for most dual shock applications, the more economical Ohlins LMP version is usually sufficient (that’s what I ran on both of my Charlie Stewart Race Cars Corvettes, with success). But when I called Matt Cooke to order my Ohlins shocks for the Vega, he told me that Wes May has been running a set of TTX’s on his Regal. It’s hard to argue with what Wes is doing. Long story short, he cost me a fair amount of money in an effort to keep up. Thanks Wes!