We’re getting down to the short rows! To recap, to get from here…
Well, we’ve made a lot of progress!
Tear Down & Clean up… Check!
Fiberglass & Fabrication… Check!
Powder Coat… Check!
Carbon interior… Check!
Drive Train… Check!
Boy oh boy, that doesn’t leave much! Pre-pandemic, we were essentially ready to get it on the track. Obviously, COVID had other plans! In the meantime, we needed to tackle the last big obstacle to completion: exhaust!
My goal here was twofold. First and foremost, I wanted a quiet race car. Admittedly, I’m envious of Big Jed’s “Big Red” and how it flies, yet sounds like a street car. I invested in a radio for crying out loud… I’d like to be able to hear it at idle! Secondarily, it should be obvious by now that if it wasn’t already, the Vega is a family heirloom. It’s not going anywhere: partly because I love it, and partly because no one in their right mind would ever pay what I’ve invested in it! Regardless, the idea is that I’ve spent 3+ years making the Vega the car that I want it to be; in hopes of racing it for the next 20+ years. If and when my sons get into racing, I suspect they’ll drive the Vega (they’re 7 and 1 at the moment). In short, I’ve tried to be very mindful of building everything to last as long as possible.
With that in mind, and the pursuit of continuing the trend of excellence within this project that Shawn and the crew at T2G Customs really elevated by making the body so damn nice, we opted to build custom stainless steel headers and exhaust for the Vega. More money initially to be certain; but (at least in my mind) a justifiable long term investment (oh, and it looks bitchin’!).
Now that the question of what I wanted was resolved, the next question became: Who can build it? Contrary to what you might believe, there are not a ton of fabricators with a wealth of experience building stainless custom SBC headers for a 1974 Don Hardy Vega. Shocker, huh?
The only man for the job is the man that I’ve trusted to build each of the 3 Super Gas Corvette roadsters I’ve owned and driven over the last decade: Charlie Stewart. Charlie and Nathan Martin at Charlie Stewart Race Cars (predictably) knocked this project out of the park.
Then my man Chris Estep took it to the next level. He had the unenviable job of sanding and polishing the raw stainless. Two days & a lot of elbow grease later, it looked like this:
With the exhaust in place, I’m happy to report that the Vega is alive! It made noise for the first time in over 3 years last week. It’s essentially race ready. As some of our area tracks begin to reopen, I’m hopeful to make our return debut as soon as possible.
Throughout this project, we’ve done our best to highlight the manufacturers who’ve made this resurrection possible here in the blog. We’re also proud to display their logos on the Vega (although we’re not quite willing to stick anything on the paint just yet)!
Does having the lower 4 link bar welded together as a diagonal link give you any issues with binding or adjustment. It looks awesome and I like the theory, I am just wondering if it is stressing parts when it is not on the track, on like the ride back from the run on the return road. Seems like it would work good nice and rigid. Awesome car, and the mufflers, did you put them on for NHRA as a requirement, to run a class or why?
Thanks, the car turned out Great.
St. Louis Area Racer
I’ve heard the theory that the X-link can put added stress on the heim ends, which I understand in theory, but haven’t seen any evidence of in practice to this point. The mufflers were strictly personal preference: I feel like I concentrate a little bit better with less noise, and it helps to disguise my downtrack strategy a bit (my neighbors appreciate it too).