MY OLD Dad years ago used to say that what you needed to finish a job was two-bob’sworth of finesse. What he meant was you needed to just step back a bit, slow down, and make sure you put a little extra effort into finishing off the job properly.
What we’re talking about is your project, the love of your life (other than your partner, of course), the car you’ve been working on over the last several years. You’re getting close to the end and the mistake that everybody – and I mean everybody – makes is to get impatient and rush through the last of the finishing-off tasks. We’re talking fitting the last few components into the engine bay, installing the final wiring, putting in hoses, those sorts of things.
The end result is, if you get it right, you’ll be much happier, the car will probably function better and your partner gets an easier life.
There are a few things I do when I start getting in to dressing up a car, particularly an engine bay. For a start, I’m always having a good close look at other people’s projects as a source of ideas. If you see a good idea, feel free to plagiarise!
I’m also watching the Gearbox section of this mag and the equivalent new products pages in its sister title Street Machine, because you’ll often see something that just fits a need. For example, I recently ordered some custom rocker covers for a Statesman we’re working on – something I spotted in Street Machine.
Something we spend a fair bit of time and trouble on is getting decent bolt kits. Get to know the bolt specialists in your local area – you might be surprised at how many there in the metro areas – as they’re invaluable. I also look out for good-quality kits, very often in stainless steel, from reputable suppliers such as Gardner Westcott or ARP.
Some of the better speed shops, like Rocket in Sydney and VPW in Melbourne or Outlaw in Queensland – there are plenty of them once you start looking – are invaluable. What I like about these places is you can track down a lot of finishing-off pieces, like decent braided hoses, junction pieces and the like, that really lift the whole look of the engine bay. That’s assuming of course that you’re not going for strict originality.
At this stage the additional cost shouldn’t blow out the budget – the real money is in getting the bodywork and the fundamentals of the powerplant right. However the difference in how it makes the car look and feel is enormous.
Here’s another example of a little detail I like to do, which is the starter power cable. Typically it’s a great ugly thing that meanders its way across the engine bay. I prefer to find a neat battery cover and subtly tuck away the wiring through the inner guard. Another example is I generally put a fair bit of effort into getting the ignition wiring neat and tidy – often using custom-made gear from Ice Ignition – instead of having it looking like a plate of spaghetti.
None of this is rocket science, or absolutely critical. But as the old man said, that two-bob’s-worth of finessing at the end can make a hell of a difference to how the project ends up.
Note: Mick runs Glenlyon Motors in Brunswick, Vic.Tel (03) 9380 5082.