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dropped pans


New member
Not sure where to stick this so Chassis Reinforcements/Modifications will have to do...

I've spent the last three days studying the build threads on the Nova site, paying particular interest to the subject of dropped pans. It looks like the pans are basically two independent panels on either side of the tunnel that really don't play huge role in the rigidity of the chassis. From looking at the pictures, I'd guess that the tunnel carries nearly the entire load making the chassis a fairly simple "I" shape with a couple of pans hanging off the sides to give the passengers something to sit on.

I guess my question is this: when doing a drop pan mod, why not just drop the entire pan, front to back and side to side. It would increase interior space, retain the aerodynamic features of the flat bottom, and you could connect the two side pans to each other and the tunnel every 4-6 inches or so which would greatly enhance the rigidity of the structure.

I probably won't be able to describe this very well, but here it goes: after installing the drop pans, the bottom of the pans will sit 2-4 inches lower than the bottom plate of the tunnel. My thought is that one could weld in a series of square shaped pieces of metal spaced 4-6 inches apart down the length of the tunnel connected to the inside of each pan on the sides of the squares and the bottom of the tunnel on the top of the square to create a ribbed effect.

Another option is just connect the bottoms of both pans together with a strip of metal (to cap off that space) that basically mimics the bottom of the tunnel and runs parallel to it. If you wanted to go nuts, you could use both the ribbing and the bottom cap to tie everything together for maximum rigidity.

Any thoughts?
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Site Owner
Staff member
Excellent thread, Sam. And you're thinking just right.

The vast majority of the torsional strength of the Bug chassis comes from that center tunnel. The floor pans aren't totally insignificant to the structural integrity of the car, but it is actually remarkable how LITTLE they contribute except to tie to the body (which itself adds a significant amount of rigidity to the car, though.)

But said another way, you absolutely could actually cut out a Bug's floor pan (and side channels) and still drive the car surprisingly well. And what this means to us is that we have a HUGE amount of leeway in what we do with the floors.

With that in mind, it absolutely baffles me that so many builders drop the floor only right under the seat. I personally strongly believe that MANY aspects of the drivability of the car get better if you drop the pan its entire length from your heels to your back. There is really no insurmountable downside to doing so, and it gives you tons more room for your feet, more room for getting on pedals, it lowers your leg angle which gets your shins and knees away from the dash, it gives you a more natural seating position, it gives a little more headroom, and in many ways its as easy/easier to do than just dropping the area under the seats. EVERY aspect of the driving experience of these cars gets better by dropping that pan it's whole length.

And yet, almost nobody does it(!) Over the years, I have had a small handful people ask me what I've learned from doing a semi-custom chassis and what things I recommend doing again (or not). Near the top of my list of recommendations was to drop the pan its full length. (Ironically, I don't think any of those people took the advice. Oh well.)

Anyway, I think I can picture what you're saying, and it's not too different from what exists on two of my cars.

On my blue car, I simply cut out the entire floor pan and then welded a 1x2 rectangular box frame around the perimeter, using the leftover edges of the pan as a reference point. It was actually very easy to do: Just cut, clamp, and go. Very little jigging was required because the remaining parts of the stock chassis give you all of the reference points. Later, I actually ended up dropping the pan even further by adding ANOTHER 1x1 1/2 perimeter of rectangular tubing under the first round. I did this purely empirically after learning that 1) I wanted even more headroom and 2), I still had good ground clearance. But that's why it looks so patch-work and Frankenstinian. It's basically a drivable prototype. If I did it again from scratch, it wouldn't look so patchy.

Anyway, these photos are a little busy, but if you look carefully you can see what was done...which is not a lot different from what you suggested. The only thing the photos don't show are the little cross pieces that tie one side to the other under the tube. I used three heavy steel plates (1/4 inch, chrome-moly) that bolted across the bottom under the tunnel at three locations front to back. (Each plate was about five inches 'long' front-to-back and was a little wider than the tunnel, allowing bolt points I could easily get to on the floor.) The reason I did that was that I'm using that new "dead" space under the tunnel to plumb all my stuff for cooling, heating, and A/C, so I wanted strong cross-ties but I wanted ones that could be removed to easily drop the plumbing.

Here are those photos:


Here is an additional photo from my archive that (sort of) shows one of those plates that tie one side to the other.


In this next photo, you can see the underside of my "burgundy" car. I was not the builder of this car. But what the builder did in this one was to weld up two long, fairly sturdy drop pans that run the entire length of the crew compartment. He did so with steel plate that feels pretty substantial (like maybe 1/8 inch).


That strategy isn't as strong as the one with the perimeter frame, but I can tell you that it feels like the Rock of Gibraltar, so arguably, mine is overbuilt. Still, I like the adaptability that mine has. For instance, it allowed me to weld in some very strong seat mounts and also a long, diagonal "impact bar" or chassis-stiffening piece that couldn't have been done if I hadn't created that perimeter box frame. (Glance back at the first photos.)

The ONE thing I don't like about the functionality of the whole-length drop pan in the burgundy car is that the clutch pedal is currently a little weird. The problem is that the Sterling/Bug body is also very narrow at your feet. You feel this the most at your left foot, especially if the floor is lower because now your foot has to be totally on the inside of the body flange rather than your toe being able to be a little higher than that body flange at normal floor height (because the Sterling body flange itself is almost 2 inches deep, unaltered). In the chassis I built, this isn't a problem because I pushed out the perimeter frame a little at my left foot and cut that body flange back a little more. But be warned, you might want to give yourself a little extra LATERAL space at your left foot as well.

But in summary, I think it's an awesome idea to drop the floor along its whole length and I think people are really missing out when they don't do that.


New member
I like where your heads at with the plate idea. In fact, as soon as I made the post I started thinking about it and came to the same conclusion that bolting something together would be a better design because it gives you flexibility and a ready made channel for running cooling lines, etc.

I had noticed all the box steel on the blue car before when I was looking at your Nissan set up (it only looks patchwork to the untrained eye ;)). I do remember thinking how unbelievably sturdy that must be, but also wondering at the weight. It seems that the Burgundy car has struck a nice balance between strength and weight. In fact, it could probably be stiffened up a good bit with the lessons that old blue has taught without too big a hit to the weight. Just the center plates would offer a huge gain to torsional rigidity.

Also, what if one welded in just the lip of the plates, fabbed up the rest of the structure out of AL plate, and then bolted it to the lip? Sorry for that flight of fancy there... not planning on dropping the coin that a bunch of .25 AL plate would cost, but it would be the best of both worlds as far as strength and weight are concerned.

I'm thinking you could do the boxes in .125 sheet metal, reinforce every corner with angle iron, do a little more bracing up to the original pan mounts, tie the two halves together with some .24 or even .5 aluminum plate down the middle and have a structure that is incredibly strong and reasonably light. It would basically utilize the best results of your two examples.

Of course in Sterling Chassis Mod 2.0, the entire structure would be fabbed out of hand laid carbon fiber so weight and strength wouldn't be an issue *thumbs up*

By the way, the cars are in route tonight and are scheduled to be delivered at 8 am tomorrow morning! A short delay was caused by mechanical issues with the truck, but the shipping co has been very good with everything.


New member
By the way, any more details (and/or pictures ;)) you can provide on that whole left foot well situation would be much appreciated!


Honorary Admin
What, like this Sam? *laugh*

SR pan.jpg
SR pan2.jpg
SR pan3.jpg
SR pan 4.jpg

That's the frame from my old dune buggy. Perimeter angle iron frame, cross braced underneath and welded. Floor was 3/16 aluminum sheet, screwed to the frame in a handful of places. Did the same thing to my old Sterling, too, thinking it would gain me a couple extra inches in seat adjustment. It didn't, all it gained was headroom. To really gain extra "seat" room, the corner of the backbone of the chassis where it curves around to the back (either side of the VIN number) needs to be cut away and new metal needs to be welded back in squarely.
What you will find, though, if you retain the Bug pedal cluster is that your foot will now be too short to comfortably work the pedals. In the Sterling, I built in a little block under where my heel would be so I could rest my foot on the floor. In the buggy I neglected to do that, and my foot was always hovering off the board. Another issue that might escape people is for the passenger - on a flat floor there is no place for them to rest their feet. The Sterling I actually cut a 4x4 on a diagonal and carpeted it to match the car, and it sat perfectly in the angle from the floor to the front part of the pan. My wife could easily relax and rest her feet. The Manx... was short enough it wasn't so much an issue, but I still built in a foot rest. It does make a difference!


New member
Wow, good point on the pedal locations and foot rest. Funny how the little things make all the difference in the world.

Is it possible to lower the pedals a couple of inches or so (whatever the pan depth happens to be) to maintain the stock height from the floor?


Honorary Admin
No. The pedal height is pretty much dictated by the internals of the tunnel and where all the guide tubes lay. To move the cluster you would have to weld shut the hole that the cluster currently occupies and re-drill for the new position... which really wouldn't make much sense since it might only be an inch or so lower. Plus, and I did forget to mention this, there are stops under the pedals for the brake and clutch that keep the pedals themselves from falling forward and falling flat to the floor! A little shim across the floorpan is all that's needed for that, but something to keep in mind.
Now... that said, you can see the twin hydraulic setup on that buggy pan. With a little creativity, those can be used for a Sterling, eliminating the clutch pedal. From that, you could rig a new accelerator tube and line through the tunnel, so you could effectively lower the pedal cluster to where you need it. But, like everything else, there's a bunch of fabrication involved!


Site Owner
Staff member
I had noticed all the box steel on the blue car before when I was looking at your Nissan set up (it only looks patchwork to the untrained eye ;)). I do remember thinking how unbelievably sturdy that must be, but also wondering at the weight. It seems that the Burgundy car has struck a nice balance between strength and weight. In fact, it could probably be stiffened up a good bit with the lessons that old blue has taught without too big a hit to the weight. Just the center plates would offer a huge gain to torsional rigidity.

Well now you sound like my dad! *laugh**laugh**laugh* My dad's main hobby is building and restoring airplanes, and there is a joke in our house that I'm not allow to help him with them because "Anyhing would build would be so heavy that it wouldn't get off the ground at the end of the runway." (To which I usually respond, "Yeah, but it would survive the accident as it tumbled past the end of the runway.") :) He lovingly refers to the blue car as "the Sherman tank" and reminds me that his father, an engineer for the old Bethlehem Steel, always tended to overbuild things, too. It's like when you're making spaghetti and you look in the pot and think, "Aw crap, that can't be enough," so you add a little more and a little more. But then you end up with a giant pile of spaghetti that's much more than you need.

That's what I sometimes find myself doing mechanically. I put a lot of thought into the various torsions and stresses, masses and vibrations, accessibility and servicability for a given fabrication...but then I panic and make it "just a little bit stronger." *laugh*

So your points are 100% on the money, and I sometimes laugh at myself. All of those considerations are in my head, too. It all boiled down to calculated compromises.

That said, it's not as bad (ie, not as heavy) as it looks. Almost 100% of the tubing you are seeing is 4130 alloy chrome moly aircraft tubing, which is about 80% stronger than carbon steel tubing. As such, you can get away with using significantly thinner wall thicknesses yet have the same strength. It's not easy on the wallet -- I think the rectangular was about $5.50 a foot -- but it's extremely strong and light.

I haven't had a chance to weight the thing yet, but my own personal goal is to have the chassis weigh no more than 200 pounds more. In a way, 200 pounds is a lot, but in another way, it's an investment. I have a V6 turbo in that car and so I actually wanted the nose to end up heavier than stock to help re-establish a better balance. Plus I have an engine cradle that picks up the engine's stock mounting points and takes all of those forces off the Bug engine fork. Plus, I have solid structure built out to two very real bumpers. You can actually winch and tow the car on the bumpers, and they have energy absorbers from an old '80s Rabbit so they function in that respect, too.

It's a compromise. The ultimate weak link/flaw in my plan is perhaps the transaxle. I figured I can get away with more weight because I have an engine that puts out 220 hp stock (tweakable to 400 hp, which I would never be able to use). And keep in mind that a 'stock' Sterling is actually about 200-250 lbs lighter than the donor bug, so even with the bigger engine and heavier chassis, I hope I won't be more than about 150 lbs heavier than the stock bug (and with a bigger engine and a bullet proof, very rigid chassis.) So the chassis is heavier, but the engine is bigger, but the transaxle is...gulp...the same. Honestly, I don't drive hard, so I don't expect a problem.

Disclaimer alert: This car is not on the road yet. :) It might be awesome. It might be a real turd. Only time will tell.

For anyone wanting to have a custom or semi-custom chassis, there are various compromises you need to make. If you're making a custom chassis (with roll bars, side impact protection, etc.) that uses the stock back-bone and suspension, it's much easier than starting from scratch, but it is necessarily going to end up being heavier than stock. Conversely, if you really want to end up with a light AND strong chassis, you pretty much have to weld up a totally custom space frame chassis, which is a wonderful endeavour but is much larger in scope. (You pretty much need to have trustworthy jigs and some pretty sophisticated checks-and-balances to end up with a chassis that is straight and true).

But anyway, if a person's main goal is to just drop the floorboards in a structurally sound way, I think you're exactly right that the best balance lies somewhere in between my blue car and the burgundy one, (or said another way, one that's like Rick's dune buggy.) If you want side impact protection or a truss out to bumpers or engine cradles, it become very hard to do so using many fewer pieces than I have on the blue car. You begin the process of building a tank. :)

Changing gears...

I think Rick's dune buggy chassis represents that nice balance if the goal is to drop the floor boards in a sturdy way.

I am SO glad that Rick brought up the pedal issue because I forgot to. He is very right that, if you use the stock pedals, you can't lower too much under your heel or else the pedals feel like they don't move correctly (because the rotation point is more towards the center of your foot rather than at your heel.) I had a brain fart and didn't even mention this because neither of the two cars I talked about have stock bug pedals. The blue cars uses the Nissan 300ZX donor-car pedals (which feel like a dream but were a monster to jig, mount, and fabricate.) The burgundy car is much more straight-forward -- it uses a very typical after-market 'buggy' pedal cluster that is relatively easy to add. But yeah, my cars don't have that "rotation point" problem because my pedals were lower as well.

(Here are the Nissan pedals in my blue Sterling. (Note that they hang down rather than extend up like the Bug pedals -- hence the need for that bird cage of additional metal under the custom dash.))


Even if you're going to use the stock pedals, I think it's nice to have a little more room under you heel. I have relatively small feet (9 1/2), and, in my red car that has stock bug pedals at stock height, I am forever getting my right big toe stuck on the steering column when I go for the brake. It is very unnerving. It makes me feel like, if I had to jump on the pedal hard or fast, I might not get there. The problem is that the steering column is necessarily angled lower in the Sterling than it would be in a Bug, which puts is really close to your toes of your right foot. So in my red car, which uses stock pedals, I'm planning on dropping the floorboard at the pedals to try to alleviate that constricted feeling around my right foot. I'm going to drop them at least 1 1/2 inches under my heel, but I'm actually expecting to have to then put a slightly raised shim or heel plate under my right heel to make sure I find a good balance. The best option would be to build it to the "perfect" height to begin with. But I figured that, not knowing what would feel perfect, I'll drop the floor a little more than I need to and then just shim my heel up to whatever feels best.

Rick made another excellent point that warrants emphasis: A totally flat floor feels terribly unnatural when you're seated. Adding to this, it is REALLY difficult to climb out of a Sterling that has a totally flat floor because there's nothing to brace against.

In my blue car, while the floor was out but the body was lowered onto it, I did a lot of tests getting into and out of the car. I tried to figure out at what locations my foot naturally fell and at what locations it would be nice to have a little bracket or pad to push against.

The rough result can be seen in the following photos. The green arrow shows a cross-member that is actually a few inches in FRONT of the seats. The primary function for that piece was that I wanted a structural cross-member somewhere in the vicinity of the attachment point of that diagonal 'side impact' bar. But the secondary function... and the reason that I put it exactly where I did... is because it felt so good under my heel when I'm getting in and out. I plan to put carpeting down and then put a little, good-looking brake pedal bad right there to finish things out. But yeah, trust me (try it), it feels great to have something to push off of right there!

And for the passenger, the blue arrows show brackets that will hold an angled board that's set to a very comfortable position for the passenger.

Foot braces:


As a bonus, you'll also find that the driver's left foot needs a similar place to rest. I have a little, slightly angled pad off to the left of the clutch pedal that just kinda "felt right" to rest my foot against which driving.

Anyway, the over-arcing point is that one of the neatest things about a kit car is that you have the option of making it EXACTLY how you want it. You can make it fit you like a glove. My big suggestion is to do lots of experiments as you're building things. Knock out the floor boards, then experiment a lot to find what you like.

Here's a fun tip: After my floor board were out (and while the body was on), I would take a piece of plywood that was a little wider than the floor boards and then put a floor jack under it and simply temporarily jack it up against the bottom of the car. Doing so it ridiculously easy, and it allows you to try different positions. If you want it lower, just add another strip of wood between the chassis and plywood 'floor' on either side and then jack the floor back up against the chassis again. You will very quickly be able to determine what you like and what you don't.

Hey, related to all of this, I thought I'd quickly mention how the stock Bug pedal cluster works because it ties into what Rick was saying about the feasibility of lowering the pedals themselves. (He is 100% right that it would be extremely impractical to try to lower the stock pedals themselves.)

Shown below is a stock Bug pedal cluster. It's very simple and clever. All three pedals are attached to the same mount and rotate around the same pivot point. The gas pedal pulls on a cable, the brake pedal pushes forward to the mater cylinder that's mounted on the other side of the front bulkhead immediately in front of the pedal, and the clutch is perhaps most interesting: See that little hook on the inboard end of the 'pivot' bolt? That attaches to a sturdy cable that gets pulled to disengage the clutch.


Now, if you were trying to lower the stock cluster, the gas pedal wouldn't fight you too much. And the brake pedal wouldn't be insurmountable (you'd just have to mount the master cylinder below the front framehead floor rather than above it...or create some linkage up to it, etc.) But the clutch pedal is what would kick a builder's ass. That cable goes through a tube that's integral to the center tunnel. To re-direct that whole run would be a nightmare.

The good news is that they make after-market hydraulic clutches that work like a charm. At the pedal end, you simply have another master cylinder, very similar to the brake. At the transaxle end of things, you have a little slave cylinder that's plumbed to pull on the clutch lever just like the cable used to. It's very elegant and easy to do.

And yet there's always a catch, and in this case the catch is that those master cylinders in front of the aftermarket pedals take up room. And there isn't much room in front of the pedal before you hit lots of structurally important fiberglass and metal. If you lowered the pedals only a little, that puts the mater cylinders right in the way of all kinds of structural elements in that area. Ironically, you almost HAVE to drop the floor a good 2 1/2 inches or more just to get to a point that the master cylinders don't interfere with anything structural in that area.

It's definitely an adventure!

You'll be able so visualize all of this much better when you can is finally there in front of you. And when you come up with creative solutions to all the above, don't be shy about sharing them. This is one area where there are dozens of different ways you could take the project.

If you want to try to keep things as simple as possible at first (with stock pedals, etc), I still think it's not a bad idea to lower the pan along it's entire length. You can always easily put a shim under your heels at a later date, but you'll never want to take the body back off and re-cut and re-weld everything after the fact.

Mock it up. Try it out. Pay heed to what Rick said. Make sure you like how things feel.

You're thinking just right about everything. *thumbs up*


Site Owner
Staff member
my floor is all fiberglass
you could do that

I wanted to ask you about that, before: How is the fiberglass floor working out? You did that yourself (or at your friend's shop), right? How did you tie it into the chassis? Is the fiberglass bolted to the chassis or glassed into the body?

It seems like a very tempting option. My original concerns about a fiberglass floor were that 1) It might make the chassis or body/chassis combo weaker depending on how it's done and 2) I guess I was a little worried about how it would handle road rash. When I kick up stones or lightly rub a speed bump, I kind of like having some good old metal down there. How has it been working out for you?


i did not do that myself. neither did my friend.
it came from Kentucky like that.
the outer frame and tunnel are still there but the sheet metal is cut away.
then a fiberglass floor

ill have to check to see if its glassed to the body or bolted

i've been busy lately. the 16th is my wedding and i am getting calls every 3 minutes about things like do we want a jar of sand or candles.

its not on the road so i haven't got a chance to test it
this week though.


New member
Well, worked on the car tonight for about 3 hours and made very, very little progress. The problem is that I need to get the body off to refurbish the pan. Unfortunately, I can't get the body off.

Example 1:
The lower nose is attached to the body with bolts through holes drilled in the upper lip of the lower nose and corresponding holes through the lower lip of the body. The bolts are accessible through 3/4" holes drilled up through the lower nose, right below the bolt heads. The problem is that the nuts on the other side are not accessible. They are in a dead space with no way to reach them with the panel in place. For that matter, how did the builder get the panel in place and torque the nuts?-confused* From what I can see, the only way to get to them is cut out the inside nose area of the body (something that will be done eventually anyway to mount a radiator). It's ridiculous. Do you guys have any suggestions before I get out the cutting wheel.

Example 2:
Can't reach all the bolts with nuts holding the side panels on. The only access is one bolt through the rear wheel well, and two bolts through the interior side cubby holes. The two bolts up forward near the front wheels are not reachable unless your arms are four or five feet long - even then, only one arm can reach in, so good luck both holding the nut and turning the bolt. Again, cutting wheel through the front fender well?

Am I just not getting something?

By the way, the body cannot be removed with the side panels in place. The side panels must be removed (at least on these two cars) as the front of the panels wrap down and under the car to damn near the centerline.
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Honorary Admin
Well, Sam, welcome to the wonderful world of ours! You have to be a bit creative when working with those, especially if they are rusted. The side panels, as you've found out and I mentioned in your other thread, must be removed for the body to be lifted. Did you look at the build manual to see how they were fitted to begin with? Unless the previous owners did something weird, and from the photos they didn't, access should be easy enough to all the bolts for the front undertray and the side panels once the front wheels are off. The front undertray/chin intake bolts can be reached through both wheel wells, though having a second person actually work the rachet helps! And yes, it is a stretch to be sure, but it can be done. There should be a couple more actually underneath the car holding the undertray to the floorpan and the framehead. Side panels are the same way - every bolt can be reached from inside the car through the side opening/glove box recess. I found a vice grip on the nut helps here since you can't get two hands through the opening... unless you're double jointed!

Relax, think about the problem and possible solutions before resorting to breaking out the cutting tools. If the bolts are too far rusted to move, then the only solution is a grinding wheel against the heads.

EDIT: I just looked at your photos again... those panels aren't fiberglassed together, are they? I can't easily detect a seam anywhere!
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Site Owner
Staff member

I had a lot of trouble getting to all of those bolts on mine, too.

Regarding the bolts under the chin of the nose, I think that many builders tried to use a nut pate of some sort so that they could mainly turn the bolts from below without having to have a backer wrench on them. The problem is that, even if they did that otherwise helpful step, those nut plates probably rusted to the bolts long ago. Drat.

In engineering terms, there are many different categories of bolts and fasteners. I believe those are know as Blind, Obscured, Threaded, Challenging, Hexes.

Or "B'OTCH" fasteners. :)

There are two things to be said: 1) The origional plan from the manufacturer was to be able to access all those bolts through contortions via wheel wells, the front scoops, and the side pockets, and there are certainly many Sterlings around that DON'T have suspicious extra holes cut in them. But 2), every Sterling body that I've personally worked on DID have extra cutouts. They all had a convenient cut out for a "speaker" located a little in front of the pockets for the roof hydraulics -- which gives excellent access to the front-most bolts on the pod. Up front, most of the cars I've worked on didn't have any suspicious cut-outs, but two of my cars ended up with radiators that necessitated cut-outs anyway, which opened up more access.

My advice is very similar to Rick's: Don't rush into cutting open many holes; the pieces were designed to be accessable...barely.

But that's assuming that all the hardware is fresh, which of course it isn't. So part two of my advice is, if you have to cut an access hole, it's not a disaster. Keep it reasonable and put it where it's helpful to you later, like for a speaker or for a vent into ta radiator, etc. I've never worked on a virgin body (...insert joke here...) so I've never had one that DIDN'T have some extra hole I could reach through. It's kind of nice to have that extra access.

Like Rick said, though, if all of your bottom pieces are glassed to the main body, that becomes a whole other challenge. There's really no way to separate things except to carefully sand or grind back to expose the seam and then try to pry things apart. (GULP.)

That said, I'll throw one more nuance into the mix: In my red car, the builder glassed the nose and the side pods to the body. But, apparently he had to change the front suspension somewhere along the life to the car, so he made a cut across the bottom of the nose pan, from wheel well to wheel well, and then he scarfed the front piece and asmaller rear piece back together with a strip of alluminum plate and little bolts with big washers. It is unnocitable from the outside, and it would allow the front suspension to be removed again if I ever need to. I wouldn't be able to take the whole body off, though, because the side pods are glassed in, too.

Like Rick said, if your sides are glassed together, you might be able to cut away a chunk of that undercut lip and then flex the rest out a little to remove the body. On my blue car, I did some chassis reinforcements that required me to cut out a little of the bottom of those pods. What I found was that, to clear the chassis, you have to cut away so much of them that you'd have to hide the scar that's left behind by using some sort of added side skirts. Doing so is actually an elegant and fairly easy solution, but you have to be artistic in what skirts you add to the car or it can quickly through off some of the styling.

We're all hoping that yours are just bolted together. But there are a few decent work-arounds if you indeed confirm that everything is bonded together.


New member
Both cars have either glass or bondo to fill the seams; however, the seams look like they are just barely filled and have some micro cracking issues so my thought is that if I can remove the bolts, the rest of it will very likely just break apart and i can clean up the surfaces when they're off.

I think my accessibility issues are due in part because the wheel wells are glassed up to close everything off. It's nice to keep road debris under control, but it creates some dead space as well. No speaker holes in front of the lifts makes those two in the front pretty tough.

I'm heading down to the garage now to take another look at the situation.

The second thought that I'm working on is what to do with the pan. The 2" drop is not in bad shape at all, but it wastes a lot of room (side to side) as the drop starts about 2" in from the tunnel on the inside and 2" in from the frame on the outside. All said, it makes for a very narrow spot to mount a seat and a good bit of wasted space (that's pretty precious in this interior). The other thing is that this car is going to my son who stands at just over 6' as a freshman in HS. He's going to need more than 2". I'd like to go with a 3" or 4" drop with brand new pans that are welded in (not riveted) and run the full length of the interior. Of course my next step would be a new peddle cluster to replace mine which have rusted into a solid blob. If I'm going to do that, I'd really like to go with a more modern hanging set.

All said, the first thing I need to do is get the body off!*very frustrated*

It'll come, it just isn't getting there very quickly!

Have I mentioned that I really love these cars?*love it*


New member
*rock on* Got the rear pan off and both the side skirts! I'm now working on getting that crazy nose off. Haven't had to cut anything off yet, but am coming up on some tough ones so that may still change. haha

On a completely separate note, saw this on u tube and thought it was really funny:

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBb4cjjj1gI]YouTube - Auto-Tune the News #2: pirates. drugs. gay marriage.[/ame]

(Warning, do click on the above link unless you have a bit of a weird sense of humor)


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Well, this thread is turning into a build diary, which wasn't the intent or purpose of these categories, so I'm just going to go ahead and start a proper journal. Please feel free to follow progress of the build and offer any critiques or criticism (constructive or otherwise ;)) that you see fit!


I wanted to ask you about that, before: How is the fiberglass floor working out? You did that yourself (or at your friend's shop), right? How did you tie it into the chassis? Is the fiberglass bolted to the chassis or glassed into the body?

It seems like a very tempting option. My original concerns about a fiberglass floor were that 1) It might make the chassis or body/chassis combo weaker depending on how it's done and 2) I guess I was a little worried about how it would handle road rash. When I kick up stones or lightly rub a speed bump, I kind of like having some good old metal down there. How has it been working out for you?

man I can't see that as an option for me,In fact I am adding piece of plate on the bottom of my dropped pans my car has seen some serious road rash on the pans Gonna tie both on them together with one big plate
Talking about pans, the previous owner of my inbound Cimbria said that the pans were not dropped on the car, but flat, and in bad shape. I should be seeing the car for the first time in 3-4 weeks, but if this is the case, where to start??
My thought was, well, I'd just buy some aftermarket 4" dropped floor pan sections and rivet-bolt-weld- or whatever- them in. The first problem is; I can't find any!! Does anyone know where to get a set?
Cimbria #1 had riveted aluminum pans, which were really weak. The seat glides were bolted directly to them, and they had buckled long ago, so the seats were quite wobbly. I ended up using two pieces of extruded conduit strut and 6 4" long spacers, 3 per strut, across the width of the car directly under the seat mounts. It sturdied things up, but hung down another 1" below the already low 4" drop pans.
I also didn't like the 'abrupt' front facing wall of the drop sections. With the added space, it would have been nice for the depth to 'ramp' back up to the previous floor elevation, and leave just enough of the pan in front of the pedals to rest the heel for the pedal actuation. I think this is what some fiberglass solutions I've seen use.
Anyway, if I need to drop pans, and don't have ready access to a welder, where might I go to buy a couple of 4" drops? After car #1, I can't imagine even getting into one at standard pan height. I was still scrubbing my head from time to time from 4" down!!