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Sterling CCC400 (aka "the V6")

So I picked this one up off of unofun here on the site. So hats off to him - he gave me some really cool stuff with the car like a old issue (Jan '82) of hotVWs which featured the Sterling and a few things tucked inside.

About the car:
The body is a t-top style canopy on an early 80s chasis (I think it is 84 but Greg can weigh in if her remembers better than I...). The car has a smooth hood (no nostrils) and a louvered rear deck. It is finished in a cherry red with a gold pin strip on the front and the rear (nothing at the canopy). The car has been modified to house a Buick V6 3800, with a quadrajet carb. The back of the body has been bumped out a bit to accommodate this beast. The transmission is some kind of automatic with a kung fu shift grip. It moves like a manual but the lack of a clutch is telling...

Fun fact on this car, I refer to this car in my personal notes and computer files as "The Quadra". This is not only due to the fact that this thing has/had a quadrajet but that I am the fourth time Greg has sold this same car! We are both excited to see this come to pass

My general plan:
I need to drop the engine and completely rebuild it. I will finish it with a nice engine paint that suits the final look.
The carburetor was toast and will be replaced with a good quadrajet to stay true to its known DNA.
The transmission will be 1. converted back to a manual transmission (or some kind fo really cool Hurst slap shifter), and 2. repositioned to move it closer to the steering wheel (vice its native bug location buried deep inside the console area) making for a more natural loock and feel.
The parking brake was deleted but will be re-added.
The pedal box will need to be rebuilt as my short legs can barely hit them without me sliding too far forward in the seat.
There appears to be some rust near the engine mounts and the seat pans. Although barn kept for several years, I am sure this was from earlier and is likely superficial. It will all be remedied when the engine is dropped for rebuild.
All the wiring in the car needs to be replaced. Aside from some of it being just really old (1984??), I am frustrated by the fact that the battery I dropped in for testing has the terminals on the wrong side, meaning the cables are just a bit short to connect and still have the battery sit in its "spot". I also want to install a dedicated fuse panel in the nose for some major items (canopy, lights, engine stuff, etc). I may put the dashboard stuff on this panel or I may tuck it inside the cockpit, undecided as of yet. I just know that I need to clean things up from how earlier builders did things.
New fuel tank.
The canopy (as mentioned here) has a hydraulic liftbut I want to convert it to linear actuators. The "escape plan" for a canopy lift failure is to remove the windows ans t-top and climb out. the "locked out access plan" (meaning the system has failed and is locked shut with me outside) is still being developed but I am still doing my research on some ideas I have.
The dash will be converted from analog gauges to a multi-function display. The dash will be a bit less busy than before and I will use the newly available real estate to add a good head unit. I may go with some thing like OpenAuto since I have a spare raspberry pi on hand. I definitely want to add a rear camera so the screen will need a place to live.
I will keep the car red (with the pinstripe, it really looks good) bit I will have the whole body redone with a fresh gel coat as what is on there has issues all the way to the fiberglass in some spots.
I will change the front tires to put something a little more narrow on but I want to keep the overall look of the rear tires. I may change the rims completely so we will see on this.
 

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Summary entry 2022-02-11.
* Removed seat covers, put aside for later (will have to replace since they are not serviceable due to age/wear).
* Removed foam padding from seats and trashed them, will replace later.
* Dried water from seats. Picked up plastic drop cloth to put under the car cover since the cheap temporary cover is not as waterproof as advertised nor are the cockpit seals sealing.
* Removed dash board panel. Had to cut most wires due to frozen screw heads on terminals This is okay since a re-wire is planned.
* Added lithium grease to t-top latches since some were sticking - they move easily now.

Next step: identify a mechanic who can come out and pull the engine for rebuild OR find a shop I can tralier it to for same.
 

nbb350

Member
Some advice based on my experience:

Look at the Highway wiring kits offered by American Autowire. ( https://americanautowire.com/collections/highway ) When you have a non-VW engine and accessories like us, there really isn't any point in modifying a VW wiring harness. Just start from scratch. I like the AA wiring kits because the wires are MARKED and connect at BOTH ends. It's a LOT easier to run the wires that way vs. when they're pre-connected to a fuse block and you're basically trying to "wire in an Octopus!" LOL

Another Escape Plan option could be to use "detent pull pins" for the mount at the bottom of the linear actuators. That way if the linacs fail, and you can summon some help outside, you can reach down (contort?) and pull the pins so the outside helpers can lift the canopy up for you to escape. AND THEN NOT DROP THE CANOPY! ;)

Are your side windows glass or plastic (lexan/polycarbonite/plexiglass)? If plastic, your Locked Out Access Plan could be "drill thru plastic to open window latch". Or, just don't latch the windows when you close the canopy. Or, remove the windows completely (and have no security, but depends on where you park the car).
 
Awesome! I will check them out. Thanks.

I like the external pull-pin idea, way better than my thoughts... (adding some real vent ports to the side which have 1. a sealable shield to protect the pistons from the environments, and 2. a relief exit for air entering the nose cone and passing over the front radiators - ugly but effective)...

My side windows are real glass. I have the brackets and catches for these but the rear pop-out hinge is missing the internal mount on both sides (at least I have not found them yet...)

The car will unfortunately be parked outside most of the time but I will get a nice custom car cover made once I am done. I plan to store it behind the seats if I still have space for the tops and glass (which I need something to put back there to protect anyways...)

My security plan includes: Apple AirTags, the key switch for the lift, a remote for the lift, and an aftermarket old-school alarm system (if I can find a good one). If I do the OpenAuto thing with a RaspberryPi, I may add some fall-back GPS thing through this with an independent GSM uplink. But I will need the windows on and closed when not in use most of the time...
 

nbb350

Member
another idea for the engine: instead of a rebuild, look for a Donor Car with a good, running 3800. Note that the 3800 block bolt patterns are different between RWD (pickups and camaros) and FWD (bonnevilles and grand prixs) engines due to the different trannies they use. Depending on what you have in there now...
 
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