Jamie’s Saph Update (309)

| Jamie | Sierra | 28/09/2011 17:27pm
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If Jamie had known that his eagerness with the angle grinder when chopping the slam panel out and fitting those huge 4in intake pipes would cause him this much grief when it came to fitting the headlights, he mightn’t’ve done it.

Alright, so I knew the standard ones wouldn’t fit, and after a period I kind of resigned myself to the fact that I would have to run without any form of illumination and opt for a daytime-only MoT. But I still never anticipated just how much effort it would be to blank off the hideous holes at the front of the car and make something that at least fills the gaps left by the headlights without the car looking like a banger racer.

The metal plates that I bodged together before were never going to stay, they were basically a way of allowing me to see the contours of the front of the car and have a rough idea of how much I have got to play with if I did want to try and squeeze some spotlights or similar in there. Anyway that idea has now been well and truly binned off, and before I go any further with this build I wanted to sort something out once and for all.

Jamie gets to work on the Saph’s bugbear – the headlight area.

After hours of trawling the internet to see if anyone made any fibreglass blanks or anything that would be suitable to tidy up the front of the car the only thing I succeeded in doing was getting incredibly wound up, frustrated, and annoyed.

Then, after calming down a bit, I decided, “sod it, I’ll make my own poxy headlight blanks!”. So I stripped down one of the original units to remove the glass lens from the front of it, looked at it for a bit, and decided it would actually make a perfect mould for a fibreglass replica. A trip down to the local DIY store later and I was armed with all the fibreglass matting, litres of resin, and half the world’s supply of paintbrushes that I’d need to have a go at making what I now consider to be ‘custom composite headlight blanking plates’!

The fibreglass is surprisingly easy to use. I simply cut the matting to a rough shape, larded everything up with resin, prodded and poked at all the corners until everything was looking flush, and let it all dry. When it had dried I peeled the fibreglass away from the glass lens, and to be honest I was half expecting it to look hideous, but to my surprise it was actually quite good.

I then gave it a quick skim of filler and a rub down to make it all look smooth and I finally had something I could bolt onto the front of the car to fill the gaps and make it half resemble a car again! Yippee!!

Job done! Almost. Next step is to get some NASCAR-style fake stickers.

I also had to make a little piece to run under the headlights and across the top of the front bumper to replicate the original piece of trim which fills the gap under the standard headlights. Again, as I am now Mr. Fibreglass, I knocked something up to form a mould and got busy with the matting and resin.

I’m hoping that’s it now and I can finally put that issue to bed. I’m quite happy with the end result, and although it looks a bit pants now I can look past its current state and visualise what it will look like when it’s painted. I’m thinking of getting some Nascar style headlight stickers that will make it look like it has lights from a distance, and it has been suggested that I laminate the MoT certificate in the bonnet to show the numerous police officers that will inevitably pull me over when this thing finally hits the streets!

Posted on Wednesday, September 28th, 2011 at 5:27 pm under Jamie, Sierra. You can subscribe to comments. You can leave a comment, or trackback from your own site.

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