Current progress so far
Links to parts and information websites
Where I will be building my diablo
Where most of the important bits come from
The stuff it all bolts to
What makes it go
What makes it pretty
The cars nervous system
Where you sit
The gubberment bit
 
Who really cares?
Stuff that will not fit anywhere else
Other diablo replica websites
 


Body

This section will contain my progress on the body for the car as well as those parts of the build requiring paint etc..



This is one of inlet manifolds before any work has commenced. It is covered in lacquer, has corroded and is full of carbon and oil.

My initial idea was to clean the manifold fully using a bead blaster, and to then have the BMW logo machined off. I had the machining work completed, leaving me with a nice flat surface to screw plates with the lamborghini logo machined into them.

It soon became apparent that no amount of cleaning would get these manifolds clean. The aluminium is a strange alloy that seems to stain easily. Several hours in the bead blaster had no real effect.



This is one of the inlet manifolds. The picture makes it look much nicer than it actually is. The surface is discolored and the bead blasting seems to be more effective on some areas than others.

The manifolds mating surfaces are masked off, as well as any threaded holes, injector ports and mounting hardware.

The logo visible on the bottom is a vinyl cut label. The fly cut surface which originally sported the BMW logo has been linished with a belt sander, thoroughly cleaned and then the label applied as a mask. I was going to place a machined plate onto this surface, but our work CNC's bed is not large enough to handle a plate of this size. It would have needed to be cut in three passes, posing alignment problems.

The lamborghini logo I wanted to use also changed. This logo is normally seen on the inlet manifolds of the V10 engine present in the gallardo. I liked it better than the one normally seen on Diablo engines, and my label cutter at work handled this one better as well.



Here the manifold has been given a light covering of acid etch primer. When painting aluminium it is absolutely essential to use an etch primer. If you don't, your hard work will come off in no time.

The primer should not be a thick coat, that's not what it is there for. It is simply to provide a good key between the chosen colour and the base metal. Preparation here is key to a good finish. Make sure all your surfaces are clean and grease free. The dishwasher provides an excellent tool for making sure this is the case.



This is what it looks like when all your hard work is complete. A sharp scalpel is used to lift the label from the manifold, it is then carefully peeled back exposing unpainted aluminium underneath.

A coating of clear lacquer will also be applied once the paint has fully hardened. Any areas where colour has bled under the label can be removed by carefully scraping it away with a pin or scalpel.

The best time to peel back the label is after the paint has gone touch dry but has not fully hardened. Leave it too long and the paint will chip as the label is removed.


Here is the body as it arrived from Parallel Designs. The doors are not present yet as they are still being manufactured.
Every other panel is here, including the wheel arch liners, front boot section and the rear bulkhead liner.
The car is supplied in a yellow gel coat. The flash lines are still present on the supplied body and the body will need significant rubbing down before it can be painted.
The Gel coat is yellow as this will be the final colour. The idea behind this is that any stone chips will not show up as much than if the Gel coat is a different colour to the final paint.
This is the Diablo 6.0 version body and has replacement front wings. The body is assembled in its current form, then the wings are cut off and replaced with the newer style wide ones.
The panels here are just layed loose onto the body to make sure I have everything.
The piece of MDF bolted to the back is fitted to stop the body from flapping about during shipping. Simi lair pieces are fixed to the bottom of the chassis.


Here is the body loose fitted to the chassis. It had sagged considerably during its time in my garden and this made it much harder to fit it on. The difficulty with which I had is exemplified by the fact I now have a small crack in the fibre glass in the front wing. Its fortunate that this part is cut away in its entirety when the old wings are removed to replace with the fatter, later style ones. The body is pretty flexible, you will almost certainly need four of you to mount it without serious effort.

The colour of the body in these photos is much closer to that which I intend the final colour to be. Well at least it is on my monitor!


The Ford Granada wheels look a little lost under the wheel arches. Considering the wider ones are not even fitted yet, the car wont start to look like a complete diablo until I fit the correct wheels and tyres.

You can see the front boot clearly now. One thing that Naz neglected to mention when he sent me the body, was that this part needs to be cut about to make it fit correctly. If you bond it in as is, you will find that it is far too far forward. I ended up moving mine back at least a few inches. Slots need to be cut into the box sides so it clears one of the horizontal chassis rails.

I will rebuild the rear section of the front boot using plywood and fibre glass.



The tiny wheel problem is even more apparent in this image.

The doors at present are not fitted, and the roof is not even close to being in the right position. This is rectified when the roll cage is installed. Many builders have installed the roll cage before installing the body. This is wrong. The roll cage is installed after the font to rear, and side to side dimensions of the body have been fixed, and the rear of the body has been lined up with the engine cover.

Once the roll cage has been positioned, its jacked up to the roof to lift the roof up meaning it should minimize the work required on the doors. Once the roof height has been accurately determined, the roll cage is welded in at the door hinge pillars and at the rear behind the drivers door. I have checked the Parallel doors with an original Diablo door, and they look pretty close, same sort of curves, profile etc.. So it is the body which must be pushed and pulled about to match the doors in preference to manipulating the material of the doors themselves. Some work will obviously be required on the doors, the idea is to reduce that work to a minimum.



This image shows the drivers side door dry fitted. The roof line is completely different from the passenger side. The sweep is supposed to follow the curve of the door and then reduce as it moves backward. The roof here sweeps far too far back and high, the roof is completely wrong. Another problem is that the door profile does not match the profile to the body. Its a simple matter to correct this profile problem, but I will need the door glass to make sure its 100%. This profile needs to be dealt with as the weatherseal around the door will not work correctly if it is not done.

The roof is going to cause some real problems. The passenger door is a much better fit. I am undecided as to my approach with the roof. I can reduce the roof line to meet the door correctly, or raise the door to suit. I am leaning towards reworking the roof as it is such a poor match to the required shape. The windscreen will need to be at least dry fitted to confirm the leading edges shape and location correctly.

Another problem with the body was made worse by the trimming of the bottom of the body. The trimming done as the body arrives fromparallel assumes the bottom sill is the same width its entire length, Its not. Careful examination of pictures and diagrams revealed it to be curved. I took a chop saw and removed an inch of material where it touches the bottom of the chassis, and almost immediately the drivers side door fit much better and the body seemed to sit better on the car. Additionally the bottom sill now looks much more like that in the pictures of real cars that I have.


Here is the first part of the body I have attacked in anger. Its the rear valance that goes between the radiator apertures. The chassis fouls this component and causes it to be bent, also bringing the radiator surrounds out of true. The problem is that with the current chassis and engine/gearbox configuration, there is no way round this. The problem is likely to be more severe with a six speed gearbox as it is physically longer. This bowing looks nasty to me, and stresses the rest of the body badly.

I did not follow Naz's advice for this. He recommends glassing a bent metal bar in to form the panel around the gearbox. I don't like his solution because this back panel is supposed to be almost flat. So what I have done is to cut two slits around where the gearbox the fouls, and bent the flap out. After glassing it in place, and filling it to make good, this part fits with almost no bending at all and is tight against the chassis.

Its not authentic, but as this part is partially hidden by the rear bumper, I think its a better looking solution, and more in keeping with the original design.



The two worst areas on the car are the drivers side door and the roof line. Both are wrong. The door itself is pretty good, the whole it fits in, not so good.

Although the body is not bonded yet, I have begun work on getting the doors to fit as good as is possible to the body as it stands. The drivers side sill was badly distorted through being attached to the rest of the body incorrectly. The problem manifested itself in that the bottom sill did not follow the door line towards the front and was almost two inches out!

I fixed this by slitting front wing as in the picture, and blocking up with wood between the chassis and the body. I then attached ratchet straps between the body and the chassis and tightened them. With the body 'bent' to more resemble the correct shape, heat was applied in the form of a paint gun to 'reset' the resin's plastic memory. After the body had cooled back down, the straps were removed and voila, the door now fits the bottom profile perfectly. There is some surface distortion of the panels but this can be cured with filler and sanding.

The door is at an angle in this picture, because the top of the door is fouling the roof. Until I have the roll cage in, I will not be able to pull the roof back down onto it. For the minute this is as far as I can go with this door and surround. The sill angle also now matches that on the passenger side.

The slit in the wing does not need to be filled because the front wing actually gets cut off and a new style one installed later on. When it comes to installing the doors I will be modifying the wing rather than the door to get a good fit.



Here I have begun work on the rear lights. The body supplied for my car is a generic one. Up until you begin fitting the body and things like boot lids etc, it could be any number of different models. The rear lights hence are formed for the earlier models, and so the later style Diablo 6.0 surrounds do not fit without some rework.

The first thing to do is to place one of the surrounds roughly into the right place, and draw round the inside of the two circles with a marker. I then used a dremel with a plasterboard cutting tool, to cut these circles out. You should make sure the holes you cut are much larger than the actual holes you drew. I made mine at least a centimetre larger all round. You don't need to be too tidy, as this will not be seen once the light surround is installed.

The next thing to do is once again taking a dremel, remove the raised section on each recess. You can see one at the top left hand corner of the light recess in the picture. Once I had carefully removed the unwanted material, I taped the back of the open hole with electrical tape, and filled the void with fibre glass bridging paste. Once dry, it can be sanded down, and you now have something to fill against to tidy up the rest of the surround.

I completed both sides, but have only taken a picture of one, The process is identical for that side.


I made some spacers up from aluminium today. Naz recommends using washers to space out the valance to the radiator surrounds. I didn't like the way this looked so I made up these from stock.

I used a band saw and file to match the profile I required after initially making up patterns from cardboard. Its always a good idea to fabricate things using cardboard or paper before you start hacking about with bits of metal and fibre glass.


This shows the interior of the modified valance. You can see it now clears the gearbox by at least five millimeters all round. Its tight against the chassis now and I will seal using tiger seal to bond the valance to the chassis to stop it flapping around when I am going along.



This shows the panel in position on the rear of the car. It matches the type of profile on the rest of the panel pretty well, and I don't think it looks particularly out of place.

I think its a good idea to install this panel before you start bonding the back of the car down to the chassis rails. It spreads the rear to its correct dimensions and certainly aids the fitment of the engine cover as you don't need to be using quite so many bits of wood to poke things around.


This is the end result of the hard work. The radiator aperture is not nearly as distorted as before. Those of you on the forum may remember what it looked like before, these modifications have certainly improved things.

I will need to apply a modicum of heat to the bottom part of the aperture to reduce the stress imposed on this panel. You need quite a bit of brute force to bend it out to meet the panel correctly. My spacers seem to work OK, but I just don't have enough physical strength to bend it round to mate up with the valance correctly. Gentle heat with reset the fibre glass into this new position and mean I don't need to start pumping iron to marry things up correctly.


These are all the clamps that were required to get the body to assume the correct shape as the epoxy resin cures. This side of the body is fairly distorted and so required a fair amount of fettling to get things into the right sort of place.

The distortion has meant that the body is offset by approximately four millimeters at the front. This is more than I would have liked but should be invisible once the car is complete.


This is the distortion on the drivers side now that the roof has been pulled down onto the roll cage. It looks worse in this picture than it actually is, and is within the limits of what can be dealt with using a sander.

The roof did not need nearly as much force to pull down as I anticipated, only one clamp being required. The under side of the roof where it meets the roll cage being filled with epoxy resin so as soon as this has cured, the clamps can be removed and the roof should stay put.


This is the magic epoxy glue that Naz supplies to fix the body to the chassis. Another builder has his pneumatic gun so I had to settle for this manual version. You need strong hands to pull the trigger, but once you get going its not too bad.

The resin is inserted between the roll cage and the roof, down the rails that run either side of the engine bay and the body. I also placed some where the body meets the windscreen pillars where the door hinges fix. The gap between the body and the tube that runs left to right in front of the driver is bigger than on other cars I have seen as the door hinge mounting plates foul the body due to it being so far forward. I may use expanding foam and fibre glass to bridge this gap at a later date.


This is the other area of contention I need to deal with. The rear of the body needs to be spaced and is then bonded to match the profile of the engine cover. Here my engine cover is at its lowest possible position and it is still higher than the roof line. Not sure of the best way to resolve this yet, so I am going to mull it over for a little while before I start hacking into it.

To my untrained eye, it looks like the rear window surround has been cast into the body about five millimeters too low, as it is definitely too low compared to the roof line and the rear decks. Body filler and fibreglass should sort this out.


This is the engine cover with some more problems highlighted. There is no metal glassed into the cover where the hinges need to mount.

I have to say compared with chassis which went together quickly and easily, the body is a nightmare. Parallel could make great strides in the quality of the kit just by applying a little quality control in the bodyshop.



It does seem like I am being used as a guinea pig with this particular car. Most of the components fit so badly its as if they come from different vehicles. Here I have had to use ratchet straps to pull the window frame far enough forward to accomodate the engine cover.

To have to use ratchet straps and clamps to force the body into the correct shape would be unacceptable in any other industry. To my mind the body should be jigged in the same way as the chassis.

Because I have had to pull the body around so much, cracks have begun to appear in the gelcoat at stress points. I will need to use a dremel to open the cracks up before filling them back in. Otherwise these cracks are just going to spread underneath my final paint.

It would have been nice to just drop the body on and continue with the rest of the build. Be warned, its not that simple.



Got the new boot lid and set about popping it on. I say pop it on like its a trivial thing, needless to say it took me all day.

This picture shows the gas ram I had to shorten. The metal plates for the gas ram mounting on this side had dropped during manufacture, so to get the lid to look parallel when open and to make it close nicely, I took the socket off this particular ram and shortened it by 5mm. Its one of those things you could get pissy about if you let it bother you, but seeing as its unlikely that anyone else will notice, I didnt see the point in sending it back again.



In this image you can see how far out the metal plate is compared to the other side. I havent got round to filling the hole as of yet.

The more observant of you will notice the lid is an entirely different colour. Naz only had grey in stock, and I didnt want to wait for one the right colour. Had it been a panel round the bottom of the car, I would have waited for a yellow one in case of stone chips. But as its nice and high, unless Im stupid and drop something on it, it should be fine.


Here is the hinge mounting. Its a hell of a lot easier to work on this area once the wing is removed, although those of you building cars other than the Diablo 6.0 do not have this luxury.

I had to drill new holes and tap them out to get the right angle to mount the door nicely. I have packed out the hinge with washers to get the correct position, and will fill the void between the hinge and the mounting plate with expoy resin to stop any future movement. A squirt of WD40 before the glue is applied will make sure I can remove the plate in the future without oxy-acetylene cutting gear.

You can see the difference between the holes is not that great, but I would have preferred to drill these holes myself. I will mention this to Naz, and would recommend anyone ordering this chassis type to ask him not to drill and tap these holes.


Got the first door mounted today, This shows the door to roof alignment after mounting the hinge. Its not nearly as bad as it was when I first popped the door into the hole.

Pulling the roof down to the roll cage has helped significantly, but I still needed to heat the door slightly to bring in to line with the rest of the body. Total movement required was about 15mm out. Not too great but enough that it wasnt acceptable to just leave it as it was. Hopefully, this will be the last time I need to heat any part of the body to fit!


This is the shut line at the bottom of the door. I can get my index finger into the gap and its even all the way along. I need to pull the rocker in slightly at the back to bring everything in nice and trim, but I will do that when I foam the inside sills. This gap is not usually as big on a 6.0 Diablo, but the Parallel body is the older style Diablo with replacement wings.

The door fitting actually wasnt as bad as I feared it would be. I just hope the passenger side goes as well.


This is the replacement front wing taped in place to check alignment with the front bumper, boot lid and the door. Its a fairly scary process taking an angle grinder to something you spent more than a few thousand pounds on. I have removed slightly too much material between the windscreen and the front wing, but its pretty easy to rectify.

Now the door is hung correctly, I can glass the new wing in along the windscreen edge, wait for it to dry and then pull the bottom of the wing in to meet where the old one has been cut away.


Here you can see the new wing and its relationship to the rest of the door. Its going to look pretty good when its bonded in.

This panel is apparantly a direct copy of the one supplied by Parallel to real Diablo owners, although I dont expect they had to chop bits out of their car to fit it!


This is the passenger side wing after being bonded in place. The front bumper is taped and clamped to provide a template for the new front wings. If you mounted the wings blind, you would never get the bumper to look right, so its a good idea to make sure you have this part to hand before begining this step.

The passenger side wing is not as nice a fit as the drivers side door, it will need a little body filler and some sanding to even up the gap when the door is shut.



Here I am raising the rear section of the roof to line up nicely with the engine cover. A fair amount of filler is required for this step, but its suprisingly easy to blend it back into the rest of the body. I will need to complete the other side in a similair fashion before moving on to sorting out the gap between the engine cover and the rest of the body.


This picture shows the front wing door recess on the drivers side 90% percent complete. There is still a little filling to do and I need to make a hole for the gas ram ball joint at some point. The door is not fitted at this point because its a hell of a lot easier to work on without it being fitted.

The new door hinge for this side should be arriving soon, I will refit the door and take another photo to show how nice this door looks when fitted.


My workshop isnt big enough for me take a picture of the entire car, so here are two pictures to show the current progress. The engine cover goes up and down nicely now and does not foul any other part of the body.

You can see the passenger side door here propped open, currently being held up with a block of wood because the gas ram isnt fitted yet. I had problems mounting the hinge to the door initially as when I drilled the holes to accept the hinge, I inadvertantly picked up the wrong drill bit. The holes were oversize and there was no way for me to make them smaller. Luckily I realised my mistake before drilling all the holes, so only two are affected.
What I did to correct the problem was to cut a 25mm hole near where the wing mirror mounts, bolted up the hinge using my two correctly finished holes, and passed a greased bolt through each of the oversize holes. With a lot of patience I managed to get a nut on each bolt and did them up as tight as I could get them. I then filled this part of the door hinge with the magic glue I got from Naz. This is super sticky stuff and as strong as steel. Each of the nuts is now covered in the stuff. By greasing the bolts, they can be easily removed as the glue will not stick to an oily surface.

The hinge feels nice and sturdy after the glue went off, I shoudnt have any more problems after my drilling gaffe now.


This is the front of the vehicle, the drivers side wing is now fully bonded. Its not going anywhere. When you knock on the wing its a good solid thunk, as it was before I removed the old wing. So I am quite pleased with it.

After the initial problems I had with getting the body aligned, I am pretty happy that this stage has gone so well. I think it goes to show that given time and patient work, it is possible to get a really good fit. It isnt a case of just offering a part up and bolting it on, there is more to it than that. But if I wanted an easy car to do I could have bought a cobra replica or westfield instead....

The front boot is not fitted yet. I received some more hinge parts from Naz recently so I shall be trimming the edges of the cover and fitting it before long. The recess for the front boot is slightly narrower than the original orifice after fitting the new wings. Trimming the excess off the cover is the only way to get it to fit. If you attempt to fit the wings to the width given by the front cover, the bumper will not fit, so take note and do plenty of measuring....