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
 

General bodywork




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 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.



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 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.



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.




Here the roof line has been raised to correct the fit of the door and sort the alignment with the windscreen.

The roof line of the PD body is not right as is supplied. The original Diablo has a very much flatter roof and is not as bulbous as the PD body. I assume that this distortion is a result of the body costruction process.

The material the roof is made from is very thick, so using a DA sander, I was able to sand the bulge out in fairly short order. The rest of the work involved raising the front and sides of the roof to suit the position of the doors.

I used Naz's broken windscreen to figure out the correct line for the front edge of the roof. When you mount the windscreen on the car, spacers are used to ensure correct alignment. So dont worry too much if the gaps do not seem right, just use whatvever you have handy to space it out correctly. I used a 10mm nut one side and a 12mm nut on its side for the other.



The end result of this roof work can be seen here. Before the rear wing was very much lower than the roof line, now they line up almost perfectly.



Here is my first attempt at roughing out the false wing effect. Naz can supply a template which is supposed to achieve this effect, but looking at pictures of the original and of other peoples use of this template, I decided to try and achieve something more authentic looking.

I have drawn an outline of the shape I wanted, and carefully milled a few millimetres of material out. I then used a detail sander to recess the area on the inside of this milled line. The end effect is it actually looks like the panels are bolted on. I have used countersunk bolts to emulate the fixings, they will be epoxied into place before painting.



Ive got the drivers side headlight dry fitted here. They are the only part of the car so far that has fitted the holes with nothing more than a light sand. The missus has been busy, rubbing the gelcoat down , although she still has to do the boot lid as can be seen in this photo.



This image shows the inside of the rear of the cabin. This area is open to the elements at the moment, and is usually glassed and foam filled to insulate against noise and heat/cold. I dislike foaming and fibreglassing anyway, so I grabbed some offcuts of celotex from a neighbour and came up with this arrangement instead.

Anyone who has done any building will be well aware of this material. It has excellent sound and heat insulation properties, is fire resistant, and in sheet form is very expensive.
It is foil covered on both sides and is compatible with polyester and epoxy resins. It cuts easily, I used a blunt hacksaw blade to trim it. You can trim an entire sheet down in the space of a few seconds using such a tool.

I will lay a coat of fibreglass over the celotex to hold it in place, and spray some shultz over the other side to seal it in entirely.




This is the work about halfway through for providing a suitable mounting for the secondary weather seal. I have pop-rivetted an aluminium angle down the side of the windscreen exactly six millimetres from the edge of the door. Through tinkering with a small cut off of the secondary seal, I determined that this was probably the optimum gap size.

Both sides are completed to this point, and a strange thing happened. Where before, the windscreen seemed to fit pretty badly, it now drops into place perfectly between the aluminium angles. Not that I am complaining, I just dont understand what has happened or has changed for this to occur!



This is the secondary door seal around 90% fitted. The secondary seal requires a small recess for the rubber to sit into to be cut into the roof line. If this isnt done, the rubber sticks up and prevents the door from shutting properly.

The door edge was a little wavy here as well, so I have filled and corrected it, although it will probably need redoing when the glass goes in. We shall see.

I was a little confused when I got this bit, as to how it all fits together. I tried looking at a few of the other builders cars on Lamboreplica.co.uk and some of those do not have this strip fitted, so I couldnt tell from there how it worked. The best thing to do in this sort of situation is to dry fit as much as possible before taking the plunge and fitting things permanently. Its easier to check the fit of things when they are not screwed down, than to have to drill out pop rivets later on.



The drivers side door now looks pretty good. I have managed to get an even line the entire length of the door, this primarily being achieved by increasing the width of the door pillar by a few millimetres. It now means that should it rain, I am unlikely to get wet. This is what I intended to achieve, so I am now happy to leave the doors as they are.



This view shows the car when viewed from above. Its possible to see both of the secondary weather seals here, and I have cut some B&Q plastic trim to disguise the edges of the windscreen. On an authentic Diablo, these strips would be alumnium, but plastic here works just as well. The trim that runs along the top of the windscreen is not finished yet, and hence is not fitted.



I have finished the rear glass frame on the passenger side in this image. The frame is made up of three components. There is a metal strip which runs alongside the door edge, a rubber strip along the bottom and a plastic angle which covers the gap along the long edge of the glass.

The frame in the body is hopelessly wrong on this side of the car. The glass would be at a very strange angle and would not sit flush with the door as on the original. It would be sunk almost 20mm too far in. Even allowing the fact that the trim is supposed to wrap around the frame before the glass is bonded in. I had to build new lips up to accept the glass in this position, and cut away the wrong ones.

The aluminium strip that runs along the door edge, is specially shaped to maintain a uniform gap and covers the join between the glass and the body. It will be bonded on after painting and at the moment is simply laid into position. On the real car, this part would be extrememly thin, but the glass I have does not reach far enough over to achieve this. So I have to make do with my strip being 30mm wide.



This is the drivers side frame completed. The glass is 'dry' fitted here, no adhesive or bonding has been used. These pieces will not be completely installed until the interior is fully trimmed.

I had to change the shape of the compartment which seals the engine bay slightly as it was about 10mm out compared to the other side. It wasnt something that I noticed when I initially fitted these parts, but it became apparent to me as I worked on the glass.

I am quite happy with the way these parts have come out. I think they look far more professional when completed in this way than some of the other finishes I have seen.


I started work on placing the rear glass here. On the VT Diablo, the glass uses a much larger aperture than on some of the earlier Diablo models. In this image it is possible to see the frame normally used to seal the glass in place.

In my build I will cut this off, as well as remove 18mm of material from the body so as to recess the glass inside the body. I will do this as I am not entirely happy with the way Naz recommends assembling this section, and because the frame isnt straight anyway. If I assemble this part the recommneded way my seats will need to move forwards 20mm at the very least. As I am six foot tall and need all the leg room I can get, anything I can do to preserve it is a bonus.

One thing I will bring up with Naz is the Kite Mark on the rear glass. Its fuzzy and not at all clear, and given some others builders experience in these area when it comes to SVA time I want to make sure this is OK.




This image shows the work done to the rear window. The aperture is now much larger as per the original making this rear window actually useful to have. The increased size should make reversing slightly easier, although reversing a Lamborghini is never easy.


Inside its possible to see how the glass is actually held in. Two aluminium plates are screwed to the main uprights and prevent the glass from falling back into the passenger cabin.

The screws will be covered over with the internal trim so as to keep them hidden. Once the car is painted, the glass will be sealed against the body with a small amount of PVC sealant.
This view shows the running board in position. Its covered with a single layer of fibreglass that wraps around the window sill in its entirety.This is because fibreglass resin does not bond particuarly well to uPVC, so by roughing the surface and encapsulating it I provide a good surface to apply filler to which cannot peel off.

The board is held in position with six 6mm bolts into the bottom of the body retained by rivnuts. This part is not structural and will also have a bead of black sealant to prevent water getting between the two.
The car has been in the paintshop for a couple of weeks now. There was a number of delays before work could start properly. Firstly they had a number of other jobs run over, so mine was delayed until space was available, and then they found several problems with some of the bodywork I had done, especially around the rear valance.

I think this was the areas on the car where I first started, and having never worked with fibreglass, I have made a number of errors with preparing the bodywork. They have corrected these problems, and I have to say I have been impressed with the level of detail they are applying to the car.
The windscreen is in place here. The paintshop found that the non-broken windscreen I have is a different size and shape to the unbroken one. Its caused problems that need to be resolved before the primer goes on.

All major issues are now dealt with on the car regarding panel gaps etc, so now its time for the primer to go on. Everything is masked up and protected from the ingress of paint dust.
The car is given a light dusting of black paint over the top of the primer. This shows any low spots as the paintwork is blocked down.
All of the lines, gaps and edges have been reguarlised much better than I could achieve. The guys working on the car have an attention to detail that only comes from doing bodywork for many years.

In some ways it would have been better to leave the majority of the bodywork to these guys and saved myself a lot of heart ache and aggravation that came from working with an unfamiliar material, and the fit of the panels.
The rear of the car from the main vents was quite low and undulating in places, its not perfectly flat, and the lines around the engine cover have been straightened out and evened up much better.
Here the doors are being prepped for paint. They have had significant work as there is a lot of flash lines and rough edges to work out.

You dont appreciate the amount of work required to get the doors ready for paint until you run your hands down panels finished by a professional. I doubt I could get any one of the panels half as good as the paint shop guys have got them done.
Here is the car finally painted. Its looking more like the finished product and how I imagined it now. I was concerned the flat colour might not be loud enough, but I have to say I am really pleased with the colour and the way its come out.

This picture is just after the car has had its final coat of laquer. It almost looks wet.

After flattening down and polishing, this is the final result. The paint has a very deep shine and is flawless. Its wierd being able to see your face in the reflection of the bodywork.

The paint was applied in multiple layers and is a water based product. Experts were called in from the manufacturer as this was the first time this product had been used on fibreglass in this way.

The first coat is a very fine filler primer, the second is a base coat which is a matt white colour. The third coat is a colour coat. The final coats are laquer, and give the car the always 'wet' look.

The car will get some layers of wax as soon as its out of the shop to protect the new paint, and prevent water and sun damage from affecting the paint.

The car is masked in a slightly unusual way because the paint shop needed to get a decent layer of paint right inside the ducting and vents. This was made easier if the painters had free access to move inisde the car rather than just around it.
The inside of the wheel wells will be painted with a protective coat to absorb impacts from stones etc...

Assembly has now began. The colour in these images is a more accurate reflection of the actual colour of the car.

Parts are roughly assembled here to facilitate moving the car, as the workshop which is completing the work is rapidly running out of space, and were worried about accidental damage to the car with all the other project vehicles they are working on at present.
The car was fuelled and driven from the workshop to be loaded into a covered trailer. The front spoiler has not been fitted to allow easy loading of the vehicle.

Bill, the guy who actually painted the car was very keen the car should leave on its pirelle P-Zero's but there was concern that the wheels may become damaged during loading, so the nasty Ford Granada wheels stayed for the time being.

Here are the guys from Route 66 Bodyworx who did all the body preparation and paintwork and are currently working on the interior. From left to right, Allen who does all the filler work, Greg who does all the leather trimming and electrical work, and lastly Ben who paints the cars.

Ben is standing in such a way as to hide Greg's MTV 'pimp my ride' logo on his jumper....

 

Here the car has been loaded into a covered trailer which is usually used to move Porches and other race cars between events. The Diablo 'just' fit, with a little over 3mm either side. It was dragged into the trailer using a winch as there was no way you could get in or out of the car once inside the trailer.
Here the car is finally in my garage at the front of my house. Its being thoroughly inspected (licked), by my dog.

The doors will be aligned properly here to eliminate gaps, and the front bumper and interior components fitted.
These are the new side skirts before test fitting. My original ones were much too heavy and so I made moulds from them and produced these new parts. Route66 bodyworx who have painted my car tidied them up and got them to this stage. Now they need to have holes drilled in them where they mount to the underside so they can be bolted up for a test fit. Then they will be returned for finishing and painting.
I have completed a test fit of the new light weight side skirts tonight before they go back to route66 bodyworx for finishing and painting.

The skirts are held to the bottom of the car using a liquid PVC adhesive, bolts are used merely to ensure it stays in place as the glue dries. I will use masking tape to ensure the glue only goes where its supposed to go and to make sure I get a nice smooth finish on it. Its very, very sticky so its quite hard to get a good finish.
The side skirts are now installed. They are bonded to the underside of the car with uPVC sealant as well as being bolted through the body.