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"Factory Look" aluminum door panels


Shad
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hey all,

I've got about a million pictures of my project that one day I'll organize and put a blog together for. Until then, here's a couple shots of my new door panels for my track car. I wanted the 'factory look' since it used to be my daily driver and I have a sweet spot for most of the design elements from the original interior. To me race cars don't have to be crude or simple if you're willing to spend the extra time they can be 'pretty' as well, and just as functional.

I used a combination of dies on a bead roller to get the desired effects. The raised area that is normally chrome on the stock panels has been polished and will be masked when I paint them. Should give a nice subtle pop of 'chrome' when painted. I'm going with the two tone paint so it mimics the originals. (only the colors will match the car currently: dark grey above trim, light grey below) I really wanted to incorporate the original door handles so with a little fabricating came up with a mount that lets them still work but without all the heavy hardware found in the original regulator/latch assembly. I had to relocate the handles to the window crank position since the roll bars were in the way of the original location.

Why be normal...

-shad

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Frenchee,

Thanks for the kind words. I kept all the templates and had thought about making a couple of sets to sell down the road (and have handy as spares in case I'm ever T-boned on the track...touch wood). I'm in "get the damn car done" mode right now, but later this spring I'll probably start fabricating spares and possible "to sell" items. In the mean time, I couldn't resist the temptation and mounted the driver side. I'm diggin' it.

All the best...

-s

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Manimal,

I made the tail lights myself. I couldn't see using a stock bulb housing on a race car where only one circuit was needed. So some simple aluminum fab, a stock $4 GM recepticle and incredibly bright Red LED bulbs are all I used. I also centered it so the brake light illuminates the red center of the stock BMW tail light lense. The electrical systems aren't installed yet on the car, but I bench tested the lights and they are BRIGHT. These assemblies also weigh at least a 1/10th of what the stock housings do which was my goal as well: light & reliable.

-shad

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  • 2 weeks later...

Those door panels are simply amazing. My eyes can't quite wrap around what I'm looking at in those photos. Lightweight but almost too nice. You could do some serious work on some kind of street modified 2002. If you teamed up with Matt McGinn, you could probably Pinch out some damn cool creations. Great job!

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  • 4 weeks later...

ponchis,

The door panels and trunk floor panels are .040" aluminum in final form, with the bead rolled structure they are strong enough for the task. The rear interior quarter panels are .020" since they are not in a high traffic area. Bead rolling the .020" panels was much easier (needing only a single pass with the roller, whereas the .040" took two passes to get the right depth) but with the .020" it was also very easy to turn the bead roller into a cutter with too much pressure. I sliced into one of the panels on the start of my initial pass. Thankfully I caught the mistake and was able to readjust and finish the pass with only about a 1/4" cut. (neatly located behind the main roll hoop out of sight. not worth crying over or spending two hours fabbing a new panel.)

I see you're in Salinas: you should stop by sometime and check them out. (and take some stock parts home with you from my parts stash: I need the shelf space!)

-shad

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