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Old 04-04-2014, 04:13 PM   #1
BJORNAGN
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Default New Guy with Old Car: P1800ES project.

New guy on the block here. I am a long time British car hobbyist who has now picked up a 1973 Volvo P1800ES as a project. Did a quick scan of the site and it seems to be accepting of modified cars.

The car was acquires as a bare shell in reasonable shape. The goal is to graft on Miata suspension on both ends. Simultaneously, following in the Miata V8 crowds footsteps, the car will receive a Ford 302 with an AOD gearbox.

The car is not being designed as a drag car or track car. The goal is a lazy long legged cruiser with enough torque to keep up with traffic in the left lane. Hopefully much of the Miata character will remain in the braking and steering department.

Few pictures of how things are going:

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Old 04-04-2014, 04:15 PM   #2
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Nice project, miata suspension should be interesting.

Why not an all aluminum LS, might help to keep the miata charector
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Old 04-04-2014, 04:24 PM   #3
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Why not an all aluminum LS, might help to keep the miata charector
Because he's got the super lightweight LSFoam motor, durr.
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Old 04-04-2014, 04:34 PM   #4
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Because he's got the super lightweight LSFoam motor, durr.
shoulda kept the b20
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:16 PM   #5
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Plastic engine :like!:

Edit: Need plastic red block!
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:41 PM   #6
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Nice!!!!
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Old 04-07-2014, 04:27 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by blkaplan View Post
Nice project, miata suspension should be interesting.

Why not an all aluminum LS, might help to keep the miata charector
It was a hard decision to make. I like the LSx engines, however they add about 1.5" in all directions.

The P1800 engine compartment is already a challenging space to fit a V8, and those extra inches were not worth the gain.

Since I am pretty much adhering to the engineering pioneered by the Miata 302 crowd, this is basically going to be a Monster Miata with a Volvo P1800 ES body.

The goal is not a race-car, but rather a low stressed car that will eat up the miles.

The reason why I did not restore the car and keep the B20 engine is because I already own an MGB and know what it is like to have to beat the crap out of an engine in order to keep up with modern traffic. Besides, "because Hot Rod"
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:32 AM   #8
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Needed something to fill that huge hole in the firewall. So, gutted out a spare AOD box and tossed it in for a quick look-see.

I think I will have plenty of room for people parts in the footwells. The rear portion of the tunnel looks a bit low. More work.[IMG][IMG][IMG][IMG][/IMG][/IMG][/IMG][/IMG]


Last edited by BJORNAGN; 04-16-2014 at 07:36 AM.. Reason: picture problem
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Old 04-16-2014, 08:10 AM   #9
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Besides, "because Hot Rod"
Nice.
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Old 04-16-2014, 09:14 AM   #10
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Won't need a heater!
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Old 04-16-2014, 09:46 AM   #11
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Won't need a heater!
Funny you should mention that. It IS a concern and one aspect of the design that I will keep in mind as I move forward.

My MGB GT is a sauna in the summer and one of the reasons for not converting it to V8 was that I figured it would be a torture chamber.

I HOPE that with the extra space in the P1800 and some room for AC I can tame the beast. I wont be skimping on the insulation technology or budget when I get to that part of the project.

I have heard rumors that the P1800ES might have had cabin heat issues in the first place; so rather than shaving the vents in the rear quarters, I plan to put fans inside to pull air though the cabin.
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Old 05-23-2014, 01:17 PM   #12
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So, I have done a bunch of measuring, and have collected a bunch of parts for this project. I am fairly certain that the suspension and drivetrain are going to work, and have a pretty good idea of how to arrange the bits.

But in order to fabricate stuff in 3D space, you need a datum surface to work from. To that end, I built a chassis table that provides a flat plane. From this I will square and center the tub so that the suspension components can be accurately located.

Note the two tape measures out the back of the car: a T Square placed up to one of the long rails and measured to the tape measure on the opposite side will give the exact same reading on both sides. This is very handy when trying to make sure that your axle center lines are perpendicular to the center-line of the car.

As a bonus, it makes it a lot easier to crawl around under the car![IMG][/IMG]
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Old 05-23-2014, 01:39 PM   #13
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Neat project....where are you located?
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Old 05-23-2014, 01:56 PM   #14
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You're building a car that spans three continents, what an adventure! You seem like you know what you're doing though, I'm excited to see how it turns out.
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Old 05-23-2014, 02:52 PM   #15
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Maybe you have this figured out already, but I'll ask anyway, what about brakes? I have to believe that the 1800ES is heavier than the Miata.
Do the Miata "boys" use/adapt bigger brakes?
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Old 05-23-2014, 02:54 PM   #16
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Bonus points for your screen name and plate, that one took me a minute.

BTW I never had problems in the 2 years I daily drove an 1800e with a b20 keeping up in traffic. Either way, it'll be interesting to watch this one come together. I'm going to move you to the projects forum.
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Old 05-24-2014, 12:49 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by 7AT View Post
Maybe you have this figured out already, but I'll ask anyway, what about brakes? I have to believe that the 1800ES is heavier than the Miata.
Do the Miata "boys" use/adapt bigger brakes?
The project is being built in Ontario Canada.


By using Miata suspension, I can also borrow from the Miata V8 conversion parts bin. The cars are not too far apart in weight. I am aiming for a 2700 lb finished weight, about the same as a V8 Miata.

The Miata suspension brings good geometry, good brakes 4 wheel independent suspension with rack and pinion. The miata front suspension also allows for the engine to be moved forward and down so that it does not intrude too much into the driver compartment or require a hood scoop.

Going to be interesting to see how this all Gels when aimed down a road and around a corner!
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Old 05-24-2014, 08:01 AM   #18
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Great project!

I love these cars- an estate sports car.

Did you consider the Volvo I5 for this at all?

Just wondering if it would fit longitudinally.
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Old 05-24-2014, 08:31 AM   #19
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Just curious what generation Miata will you mainly be grabbing parts from?
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Old 05-26-2014, 11:57 AM   #20
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Just curious what generation Miata will you mainly be grabbing parts from?
The project will use a 1990 Miata as a chassis donor. The idea is to use as much of the Miata as possible with the Volvo providing the outer beauty.

Where this project is going to suck a bit is in the fact that the P1800 fenders do not come off the car without surgery. Going to make the graft a bit more fun perhaps.
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Old 05-26-2014, 12:08 PM   #21
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Miata guy here, cool project have you put any though into what strut and springs your going to use?
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Old 05-26-2014, 05:35 PM   #22
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Miata guy here, cool project have you put any though into what strut and springs your going to use?
I have, and my guess is that it will have to wait until I corner-weigh the finished car. Without a doubt coil-overs will be required to get the right results.

Up until last week-end, the idea was to graft Miata suspension on to the Volvo chassis. The project took a bit of a turn this last week-end in that I bought a 1990 Miata parts car.

The plan is to skin the Miata down to the chassis (as shown in this internet photo) and drop the P1800 shell on top. Will need to stretch the Miata wheelbase by 6"

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Old 05-26-2014, 05:37 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Canadan View Post
Miata guy here, cool project have you put any though into what strut and springs your going to use?
I have, and my guess is that it will have to wait until I corner-weigh the finished car. Without a doubt coil-overs will be required to get the right results.

Up until last week-end, the idea was to graft Miata suspension on to the Volvo chassis. The project took a bit of a turn this last week-end in that I bought a 1990 Miata parts car.

The plan is to skin the Miata down to the chassis (as shown in this internet photo) and drop the P1800 shell on top. Will need to stretch the Miata wheelbase by 6"

[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 06-24-2014, 04:30 PM   #24
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[IMG][/IMG]

Slowly getting all the spot-welds picked apart. Idea is to separate at the rear floor/bulkhead line and swap the rear clip into the P1800 as a unit.[


This will deliver suspension pick-up points, fuel system and e-brake systems in one neat package.

Last edited by BJORNAGN; 06-24-2014 at 04:32 PM.. Reason: photo
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Old 06-24-2014, 04:36 PM   #25
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That's awesome! Looks like you have a bunch of work to do though. There was a guy somewhere that did a similar "entire pan swap" with a Lexus into an Amazon but I'm not sure if it turned out. That’s definitely more than I would venture into, but if you pull it off you’ll get a sh!t-ton of respect from me for it!

I'm gonna keep watching this one
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