As promised, I will post the long overdue pictures. It seems a bit like going back in time with these since the car was completed, driven, broken, taken apart, repaired, and the electronics were destroyed by a Turnigy battery. Well, without further ado here is the construction of the roll cage from 4.7mm diameter aluminum tubing which I bent by hand and soldered together.
Here is the main cage on the chassis for test fitment:
Time for more structural reinforcement:
All of the much anticipated parts arrived, along with the plate of carbon fiber which I will cut a new main chassis from:
I decided to experiment with some carbon fiber plate for the main chassis. These pics illustrate the development of the chassis from stock form, to the first (heavy) aluminum plate, to carbon fiber(which at only 1.5mm thick proved to be too thin and susceptible to warpage), and to the last aluminum version.
I added connective bars from the main cage to the front and rear shock towers in order to reduce chassis flex:
Here is the cage as it can be seen through the windows:
These are the only original parts used in the build:
I decided to lighten up the center chassis brace with some "speed holes"
And some cutting:
This is how it looks assembled:
And even more assembled:
I decided to use the carbon fiber for trim pieces, like a dash and rear shelf:
Bottom view of the chassis:
Rear view, with the body on:
Side view through the windows:
Appropriate sticker I made for my work bench:
How it looked after some testing and tuning of the suspension:
To be honest, I felt the added weight of the roll cage and use of aluminum degraded the car's handling. I removed the cage and decided a set of sway bars would help. Since they don't exist for this car, I modified a set of E10 bars to fit. This is how I attached them to the shock towers:
And end links made from old shock absorber shafts:
The next issue I wanted to address was the weight distribution. I moved the battery forward, and relocated the steering servo further back and closer to the chassis centerline. I also moved the ESC closer to the center:
This required the fabrication of two belt tensioners so the front drive belt could clear the battery. I made them from part of the original drive cups, sealed bearings, and aluminum strips:
I also made one for the rear drive belt:
After all of this, I decided to swap bodies for a 1970 Plymouth 'Cuda. This was the originally intended body for this car, but after seeing that HPI made an E30 ///M3 I decided to keep it as a spare:
To be honest, it felt as though the car handled better with the Mopar body. I attribute that to be psychological, as I was getting sick of my black ///M3 spinning out from uncontrollable oversteer. I dove back into the forums, and began making adjustments to the suspension based on what I was reading about handling characteristics. I feel like I was heading in the right direction, then the battery dead shorted and took my electronics with it. So, it has been shelved since. Once the funds are available, I'll bring this project back.