Several months have passed since un-boxing and build work on the Daytona Coupe had slowed a little. This was mainly due to the nice weather we’ve had this summer as I wanted to be out and about on events driving the Dax and the AK, therefore the Coupe took a little bit of a backseat unfortunately.

As I write we are at the beginning of November and with winter just around the corner, it’s now time for me to get some wood chopped for my log burner and get back in my garage to complete some serious building activity.

Although I’ve not spent much time during the summer building the Coupe, I have still been able to get quite a considerable amount of work done regarding the engine build and gearbox. I’ve also had supply issues having to wait for components from all over Europe and the US, however this ‘Build Diary Part 2’ covers progress to date:

Let’s start with the brakes…

After un-boxing, I decided against using the Wilwood brakes supplied as part of the FF kit and looked to upgrade. With the help from some of my fellow associates I was directed to a local supplier who manufactures their own billeted aluminium calipers. I’ve also gone for larger diameter vented discs which I feel will do the job and look pretty good behind the spoke wheels I’ve chosen for the car. The brake calipers I’ve been recommended are 6 piston front and 4 piston rear which incorporates a very clever parking brake set up which works with a cam/lever action.

I’ve also manufactured a cradle to accept the Hollins electrical park brake actuator which will work exceptionally well with this set up.

There has been an element of necessary research and development needed in making this system work as the supplier did not have a design for the caliper mounting brackets for use with the front and rear hubs supplied by FF.

Now for the Electrics…

Fitting the wiring harness and fuse board was pretty challenging despite the cable ends being labeled ‘nearside’ and ‘offside’ as the harness was designed predominantly for a LHD car. I had some strange looks from Catherine when I suggested standing on my head so it all came across a little clearer and simpler… more beer needed 😉

The harness will also require some cables extended with the steering column located on the opposite side. I’ve also discovered in this wiring journey that it is not mandatory in the USA to have fog and reverse lights so cabling for this has to be added to the harness.

Then the Lava heat shield, front suspension and Radiator cooling duct…

I’ve had the engine and gearbox along with all associated parts for a good few months now, however I was not able to carry out the final installation due to delivery delays with the Lava matting. This will be applied to the foot boxes and engine bay cladding to reduce heat conduction into the cockpit but as it needed to be installed prior to the engine/gearbox, it delayed this install too.

In the meantime whilst waiting I did however receive some follow-on parts, one of which was my front suspension lower control arms. I was eager to get these fitted as this completes the front suspension install and also enabled me to check that I had definitely no bump steer, So all in all it would appear my measurements and adjustments were correct.

I also started to look at fitting the air intake that scoops the air exiting the radiator up through the bonnet. It soon became apparent that the fit and finish of this was not to my satisfaction with gaps of up to 10mm along the edge sections where the side panels rivet to the chassis.

I did consider making some different sized spacers to fit between the aluminium panel and chassis to fill the gaps, however I didn’t feel it would be pleasing on the eye. Therefore I decided to go one better and manufacture a complete new set up in carbon fibre which I thought would look awesome when the bonnet is opened up. Out came my tape measure again and I manufactured a mould that I can pull a carbon fibre panel from, to the tolerances that are required.

Finally at the beginning of October the elusive Lava matting was finally delivered so I could now move forward with my build.

The next step was to remove the mock up engine allowing me to strip out the engine cladding and foot boxes to make it easier to fit the Lava mat (which is extremely sticky and pretty unforgiving). This task was very time consuming and took me two days to complete. However, I am sure that you agree the product does look fantastic against the chassis colour.

And finally for this article, the Engine and Gearbox install

The next stage was getting the engine and gearbox installed at last. After pulling the engine from under the bench, I began by fitting the pilot bearing and flywheel followed by the McCloud twin plate clutch.

I have already fitted the same set up in my AK and on both occasions thought to myself, ‘what a nice (and expensive!) set up to be hidden away and never be on show…’

Next was to fit the bell housing to the gearbox. This then enabled me to take measurements with a straight edge and ruler to ensure the slave cylinder to the clutch fork measurements are correct and more importantly, that the spigot will locate correctly with the pilot bearing. All measurements read okay, however prior to mating the gearbox up to the engine I realised now would be a good time to offer up the starter motor to the engine block and check the clearances between the starter pinion and the flywheel starter ring gear. Once again all was correct and with another box ticked I moved on to offer up the gearbox to the engine and tighten the bell housing bolts up to the specified torque.

Once all this has been completed and checked, it was now time to lift the engine/ gearbox into what would be its final resting place. As I bolted the lifting chains to the four corners of the cylinder heads and clipped the chains to my spreader bar, it became clear the engine/gearbox combination was pretty long and this was not going to be such an easy task. As luck would have it, it was on Sunday morning and a good friend of mine (David Bailey also a current AK builder) gave me a call to see if I was ‘tinkering’ in the garage. So I thought to myself how can I keep him here for the next two hours to help with the lift? Suddenly I had a brainwave and asked him would he like some lunch as I was going to McDonald’s. So with his order of double Big Mac and fries I thought bingo! – I’ve got him. After lunch with both of us belching like a pair of babies and unable to bend over, we began to hoist the engine/ gearbox up. This process makes me very nervous as you can see all the money just swinging around in midair! Slowly but surely, inch by inch, we managed to shoehorn the engine and gearbox carefully into place and it fitted like a glove – thank goodness!

I’ve now started fitting the aluminium that forms the floors and transmission tunnel which will be described in the next build diary.

This article was written for Snake Torque Magazine Issue 145, produced by the UK Cobra Club.