12-30-11 - The frame is back from the sandblaster. Oh, it sure looks good like this. Paint work starts Tuesday morning.
12-27-11 - The completed frame heads out to be sandblasted, then it's on to paint.
12-15-11 - Final welding on the frame this week while the suspension and transaxle are out being sandblasted.
And a shot of the bare rear subframe almost ready for paint. Still to be assembled is the upper cross brace that goes over the transaxle and a rear plate that ties the rear most portion of the frame together.
12-03-11 - Wow, almost a month since I've updated. A lot has been accomplished, but much of it's been design work, so unfortunately it doesn't always show well.
A new alternator bracket was cut to relocate the alternator below the roll bar. This version needs a bit of tweaking, since the new location interferes with a plug out of sighte behind the alternator. You can also make out just below the alternator the new motor mounts and some frame modifications that were necessary to get the engine as low as possible in the chassis. (I guess the frame mod would be more noticable if I had a before and after shot).
The next shot shows the hard cooling lines running down the passenger side of the frame. The empty space in the side pod in front of the fuel tank will be filled with the Vintage Air Gen II Mini system (heat, cool and defrost).
I wanted to make the stock Corvette radiator work, but due to it's height, it laid down too flat (about 9 degrees) and I'm just not comfortable with that. This one is definitely smaller, but it's thicker and the fan sucks a heck of a lot of air. Later on in the build, this area will be ducted for maximum cooling.
The driver's side pod is filling up with hydraulic reservoirs, two fuse panels (main and engine) to be located in the box next to the reservoirs, PCM and Throttle Control Unit. To the rear of these (left in the photo) will be a storage compartment and the battery. Any free space will be stuffed with wiring.
New transmission mounts have been fabriacated and are in place. Shift linkage is also in place temporarily - it will be replaced later by an OEM unit (possibly from a Porsche 924) or this same design utilizing thinner material.
A bit of redesign in the rear of the frame. I wasn't fully happy with the original design, but needed to see where the axles lined up before I was sure I could change it. The upper tubing rails now continue all the way to the rear of the car and the upper suspension attaches to a third tube above that. The diagonal tube in the center will be removed shortly since a new tie rod mount has been designed to attach to the horizontal one just above it.
Engine wiring has also been on and off the engine to ensure all sensors and connectors are accounted for and to relocate and/or modify a couple wires.
11-08-11 - Not much noticable in the last few days although we are making progress. The engine has been in and out a couple times and mounts are being fabricated. Also more permanent welding done on the front of the frame.
11-04-11 - The engine and trans are sitting in the car! Mounts need to be fabricated and some clearance issues resolved, but everything looks good so far. Now imagine a bundle of snakes headers tucked in there between the intake and the transaxle. Sweet! Not sure it will actually happen that way, but we'll see...
11-03-11 - At long last the engine/trans adapter plate has arrived. The engine is now mated to the transaxle and ready to lowered into the frame for fitment.
11-01-11 - Fuel tank is in place. It's a tight fit and some minor (nothing structural) frame modifications were made, but it manages to squeeze in there. We may switch to a slightly different tank depending on some potential clearance issues with the cooling lines that are about to go in. Brake reservoirs have been moved to driver's side, battery tray and main fuse block mount in place. The steering rack is in the process of being modified to utilize stock Corvette tie rods. Expecting the engine/trans adapter plate this week.
10-20-11 - Lines run to the front brakes and reservoirs. Rear brakes and clutch lines are in place to firewall, but no further until engine adapter plate arrives. Horn installed. New frame for nose in place to mock up radiator. Corvette radiator is in position. It's laying at a pretty flat angle, but we'll go with it for now and if cooling proves to be an issue, we'll switch to a custom radiator that sits more upright.
10-18-11 - Revised, final version of the bulkhead (1/4" steel plate) is now in place. The previous version was too short and did not allow for the steering rack to be properly mounted. The new version also incorporates one pair of suspension mounting tabs and ties into the upper suspension mounting brackets. Brake line routing has begun. Master cylinder reservoirs are located in the right side pod, which can be seen in the upper left corner of this photo. This location may change to rear of the roll bar, depending on how the engine fits. A steel plate has also been installed under the pedal assemblies. The frame is finally up on the I-beams and ready to get some final welding.
10-14-11 - A front bulkhead has been cut and tacked in place. The pedals, master cylinders and steering rack mount to this, and it will also serve to line up suspension tabs.
10-10-11 - Since the body lines up nicely, it's time to weld up the main parts of the frame. Some tubing locations are still to be determined based on the exact engine/trans location (still waiting on the adapter kit). The interior has been cut to clear lower suspension mounts and the steering is mocked up. Pedals are on the way and we hope to have stopping power soon.
09-27-11 - Trying the front body over the wheels and new framework. Success - we nailed the wheel/body alignment on the first try! The body is sitting a tad high since there is some temporary tubing in the way. The steering rack is next and hopefully will be in place by the end of the week.
09-26-11 - Front subframe and suspension is mocked up. The upper tubing needs to be lowered 1/2" and some more square tubing needs to be cut away, but you can see the direction we're heading. You'll notice that the lower A-arms impede into the footwell area. There really isn't a way around that if the Corvette geometry is kept intact. On the bright side, they don't come in too far and with some creativity in the footwell, they shouldn't be a problem.
09-20-11 - The rear subframe is just about done. All rear suspension mounting points are cut and tacked into place (a couple will need to be modified later, but will work for now). One more test fit of the body and it should be ready to be all welded into place (the frame, not the body). Pictures to follow in a couple days.
09-17-11 - Build progress has been slow this week, but other work has been going on. In between designing suspension mounts and waiting for them to be cut, I've been tearing down the Corvette donor to see what can be used on the Mirage and what will need to be sold off. If all goes as planned, the rear subframe should be all tacked in place by early next week. Then it's on to the front subframe.
09-09-11 - Rear subframe coming together. A minor setback occured a week or two back when a runaway go-kart encountered the frame at a high rate of speed. It's all better now.
09-06-11 - The engine is out of the Corvette and waiting on an adapter plate so it can be mated to the transaxle.
08-11-11 - Disassembly of the donor Corvette has begun. First task is removing springs and shocks and labeling wires and hoses. Some of the excess and potentially saleable interior parts have also been removed. Suspension hopefully will be off the chassis in the next few days.
This was a true barn find. When we got a call out of the blue about an untouched Mirage kit for sale, we jumped on it even though we really didn't have any plans for it. The original owner bought the kit from Manta Cars back in the early 1980's and left it in storage for about 30 years before deciding to part with it. The second owner had it for only a brief time before deciding to sell.
We looked at it for a few weeks, trying to decide what to do with it before we ended up putting it in storage for safe keeping. Almost 2 years later, we got a call asking if we knew of a good Mirage for sale. We most certainly did know of one for sale. How about we just build it up to his specifications?
Mirage waiting patiently for work to begin.
2000 Corvette donor car
The Mirage kit at the previous owner's shop.