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Sectioned and Channeled Pocher Alfa Spyder

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With the rear deck taking shape, it's time to begin the attempt to turn the Pocher "dragon tail" into something more realistic.


The "dragon tail" is a poor fit for the stock body. The rear section of the part that is over the spares is too wide and too flat.  Without much adjusting, there will be large gaps between the tail and the deck.  Because the top of the rebuilt tire well is considerably narrower than that of the stock body, the fit is now even worse.


The plan is to thin the piece, make it more flexible, move it back about 6mm, reshape the fin and extend it forward, and bend the rear section to intersect with the edges of the tire well. I might have to scratch a new part.


I have reduced its width, substantially reduced the thickness of the plastic over it's rear half, and drilled holes for rivets. There is still much work to be done.   Before making further changes to the part, when the shape of the deck is finalized, I will see if I can make it fit.









Edited by Endeavor
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While making changes to the shape of the body, I am simultaneously attempting to eliminate the warps in the body and to make the body symmetrical. I should have attended to the warps long ago, some of which might have been done concurrently with the body modifications. The photo below shows the biggest warp, in the cowl, which exists in both the stock and modified bodies. The two bodies came out of their boxes with warps on different sides of their cowls.





It is essential to assess and to correct these problems while the body is bolted to the frame, because the warps and other contours change when the body is mounted.


I have neither the talent nor the courage to bend Pocher plastic with hot water or hot air, particularly with compound curves, which is where the problems are. So I have been cutting, adding material, sanding, and filing.





In addition to addressing the warps, I must identify and correct the asymmetries created both by Pocher and by me while modifying the body.


I used wire to make templates for the front of the cowl. A contour gauge gauge proved to be essential, and I used it to make templates for several locations on the body. Below are four of the styrene templates I made to check the contours on four locations on each side of the rear body.








The photo below shows that the cowl warp has been almost eliminated and that the cowl is now symmetrical and aligned properly with the leading edge of the rear deck. This photo also shows that the right side of the rear deck behind the hatch is too low and must be raised a bit.


The fuel tank attachments can slide on the tubular cross member and the tank and spare wheel mount are out of position in the photo.


You can also see a problem that I created. I positioned the spare tire well 0.5mm off center. This was the result of not utilizing proper jigs and fixtures, which are especially valuable when beginning a build with asymmetrical parts.  The left rear body panel is 1.0mm wider at the tail than the right rear panel. A single millimeter doesn't sound like much, but the difference was very apparent. This took some patience to correct.





Here is the body after the right side of the rear deck was raised a bit and after the asymmetry of the rear body panels was corrected.








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Here is the front of the rebuilt cowl. The leading edge had to lowered so much on the passenger's side that it is now almost all Milliput.





Using styrene sheet and Milliput, I rebuilt the firewall to fit and support the new shape and dimensions of the cowl.





Here is the firewall in position. The sides of the cowl will be pulled in tight against the firewall when it is cemented in place.





I welded two styrene pieces to the tops of the frame rails under the firewall to extend the raised panels on the tops of the rails. The two pieces are different lengths due to the asymmetry Pocher built into the rails.










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My God !!!! It's like your "restoring" a real car !!!

You have skilled hand's , and more patient's than I do !

Not to "nit-pik" but, the last picture shows the frame is a bit tweeked on the driver's side. The front of the leaf spring mount appear's to be bent, and is pulling up on the frame rail.

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13 hours ago, Little Timmy said:

Tthe last picture shows the frame is a bit tweeked on the driver's side. The front of the leaf spring mount appear's to be bent, and is pulling up on the frame rail.

The radius rods/ leading suspension arms are not installed and the axle is not perpendicular to the frame rails.  The right front spring shackle is leaning forward and the spring is under some tension.  I could have positioned everything a bit better for the photograph.

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I figured it was just "staged" for the picture, but I thought you should know ... just in case you missed it.

However, after I posted my "Observation" , I realized .  I was just a child playing with Tinker-Toy's .... telling a  TRUE CRAFTSMAN, how to use Lug-Nut's .

Thank you for not Beating me Severely about the head and neck.  

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The Fenders


Below are photographs of my very first steps toward building realistic fenders.  I began by making  a few rough changes to the right fenders.


I removed material from the outer edges of the front and rear wings, and the running board, to reduce their thickness and fullness. This also reduced the width of the front wing just a bit and the width of the rear wing quite lot.


In the photo below, an unmodified Pocher part is placed above the modified part.


It will be necessary to lower the height of both the front and rear wings relative to the running board. The tape on the modified part indicates approximately how much the fenders must be lowered.


This is just a very small beginning step.  I will have to reduce the width of both fenders and the running board. The leading edge of the front fenders will be substantially modified and the rear wings must be radically re-shaped.


The blue plastic in the kit is quite brittle and difficult to work with.





In the following photographs, the modified wings shown in the above photograph are mounted on the right side of the model and the unmodified wings are mounted on the left side. The changes made to the modified wings were undertaken to determine if it will be possible to use these parts to accurately represent a prototype and, if so, to help me to plan the next steps.


Also notice that these photographs are presented here out of sequence, before the last rounds of modifications were made to the rear of the body.  This work was done, and the photographs taken, to help me to understand the changes that had to be made to the body.


Both running boards are bolted to the frame at the correct height.


Although the model is still in very rough form, you can see the contrast between the two sides, the result of a very small bit of work on the wings, and that an enormous amount of work needs to be done.  You can also see again why the rear body required major modifications.


Stock Wings





Modified Wings





Stock Wings





Modified Wings








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 I cut the fenders from the running board. The length of the running board was reduced from 107mm to 93mm to more closely match the prototypes.





To lower the front fender, I trimmed 6mm from the bottom. Too much was removed from the section that sits on the top of the frame and material will have to be added back later.


To begin to narrow the front fender, I trimmed the bottom horizontal leading edge of the fenders, marked below by the blue tape, so it could be attached to the outside of the frame rail.





Some prototypes have the front wings attached to the inside of the rails; others are attached to the outside of the rails. 


An additional problem of the Pocher Spyder fenders is that they bow inward toward the bonnet side panels as they flow from the top of the fender down to the frame.  Looking from the front in two dimensions, the prototype fenders flow down from the crown of the fender in a much straighter line. This excessive curvature is another reason for the excessive fullness and width of the Pocher fenders.  This will be very difficult to fix.








Pocher attached the wings to the inside of the frame rails.  I will attach them to the outside of the frame rails, moving the fenders outward, so that I can trim more of the outside edge,  reducing both its width and thickness (fullness). 





In the photograph above, the right (passenger) side wing is stock except that I removed the molded-in splash panel. The wing is mounted inside the frame rail as Pocher intended


In contrast, the left (driver's) side wing is mounted outside the frame rail and was trimmed on its outside edge. The left fender is narrower than the right, but as you can see, it can be made even narrower so that  its outside edge is on the same vertical plane as the outer sidewall of the tire.


This is still a rough work-in-process. In this photograph, the left wing is putting pressure on the front spring shackle, the wing is tilted down, and the running board is tilted up. Both the inside and outside edges need a lot of work.  Also, the right front shackle is still out of position and the axle is misaligned.


Attaching the fenders to the outside of the rails, permits the use of an unmodified Monza splash pan infront of the radiator shell.


The changes I have made so far have been made without bending plastic.


In the photograph below, you can see that I removed the molded rub strips from the running board and rear fender. The blue plastic parts are brittle and difficult to work with.  I created two hairline cracks while cutting with a saw.


The running board tilts upward because Pocher did not mold the inside vertical section at a 90 degree angle.  When I bolted the running board to the frame, it tilted upward. One more thing to fix.





In the five photographs below, the running board is bolted to the frame at the correct height. The fenders are attached with tape.


You can see how much work will be required to finish the wings.  The front section has been roughly trimmed; the rear section has not been trimmed.The difference in height between the fenders and the running board is approximately correct. Only after the final dimensions and contours of the wings are finalized will they be attached at the correct height.


I like the way the model looks, but it does not look like a prototype. Problem include the fenders, doors, and the length of the rear overhang.


The plan view and height of the wings are close, but the contours are very wrong.  The running board, trailing section of the front wing, and the leading edge of the rear wing are much too wide.


The height and bowed out shape of the doors make the body appear wide and heavy. I will have to scratch lower and flatter doors.























As good as it looks in its present state, the body does not come close enough to the prototypes.


I have decided to begin to build a second body.


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I have begun building the second body.  At the beginning of this thread, there is a photograph of an OOB K73 body.  Below are two photographs of the second body mounted on the modified chassis.  The only modifications to the OOB body at this point are that I removed the seat and spare tire well.








In this photograph, the body has been secured in position on the chassis with six bolts.  The bolts are necessary to make it fit properly.  One side bows out and requires a third bolt to hold the body flush to the rail.  The bolts ensure that the body will be positioned consistently so it can be accurately measured and altered.  


Several adjustments were required to obtain a proper fit.




This gauge is a very helpful tool.  The body is warped and asymmetrical.  Some of the problems are really surprising.  For example, the panels that protrude from the body and cover the frame rails are different heights.





Both the cowl and the rear deck are warped.





Here is another look at the warped cowl.





I will attempt to repair the defects in the body at the same time that I attempt to modify it so it will more closely resemble a prototype Touring Spyder.

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Below are photographs of two 8C 2300 Touring Spyders.  There are significant differences between them, but both are very different from a stock Pocher.








Notice the length of the bonnet, the length and height of the cowl, the position of the louvers, and the size and shape of the doors.


The cowl is too long. I am trying a different approach to this problem than the one I used for the first body that I built.  


I am going to remove a 12mm section from the rear of the cowl, enlarge the cockpit by increasing the distance from the cowl to the rear deck, and re-shape the leading edges of the doors while enlarging them a bit.


The section to be removed is outlined by the blue tape. 





But nothing is straight forward with this body.


My plan to remove a 12mm strip had to be altered a bit because the cowl on the passenger side is 2.6mm longer than it is on the drivers side, 70.7mm vs. 73.3mm.


So the strip I removed from the cowl tapers from 12mm to 14.6mm on the  passenger's side


The forward blue tape is positioned the same distance from front of the cowl (firewall) on both sides.


Below is the other side of the cowl.





Work in progress.  I used a flush cutting saw and a hobby knife.


Before beginning, to increase the strength and rigidity of the cowl, I laminated two 0.3mm styrene sheets to its underside.





I tried to speed things up with a Dremel on this side.  Bad idea.





The result.  


I will cut down the  original cowl edge, shown below, and reattach it.  Then I have to modify the leading edge door openings,  section the cowl to reduce its height, and reposition new smaller louvers.


And one last thing.  I still have to eliminate the warp in the cowl.  Removing the 12mm section made the problem a bit smaller, but did not eliminate it.









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  • 4 months later...

Confronted by all of the things that are wrong with the K73 body, due both to its design and Pocher’s poor quality control, I took a break.  I thought about building a new body from scratch, which is what a clever person would do, or abandoning this project altogether.  After considerable vacillation, I decided to give it another try.


This time, I will fix the biggest problems of the stock body before sectioning, channeling, and making the major changes to the rear half of the body.


The photographs below show some of how I have gone about manipulating and measuring the body to better understand precisely what the problems are. The first problem was that, seen from the front, the body listed to the left.


The white styrene rectangle was one of several tools I made to square up the body to make it symmetrical so that accurate measurements could be made.  The red contour gauge, paper templates, a micrometer, a ruler, and a T-square were essential.












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The door openings were modified to correct the length of the cowl as well as the size and shape of the doors.  I plan to build new doors from scratch.


I used tape to define the necessary cuts at the leading edges of the doors and made the cuts with a hobby knife.


The shape of the openings on the two sides are slightly different.  The passenger’s door opening is more accurate but, as a test, I made the driver’s door jam more graceful.  It will be altered to more accurately reflect the prototypes.












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These photographs illustrate three additional problems with the cowl.


The firewall of a prototype Spyder is flush with the leading edge of the body, but Pocher recessed the firewall into the body.  To correct this, I removed the feet from the firewall and trimmed both the firewall and the leading edge of the body so that the firewall will fit flush.  The paper template in the photograph was made for the firewall.  When folded, the two halves match perfectly, confirming that the firewall is symmetrical.


Looking from the front, the left side leading edge of the cowl is about 2mm too high.  The first two photos show the gap that exists when the firewall is in place.


The third photograph clearly shows the excessive height along the entire cowl, front to rear.


In the fourth photograph, the shaded area on the paper template taped to the trailing edge of the cowl shows that the excessive height of the trailing edge of the cowl is about the same as that of the leading edge.  Folding the template of the trailing edge in half established the difference between the two sides and shows how that section of the cowl must be lowered to make the body symmetrical.


The third problem is shown in the last photograph.  The gap in the leading edge of the cowl is created not just because the cowl is too high, but also because the cowl bows inward at the same location.  One more thing to fix.


From here on out, expect slow progress and infrequent postings.















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The first step to remove the cowl warp was to make a series of saw cuts in the warped area.  The goal was to make the plastic a bit more flexible.


In this photograph you can see that my flush cutting saw began to cut first on the leading and trailing edges, because the center of the panel is lower than the edges.  This will be corrected when the saw cuts are filled. 


The saw cuts in this photograph are about one half of their final depth.





The saw cuts on the under side of the panel were made between the cuts on the top side.  The cuts provided only limited flexibility .  


Again, you see that the cowl is thinner in its center than on its edges.  Not a problem on the under side.


The styrene sheet reinforcement was added to strengthen the cowl prior to the surgery shown in my June 6th post.





The cowl was cut through at the high point of the warp.  This cut was made last to maintain the strength of the body while the prior cuts were being made.


 Because the warped body is bent and bolted to the frame in the correct position, the resulting tension caused the driver's side of the cowl to spring forward as it was released by the cut. 


A very thin slice of the top of the cowl, less than 2mm, had to be removed to lower the driver's side of the panel to achieve the proper shape and keep the vertical sides of the cowl in their proper positions.  My plan was to remove the 2mm slice and to bend the panels into position.


However, because the plastic was so inflexible, the short section  could not be bent sufficiently and the plan was changed.  Instead, a section of the cowl about 15mm wide was removed.





Two pieces of .01"/ 0.3mm styrene sheet were "welded" together with solvent and the trimmed laminated piece was welded to the two sections of the cowl to hold them in the proper position.








The piece of the cowl that was removed was trimmed about 2mm to fit into the gap of the now properly shaped cowl.


A good bit of fitting and adjusting remains to be done.  This will require considerable work with Milliput and Evercoat finishing putty.






Edited by Endeavor
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20 minutes ago, harveyb258 said:

Wow!! That is some serious warpage!


Great correctional work, sir!!


Cheers, H

Thanks, Harvey!

On 10/10/2018 at 10:10 PM, Ian T said:

I’ve just come across this topic, it’s spectacular!!

Thank you, Ian!

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Soooo good to see you back David. Brilliant work.


A masterclass on correcting an out-of-box train wreck!


Correct me if I'm wrong; weren't the cowl louvers cut out and new correct ones installed?

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