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Old 08-01-2007, 09:23 AM   #31
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1. take a picture of your car from the very front, halfway up it's height from as far away and with as much zoom as you have (not digital)
I think you need telephoto to make this work. 3x optical isn't enough (I already tried, and it was quite off, when comparing the known length of the front plate to the length of a wiper blade by counting pixels.)

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5. slap a program together to count the number of black dots in the black and white image file. (note, some image software may be able to tell you the area selected in pixels)
For those of us who are not code jockeys, I actually found a program that will do this for you. I'll dig it up again if someone wants it.

I think a more accurate (but harder) way to do frontal area is to back the car up to a wall, then take a strong flashlight far away and point it at the car. Trace the outline of the shadow on the wall. Then photograph it and do the pixel counting.

EDIT: ideally you would use the sun at sunrise/set, but good luck finding such a wall/unobstructed sightline.
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Old 08-01-2007, 09:53 AM   #32
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Yo Metro,

I have an idear for your idear .

A small laser level would hug the body more tightly as long as it was square to the wall, no?

It would render it a two-person job but would definitely be more accurate than shadows. The beam offset on mine is only 3/16". The difference could be calculated if yer into it, but is insignificant enough to be ignored altogether.
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Old 08-01-2007, 09:57 AM   #33
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Yeah, that's even better.
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Old 08-01-2007, 11:38 AM   #34
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Anyone who maintains a late model Spit with a stock motor in this state is doing it out of love. The other day I decided I wasn't really THAT much in love.

This really sucks because the motor is tight and the car only has 39,000 original miles on it.
Sounds like a good chance to part the car out to some enthusiasts, get some cash in your pocket and not junk the original motor/tranny and other underhood parts!
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Old 08-01-2007, 11:49 AM   #35
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Yo Metro,

I have an idear for your idear .

A small laser level would hug the body more tightly as long as it was square to the wall, no?

It would render it a two-person job but would definitely be more accurate than shadows. The beam offset on mine is only 3/16". The difference could be calculated if yer into it, but is insignificant enough to be ignored altogether.
If you have a good camera tripod, you could mount the laser level to it, and do your measurements??
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Old 08-01-2007, 12:12 PM   #36
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I'm hollerin' bewlchit on the published cD numbers for the Spit.

Viewed as a simple rectangle, and not even deducting for inward taper of the windshield, curvature of the roof and lower body, and after adding a generous square foot for the tires it at WORST presents 14.25 sq.ft. of frontal area.

The damned thing is barely 3 feet tall from the rockers to the top of the roof!

The same funky computation method yields 19+ feet for the Geo. I doubt seriously that the Triumph has more acreage in sideview than a Geo.

Please don't flame me, I know there's a lot more to it than that, I'm just thinking out loud. Time to bust out the laser level and do actual computations. I hate even balancing a checkbook and I've got a busy week ahead. Guess it'll be allnighters in the garage doing research rather than building sumpin'.

I bought a fresh bottle of argon today. Still looking for a parts car. The day I find one, I've decided that one of these cars goes under the knife based on the available information up to that day. If that day was today I'd have to go with the Geo. I hate like hell to put a zillion hours into a 600 dollar car, but them's the breaks.

Thanks for playing along. I hope those of you who are interested will still continue to post constructive ideas.

If anyone out there has a running Spit and wants to do some coastdown testing I'd love to see the results and compare them with my garage numbers. I still say these cars are much closer together. We'll see.

I got some math to do.
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Old 08-01-2007, 01:15 PM   #37
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I wouldn't worry about cutting up a classic, who cares about a Spitfire? It's a nice looking car but nothing special. Sell the drivetrain off.

I'd think about maybe making it into an all electric car instead of a gasser though, if it is intended to be a daily driver. As light as that car is, a few battery packs and an electric motor would likely make the car's final weight about 2000lbs (after unloading the engine, transmission, radiator, fuel tank, lines, ect), and you'd have a really cool car that got a horrible 0MPG . Just plug it in every night.

Don't know where the link was, but I was reading somewhere about a recharger that could charge lithium-ion batteries in about 5 minutes, and this electric dragster link speaks of a new style battery pack that will be available at the end of this year. The battery pack is projected to allow an electric drag bike to see 1000HP at the rear wheels. Something like that could drive you around all day, and a 5 minute recharge means all you need is 5 minutes of peace round back of Wal-Mart to see you through your day .
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Old 08-01-2007, 01:54 PM   #38
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I wouldn't worry about cutting up a classic, who cares about a Spitfire? It's a nice looking car but nothing special.
I reiterate: I don't really give a rip about the value of the car, though I admit that it has been one of the considerations.

Have any of you ever attempted to chop a top on a car with 6 (count 'em) 6 windows and compound curves on virtually every surface, with windows that actually roll up and down, doors that open, close and seal properly, attempting to incorporate the existing glass as much as possible and all the while trying to have the results be something that you're proud to have done, rather than someone's regurgitated lunch?

It ain't easy, friend. It's a thing to be avoided. And if there's any way that the Spit can compete with the Geo I'm gonna pursue it.
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Old 08-01-2007, 03:38 PM   #39
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swapping out the spitball's engine and trans for a 3 cyl is prob the easiest thing you can do. Hardest part would be separating out the wiring harness for the computer so you can transfer it over without having all the metro lights and other wiring junk left in the harness. Take the spitfire motor mounts and make an adapter plate to fit them to the sides of the metro motor, They don't make much power so you don't need something that is able to withstand 1000hp

The spitfire diff isn't the best thing in the world but if it is in good shape it would probably be ok to just keep using it. I would also probably strip out the spitfire wiring harness and install a painless wiring setup with good switches in there just to make the lights slightly reliable and actually work most of the time. As far as the dash, it is a fake wooden dash so take it apart and make a template and make it out of real wood with some nice gauges and better switches. If spending money is OK you could go real fancy and use a Dakota Digital dash in it to make hooking up everything real easy.

Keeping the car RWD would make the swap pretty easy as long as you have some experience with a welder. It would be possible to get the car able to move under it's own power in a weekend I figure. Might take a week to get all the details worked out though. A perfectly restored spitfire might bring in $5,000 so it isn't like they are really considered a classic. I say start building it into something that is actually daily drivable.

If you are looking for a spare metro they are usually not hard to find if you just go driving around and look in peoples back yards. You can usually talk to someone that has one out back and they will either give it to you or sell it for very little just so you will haul it away. I have found 4 extra ones I have less than $200 total in by doing that. If it is not running or beat up real bad it will still work good enough to drag home for what you want it for.
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Old 08-01-2007, 07:25 PM   #40
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One word:

Spitfire.
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