Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fiberglass sports car bodies.............

 Size comparison of plaster mold in the front of the real '61 Corvette.

Once there was a little old lady......
For months while I was building the original male mold of the Mongoose out of wood and plaster in the garage behind my folks grocery store. A little old lady bent over with age, dressed in an ankle length print dress and wearing a bonnet looking like one from the old covered wagon days would shuffle by the garage daily. She totally ignored me and seemingly was uninterested in what I was doing. I never once saw her even look in my direction or saying anything to me on her way to or from my folks grocery store. Not even a Hello or Hi there. The day when I finally had lain up the original female fiberglass mold and I had to saw up and break the plaster mold to get the fiberglass mold off. I rolled the cracked, falling off frame and destroyed carcass of the old plaster mold not needed anymore, out of the garage, placing it out of the way in the drive. On that day the little old lady walking slowly by on her way back from my folks store stopped abruptly. Turned towards me with her hands on her hips, looking at the destroyed remains of the old Mongoose plaster mold and shouted at me:  "WELL, I could have told you THAT wasn't going to work", meaning I guess the making of a car out of plaster & wood!  Then she turned back around totally ignoring me once again and continued up the sidewalk.  

Unfinished Mongoose Plaster Mold and Tow car in the drive
As I explained before, fiberglass comes in five parts. Two of them liquid, the resin in a medal drum and the catalyst (hardening agent) in a small plastic bottle. The three others are on rolls similar to cloth in consistency. When laying up the fiberglass female mold or when laying up the final car body you do it exactly the same way. For both, the first of the three layers is again the small weave layer called FINE for the smooth outer surface. Then the second layer of SPUN MATT, for bulk. And the final is the large weave cloth called ROVING, for strength. Maybe a little pigment in the fine layer for color.

The Ruff Male fiberglass body pulled from the female mold and 
fit to the frame.

After you finally have the male fiberglass car body you have to figure out how to support it on the frame. That takes allot of fabricating, cutting, bending and welding for the conduit bulkheads, as well as the forming of aluminum sheets for the wheel wells and the other inner body panels............. plus allot of pop rivets.

Carol #I & Mongoose III Racing Orange, Des Moines, Iowa

FYI- Carol I was my beloved wife, devoted mother of my 2 children. 
Died in Las Vegas in 1969 RIP.

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