In order to mock everything up, I removed the original cross member. I knew that it was going to need modified, so I figured that I would be easier done out of the car. After I got the T5 installed, I stood back and noticed that the transmission hung down a bit. On a fully fendered car, this wouldn't be an issue but since I wanted to run fenderless, something had to be done..
My solution was to raise the back of the engine an 1" and the front by 1/2". This solved several issues. Not only did this raise the transmission up to an acceptable level, it helped maintain a better drive shaft angle since the truck is going to be lowered 4-5 inches. Also, it raised the pivot ball on the front wish bone which will compensate for the reversed eye front spring and maintain the proper caster.
The rear engine mounts were cut apart and an inch wide spacer added...
In the front, a 1/2" spacer was added to the top. The original holes were then filled and redrilled 1/2" higher.
Because the rear of the transmission essentially was pitched up several inches, the original cross member would have had to be severely cut. This would have dramatically impacted it's strength. So, the easiest thing to do was to build a new one loosely modeled off of an F1 cross member. If I would have left the engine mounts alone, there would have been plenty of material to modify the original cross member.
At this point, I was being held up waiting for parts. So, I turned my focus on fixing the rust. The firewall was actually in really nice shape except for the large hole cut for the heater.
As common with most A cowl sections in Ohio, the lower bead was rusted. I have found it much easier to drill the spot welds and remove the panel from the cowl. There really isn't enough room to get in behind and hammer the weld when it is left in place....though, I assume this is how most patch panels are welded in.
I have never been really fond of the aftermarket patch panels available for Model A's as the material always seem too soft. Having a Pullmax in the shop definitely makes things easier....
When I acquired the doors, the previous owner started a patch job. It certainty was savable, but the skin also looked like it was hit by several shotgun blasts. So, instead of trying to shrink all of the material, it was just easier to make my own skin and replace from the belt line down.
Slowly, it's starting to look like something....