I Am Still Throwing All My Time And Money At A Lada

I Am Still Throwing All My Time And Money At A Lada

When I last posted about the Lada, I’d just picked it up from having Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 front and rear subframes grafted into its crumbling body.

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When the car came back to me in May, the clock started ticking. I had until mid-September to get the engine and transmission mounted in the car, clean up some serious rust holes and figure out a million other little details so the guys at TRF could make final decisions about how and where the cage would be installed.

My first little task was removing the oil pan on the K24, removing the stock oil pump and making room for the new KPower Industries oil pan I’d ordered. Once I did that, I could mount the KPower engine mounts, bolt the transmission to the engine and start to figure out whether the two of them would fit in the Lada.

Eyeballing it, I was pretty sure there’d be some cutting involved, and once I’d wrestled the engine into the engine bay, that was confirmed. I was kind of hoping that would be the case as I want the motor as far back as possible while retaining the ability to sit in the car. Anyway, out came the marker and its only friend, the cutoff wheel.

Photo: Rory Carroll

The result, pictured below is a new, recessed firewall. Because the motor is going to be in and out of the car a lot, I decided to give myself a nice big space behind it. This will make access to plumbing and electrical connections easier, and when coupled with an oversized transmission tunnel, will make pulling the motor for repairs and upgrades a relative breeze.

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Photo: Rory Carroll

with the engine sitting on the mounts, it was very clear that the Lada’s transmission tunnel would have to go. Again, this was fine as a bigger tunnel will give me better access to the transmission and make pulling everything a little easier. I wanted to finish welding the new tunnel in before sending it off for the cage, but I ran out of argon at 11 p.m. on the Sunday before my scheduled appointment. Rookie mistake, but I got close enough where the TRF guys could visualize the shape and dimensions of the tunnel.

I dropped the car off and immediately started getting updates from Ryan Thompson, who is the Thompson in Thompson Racing Fabrication. Docol steel cost me a little more, but it’s lighter, so that’s what I went with. Near the end of the cage build, I went out and sat in the car to figure out where the seat mounts needed to be.

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Photo: Ryan Thompson

Image for article titled I Am Still Throwing All My Time And Money At A Lada

Photo: Ryan Thompson

Image for article titled I Am Still Throwing All My Time And Money At A Lada

Photo: Ryan Thompson

Image for article titled I Am Still Throwing All My Time And Money At A Lada

Photo: Ryan Thompson

The cage is now installed and the car is at home with me for the foreseeable future. I mounted the seat, and it looks like I’ll be sitting with my shoulders just behind the B pillar. Initially, I’d planned on going without power steering since the car is so light and I don’t plan to be doing anything like endurance racing in it. But, I have a powered BRZ steering column in my shop, as well as all the components to hook it up. So for now, power steering is winning thanks to a huge “already paid for it, it’s sitting right here” advantage. Plus I can use a stock wheel, which saves another couple hundred bucks in a build that’s becoming pretty spendy.

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The next steps are getting the steering setup mounted, fitting some kind of pedal box and getting the engine and seat back out of the car. Then I need to finish the transmission tunnel and firewall and figure out how to relocate the shifter. Then I can finish painting the cage/interior Detroit Diesel Alpine Green, which is close enough to the car’s original color. Then I can get the motor apart and ready to run, then have a conversation with Haltech, then fuel, then…

Image for article titled I Am Still Throwing All My Time And Money At A Lada

Photo: Rory Carroll

Image for article titled I Am Still Throwing All My Time And Money At A Lada

Photo: Rory Carroll

Image for article titled I Am Still Throwing All My Time And Money At A Lada

Photo: Rory Carroll

Image for article titled I Am Still Throwing All My Time And Money At A Lada

Photo: Rory Carroll