Ideas are where you find them. And there's no greater resource than the creativity of your fellow car crafters. Over the past year, we've secretly been taking notes on all you creative car builders out there. This is just a sampling of some of your best work. The best part is taking somebody else's idea and making it your own. All we ask is that once you've finished this story you go out to the garage and use a couple of these ideas on your own ride. Better yet, use these ideas to create your own visual statement.
Detailing is all about dealing with the little things that make an engine bay look more cohesive. Take fasteners, for example. You can look like everybody else with factory hex-head bolts, or be different and convert all the exposed engine bay fasteners to stainless steel button heads. These are Allen bolts with rounded heads. By going with stainless steel, the bolts will never rust and they give your engine compartment a fresh appearance. Since you'll need various sizes in bulk to get a good price, check out the swap meets. Or if you prefer to buy online, we found bulk stainless steel button head fasteners at boltdepot.com. The more popular bolts you'll need are 14-, 516-, and 38-inch in 12-, 34-, and 1-inch lengths. At the Bolt Depot, we found a 50-count box of 516-inch, NC stainless steel button heads 34 inch long for $15.28.
`SOURCEBolt Depot; North Weymouth, MA; 866/337-9888; boltdepot.com
Aluminum radiators have become the new underhood status symbol. The best deals are on the universal radiators that come sans mounting brackets. And as off-brand cars become increasingly popular, there will not be specific-fit radiators for all these vehicles. If an aluminum radiator is what you crave, you can always make your own mounts. This car crafter fashioned simple aluminum brackets out of 18-inch aluminum, drilled a couple of holes to give it some style, pop-riveted the mount to the radiator, and bolted the mount to the radiator core support. The result is simple, elegant, and completely functional.
Stainless steel button head bolts make a great variation on the standard six-point fastener.
It's easy to build a mount like this by starting wiht a cardboard template. use it to test-fit the radiator and then transfer to sheet a sheet of aluminum.
There are dozens of ways to clamp fuel and brake lines, from billet aluminum parts to more affordable plastic clamps. Made For You makes a slick single- or double-tube plastic clamp that mounts tubing, hose, or even battery cable to a framerail or sheetmetal. All that's required is drilling a small mounting hole and you're there. If your situation requires something a bit more custom, you might think about a mount like this one (right) we shot a couple of years ago at the Car Craft Summer Nationals in St. Paul. Here, the fabricator welded a tube to a small piece of aluminum flat stock and then insulated the battery cable against abrasion with a length of rubber hose secured with a zip tie. It's simple and prevents the cable from dropping down against the nearby header tube.
Made For You makes these simple single-line clamps that allow you to professionally mount or route tubing and braided steel lines.
Sometimes you may need to fabricate your own mounts to fit a custom application. If you can drill a hole, you can make a mount like this. There are affordable Tig welders available now, and even some Mig welders can be converted to weld aluminum, so now you don't have an excuse.
`SOURCEMade For You Products; Pinon Hills, CA; 760/868-6962; made4uproducts.com