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Love your work and attention to detail Ed.  I look forward to your updates on this build.  I for one, enjoy sharing the experience of my speedster with others; as in I enjoy having passengers with me.  Whether that is my wife, my son or friends.  I can't help but wonder what a PITA it would be to have passengers in 550-0056, given the location of the shifter.  It may promote a few awkward touches on one's leg when throwing it up into third.  Or, maybe that's a good thing if you're a bachelor with a rather fine passenger in the seat.....

My guess would be that 99% of the time, you will never find someone that has been that intimate with a real 550.  I'd venture to guess that you'd have 99% of folks fooled while driving that car around Monterey during Monterey week.

I'm not one of those that have that intimate knowledge of a spyder.  I was able to get close to a real spyder this year at the Monterey Historics.  (I had a lot of time to spend at the track given I lost my ignition key)  I wonder if every "real" spyder had the shifter in the same location, or if it was modified over time?

In the same breath, I walked Pebble with some hardcore Ferrari enthusiasts.  It was interesting to learn from them what was "wrong" with the cars on display on the 18th fairway.  The moral here?.....I absolutely love the research you have done, and the investment to detail you have provided.  But even the real deal lawn cars are not exactly perfect.

Kevin, you are right on the money. No two Spyders are exactly alike, there are lots of variations in there. But I do believe the shifters are all pretty much offset to the right.

Even with my center-mounted shifter, the 2-3 and 3-4 shifts usually touch a passengers leg. There simply isn't much if any room there. It is much better when my small-framed lady is next to me though, compared to a 280 pound instructor LOL!

Thanks, Kevin. Wish I could've looked though your eyes and heard through your ears at Monterey.

And, yeah, what Danny says: The shifters on these cars were all in the same place, right about where the passenger's left leg would want to be. I rode shotgun with Danny one day years ago at Lime Rock, and we were pretty snug in there. I can only imagine how that went for the dudes running the original, even smaller cars in rallyes. 

The cars are tiny and were purpose-built to win LeMans and the Targa Florio & the Mille etc. and as such were designed to meet the letter of the rulebook which required them to be "road-legal sports cars" with "passenger seats," "spares kit," "windscreen," "all-weather gear" and the like. 

As with the alleged homologation of the Ferraris, there was quite a bit of pantomime (and outright fraud) built in.

Which is part of the charm, if you're a bent sort of individual.

Last edited by edsnova

So it's been a month and I figured I should check in lest Theron close out this thread.

Installed the side mirror and made the gasket.IMG_2160

I put my Tenax posts in the back of the tub and started fitting my tonneau cover. It was going well until I thought to check the front posts with the plexi screen installed.


Crap! So I pulled that off, chalked a line an inch back for it to be shortened by my upholsterer and set it aside.

Been trying to recruit a painter. So far I've had three local dudes express interest as in "Yeah sure I'll swing by and take a look at it tomorrow" or "next week." But no one has called back.

Pulled out my paint and noticed my reducers are all formulated for HOT. Like 80 degrees F and up. Because I told the guy at the paint shop I'd probably be shooting the car circa July or August. Which was my intention for sure last February.


Anyway it's 50 degrees and less in the shop these days which is pretty good for both puttering and tinkering but not so nice for wet-sanding or spreading body filler. I've been pondering how to make the license plate lights authentic, and fitting the rear grills.

Got 'em pretty close to right.


Picked up some stainless hardware yesterday that looks close to correct (the originals' screws are a tad too short). Now it's down to removing just a little bit more material from the openings to account for the thickness of the paint.


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Last edited by edsnova


Here's the link from Marty's post where he explains he chose the Spyder over the Ghia light because it's slimmer.

"...I stepped outside the box and did Beehives and a Spyder 550 Shinedown on my 59 Roadster..."

And he posts this photo of the Ghia light - which looks a lot like the TR unit that Ed has been working on. So, did TR model theirs after the Ghia unit?




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Last edited by Sacto Mitch

I've moved on.

Block sanding now. On advice of the painter who showed up to look at the car (guy's doing a SEMA car now; says he's booked solid through July—can't wait for his estimate!) I'm blocking with 180 before moving back to 220 and spot-priming before wet-sanding.

Put about 10 hours in this weekend. Guide-coated with some black lacquer which is not ideal but so far so good. The car isn't going to need a lot more fill.

Given the responses (aka non-responses) I've got so far from the painters I contacted, I'm resigned to the idea that, most likely, I'll be shooting this thing myself.

Toward that end I ordered a couple of ceiling mounted 1500-watt electric heaters. With my little oil filled, plus the mouse-eared propane unit behind a couple of 22-inch box fans and two layers of plastic sheet on the open end I should be able to raise the temp inside my back bay high enough, with low enough humidity, to work with the paints I have. Obviously I'll start by 2k-priming the whole car again after the blocking's done.IMG_2265


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Whelp, the doors are off the car and disassembled and filled, front and back for final smooving. I blocked the front third of the car as well with the short block @180 and we're down to the 220 work before the next primer.

The doors and edges needed more than I'd realized near the top edges, even after re-hanging them a couple times. That's about 3/32 there...IMG_2319

You can see how they taco'd a bit from the center to the edge.


Bottom line is they won't be perfectly perfect but they will be at least as straight as any of the real Spyders out there and that's the goal.

I'm sanding the interior bits now & will get after the inner clam and underside of the hood before I start to hang parts to paint. 


My makeshift shop heat is not working: the little electric heaters snap the breaker at random intervals (and this only at half power)—apparently the numb-nuts PO ran just one 12awg onto the bay to feed all four overhead lights and nine outlets

But I don't need much heat to sand, and I'll figure something out in the next few weeks as I try to make a paint booth.


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