Bolstered by yesterday’s fixing success, we were up at 7.30am to continue the work needed to restore the SRZero. So, after a quick breakfast of cold pizza left over from the night before, we left the hotel and headed for the garage. Toby and Nik immediately got down to work on reinstalling the anti-roll bar, something that was left out on yesterday’s suspension reconstruction, and also started checking through all the electrics to ensure that everything was still OK after the crash.
Meanwhile, Sebastian and I went in search of a printer to be able to print off the engineering drawings of the crash box. These were kindly sent over by Radical in the UK and were crucial in ensuring that our fix of the crash box was carried out accurately. This took longer than expected, as usual, but with these documents obtained, we went back to the garage, picked up Nik and the crash box, and headed out to a workshop where we could get some work done on it.
Basically, the crash box is a box-sectioned cone of honeycomb aluminium; extremely strong and very light, it’s designed to concertina inwards in the event of a crash, thereby absorbing much of the energy of the impact. This stops the crash forces getting directed into the chassis and the driver, both of which could cause considerable and lasting damage. As the crash wasn’t particularly fast, only half the crash box was damaged, and the rear part was still in tact. So what we needed was a skilled machinist who could cut off the damaged section extremely neatly and straight such that we could affix a front piece that we would make.
Under normal circumstances, we would have gladly taken on this challenge as us engineers love getting our hands dirty with some metal and machinery! However, without the proper tools with us, we opted to give the box to a workshop. Following this decision we spent around 45 minutes getting lost in Quito’s crazy maze of streets before finally finding the place. The guys at the workshop assured us they would do a great job, and that it would be ready in 2 hours.
With the crash box now being seen to, we had a small window of time in which we could move the car to a new home. Alfonso had kindly offered the use of his brother-in-law’s car repair shop a short drive across the city. Driving the SRZero over there would normally be something we wouldn’t even think of, but now we had a car which hadn’t driven since the crash, an untested suspension, and no front bodywork, lights, mirrors or any other essential features needed to legally and safely drive on the road! So the question was, how on earth do we safely get the car across town without putting it on a costly flatbed? The answer?…
Call the police! Back when we were having our police escort into Quito, the Captain had assured us that if we needed any assistance we were to call his mobile and he would send out some units to help us with whatever needs doing. So, half an hour after calling the police and explaining what was needed, they turned up to the garage and helped stop the traffic so we could whizz through to our destination.
Upon arriving at Fernando’s car repair shop, we were amazed at what he had going there. Some old vintage cars were in for some work, everything was clean and tidy, and machinery such as car lifts were there which would make our job a lot easier! Immediately, a swarm of workers descended on the car, polishing it and lifting it up to a more comfortable height to work on. While this was being done, we were shown through to a seating area where Alfonso and his sister Maria had kindly ordered us some pizza, correctly assuming that we would be starving when we arrived! This was incredible hospitality and not something you find so easily everywhere in the world.
After the food, Nik and Toby went back into the workshop to help optimise the suspension setup with Fernando while I drove over to the workshop to pick up the dissected crash box. I was extremely impressed with the job they had done, and truth be told, they probably did a better job than we would have been able to do with the same tools. This left the crash box looking good once again, and the task of building on a front nose cone suddenly became a lot easier to imagine!
While this was all happening, Claudio had made it over to Victor the fibreglasser to film the latest developments on the bodywork, and while this was obviously good for the documentary, it also saved us going to have a look as we could view what had happened on video. From what we could see, he was doing a truly excellent job and we are very much looking forward to seeing the finished job tomorrow. It is clear that because of all the work Victor has done on Alfonso’s Radical, he needed much less supervision when fixing the bodywork than previously thought.
After reconvening at Fernando’s place, we had a look at the results of the suspension setup, and it had turned out that the rear wheels were both toed out by 6mm meaning that they would have sucked up way more power than necessary when driving. As such, we are now very keen to see if this realignment results in an increased range; in theory it should do! The camber and toe of the wheels were checked and corrected where necessary so the car should drive a lot smoother now.
Next up we proceeded upstairs to where Fernando had a complete studio for printing stickers which is something we needed given that many were destroyed in the crash. We spent some hours here with the graphics artists going over exactly what we needed printing, and by tomorrow these should be ready to be stuck onto our rescued bodywork.
And while all this engineering work was going on, Andy and Clemens were back at the hotel doing a whole bunch of important things to keep our website up to date and the information we’re putting out there up to scratch. This actually takes a lot of time too, so it is sometimes good to have non-driving days (but not with a crashed car obviously!)
This concluded an extremely successful day, and with all going well this should mean that we have a fully repaired car by tomorrow evening. We are going to work late into the night to try and ensure that we can leave on Wednesday, 2 days earlier than originally thought. However, things can often take longer than expected, so Thursday is probably a good estimate for our departure date!
A massive thanks go out to Alfonso and Fernando and his team at Pro-Mechanika for all there help and support!