Options ::: Once having made the choice to go with a new frame, the next decisions you will have to make include your choice of engine, transmission and differential, side exhaust or under-car system, the suspension to be used, and wheel width. Several chassis builders offer the choice of using the C4 suspension for both the front and rear, the complete C5 suspension, or a combination of the C5 in front and C4 in the rear. Most chassis builders have several levels you can select, ranging from just the bare frame to a full roller, or, in some cases, a turnkey car. Our choice was to have SRIII build the frame and test fit the suspension, which we supplied. You may find good sources for the suspension components and may save some of your cost by supplying it yourself. Having a roller may also help in shipping the frame. Three other options worth considering are the brake lines, type of weld used, and priming. We chose to have Mike run the brake lines since he knows the best route to take, and that saved us some time. We also chose to have Mike TIG weld the frame because of its better penetration and strength. He can also epoxy prime the frame, which is a good idea to keep things from rusting while you are building the car.
Finishing ::: While not necessary under normal circumstances, we chose to go into great detail on the frame because this car will be displayed with lights and mirrors to show the underside of the car at indoor shows. Each weld and seam was ground, contoured, and filled. Our midrise lift helped to get the frame to a reasonably comfortable working height and saved some backaches. We counted 427 welds and joints. After ten weeks of this work we were beginning to wonder if we would ever get to the last weld.
When considering whether to go with paint or powdercoat, we highly recommend powdercoating. Because of our custom color we couldn't find a powdercoat close to the color we needed, and while you can order a custom mix, the minimum quantity and cost was outrageous. we had no choice but to paint the frame with our mix using RM Diamont base and clear. Corvette Center in Newington, Connecticut, applied the final coat of epoxy primer and the base and clearcoats. It was then polished and waxed before the suspension was assembled.
We ended up strapping the frame to our lift as it was so slippery we were afraid it would slide off.
If you do decide to go the paint route, here are a couple of things that can help. First, buy or borrow a chassis rotisserie. It will allow the frame to be rotated so you can get at all surfaces. One source is Accessible Systems (www.accessiblesystems.com). Second, if you are using a base/clear paint, two painters in the booth at the same time can help, especially when it comes to applying the clearcoat. With the round tube it is almost impossible to avoid either missing an area or over-spraying. With the second painter you can keep the clearcoat "wet" and get a more even coverage.