The only part of the pan that should have been kept was the transmission tunnel. And maybe the floor pans.
It was only one cook, I am confused, the guy who built it had complete complete decision making on the design? If he wanted to cut out the pan or build the cage anyway he wanted he could? What is the problem with an LS and a 5 speed? So you wouldn't build anything like this to start, what would you have done? It is a street car to play with in the dirt, not meant for competition?To many different cooks with different ideas can cause a total clusterfuuk. The LS engine, 5speed, fiberglass body pan, total clusterfuuk from the get go no matter who tried to assemble the whole mess. And in general anyone that spot welds everything is clueless.