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**Mickey Thompson Challenger IV restoration**

Mark Stahl

Well-Known Member
Hey Rory, looking good. Now the fun of final assembly begins. I`m hoping to get my parts back from powdercoating soon so I can start bolting stuff together.
 

Rory

Crayola Killer
Couldnt wait to get back home after Parker to start working on Challenger IV. After picking the car up from ALLCOAT powder coating in Kingman last week i've been DYING to get my hands dirty. While at Parker, Byron from Henry's Machine shop delivered my Magnesium Dana 60 to tech inspection and boy is it purdy.......






Their are a couple things that I need to do before i can bolt up the axle tubes, seems that John house welded some thin inserts to the out parts of the tubes where they slide into the housing....now it's approx 1/16" too large. Thinking that they might of had to hone the housing maybe from damage and shim the axle tubes....my best guess, i will contact Sandy Cone at Cone Industries to see what he says since he's the one I'm going to have set up the rear end.



Above is the brake pedal assembly and Aluminum motor mount (rear). I cleaned up the aluminum plate for the most part but didn't want to get too crazy because all those little marks tell a story........



Here's the front motor plate with all new hardware. Under the center gold support section was a small crack that Pete Corwin tig welded up for me......every little piece has and will be inspected for this beauty!



Pictured above is the throttle pedal linkage, very well thought out I might add.



Shot of the lower front arm, you can see the torsion bar sticking out. I will need to have some custom Torsion fingers fabricated up since I do not have the originals.

Challenger IV is coming along nicely especially since I got it back from the Powder coater (ALLCOAT). I'm slowly cleaning up parts and buying new hardware as I go, until I have to wait on a certain part that I dont have that holds me up. Next big hoops will be getting the rearend ready to bolt together and then have the rear end cycled for mounts (old ones were cut off), then get new A-arms built for the drivers side since they are toast from Mickey trying to plant the front end into the nevada desert some 22 years ago at the MINT 400. Until then, if you really want to help with this restoration, you can do it while having a blast, just buy this from me...........






Sorry for the sideways pictures on the post, for some reason "Image shack" wont let me post them vertical so you'll have to look at them with your head tilted to the side and look like a dog after he hears a dog whistle.....
 

560bajamike

Well-Known Member
This is looking really nice. Sorry I can not buy the rig but if there is anything else we could do to help out let us know.

Mike
 

Rory

Crayola Killer
Make sure to look us up on FaceBook too so you can follow along with the build. Search "MT Challenger IV" and "like" us :D .
 

Rory

Crayola Killer
As I was poking around on Jim Obers site today (www.tracksidephoto.com) I seen that he had updated some more old school photos, this time from the 1980 Baja 500. As I browse through the pic's I see this one.......



I was pretty shocked to see Challenger IV pictured in the 1980 Baja 500 since I thought the 1980 MINT 400 was the final race for the car. As I investigated a little more, looks like the desert has a more, should I say, Nevada feel to it, not really Baja. Also, I noticed that MT was #7 (as he was in the 1980 MINT 400) and there is also a #7 pictured towards the front of the "buggies" section. I'm starting to think some of the 1980 MINT 400 pic's got mixed in with the 1980 Baja 500, i have a call into Jim to find out for sure. This info is mainly for me since i'm trying to piece the history of the car together as best i can. Great shots of some old cars on his site, he seems to update it every month or so with older race photo's, check it out if you get a chance.

As for work getting done on Challenger IV, nothing really to see with photo's, just little things. I'm saving some money because I'm getting ready to tackle the front end and have all new A-Arms made since the old ones are a little more tweaked than I thought. It will be an important step in the rebuilding process due to how precise the arms have to be with the clearances involved. I'm hoping this gets started within the next couple weeks so i can have the front end complete minus the front shocks.
 
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Rory

Crayola Killer
I know it's been a while since I last updated this thread but have just been gathering parts and materials and there just hasn't been much to report. As of right now, Pete Corwin (Ex- Roger Mears fabricator) has been working on the jig for the lower A-arms (between other projects) and it has been slow going. As you can see below he has the jig complete with the old a-arm.....



After the jig was complete, Pete started working on the layout and started knotching tubes....



Hoping to have the lowers done sometime next week and then we can start on the uppers. Pete will have to recycle the front end a little bit to make sure everything is square since old race cars seem to be a little tweeked after some hard miles. When I returned home from the HDRA Imperial 250 tech inspection last night, I found 4 of these babies sitting on the doorstep....



These are American Racing Outlaw II's. Since Centerline does not make that style wheel anymore, nor do they have the tooling (from what I was told), we pulled the trigger on the AR's because I needed to start mocking up the front end. I still plan on finding some used Centerlines for the car to use when it is on display. Thanks to Jeff Furrier at UPR for the sweet deal on the wheels!

While at the MINT 400 a couple weeks ago, I dropped off my front Halibrand hub to Sandy Cone at Cone Industries. Sandy told me he had a set of front Halibrand hubs on the shelf that he thought would work but will have to convert them from 6 lug to 5 lug (not a big deal he tells me). Sandy will also be making sure the hubs fit correctly on the spindle I gave him and will clean them up with a nice anodized gold finish, just like it was in 1978. One He's done with that I will be sending him the Henry's Machine Magnesium Dana 60 to get it set up for the 3rd member and axles. It's nice to have someone working on this stuff that has been in the industry working at the same time this car was running....and even earlier than that!



It's a slow process since I'm still looking for certain parts that hold up the progress but we are fighting our way through it and once the front end is complete (minus shocks) we can tackle the rear end so we can put her back on her wheels. Thanks for following along, nice to see people are still interested in the history of our sport.
 

560bajamike

Well-Known Member
The amount of effort you have been putting into restoring old race cars is truly amazing and from the sounds it is a full time job. If I ever get down South and have a chance to meet you, I would like to buy you a nice cold beverage of your choice and have a chat for a bit with ya to here in person about what you are doing. Stinking computers have zero emotion to them.

Mike
 

Devin J

Well-Known Member
Wesley,

I'll try scanning in the article when i get home this weekend. One was from Off Road, the other was Hot VW's, both from 1978. As for where the car has been hiding, it actually was probably down the street from where you live in Eugene. Going through some old pic's and articles, I was under the impression that Challenger started life as a short course car, then was cut up and turned into a desert racer.....here's why:

It's funny that you mention Eugene for the hiding place. When I first got into this sort of thing, I stopped by that shop for some Q&A with the guy that worked there. If I recall, I think his name was Gary? Anyways, while talking to him I'm looking around in the rafters and there stacks upon stacks of coilovers sitting with 1/4" of dust on them. There was also a couple of chassis up there as well, maybe it was one of them? The shop closed down awhile back, but the surrounding businesses are still there, and everyone knew him & the MT history. If you'd like, I can ask some Q's......
 

Rory

Crayola Killer
Devin,

You probably talked with Pat. The reason they knew alot about MT was because Lyndy Thompson and Pat own the race shop and Lyndy is MT's daughter. Challenger IV was indeed in the rafters and thats where it was at when I bought it. Lyndy also has a few other vehicles up there (Indy car Chassis, BIG RED Chevy pickup, Marines Single seat buggy *recently sold*, and a few dragster chassis). They have since moved shops but are still open, just look for "Thompson motorsports" in your local yellow pages in Eugene.
 

Boss327

Well-Known Member
Great thread. Mickey Thompson is one of my idols and its really cool to see someone take the time and money to restore one of his old race cars.

I can't wait to see everything come together and hopefully see the final product in person one day.
 

Rory

Crayola Killer
Erin from Turn2TV.com just finished up Part 4 of the build series and posted it on youtube. Doesn't seem like much has been going on but were pretty busy behind the scenes getting this monster together. With the NORRA race just a couple days away it got me back out in the garage and also bugging my fabricator about finishing up the front A-arms (sound familiar guys?). Being Erin's a good buddy of mine, he's taking good care of me on the Video production, but the downfall is I have no say on what the final product is going to be........you'll see what I mean :D. Enjoy......

[video=youtube;ZfVZ3n9u0wY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfVZ3n9u0wY&feature=uploademail[/video]
 
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560bajamike

Well-Known Member
:rolleyes: Showing the out takes allready? Thought those were to be shown in the end. :p
Going to put a DVD set together of the cars that have been done? Off set the cost of the builds.
Very nicely done, looking forward to see more.

Mike
 

EBryant

Well-Known Member
:rolleyes: Showing the out takes allready? Thought those were to be shown in the end. :p
Going to put a DVD set together of the cars that have been done? Off set the cost of the builds.
Very nicely done, looking forward to see more.

Mike
Just having some fun...plus there are A LOT of outtakes so I want to get em all in.
 

Rory

Crayola Killer
Finally got the lower A-Arms finished and i'm very happy with the result. The Original A-Arms were tweaked a little so new ones had to be built. Pete Corwin, most of you might know him from the dunes as the Got Sand? guy, is re-doing the front suspension. Pete is a 1st rate fabricator starting out in the mid 80's working for an IMSA team, then INDY car, but then found his way over to Off Road racing with Roger Mears racing. As you look at the arms they might not seem that impressive to you but the attention to detail to try and keep them the same as the originals is AMAZING.



As you can see below the welds are top notch.......



More.......



One more.......



With the lowers complete, Pete is working on the uppers and should have them done in a week or so. Sandy Cone is working on the front Halibrand knock-off hubs and should also have them completed next week so I should have some pictures of the front end close to assembled (minus shocks). It's a slow process, bare with me........ :D
 
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