Getting any project to a rolling chassis stage is a huge milestone. It's a definite morale booster and usually takes several weeks, if not months. The Tribute T we're building to celebrate the magazine's 60th anniversary is a little different as we got to this stage in less than a week! That's the beauty of Speedway Motors' kit: It literally bolts together, as all the brackets have been welded in place, and all the threads tapped, before it leaves Speedway's Nebraska facility.
Because it is a kit, and because we've seen several "kit cars" over the years that were anything but, we decided to immediately powdercoat and paint the components, meaning we'd not be able to weld anything to the chassis without ruining the coating. The idea behind this is to show that one of these cars can be put together by someone who does not possess a welder, or the ability to weld. Now, we may decide to add some parts later in the build that aren't part of the kit (Editor Fortier is keen to add seatbelts, which will mean fabricating suitable mounts, for instance), but such parts could be farmed out to professionals while the chassis stays in your home shop, then bolted in place.
Painting everything now also means we won't have to tear the car apart later for final finishing. Once it's bolted together, it'll stay together, again speeding up the build time. Long build times mean waning enthusiasm, as any builder of a long-term project can attest to!
We had our chassis, I-beam, and front and rear suspension links powdercoated, but chose to paint everything else with Eastwood's Chassis Black, for its semigloss finish, durability, and no-primer-needed qualities, as well as painting select parts in Spray Gray for a cast appearance. Of course all the parts were prepped prior to painting using a gray Scotch-Brite and Eastwood's Fast Etch.
Wheels and tires can make or break any car, so with this in mind, and with a '60s theme to adhere to, our rolling chassis was completed with a set of powdercoated steelies wrapped in big 'n' little wide whitewall Firestone bias-ply rubber from Coker Tire. These will have baby moon caps fitted once the lug nuts are tightened for the very last time.