Friday, April 22, 2016

Burial & Resurrection: Toyota Crown Custom (Part 3)

The body fixation cushion sleeves, which are the most vulnerable parts of the chassis and exposed to corrosion over time, are also made of high-strength stainless steel of A3 and A 5 makes. Stainless steel was also used in producing the short racks of front and back stabilizers. The exhaust system (pipes, resonator as well as the main tank) is also fully made of stainless steel. The bottom and crankcase shields are made of stainless steel sheets. In fact, the bottom is constantly under the aggressive effect of environment and the engine shield is located directly under the radiator. This increases the risk of contact with the cooling fluid, which, in turn, leads to premature corrosion.

One more nuance which increases the durability of the body and the life of the car on the whole. I am talking about the sills, which, sooner or later, under the effect of various factors rot away completely, only if your car is not a De Lorean, of course. Flowing down through all the drainpipes, the whole water collects right in the sills. For drainage, the lower parts of the sills has special openings, which quite often clog up not allowing the water to naturally drain out of the car. This leads to inevitable corrosion. To resolve this issue, (as you’ve already guessed) the sills are also made of stainless steel. The decayed parts from the lower body side were removed and replaced with 100 mm stainless steel pipes, which had already received a series of drainage holes with larger diameters. In addition to the anti-corrosive effect, this modification gave the body additional stiffness.
As for the underbody, at first, it was processed with “Nippon” anti-corrosion primer, after which it was applied with additional prime paint. In the final stage, the bottom was painted in body color and on top of this paint, masters applied the traditional bituminous anti-corrosive layer.
Next time, I will try to tell about the electronic know-how applied in this car.
To be continued...

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Burial & Resurrection: Toyota Crown Custom (Part 2)

Today I’d like to continue the story about the custom-project on the basis of automobile Toyota Crown of the 5th generation. You might have already learnt from the previous article that the car, which had been buried and strewn with bricks, was found quite by chance in 2009.
Having spent so many years in an adverse environment, part of the frame and chassis almost completely rotted away. All these elements had to be restored from zero.

To ensure maximal correspondence between the custom and original versions, one more Toyota Crown of a later generation was purchased, after which the old body received a more modern chassis. Also, at the wish of the new owner, the masters slightly changed the profile of the car, by lowering the roof and removing all the plastic and chrome-plated moldings from around the perimeter of the body. During the whole restoration period, both in technical and electronic aspect, this car underwent a very large number of various custom operations, about which I might go into details next time.
It took about five years, since the very beginning of the restoration works until the day, when the owner was able to drive this car to one of the local tuning shows. Being under constant modifications, this car is considered as an unfinished project. However, Id like to tell you a bit about some technical improvements that changed this car fundamentally.

One of the essential solutions when building this car was the extensive use of stainless steel in the structure. Such practice is not supported by the world’s automakers, since it increases the final cost of the product. In this case, focusing on the durability of his car, the owner never posed any financial limitations, however. Thus, absolutely every screwed element of the body and chassis (bolts, nuts, washers, plugs, etc.) is made of high-strength stainless steel of A3 and A 5 makes. The bolts and nuts had to be custom-made, so as not to change the metric data and thread standards of the manufacturer.
To be continued...

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Burial & Resurrection: Toyota Crown Custom (Part 1)

When I first saw this car, I couldn’t identify it for quite a while. Judging by the appearance, it was a model of the late 1970’s, which had a logo seemingly belonging to Lexus. As far as I know, this company started the production of cars in 1989. Even the internet couldn’t help me with the identification of this strange vehicle, and there remained no choice but to find the owner. I managed to find him through social networks and was finally told the story of this car.
In reality, It appeared to be a custom-version of the model called Toyota Crown, which is the oldest model of Toyota and was intended only for the domestic marked of Japan.

It took 5 years to build this car. A Toyota Crown MS 106 of the 1979 production was chosen as a donor car to fulfill this unique project. This car has an interesting story. It is said that, in the 1980’s, it was owned by one of the most influential and well-known criminal bosses in the USSR. According to the legend, he received this car as a gift from representatives of the criminal world of Russian Far East. For many years, this respectable hardtop sedan served its respected owner travelling across Armenia without any registration and license plates, because in those times such cars could be counted on the fingers of one hand and all the police knew their owners preferring to stay away from them. Such a state of affairs was undoubtedly in the owner’s favor, who, taking advantage of his “authoritative” influence, unrelentingly led a lawless lifestyle, by the end of which he acquired countless enemies.
One day, arriving home, he parked the car in the yard, got home and died of heart attack shortly thereafter. In panic, the family started to hide all his illegally acquired property: gold, jewels, weapons, etc.
Late at night, it came to the strikingly elegant car. The relatives couldn’t invent anything smarter but to bury the car right in the yard. In haste, the Toyota Crown was partially buried. The upper part was simply covered with bricks. As a result, it turned out an imitation of a small hangar, which kept the car away from the eyes of subsequent foes.

Over the years, the car got completely forgotten. Many of the participants of all those troubled events must have already gone to the next world.
In 2009, the current owner discovered the car quite by chance and immediately decided to buy it. It took a few days to remove the Toyota from the ground. The car was finally towed into a dry and warm garage, where the process of resurrection began.
To be continued...