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V8rail Build


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So I thought some may be interested in seeing the build.

I bought the mostly completed frame in 2012. Due to some different things going on it has mostly sat waiting to get finished. Sandblower originally built the car and then switched up to the v-Rex frame.



I have been a fan of these cars for a while, first because they do not use a transaxle. I saw flyan Ryan's green car


at a show and was amazed at how clean and well built the car was. They are good looking front engine cars, unlike any others I have seen.

When I got the car it had 1-3/4" frame, lower A-arms, seats, a few misc. pieces like hubs brake rotors, aluminum panels, and all the shocks.


Since then I have not had much time to give to building the car, but due to the long time since buying the chassis I have been able to swipe a few good deals. So I have been collecting some pieces here and there. I have been able to do little bits and pieces, an hour here or there to get a few things done.

First thing I did was try and get ahold of owners of these cars so I could go check them out and take some measurements of the suspension pieces I am missing. I was able to meet up with Jon, he has the camera car, a 3 seater he used for the filming industry. I just happened to catch him 2 weeks before his move to Alabama. His car was also street legal like sandblowers. I got a bunch of pictures and measurements.



I was able to hook up with sandblower


and Danny


out in Dumont. Danny's car is one of 3 that are like each other. Mine being another. I was able to measure his car as well, and see some of the changes they did from the camera car to these.

So I started with front suspension needs. I was able to get close to what I needed early on, but then basically the car has set, because I did not have the time to devote to it.

Fast forward to December 2015

I have spent some of last week working on the car. I was able to get the back end together, and have the front just about ready to go as well.


On the front end I had to build upper a-arms and get a different rack and pinion than what they had intended to use. In Danny's car they used a sweet rack, and he was saying it was difficult to turn the wheels when stopped but ok when driving. Sandblower also had problems with his and installed a Howe rack. So I found a Howe rack and have been able to get a new mount made and tacked in. Everything is in the right place, but I made the mount bracket bigger than needed as a precaution, so I need to trim it down now and gusset it in.




So now she sits all on her own. No more jack stands or lifts! Exciting!


So I need to finish boxing in the spreader bar I made for the rack and pinion and adjust the upper a-arms to get the camber right. Then I hope to get these goodies dropped in and in place. I am looking forward to another productive week.


Enjoy and I will update this as soon as I get a few more things done.

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The motor is 5.3 with cbm ported and polished heads and cam. Supposed to be about 450 hp. When I talked to Bruce about it, he said when I am ready to freshen up the bottom end we can punch it out to an ls1 with these heads I can get up to 800 hp. That would be fun! Reliability may come into question at that point but maybe not.

Trains is a turbo 400 with manual shift body and heavy duty sprags. Seller said it should be good for 800 hp. That's what he built it for. I had picked up a speedway quick change a couple years ago.

Edited by joblo
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A little of yesterday's work. I felt like I got a decent amount done, but had some frustrating moments too.

By the way I forgot to mention earlier, that when I was in Dumont and got to meet up with all the fella's that I had a surprise opportunity. There was a guy there selling this car


There was no way I was going to pass up the chance to check it out too, especially since he was only 2-3 camps away. I got to drive the car, and was totally excited about the way it handled, very predictable and after 2 bowls felt like I was in total control. If my car handles half as good as it did (actually expecting more out of mine) I will be like a kid in a candy store with it.

Anyway onto progress.

I spent the morning pulling the steering shaft and u-joints robbed off of a wrecked rail of a family member, only to find out none of it will fit, wrong splines. No biggie I knew that might be the case when I had the idea to try them. Next I got the Rack mount finished to size and gusseted in, Also welded out the spreader bar.


Mount cut down to size


Added tubing for support. So time consuming. First piece I cut to short and collapsed the end of in the bender when it slipped out of the die. Figured I could still make it work by notching off the smashed end, after all I will have to cut the notch. WRONG! After being done and happy with fit, I tried to notch it, and it was on the wrong angle to fit, ugh. Cut new pieces more than long enough this time (measure twice cut once ;). Spent time making sure notch was perfect and making sure they were identical, so as to look uniform when welded in, and not looking like my kids made them. Finally happy with my product and got everything tacked in place.



Looks good.

I weld it all in and am happy with fit and finish. I install the rack and when I do I see a little gap between rack and mount. Funny I don't remember seeing that before, what's going on? Upon further inspection I realize that welding the tubing on caused the plate to warp a little. I should have known this would happen, after all there is a big hole right in the center of the plate. So I snugged the bolts up on the rack hoping it would not cause the rack to break. That seems to have worked, I will loosen the rack when I get back to it and see if it flattened or not. Went ahead and finished putting the front end back together.

I adjusted the upper arms earlier in the day and everything looks really good now. I thought I would be dropping the motor in yesterday but this just took to much time. I will get to that next. I must have forgot to snap a picture of everything back together so you'll have to wait for it.

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  • 7 months later...

I thought I should update this thread.

This is the next progress photo. Altogether and somewhat measured out.



Got the motor and transmission in. Worked on the tranny mount to get it right. Motor mounts etc.



Lots of work has been done but there is not a lot to photograph. Finally got the steering shaft in. That was a pain but should be solid. Time will tell I guess.



Fuel cell in and mounted


Tried this radiator. It was to big. Returned it and got a very nice piece from champion cooling but haven't had a chance to get it mounted yet.


Slowly but surely. I was wanting to make Halloween. Still have a lot to finish between now and then.

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Looking good. Exciting to see it come together. I've always been a fan of these cars. I knew Stephan and Thomas from V8 Rail back in the day. I almost pulled the trigger on 2 seat V Rex frame but didn't have the time, funds or patience for a project.

I'm good friends with Ryan. I took that pic you posted of Ryans green car back in 2004.

His red car is insane. This is from 2008 at Glamis.


Good luck on the build! Hope you get it together quickly.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nice build, thought I would share a few pics of my V8 Rail Build. I was going to only slightly modify the 2 seater to make it a 4 seater, but once I cut out everything that I didn't like or was unnecessary this is what I wound up with. I am going to have her ready for an Oct. 26th run. Will be a bout 700rwhp





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  • 1 month later...

Interesting build. That was an actual v8rail frame you modified? 


Thanks for the encouragement. I tinkered on it a little tonight. Waiting for cv joints to arrive and I should be able to get the rear end close to finished. 

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  • 2 months later...

Time to update this thread again. I have done a few more things. 


This radiator did not fit. So I opted to go with a champion cooling radiator. Man they have what appears to be a really nice product. Sad part is after fighting for 2 days to try and get the radiator mounted up front I finally broke and decided to mount it in the back of the car. Simply not enough room in the front of the car. And with how flat it had to lay I was really worried it would not cool. 


Fuel cell all tucked away. 

The radiator will sit above the fuel cell. In the "rear window" if you will. 

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Pulled the motor back out. Got the motor and rear transmission mounts welded out and finished. 


Got the flexplate and torque converter in and motor and tranny back together. 



The headers are on finger tight (thanks cbm) I really banged my head against the wall trying to find anyone local to build them. I had every intention of taking it to Tom Face but he was out until March/April. A local guy lots of folks recommended is out of the country until March also. So I was very happy to hear from Cbm they had  headers. I have a place that says they can get the back half done no problem. They do most of the race cars in town. 




Up next, I got the Cv's (Alper's rcv 934's with grease zerks) installed. Jason sent me the large cv boots that work fine on the quick change side, but on the upright side the boots are way to big and hit the shock mounts. I should have paid closer attention to some of the photos I have of other cars. They all have the small boot on that side. So Jason sent me the smaller boots and I was back in business at least I thought. I used Allen cap screws to hold the cv on. Only problem is the head of the bolt is yo big around and I couldn't get the boot between the head of the bolt and the flange ring. Not to mention there is no getting any securing strap in place to keep the boot on. So I turned the od of the bolt heads off so they will fit. 




Brakes are on and ready to bleed. 






Brakes are bleed and solid. 


Also working on aluminum tubing that will fit in the tunnel to connect the radiator. I got one bent really close, just have to get the second matched up. They will have -16 fittings welded on each end to accept some xrp fittings to nice braided line. 




Question for LS motor owners. The plug wires lay on the headers. Is there some way to avoid this? I can't imagine they will survive long sitting on a hot header. 

My dads car (cbm ls3) has like a foil cover on the wires. 


Edited by joblo
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A little more progress. 


I got this really nice power steering reservoir from Alper Motorsports. Filter and sealed canister with sight glass to check the oil level. No opening the cap and getting contaminants in the oil. I got it mounted and plumbed in. 


One more ore piece of the puzzle done. 



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Some of your pics don't show. :(


Looks like it's coming together though. As for the spark plug wires, I've seen covers for them that are a heat wrap material. Those wires are way long though. Normally they are much shorter and shouldn't have any problems laying on the exhaust. Are they MSD wires or something?

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All the pics show now. 


Yeah, in my experience those MSD wires are made too long. Now that the pics show up I see what you are talking about though. It's the boots that are touching the headers. Those boots on the MSD wires are bigger too. Unless you go with a different wire, they'll burn through. Either use some of the plug wire heat wrap sleeves or maybe even try a set of factory wires. They are slimmer boots than the MSD and will work just as good performance-wise. 

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  • 10 months later...

Ok so I finally have some updates to this thing. 


Recent accomplishments-

fuel lines plumbed 

90% of skid plate done


battery strapped in

sheet metal around pedals

gas pedal mounted

steering shaft linkage simplified 

shifter mounted

a few miscellaneous pieces of sheet metal done. 




relocated the alternator to upper right side of motor to make some room for the steering and eliminate as many u-joints as possible. 






fuel rails and regulator in



exhaust on this thing has been a big thorn in my side. All of the common buggy stuff just won’t work for this car. Even common hot rod parts proved difficult to fit. 752B0EA1-85FF-4379-BC7C-0D1ED81C5591.thumb.jpeg.8607c8284f8b018832f139a46f3cc0c2.jpeg


This is the second set of off the shelf headers I tried. I thought the first set would work but when I took the car to a local shop they just laughed and said no way. So thankfully when I talked to Cbm they said they would swap me out a set of center dump headers if I sent the others back. Unfortunately whoever made these must have welded the collector on backwards and it pointed right at the side of the block. I called Cbm back and they test fit another set they had and said they were the same. In the meantime the local shop that came highly recommended by local race guys said they were not going to have time for a few more weeks to get to it. 


So I took the car down to San Bernardino to Dave at Hot Head Headers. He got me fixed up! He did a great job and I’m very happy with what he did. Cbm kindly took the headers back, and now I am glad to be done with this part of the project. 




I had talked to a few owners of other V8rails and they all said to try not to run it through the tunnel. One said he almost caught his car on fire. So he changed his. Another said his granddaughter was riding in the back seat and when she got out her behind was smoking. He had to make mods to fix his too. I don’t want to have to go back and change things, so that’s why I asked him to dump out the side. 


I am going to be dying at the in laws for Thanksgiving knowing I need to hook up like 10 wires and put fluids in and I can finally here this thing run. 


I am trying to make it to the buggy roundup. It will be the maiden voyage if I can make it. 








Edited by joblo
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Nice progress. It's coming together! That will be really cool if you can make buggy roundup. 


BTW, I've recently reconnected with my buddy Stephan (@spooner), the owner and designer of V8 Rail. Let me know if you have any questions for him and I'll send him this link. Actually he'd probably like to see the build anyways so I'll send it over anyway. :)

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Thanks. That's cool. I tried pretty hard to track them down when I first bought it so I could try and pick their brains but  the closest I got was being to slow on buying the green 2 seater that was partially done. 

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