|The trunk floor is history, replaced by what looks like a rack that bolts to mounts welded to the rear shock tower roll cage plates as well as plates welded into the frame where it was lopped off.|
We mentioned how the acid dip removes seam sealer, which among other things helped keep the car together when it was in its stock form. Without it, race car fabricators who work on production vehicles have learned to strengthen chassis in other ways, for example via stitch welding, which essentially adds several bead welds along a seam to effectively reinforce the OEM's spot welds. On the Bridges Lexus SC 300, the network of stitch welds is impressive, getting into virtually every corner of the chassis; however in some places it wasn't enough, so pieces of stainless steel plate were actually welded on for extra bracing.
|It holds a fuel cell, which is suspended via two wide straps of sheet metal.|
In the back of the car, the floor of the trunk was cut out to make room for a fuel cell, and the team also decided to cut out an opening over the rear end. The axle access may prove super convenient if ever the need arises for a differential change; it'll sit under a sheet aluminum cover at the base of another bigger piece of aluminum acting as a firewall between the trunk and the cabin. On the floor directly behind the driver DCF also found a place for the battery box, which is isolated from the engine and fuel system for safety's sake.
|Since much of the rear has been hollowed out of the SC, supports for the body are built around the perimeter of the cell “rack” for keeping body panels attached and oriented correctly.|
Design Craft engineered what is basically a trunk rack for the fuel cell – a removable construct of square and round tubing that will both house and protect the SC's new gas tank. The thing bolts up to mounts fabbed into the rear shock tower roll cage plates as well as plates welded into the frame where it was lopped off in the back, and the cell itself is attached from underneath, held aloft by two wide straps of sheet metal. Since much of the rear has been hollowed out of the SC, supports for the body are pretty scarce, which is why you'll find a variety of provisions around the perimeter of this “rack” for keeping body panels attached and oriented correctly.
|Both the forward and rear sub-frames are staying on the Lexus, and up front the burly control arms are sticking around as well.|
Both the forward and rear sub-frames are staying on the car (we're not sure they're allowed to ditch them anyway), and up front the burly control arms are sticking around as well. Since the Lexus is being converted to right-hand drive a new steering rack is on its way from Japan, and luckily it appears as though the front sub-frame of the USDM SC can accommodate RHD, as indicated by the identical notches on either end of the cast piece. Surprisingly, the factory rack seems to already have enough angle to make the SC 300 competitive out of the box.