Work in progress 1970s bradley GT kit car rebuild & motor swap


02 EB swapped ranger

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As my ecoboost swapped ranger had become reliable for the most part I've been in a search for a new project. At a local scrapyard in Vassar, MI I found this little gem.





Currently the fiberglass shell is sitting off to the side while the VW bug pan is worked on. The motor being swapped into this is a 2.0l Ford zetec VCT from a 97 ford escort mated to a 2001 ford focus 5 speed manual. Along with that im using stock focus axles and spindles. This motor has 150k miles on it and its completely stock, for fuel injeciton im using a microsquirt v3 box along with a DIYautotune quadspark ignition box. At some point this motor may be getting a turbo, still undecided. There's not a whole lot to show quite yet, but for now here's this pic. I will be updating this post whenever stuff gets added and all that.



Update 12/25/18
Motor is now in place and hoist is off it. Still lots to do but Its coming along!





 
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Uncle Gump

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Looks like you have yourself a berrien buggy graveyard going on too... I never liked water cooled engines in an open bodied buggy... I have a healthy fear of hot antifreeze. However one of the ecoboosts would rock in a 95 inch two seater... long travel king pin... 2x3 arms in the rear. Yee Hawww

I did a Bradley for a kid probably 20 years ago now when I had my buggy shop. I took it as a winter project and built him a new dual dellorto 1776.. rebuilt trans... rebuilt ball joint front end... 4 wheel disc brakes... all new steering... street legal wiring harness etc... He spent about 11k at my shop. I told him I would trailer it to his house for him but he insisted to drive it home. He was going to do the interior and body work himself. He showed up with a milk crate and a pocket full of cash to pay the bill. He put the milk crate in as a driver seat... drove away. On his way home he was being a fool... fell off the crate... crashed the car. Last I knew it was still sitting in his parents back yard smashed and rusting.
 

02 EB swapped ranger

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Looks like you have yourself a berrien buggy graveyard going on too... I never liked water cooled engines in an open bodied buggy... I have a healthy fear of hot antifreeze. However one of the ecoboosts would rock in a 95 inch two seater... long travel king pin... 2x3 arms in the rear. Yee Hawww

I did a Bradley for a kid probably 20 years ago now when I had my buggy shop. I took it as a winter project and built him a new dual dellorto 1776.. rebuilt trans... rebuilt ball joint front end... 4 wheel disc brakes... all new steering... street legal wiring harness etc... He spent about 11k at my shop. I told him I would trailer it to his house for him but he insisted to drive it home. He was going to do the interior and body work himself. He showed up with a milk crate and a pocket full of cash to pay the bill. He put the milk crate in as a driver seat... drove away. On his way home he was being a fool... fell off the crate... crashed the car. Last I knew it was still sitting in his parents back yard smashed and rusting.
WOW what a story. From my understanding it seems like a lot of these bradley kit cars were never really completed and put on the road. Its kinda sad honestly. They're such a neat little setup with the VW pan and fiberglass shell. As for my motor swap I'm mainly doing it because fuel injection always beats carbs, more hp (around 120 Naturally aspirated), and its a familiar platform to me. The 2l zetec motor is very capable for what it is and can even take a little boost on the stock internals. As for the rear suspension all of it is going to be stock ford focus parts because they're so readily available at the scrap yard I go to. They literally have 15+ ford focus' just sitting around waiting to be picked apart and used for projects. This will not be one of those projects that never gets completed. I have full intent to get it on the road and use it as a summer cruiser and take it to some car shows here in huron county, MI. By the way, if you need a duny buggy frame there is like 6-7 of them at my usual scrapyard. Plus the owner is a huge VW guy. Literally has bus loads of 1.6 VW air cooled motors, a bunch of auto and manual transmissions, and even some more odd stuff out back. Not even kidding, he has a VW thing (or type 181) sitting out back thats been rotting for quite some time. There's a lot of other stuff as well back there. Lots of beetles. If you're interested in taking a look at all just do a quick google search for R.G. Barnum Auto Salvage, Inc. The owner is a very friendly guy and usually is willing to negotiate prices. They'll even pull motors and transmissions if you call ahead and ask.
 

Uncle Gump

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I know Barnum... back in the day he ran a buggy shop too... Barnum's Buggies. Lord that was years ago. We still have a BUNCH of buggy stuff... one day when I get back to Michigan I'm gonna put another one together. There is a Dan's Off Road Mirage rolling chassis that has my name on it...

I've seen several Bradley GT's and you're right... not many ever got completed... they were all driving... just never finished. The kid I did the work for bought his with the pan shortened and body mounted... so the first owner didn't finish it either.

I'm trying to remember... don't they have gull wing plexi glass windows? I just remember sitting in it and the top of my head was above the roof. No way I could have drove it with the windows on.
 

02 EB swapped ranger

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I know Barnum... back in the day he ran a buggy shop too... Barnum's Buggies. Lord that was years ago. We still have a BUNCH of buggy stuff... one day when I get back to Michigan I'm gonna put another one together. There is a Dan's Off Road Mirage rolling chassis that has my name on it...

I've seen several Bradley GT's and you're right... not many ever got completed... they were all driving... just never finished. The kid I did the work for bought his with the pan shortened and body mounted... so the first owner didn't finish it either.

I'm trying to remember... don't they have gull wing plexi glass windows? I just remember sitting in it and the top of my head was above the roof. No way I could have drove it with the windows on.
Sorry for my late reply!
Yes they do have gull wing doors/windows. The one I purchased however was missing those. So once the thing is drivable I would like to custom make some fiberglass doors for it. I have a little experience making fiberglass pieces so I think I can make something together. wow thats really neat to hear that you know Barnum. I can really tell he likes his VW stuff still. Thats the majority of stuff he has it seems like. I haven't really chatted with him much but he definitely seems like a nice guy. Ive been there probably 10 times or so and have never had any issues. It's about an hour drive for me but its well worth the trip. I guess its a much smaller world than you realize! I never thought that I would find someone that has actually been even a tad close to my area. No one from the thumb really seems to do much for fun projects. Just lifted diesels and thats about it around here. That's why I try to be a bit different whenever I'm looking for something to start wrenching on.
 

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this thing is kewl...but needs raptor motor of doom ..
 

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Uncle Gump

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Yeah... I've been all over the thumb pretty much... friend that lives in Clifford... hunted deer in Kingston for years... Ice fished from Sebewaing to Caseville... even partied a couple times at the Yale Bologna Fest... lol. But yes... Barnum was a good guy... was always fair back in the day... I'm sure things are still the same today.

So... I see you have the rear torsion tube cut out and the beginnings of your framework going in... I'm thinking the challenge will be keeping all the Ford stuff you're putting in the back below the body line. I remember the body being about an inch away from the top of the Type 1 fan shroud. Looks like the previous owner even cut the body to get a decent air cleaner in. I'm thinking that your in-line engine is probably a little taller then the horizontally opposed VW.. then your strut mounts... gonna be really close. Then... I have to ask... where are you putting the radiator?

Did you get an assembled title with it? Barnum knows the value of that title... if you got one... you paid for it I'm sure. Most just registered the original VW title they built it from... which bends the rules a bit. That car should have been titled as an Assembled Roadster. Google TR-54... That is the application for an assembled titled.The biggest hurdle you will have is the emergency brake. The rule is two forms of braking... (hydraulic and cable). We use to just add a park lock... it would hold the vehicle but you can't stop the vehicle with it. Not sure it would still fly under their radar today.
 

02 EB swapped ranger

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Yeah... I've been all over the thumb pretty much... friend that lives in Clifford... hunted deer in Kingston for years... Ice fished from Sebewaing to Caseville... even partied a couple times at the Yale Bologna Fest... lol. But yes... Barnum was a good guy... was always fair back in the day... I'm sure things are still the same today.

So... I see you have the rear torsion tube cut out and the beginnings of your framework going in... I'm thinking the challenge will be keeping all the Ford stuff you're putting in the back below the body line. I remember the body being about an inch away from the top of the Type 1 fan shroud. Looks like the previous owner even cut the body to get a decent air cleaner in. I'm thinking that your in-line engine is probably a little taller then the horizontally opposed VW.. then your strut mounts... gonna be really close. Then... I have to ask... where are you putting the radiator?

Did you get an assembled title with it? Barnum knows the value of that title... if you got one... you paid for it I'm sure. Most just registered the original VW title they built it from... which bends the rules a bit. That car should have been titled as an Assembled Roadster. Google TR-54... That is the application for an assembled titled.The biggest hurdle you will have is the emergency brake. The rule is two forms of braking... (hydraulic and cable). We use to just add a park lock... it would hold the vehicle but you can't stop the vehicle with it. Not sure it would still fly under their radar today.
So far the torsion tube is cut out and a 52" piece of 2" square tube is welded in place to get the motor straightened out in there and get 2 mounts dont for it. One being where the old power steering pump was, and the other being the tranny mount on the top of it. That should give me enough rigidity to hang the motor off the rear end without a crane and build off that. As for the strut towers, on a focus zx3 they mount to the spindle/steering knuckle piece. So whatever their height is I'll have to work around. For the radiator I want to mount it in the front of the bradley. Make some venting for it to breathe a bit and for radiator hoses I'll end up using solid pipe from the rear to front and use some rubber hose to connect them up and bend a little. Without a doubt, the inline is significantly taller. But also much skinnier. It still looks huge in the pic.

I did get a title with it from barnum. Just doing this off memory, but I believe it was registered as a 1980 spec tudor. Confused me a tad, but heck. Its a title and it will work. I paid $425 total for the bradley fiberglass shell and the vw pan and other odds and ends that came with it. I had to have it when I saw it. Originally I was looking for a dune buggy project. Guess im not too far from that, still a bit in the VW world. tbh about the E brake, if I dont get around to that can always just leave it in gear when parked to it doesn't roll. This will never be inspected by anyone. The title is clean and for all the DMW cares its a running driving functioning vehicle at the moment. I will get some new head and tail lights though. For headlights I was actually thinking about retrofitting some miata popup headlights and just making a fiberglass piece that goes over the top of them so they fit right. I love popup headlights, sad they ever left. but oh no no no.... They're a "safety hazard"
 

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You've been quiet for awhile... How's the Bradley coming along?
 

02 EB swapped ranger

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I've been a bit on the lazy side for updates on here. It's made a lot of progress. I'll post some pics later on today. Thanks for reminding me!
 

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Here's a little update with some pics and what all is going on with this thing. So, for the rear end its using a 97 ford escort subframe, control arms, and ball joints. The subframe had to be flipped upside down to fit right and there's still a lot of modification required. Currently ground clearance isn't really there. Transmission, cv axles or "halfshafts" are from a 2001 ford focus. Strut towers and spindles are stock focus parts as well. Transmission is a 5 speed with 3.56(or something really close to that) gears. Motor is a 2.0l zetec from a 97 ford escort, mates to the focus trans pretty decent. For my shifter cables I'm using some custom "push pull" cables from J B custom fabrication. Clutch master cylinder is from a 1995 mazda miata and works great on the focus hydraulic slave cylinder. No issues there. Brake master cylinder is from a 97 ford escort. Up front I installed a disc brake conversion kit to go alone with the focus disc brakes in the rear. Other than that right now I'm getting around to test fitting the fiberglass shell and doing some finishing touches on all the custom pieces ive cobbled together. Hopefully by the end of the week I can post some more updates. My full intent is to get this on the road this summer and take it to some car shows up in the thumb of Michigan.
Here's all the pics! little side note, I completely realize the bar on the top isn't straight. but for the most part the suspension and tires are straight, and thats what matters. Also try not to judge the welds too harshly, I'm still learning!
26208
26209
26210
26211
26212
 

buell-eyed-devil

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reminds me of a vw van converted to a tube frame buggy I had when I was a kid. Never was street legal, but in late 70s in central Florida you could get away with murder. Not now unfortunately.....
 

02 EB swapped ranger

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Yeah I've already got a good title in hand and all that. I shouldn't have to get it inspected or anything to get it registered since the title is clean and its not a "scrap" title or anything. Technically the scrap yard I purchased it from should have got the title changed over to a scrap title, then I would have to get it inspected and get it titled as a salvage vehicle. Less work for me though! Found some tags on the fiberglass shell today and it looks like its last state inspection was in 1996. And the title was handed off to the scrapyard in 98. Other than that I don't know a whole lot about its previous history. Should be a fun project to get on the road though! also here's some new pics of what I worked on today. began hacking up the shell to fit over the whole rear end. Still lots of cutting to go. I hope that tomorrow I can get the shell sitting where I want it.

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Uncle Gump

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I kinda figured you were gonna have some fitment issues with that body going over your framework and engine. If I remember correctly... that body has to come down a bunch. From the outside looking in... I personally would be tempted to cut the back off behind the back glass down to the wheel openings. Fab up some hood pins for it to sit on and make it removable.
 


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