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Sterling #416 -- Nic's custom build


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Nic's Sterling CCC416

I've been working on the car pretty steadily since March of 2007. Given that... I don't really have much done, but it's enough that I'm pretty happy with it.

So far I have refurbished the chassis, rebuilt the front and rear suspension, upgraded to front disc brakes, rear discs are pending installation, dropped the floor pans 5", moved the shifter back 10", and purchased a 1996 Firebird steering column. I have installed Firgelli linear actuators and a remote control to open and close the canopy.

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What I am working on now is the interior. I have built a custom dash that is in the process of being finished. It will have 2 round air vents, back up monitor, stereo, misc
switches and gauges. There will be a small shelf on the passenger side for storing a cell phone or whatever.

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More to come as more comes.


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Center console progress/update

I took a few days off from working on the car, but I did spend some time just staring into the interior, visualizing this, that and the other options. I put the center console in and the dash and looked at where the 2 joined. I came up with this. I'm not 100% into it just yet but I'm going to keep moving forward with it to see how it comes out.

From the left side, drivers side.


From the right side, passengers side.


Another from the passenger side.


So as I said, I'm not 100% into it, but it's an idea/concept/thought. The flat square area might be good for a few switches or indicator lights. Or it might be good to cut out an opening and have a small little cubby hole for stuff. The gauge pods are for the oil temp and the volts. I suppose I could put the Oil and Volts indicator lights on the flat area.

In addition to that I bought some Evercoat light weight body filler on Saturday. Good price, $25 for a gallon can. I haven't used it yet, but will for smoothing the dash, hood and various other items. I'll let you know how it goes.


New member
I use the evercoat, light weight often for my costuming stuff, and this body filler is great! It should work well for you in this application. Its alot easier to use than bondo, and leave a very smooth finish. And yes, you cant beat the price!


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Whew... it's difficult to keep up with posting progress to 3 sites. Here are updates...

The last post shows the center console gauge pod/switch panel in progress, that has been finished and an arm rest has been started.

Start of arm rest

After the show in September, I was pretty burnt out on fiberglassing so I started wiring the car. Here's a few pictures of the wiring progress.

My handy dandy 12V power supply

2 gauges lit up.


Headlights; low beam and high beam


And for the REALLY cool pictures of the tail lights.



Fuse block

Made a trip to the local electronics parts store and picked up some colored 5mm LED's, not clear, but colored, aka old school, and got some mounting clips too.

I'll be using 2 green LED's as turn indicators on either side of the gauge pod.


I also purchased some connectors, this is a 12 wire connector for the steering column wires, or some of them at least.

Also drilled and mounted switches in the center console gauge pod area thingy. A Red LED will be mounted next to the Oil gauge. I have a Blue LED for the High beam indicator. I also have a Yellow one that I don't know what to do with yet.


I had a few of the colored LED's from WAY back, which is where I got the idea. I also broke out my old electronics parts and the TTL book I got from the tech school I went to and re-acquainted myself with some chips I still had. I had to remember how to read the TTL book too. I forgot how thick that thing is.



That's all for now.
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More updates since it's been a while since I updated. I decided to start wiring the car and I'm about 90% finished I think. Whats left to do:
*Once the engine has been rebuild/refurbished, connect all the wires to the engine, the gauges and idiot lights have all been set up and connected on their end.
*Install turn indicators at front and the sides.
*Refurb the gas tank and install, then connect wires to it, again, gauge wires connected already.
*Purchase and install horn and connect.
*Purchase blower for air into the cabin, install/fabricate mounting and connections and run hose. Install wiring and controls for it.

That'll do it for the wiring. After that its finish up the interior and the exterior and get 'er painted. I'm thinking VW Silver as seen on the Jetta's. Get all the body bolts torqued to spec and an alignment. Then shake down runs.

Here are some recent pictures.

LED Tail lights:


Main gauges:

Secondary gauges in center console and switches for running, head and fog lights.


Spaghetti wiring that WILL get cleaned up:



Arm rest with lid (not finished) and storage pocket:

And finally, turn indicators, hazards, tail and brake lights. The hazards flasher needs to be replaced.
Electrical :: Tails.flv video by quikniq - Photobucket

That's where I am right now. More updates eventually.


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Had a nice day in the garage today. Earlier this week and last weekend I had sprayed 3 layers of paint on the arm rest. Today I put 2 layers of DupliColor bed liner for texture. This is different than I have done in the past. Usually I did 2 layers of bed liner, then 3 layers of paint. I realized the paint over the liner was flattening out the texture too much. I might put 1 layer of paint over the liner this time. Not sure yet. Here's todays results.


Close up of the texture.

The under side of arm rest lid.

I bought 2 VW Jetta side marker lights a few months back, however they did not include the wiring or the socket. I've been trying to find the wiring for it but wasn't too successful. I managed to find a way to hack something together that would work. Being satisfied with that, I ordered 2 more from the same company, RockAuto.com. Well, I got the 2 new lights yesterday and guess what? It came WITH the wiring, socket and bulb. :annoyed: I ordered 2 more today. :wink:

I have also been playing with the location of where to put the side markers. I was originally going to put them behind the front wheel well, but after mocking it up, didn't really like it there. So I moved it ahead of the wheel well.

The opening on the drivers side. It took 30 minutes to do this side.

Light in.

Here you see how far it sticks out of the body.

Wrapped the light in some clear packing tape, folded it over to protect the lense, and put down some body filler.

Again, how far it sticks out.

Another layer has been added to the first, its curing over night. As you can see the shape is concave, which is not what I want. I want it to be rounded out a bit. More pictures coming later.


Honorary Admin
Since you're glassing anyway, Nic, why not flush mount the light? I wouldn't think it too hard to make a "cup" of glass to hold the assembly, and still have access to the bulb from the back.


New member
Great job, and alot of painstaking great work! Congrats!

I do have a question on the LED tail lights. Do your lights come prewired for running and stop lights?
If not, did you use a pulse wave modulator to achieve the difference in luminocty?

I have been told by ppl from other forums that I have to use a PWM to prevent LED burn out when dimming LED's. But maybe that only applies to using LED's not designed for tail lights too. I dont know.

I think your cars gonna be sick looking! Heck it already looks excellent!

Again Great job!


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hehe, I realized that I deleted the original pictures of the side marker lights when I uploaded the ones below, so these 2 posts are gonna look funny....

I did some shopping today, picked up some new goodies and supplies. Decided NOT to do the above and decided on the below.

The sides and backs of the housings were scuffed with 60 grit. First the hole was enlarged to fit the lens snuggly. Some tapping was required to get them to fit. Part of my shopping this morning was stopping at a local craft store that sells cake decorating supplies and bought disposable icing bags and 3 sizes of round tips S,M,L. Back to the car... after then lenses were tapped into place, I prepped a disposable bag with the largest tip and filled it with hot mixed kitty hair and squeezed it into/onto the back of the lenses. How hot? It soft cured in 5 minutes and rock hard in 10.





You can sorta see in the last picture how the kitty hair was applied.

Next on the shopping list and agenda was a fresh air fan/blower for the interior. What you see below is a 4" $40 bilge blower from West Marine, a rubber coupler and a 90 degree bend ABS pipe. All fit nice and snug.

2 ways of installing were tried. First...


And then with the coupler tucked through the hole more. I went with this because it allowed the blower mounting feet to sit flat against the bottom. The coupler is resting on the bottom of the opening.


I spent a little time testing a 10K potentiometer connected to the fan power, but it was too sensitive, I had to turn it a lot just to get the fan to come up. I want to get a 4 position, off, L,M,H, pot./switch for it, which will be mounted where the other switches are. All in all, not a bad way to spend the holiday.


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Thanks for the compliments. The LED tails came pre-wired with 3 leads. Ground, tail and stop/turn so no need for a PW mod.


Honorary Admin
Looks great, Nic! I love little bilge blowers like that - powerful and compact. You could have mounted that externally from the spare tire well. It would have been protected from the elements anyway (and no big deal if it got wet - it is marine grade!), you could have eliminated the bend and gained a little storage room in the process.


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The quick and dirty of whats been happening the last few weeks/month.

1. Tree in the back yard fell over, missed the house by a foot or two.

2. Bathroom remodel, moved the shower head up about a foot as well. LOVE IT!!!! *rock on*

3. Got a bonus at work and put some of it to good use.
a. Bought a nice JVC head unit, MB Quart component speakers and a new back up camera.
b. Upgraded wife's wedding ring with larger rock. She's happy, I'm happy, we're all happy!

4. Most of the wiring is done, except for the engine and gas tank wires, which will have to wait until those are officially installed.

5. Pulled the dash to finish it. It was still rough in many spots. Lots of filling and sanding. BTW, wet sanding is SO much easier than not wet sanding. Less dust and better control/feel.

Finally a few pictures of the dash...



There's some more sanding to do and a little more filling to do it spots, but it's almost DONE!


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It's not totally done yet, but it's on the final laps of completion.

A generous spritzing of bed liner. I'm not sure if it was just this can or if they changed something, but it was coming out in a finer mist than I wanted. So I opened up the "spray hole" with an exacto blade. This gave me the spatter I was looking for.


Paused during the first coat of paint to get a picture of it.

2 coats were sprayed last night, 2 more tonight. Then over the weekend I'll add a few coats of flat clear to help protect it. Pictures to follow of course.


New member
Great build

Hi Nic,

We are following the build since the early days as you said 2007 but if my memory serves me rigth back in 2005 I saw some awesome pictures of your yellow one.

The work that you are doing now is really excellent and yes back in history I have also turned the pages of the TTL manual a good book if you could find the components. You guys are lucky, down here if you dont make good friends with the electronic component supplier you are out of luck.

Nic your ideas is really good. That paint that you are talking about and that you have sprayed the arm rest with is it of a rubbery substance that they use on vehicles as a stone chip type covering. Why I am asking is that we have sprayed the dash with stone chip to get that texture and when it is stil new it was nice and deep black but after a while in the sun it became a shade of dark grey and when you wipe it of it always looks dirty. That is why I am asking about the paint to try and get the same down here.

Keep up the good work and have a look at eaglesportscars.net for one of our guys down here what he is doing on his car.

Happy building enjoy!!!

Johan*thumbs up*


Active member
Hi Johan,

The bedliner I am using does not have a rubbery texture, it dries solid. I think you are talking about undercoating, which can be rubbery.

Due to the ugly weather this weekend I didn't get the clear coat sprayed, but I did get all of the Black on. Originally I used a semi-gloss Black and then realized it would put a hell of a glare on the wind shield, so 3 layers of flat Black were put over that.




This one is to show the size of the spatters as compared to my hand. Granted I have a larger hand than most, but you get the point.


New member
Nic's custom build

Hi Nic,

Thanks and the quality of the dash just show that you guys in the Big USA have some little priviledges that our other mere small people do not have but I dont cry because Africa is not for sissies.

The dash looks expensive and with a coat of clear over it it will sure look like a factory fit.



Johan*thumbs up*


Active member
Africa is definitely NOT for sissies. *thumbs up*

Started the rear portion of the center console.

Started by taping up the back wall with blue painters tape. Sprayed the tape with adhesive, then applied tin foil. Then applied 1 layers or 1.5 oz CSM, 1 layers of woven roving, then another layer of 1.5 CSM. Once that hardened, used cardboard to get the shape I wanted, transfered that to MDF. Cut it out, ran it through a router to round over the edges. Then applied 3 layers of .75 oz CSM to the inside of the MDF and the fiberglass on the back wall.




Honorary Admin
As always, impressive work, Nic! How close are the seats to this section? Will you hit your elbows on spirited shifts?