The ‘box is coupled directly (via a doughnut coupling that Johan had fabricated) to a 300E differential, with the drive shafts running into the C class hubs with spacers between them and the wheels to allow massive discs and calipers off a mighty S600. Sticking to one marque for all the parts paid off as a lot of it is compatible although some fabrication was necessary, such as mating the S320 engine with the earlier 300E gearbox. “The bolt holes are different so I made up an adaptor plate but the spacing is right.” The S320’s ring gear was replaced with a bespoke flywheel while Johan had a customised clutch plate made for the job. “I used the centre of a 300E clutch plate with the outer piece of a racing button clutch to give it some feel – a standard button clutch would’ve been too hard to use.”
But what about the chassis? That was all fabricated with a cut-off saw and MIG welder, with the frame starting from simple box-section tubing cut to size and welded up on the garage floor. Once Johan had flat base for the car he fabricated the necessary suspension pick up points and a roll cage before tackling the actual body, although not in the way most kit car builders would follow. “I had a lot of mates asking how I was going to do the body. ‘Are you doing a plug and a mould?’ I said: No, by the time I’ve done a plug and a mould I’ll be out of money!” Instead Johan opted to ‘shape’ the car using flat bar curved into shape.
“I built a skeleton frame for the back, the mid-section and the nose,” explains Johan. “And then I covered it in cardboard and a resin mixture.” Cardboard? Yes, you read that correctly! “I bought loads of 4mm corrugated cardboard and used a layer of chop strand fibreglass with diluted resin. It works just like honeycomb and is strong and cheap!” Section by section, Johan’s C9 slowly took shape – all by eye, based on photos in the book and, of course, his 1:32 Scalextric model. No surprise that the progress involved a lot of trial and error. “After doing the whole body I realised I was 60mm too low and it looked like a Lola.” Johan’s solution was to add a layer of 60mm foam on the top surfaces and re-apply his ‘honeycomb’.
Hours of careful finishing followed before it could be sprayed in silver in Johan’s garage – he hung up curtains and installed a factory extraction fan to create a spray booth. And some very careful detailing ensued with Johan even carefully replicating the AEG sponsor stickers.