The Tamaro or I call her Sinnamon: A True Transformation!!!
First off I will state that I have had many haters and if they post on here I will ignore them 100%. Negative words of any kind on a personal build journal only shows the low self esteem and worthlessness of those commenting. This journal is not asking for opinions whatsoever, just sharing what I have created. That is all, for my intelligent readers, read on!
Few will understand, but please read on and enjoy the journey! I bought the light blue Taurus you see below in November of 2001 for $500. It is one of seven Taurus/Sable I’ve owned. Why? I used them to deliver pizza and drive around during cold snowy Missouri winters. Are they fast? No. Good looking? No. Dependable as all hell, can I get a hell yeah! In 12 years of ownership and currently having 233,8XX miles this Taurus has never broken down on me once. Yup, starts every time! When I moved to Las Vegas in 2009 with my 2010 Camaro SS/RS I left her in MO for 5 years. There she sat, started twice a year rusting away at my parents warehouse. One day I decided I needed a second car here in Vegas so I could put a supercharger on my Camaro. So I drove her cross country, 1600 miles in 23 hours after cleaning the plugs, changing oil/tire, anti-freeze and water pump. About that supercharger, well the thing is…
A friend, Ev Dasilva, posted a pic of the Taurus orange with black stripes. Then I drove it to our local weekly car show “Car’s and Coffee” and people didn’t have nice things to say about it. Well, breh he he, nobody speaks bad about my baby!!! One night I went outside shirtless and in sandals with a tape measure and pen and paper. I measured both hoods, both 48”. Measured rear ends, pretty similar. Width, ummmm about 8” narrower
The next day I popped my front end off and set it in front of the Taurus bumper. Check out the pic below, yup I thought to myself I got this!!! Keep in mind I have never welded, done body work or fabricated anything before. I have done some painting but never an entire car. A plan was formed and hands were rubbed together
I drove the Taurus to Lake Havasu to see my good friend Ofer or 2SS/RSS owner of Gen5diy.com Well ya’ll know he’s got a few Camaro parts lying around and I was off and running. V6 bumper, non-RS headlights with the mounts cut off, side rockers and a spoiler. Well it was a good start! I also bought a rear bumper $100, tail lights $50, Camaro side mirrors $75, C5 Vette exhaust tips $35 and that was it! All bought off C5 and ebay I hand bent and fabricated everything else you see below! I didn’t even use the side rockers or Camaro mirrors. Honestly all told with buying tools, suppies, parts, etc I’ve spent a lot. Like $6k a lot. Was it worth it? Fu*# yeah!!! The education alone is priceless and the looks on people’s faces :0
Now that you know the back story, maybe you understand a little better. Few believe me, but I may like my Chevy, but I love my FORD!!! haha
Before I really got started on the transformation I had to make her more road worthy, more show car like
Brakes sucked so I switched to discs from drums in the rear for only $78. My hard lines were rusted so bad I had the rear’s disconnected so new ones were in order, $12. Even did all 4 flex lines too. Then on to suspension and a little light cleaning. Changed out front spring/strut to SHO/Police spec units for $120. All Taurus sit kinda low in the rear and mine had even rusted to the point of full coils breaking off!!! So I got inventive and swapped out the rear coils for the front original coils off my SS Camaro. Yup, Camaro springs, why not Next was steering, mind you nothing was bad, just 233k old. I swapped the intermediate steering shaft, both lines, pump and even the entire rack and pinion!!! All for about $75 and got it aligned for another $75. Did I mention working on Ford’s is cheap? Oh, nothing needed on engine transmission, why would there be
Next it was time for a little cleaning. Just check out how bad my trunk was! Geez! Do you see that rust hole, Fu$*! This was my first welding work, um, no comment
Quite the transformation! Did a little light cleaning inside, not as drastic. Then it was time for engine bay, ugh! That was one nasty sight for sure. Did I get that thing looking good or what? Better than new in a 22 yr old car
Sound system was next, had to upgrade the crappy 4 $15 a piece Pyle 10” woofers to something a little better. How’s 1500 RMS monster 10” Pioneers ported and facing through the rear seats! No mid-bass you say, how about two 8” Infinity’s mounted in a sealed box in rear window. All powered by Hifonics Brutus 1ohm stable amps, yeah about 2200 RMS cause well… Tamaro!!! I also added some components to the doors and kept my 13 year old 3 way Infinity Kappa 6x9’s in the rear. Eventually I upgrade to a 6” JVC touch screen DVD player. Here things got a little pricey, $50 for wiring, 350 for speakers, $450 for amps and finally $260 for DVD player. Um, that’s $1,110!!! Oh well, gotta have sweet tunes and btw no dynomat and no rattles in a 22yr old car. Try that in your “real” Camaro
So now she runs, rides, steers and sounds great, but what about looks… First step believe it or not was swapping 7 body panels in one day. Yup, SEVEN!!! So that’s 4 doors, 2 fenders and the hood. Trunk only had surface rust, was relatively dent free so I kept it. A couple fellow Camaro owners helped me here, Gene Meek and Alex Calixto. I did end up swapping a rear door again by myself, which sucked, b/c I warped it too bad welding on it. Next was cutting out the rust, what rust, THAT RUST!!! (see pic below) The entire rocker panels had to go as well as the first 8” or so in front of rear tires. I also repaired a hole on rear quarter and some hidden rust behind bumpers too.
So now other than not really having front or rear bumpers she was a relatively clean rust free good running Taurus. TAURUS!!! NOOOO, we want a Tamaroooooooo!!! Now keep in mind I did all this in less than a year with no training and this is my first time fabricating anything. First step of the transformation to The Tamaro was getting that giant menacing Camaro front bumper on. Remember how large it was? Well I just hacked that sucker in half! I used a sawsall or the most dangerous tool ever made. Imagine holding a 20lb saw with a 10” open blade in one hand while cutting the bumper in half. Whew, I still have all my limbs
Harder yet was mounting those giant headlights, ugh! I had to cut out a box of sheet metal where the old headlights were, while still leaving the radiator structurally sound. I considered pushing everything even further back and using the Taurus hood as top of the bumper, but I wanted it closer looking to a real Camaro. It did make for some large front fenders, which you will see later. So I buried those big ol headlights deep into the Taurus front end. I then mounted half the Camaro bumper at a time from the outsides in. I then cut off the extra from each side or about 8” total!
Unfortunately the middle part is the pointy part so the Tamaro has more of a rounded to flat front end than a real Camaro. Having pulled Camaro bumpers off like 15 times I knew just how to mount this one. I made a basic crash bumper bracket out of 1 inch angle iron. Not for protection, but to support bumper. You can even see where I dropped it down to mount the 2 lower bolts on the underside of bumper. I also made a top piece to mount to bumper on the Taurus radiator support. Look at the pic below, well hmmm, that bumper is kinda low. Like 4” off the ground!!! So I cut off the ugly bulges on the V6 Camaro bumper cause well, I had too! One morning I had to cut the hood to match bumper. Ummm, that was a fun morning!
Now we got a front end, time for fenders. This was not going to be easy, maybe the hardest part of the entire build. One day I got up and was like, it’s time to cut off the fender. Buzzzzzzzzzzzzz went the angle grinder and gone went that nice $50 fender. I only kept where it mated to front doors. I started all my metal fabrication projects with card board templates I traced onto the sheet metal and cut out. I made the front fenders in 3 pieces. One giant piece from bumper to Ford part. One down to what I thought would be the bottom and finally the fender flares. How did I make them? Milk crate. Milk crate? I put the flat piece of sheet metal I had cut out to look like the fender on the ground and set a milk crate on the part I needed the bend to be. I put all my weight, 165 lb, on it and simply bent the 16 gauge sheet metal by hand until I had the shape I was after. I also used a hammer and dolly set for finer details.
The lower piece was easy to make, tricky to weld with my fledgling skills. I actually had to come back to some of my welds later. I ground off bondo down to welds and redid a bunch. Oh well
Second hardest part was those tricky fender flares to cover my big ol 18” tires. It took me forever to figure these suckers out. Like it’s curved on both sides! Once on the car I simply trimmed one side to match the other. Speaking of the other side, that wasn’t easy making it all match! Passenger side came first so I could do the best job on the driver’s side or the one I would see walking up to car. Getting them to match wasn’t nearly as hard as making it all look correct and perfect later…
After the fenders I wanted to butch up that hood a little bit. I mean my license plate is TOXCESS after all so I copied as best I could the COPO Camaro with a sweet 5” cowl induction style hood. Again you can see I made a cardboard version, then metal and I simply welded that sucker onto the Taurus hood. Functional? Fu$* no! Bad ass, can I get a hell yeah? A buddy says and I quote, “yo, that hood goes hard!” After all this fabrication and hard work I needed a break and did my usual fun, LED’s!!! I did some RGB rings in headlights and grilles. I imagine I have more planned later, muah ha ha!!!
Initially when I talked about all this with Gene Meek once at Spring Mountain Raceway in Pahrump, NV we thought the rear would be the hardest. Well, it wasn’t!!! Front end probably took 3 months, rear took a couple weeks! Yup, by then I had gotten a little better and did it all in 2 weeks. First step was getting that big ol bumper stuck on there. To get it in there I had to cut out a lot where the Taurus tail lights were, just like the headlights. Look below, yeah that fit!!! It nearly touched the ground and hung way off the sides. To make it fit I trimmed off the excess on bottom and then used a heat gun to pull the sides in. Pretty neat trick, huh? I narrowed the bumper without cutting it down, slick $hit! To mount the bumper I bought the real Camaro center plastic clip from GM for like $15. The sides have one screw in the very leading edge and a 8mm Taurus bolt down low holding them steady.
I had already removed the back up and marker lights to clean things up, but how was I gonna get the corners to work. Hmmm, and make it look good and make it look tough? How about shrouding them in all evil like! I cut off the triangular Camaro bumper corners and where the Taurus tail lights went. I then fab’d up a cute little panel to fill the space I made. Again hand bent and designed it by molding the squared off Taurus body to meet the rounded corners of the Camaro bumper. Crazy panel to make and again TWICE! With the bumper fitting it was time to make the trunk fit. First step was adding a rounded panel that drops down between tail lights, easy peasy! Then I wanted it to round up in the middle so buzzzzzzzzzzzzzz went the angle grinder. With the shape dialed in I simple put a lid on it! Still learning welding I got this sucker on there but good! I also made the tail lights like cat’s eyes or like the Eye of Sauron, Lord of the Rings reference
Now for smaller details, to make it prettier How about that spoiler? Yup, it’s curved out like trunk and curved down too sides perfectly fitting in every way. How’d I do that? Bought a new unmodified Dodge Charger SRT8 spoiler for $78, that’s how! Exhaust time, inspired here by new Corvette Stingray, but on a smaller scale. Actual C5 Vette tips mounted closely together. The side pieces were what’s left of the rear diffuser. Remember I was really close to the ground so minimal here was the key. This stuff came together so easily and I think the rear almost looks like a real car. Later I did add some material to sides to match the side rockers that come later and curved them in to make the rear look like the 67 Camaro with tires sticking out stance. I even had to mount my back up lights underneath the exhaust, where else!!!
Finally it was looking a little more like a car, one I was still driving b/c I’m me
But that front end was wrong, too high. And those sides with my plastic rockers, um no. Here came the most relevant changes, making her look saa weet!!! It went from awkward and high to a Euro inspired four door look. First side rocker only took me a day! Second even quicker! Making her look so good I was getting excited! More running than walking like before. Even still everyone was still hating, cause that’s what haters do. Fu$# em! I’m finishing this thing right! Last major component was making the lower chin spoiler. Metal over plastic? What the??? Metal wasn’t long enough so I did half at a time and welded together in the middle. Again I hand bent these to conform to bumper, trimmed them around fog lights and grilles and even brought sides on front fenders down to match. How did I get a metal chin spoiler attached to the plastic bumper? My old maintenance guy Jim at my apartment said, “I got just the thing” and speed off in his golf cart. He came back with every darn toilet tank bolt he had. Flat heads I welded onto the chin spoiler so I could bolt it onto the bumper. This $hit’s cake bro!
Even though I had what looked like a car, it was rough. Panels weren’t
perfect and things didn’t line up quite right. How about a month of body work! Well I needed probably another 2 weeks. There were dimples on dings on dents! I had to go through like 5 gallons of body filler, mostly on hood and front end. My rear end is the $hit! Haha. Here’s when I went back and fixed my old welds and lined things up. Ever block sanded an entire car? I sure never had, and boy does it suck! Did entire car in 80 grit then 320. Primered it and did 320 again! So much so I used up all the 320 grit. Well I plumb ran out of time, Vegas gets hot and I couldn’t wait till fall to paint so hereeeeee we go!
I knew this might be the only car I ever painted, so I wanted to make it awesome, TOXCESS even. Candy paint jobs are simply the most epic! They are done by painting a base metallic silver and then a transparent coat or tint coat over that and finally clearing. This means every bit of the candy coat has to be perfect, welllll this was my first paint job and that was soooooo not happening. I decided I could get a similar effect using metal flake, and I was right
I always wanted a deep red Camaro so I went with Firethorn Red Pearl which looks kinda like Candy Apple red. To get the shimmer/sparkle effect I would spray the candy apple red flake over it and clear it. I used micro flake which is like .004 of an inch and knocks down real nice under clear and still has a big flake look. For the stripes I wanted something even a little more TOXCESS so I mixed black metallic flake 2 to 1 with silver rainbow. Yup, RAINBOW!
But I’m getting ahead of myself, first I gotta take care of the door jams. Here I spent one entire day masking off and I still didn’t get enough painted. Did them without the sparkle as the sun rarely hits inside the jams. Had to do a solid black between the windows as Ford did with a vinyl decal to keep windows looking dark. Had to mask over jams to do outside, yay :/ But we were making progress. Strangely I did both the hood and trunk in black. Why? Well the hood I did black because my old 233k engine tends to throw a little oil. The trunk… cause I already did the hood black
First step was painting entire car red or my base coat. Man I love urethane paint, goes down so easy but leaves a rough texture when I paint it. I did this with the bumpers off first then the body. Keep in mind I only have one small garage to paint in. Next I had to fully re-assemble the car to paint the metallic flake. This is so it is completely uniform everywhere. Two lessons when painting; it can never be clean enough and you must be a machine when painting. You must see imagery lines and keep within them.
After scuffing car it was time to mask all those stripes. After kind of fudging up the jams I knew I could do better on masking, good thing cause I had a lot of stripes and accents planned. First I masked the rally stripes on hood and trunk. Did the spoiler to match trunk. Than front and rear bumpers, well cause awesome sauce! I wanted it dark around tail lights on bumper and on trunk lid, no biggie. Than on front bumper I did around headlights, for that evil look with the full phantom grille. So far so easy… Then I did around the windows on what used to be chrome trim. Then between windows and finally the side view mirrors. What??? Yeah, did mirrors in black because in my mind with tint I figured it would all look great fully blacked out, but with sparkle. And it did
Finally I did the side stripes which are basically my design. I got inspiration from a Camaro package, but I made them my own. Nothing but nothing looked good on this four door. Why? Do you see how the front fenders go higher than where the windows start? What the heck! See my early design? Gross! See what I ended up with? NICE!!! First attempt at masking this sucker was disastrous. I spent 4 hours measuring everything and trying to get perfectly straight. Well that didn’t work and I ran out of tape. Got my new tape and within 5 minutes of literally just eye balling it I got it perfect!!! Next side, even quicker! BAM!!! Did I mention I was learning everything on this car… Now look at the stripes as I took masking off, oh NOOOOOO! Did I miss a spot? Nahhh, all tape off I did a perfect job. This much masking and graphics and not one blurred line, mis-measurement, nothing!!! Boo yahhh!
Finally it was time to clear, ugh, I hate clear coating. It sure does make everything purty and shiny, but so hard to get smooth. I used a decent HVLP gravity feed gun with a 30 gallon tank and a 1.3 tip. I couldn’t get that sweet foggy spray pattern I saw online. Again I did bumpers separate and they went a lot better as practice before I got to the entire body. Lucky I’m tall cause I could start on far side of hood than down windows, forward from rear bumper to front fenders, cross over hood and re-fill gun finally doing other side and trunk. Well the thing is… It went ok until I switched masks to one I thought would work and nearly blacked out. 3M mildew masks are no good for painting, says my rubbery legs and nearly blacking out. This mayyyy have lead to some runs, just maybe… My best advice on clearing a car that will be wet sanded, “entire car should be one large run.” No problem, 4 thick coats later she was off and running for sure!
Who likes wet sanding clear? NO ONE!!! I first told a friend it would take me 2-3 weeks. Try 6 weeks! This is with work and of course buffing it back to shiny. With this much orange peel here’s what I came up with: 1. Wet sand with 600 2. Wet sand with 1000 3. Wet sand with 1500 4. Buff with a heavy cutting compound and foam pad 5. Buff with a good 1500 gritt sanding or swirl remover and wool pad 6. Buff with a polishing compound 7. Finally wax the $hit out of it! About half way through I attained a real zen like state listening to my music while sanding and I became able to see the orange peel while wet sanding. I could literally see the imperfections through the water. By the time I got to the final side, drivers, I was super pro! Because I’m me after I finished car guess what, I went back and redid a bunch of my work. I think I found one panel that had so many scratches I think I forgot the 1500 grit, woooops!
In the end though the results were worth it. I’ve never seen a factory paint job this friggin shiny, like coated in goo or something See my shadow shots below? Just check out differences in reflections, yeah buddy!
Glamour shot time in the sun. Unless it’s in person it’s almost impossible to really understand how the metallic flake looks or works. See the video for that. When the sun hits it each little flake sparkles differently. When you walk and move the paint moves, shimmers! It’s pretty damn sexy, no joke! I’ve had more than a couple Camaro owners tell me they wish I’d paint their car The stripes have about twice as much sparkle to them, as planned, as an accent can be over the top sparkly. The car is actually very tasteful in my opinion.
To me, just my opinion now, she turned out amazing!!! Just look how the front fenders flow from horizontal Camaro bumper to Taurus sides. Look how the shrunken bumper looks seamless! How the fender flares tuck those front tires in just so! “Nic, you really got that thing tucking tire!” All without lowering it an inch. Look at those sides, look at how I transformed them! I got this thing looking like some kind of AMG or Dinan Euro super sedan! (in my mind) Finally that rear, which I’m most proud of. I honestly think it could pass for a real car. Look how the black separates the red so evenly! Really helping to break up such a large area. Talk about a transformation!
Somebody told me I ain’t gonna have no problem selling it now. I told em not for a million dollars. He said what about 2 million! Nope, I like my Chevy, but I love my Ford Tamaro!!!
So what does the future hold for the Tamaro? A new interior of course!!! I am taking the rest of the summer to plan it, design it, DREAM IT!!! Thoughts right now is red carpet, red suede centers of seats and black leather sides trim. You think I know how to sew?
Between the red and black how about clear vinyl with moving, YES MOVING!, LED’s underneath with the pattern continuing onto rear seats. I am the supposed LED
god after all
Everybody does fiberglass door panels, or metal painted like car, that’s never gonna work
How about full wooden door panels and dash! I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I will!!! Maybe wood grain, black wood grain, piano black or even faux tortoise shell look with red base and black texture!!! Everything not needed will go! Only drivers door will have switches or locks. Rears won’t even have inner door handles, b/c show car! Look below at fiber optics, yup at your feet will be the glowing word Tamaro in carpet! Still planning headliner, but red/black theme like seats and maybe well some fiber optics in a pattern or a 32” LED
TV!!! Why not?
Finally for my interior’s finishing touch I gotta give my Dad credit. Who is the LED
gods Dad? Only the original inventor of the POS Cashregister that pretty much everyone uses and has copied, or Ted Ave-Lallemant (pcCashdrawer.com) No I never got money from him, just an inventive spirit and hard work ethic. He offered up a tiny computer with 2.5 gighz, 8 Gig of ram with Bluetooth, wifi, network and HDMI out. It will run Windows 8 through a 23” multi or 10 touch monitor. Yup, I will have a 23” tablet PC in my dash!!! Mostly it will do videos, pic’s, games, wifi lighting control of interior lights, etc, etc!!! Tesla model S has a 17” non-multi touch screen, and it only costs like $85k. I will also have USB outlets in dash as well as A/C
outlets. Think home entertainment center, not car dash
Have I lost it? Am I crazy? Will I ever stop? Yes, YES, and NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I may never change up the powertrain, I am hoping to hit 300k on original engine. But what if I did??? How about the new twin turbo Taurus SHO
motor that makes 400 HP!!! Not enough? What if I converted it to rear drive? How about a cam’d, stroked and supercharged LS motor like a Camaro with like 800 HP =D Wouldn’t it just send shivers down your spine hearing a cam’d big cube V8 roaring out of that quad exhaust =D Stay tuned!!!