Once again, P4 by Norwood has provided us with an incredible article detailing their latest build. In this write-up, you will learn about the aluminum body itself, its installation and some of the included safety features. If you haven’t yet, view Part 1 and Part 2 of this ongoing series. Enjoy the article and pictures, and be sure to check back for Part 4.
Article by: Pete Schow
As inspiring as it is seeing the chassis complete and rolling on the magnesium Campagnolos wrapped in vintage Dunlops, nothing brings out the rushing home from school to watch Speed Racer 12 year old like laying your eyes on the curves of the aluminum body as its laid onto the chassis. (except maybe the hearing the 575 V12 tuned on the dyno – but hey we’re not quite there yet)
Formed of aircraft grade aluminum the body comes in three sections, the hood and front fenders, chassis tub sheet metal, and the tilting rear section. The P4 by Norwood team selected aluminum for the body as opposed to fiberglass, as with all other exact match pieces, to keep true to the original formula. Along each aluminum section runs a set of rivets matched exactly to the count and location of the originals. Not only does this add to the validity of the P4 by Norwood but it also allows for quick detachment of body panels for touch-up or (heaven forbid) in the unfortunate event of a repair.
The vision from day one has been to not only recreate the beauty and prestige of the original, but to create a reliable performer that not only incorporates but also improves upon the innovations of the original.
Another essential element to the rigidity of the chassis and safety of the driver is installed during this phase as well – the rollbars. Fitted directly behind the driver and created using a state of the art Nissin tube bender the P4 by Norwood rollbars provide protection for not only the driver but their location helps protect the drivetrain as well in the event of a rollover. Due to the strict clearance between the cockpit, induction vents, and engine location, the rollbars are not fitted and mated to the chassis until proper body fitment is verified.
One of the advantages to the tribute car versus the original however, is the clean lines on the underbelly of the body. Where the original was built strictly for competition on the racetrack, bumps and rough edges along the underpinnings of the fenders and throughout the body were common and less of a concern for quality control. After all, with Enzo’s rivalry with Ford Racing in full force it was a given there were going to be more than a few bumps and bruises between the two along the circuit. And the occasional fatality of these automotive marvels was an unfortunate side effect of the rivalry.
The design is as functional today as it was nearly 50 years ago.
For the P4 by Norwood however, the vision from day one has been to not only recreate the beauty and prestige of the original, but to create a reliable performer that not only incorporates but also improves upon the innovations of the original. For example with the rear lid raised the smooth, flowing lines of the exposed body panels continue along the inner sides of the panel. No exposed ball-peen dents from a quick fix to a fender in the pits, no uneven gaps or bodylines where a hasty assembly took place on a racecar with a high probability of never seeing another race.
The full tilting rear section provides a rare occurrence of when art meets function. With the section fully raised the complete drivetrain is exposed allowing quick and easy access to all components of the drivetrain and rear suspension. The design is as functional today as it was nearly 50 years ago. No doubt the 12 velocity stacks atop the original 330 P4’s V12, visible with rear section raised inspired countless numbers of adolescents to pursue their dreams as racers. However the wrinkle finished intake manifold and valve covers of the modern 575 series are equally inspiring and we’ll review P4 by Norwood’s process for refreshing, installing and tuning the modern V12 in our next installment.