I next retrieved the pieces for the adapter plate, flywheel and hub that mate the Guzzi motor to the VW transmission. When they arrived, the first thing I did was fit them by hand; you guessed it, another shoe horn fit. If you have obtained favor in the eyes of the bank and made a half payment to order the kit, it's now time to gather the other missing pieces needed to build the car. Kurt says "I'm now ready to disassemble everything for painting. If you are contemplating a project like this, here are a few things to consider. Black Jack Zero is all subcontracted so all the company does is take customer orders, order kits from contractors, package and ship. Next, I installed the hood.
Part 2 We discovered in part one that there are four choices for obtaining a Guzzi car: I chose 2 Blackjackzero. If you are like me, you'll have lots of questions prior to committing to a future with Rover in the dog house. The following should be some of your concerns. The prices of the kits are listed on the web site in British Pounds. Just find a web site to convert to US Dollars.
Half of the payment is required upon ordering. The other half is required prior to shipment. Will I have to pay the value added tax, VAT? No, but be prepared to pay DMV for all the sales tax you owe them. You will see two versions of a Guzzi car on the company's site. The version with the narrow tires is not available. Does the kit come in a left hand drive version, LHD? The kit currently only comes in a right hand drive version, RHD.
A LHD version is currently being designed. All my inquiries indicate that a RHD version is not an issue in any state; however, it is in some other countries. How much will it cost to ship? Shipping rates vary greatly with gas prices. If I want to use a fuel injected Guzzi motor can I obtain a custom map for it? At this point, you're on your own. This will be discussed in greater depth later. Can I get a Certificate of Origin? Yes, just ask for it from the manufacturer. Can I order the gas tank only from the fuel kit since none of the other parts will work on a fuel injected version?
Yes, a gas tank can be ordered individually. Are the lenses on the lights stamped DOT? You're on your own to obtain legal lighting for the US. This will be discussed later also. Will the electrical kit work with fuel injected versions? There will be a lot on this later. Knowledge of electron migration routes is helpful. Better yet, a friend with an electrical degree is priceless. How do I make it road legal? See your DMV and kit car clubs in your state. I suggest you keep good records.
I will license mine in California as a car. If I can do it here then anyone can. Are there any other Blackjackzero kit cars in the US? Be a trend setter or guinea pig depending on your point of view. Remember, it's not the destination, but the journey that is most rewarding; unless you have small kids.
Whew, have I scared anyone? All the wives are thanking me. Now it's your job to delude her that it's really all for her, just two seats, no kids and going out on romantic dates. Casanova, do your best! If this method fails then try the hard proven method of begging. If you have obtained favor in the eyes of the bank and made a half payment to order the kit, it's now time to gather the other missing pieces needed to build the car. At this point you may need to make room for the project in the garage, the solution, toss out all that junk.
Now that 20 years of who knows what is gone, we can get back to what Americans are experts at, acquiring more junk. If you'll be using an cc carbureted Guzzi motor and ordered all available kits from Blackjackzero then the following additional items will be needed: If you choose to use a fuel injected Guzzi motor then an electrical and fuel system will also have to be constructed.
No worries, we have an awesome club, networking and E-bay. I would start the hunt for the motor first because it will likely be the most difficult item to obtain. You could try to get a motor by itself or a complete motorcycle. A complete motorcycle would be cost prohibitive unless crashed.
A crashed motorcycle will come with a lot of unanswered questions that could only be answered after the purchase and most likely a motor rebuild. You might have to sink a great deal more money than you want into it. If you buy the motor only, be sure to get as much history as possible and the motorcycle VIN for future reference. There may be recalls or part questions that arise.
Also, be sure to obtain every part that supports the operation of the motor except the starter. Be very careful about all those small parts. They add up fast. Some small parts can only be obtained as a larger more expensive assembly.
Most likely, there will be some bits missing. This is the route I chose. Once you have your motor, get a hold of the shop and parts manual for it. This will save you and your parts supplier time and headaches when trying to figure out missing and needed parts.
Sometimes, seemingly small issues turn out to be big headaches, more on this later, so do your homework and keep good records. Part 3 Well, with any luck you've been able to purchase a good donor motor and still have a marriage. This reminds me of an encounter I had with another Guzzi enthusiast in Japan years ago. Due to my Guzzi shirt another American spotted me and we started talking Guzziology.
After I found out that he had seven Moto Guzzis, I asked him if he was married, to which he replied, divorced. I just had that feeling from his enthusiasm. I'm a big opponent of marriage and no hobby is worth the destruction of a relationship. One word of warning, Moto Guzzi will not honor an engine recall if it is removed from the frame. Yep, I'm dealing with this situation. I purchased a Stone motor from a chap in Kansas who put a diesel motor in the frame, don't ask.
The Stone motor has hydraulic lifters that require a recall. MGNA says that it is altered and thus voids the warrantee. I say, what's the warrantee got to do with it? It's the exact same motor unaltered and just being used in a different frame. So far they're winning. I'm currently trying to get the recall kit so I can install it myself.
Does anyone have an extra kit lying around that you don't need? I don't care about the warrantee. If that fails, I plan on making my own shims and whatever else I may need. I might just ignore it altogether and take my chances since to problem seems to be hit or miss and the recall may or may not fix it anyway. The motor was missing a few minor bits and pieces. That was fine with me. It was a good deal.
One bit that turned out to bite me was the fitting that connects the fuel line to the injectors. It turns out that it can only be purchased as an assembly with the injector from Moto Guzzi. I tried Ducati with the same result. With none on E bay I decided to make the two fittings on my lathe.
I also noticed that the crank case vent fitting on the Stone is at the top of the timing chain cover. On my V11 Rosso it is at the top rear of the engine. I don't know why Moto Guzzi would change this on different models of cc motors in the same year. I prefer the rear because it can be nicely hidden to achieve a clean appearance, although the front probably functions better.
The Black Jack Zero has no frame above the motor to use for a crank case vent so I will have to make a canister mounted on the firewall for this purpose. In order to diminish the appearance of a hose coming straight up from the front of the motor I made a special Part 4 While waiting for the Blackjackzero car to arrive my search for all the other needed parts is almost complete. I now have boxes everywhere in the garage and I know the UPS driver's children's names.
If you're interested, there is a nice article in the Feb. I decided to use wheel rims made by Speedy. They have a model called Race Mode 17x7 in all fat black. I wanted all gloss black, but none exist. I figure this is easy enough to change. So I bought the best clear coat spray I could find. They came out beautiful then I noticed that it comes off easily.
Oh well, strip and repaint in gloss black for round two. Well, I saved the hardest for last. Since no Blackjackzero exists in fuel injection form I had to design and make my own electrical system. Although I like the benefits of fuel injection, it isn't cheap or simple. I really have no choice with a smog test required in California anyway. Yes, I confirmed that it must pass a smog test at a Referee Station just like any other kit car. They assured me that they have the charts for all motorcycles.
I'll believe it when I see it. I here some of you say, why don't you just register it as a three wheeled motorcycle? There are two reasons. The first is because I can't without the donor motorcycle's title and VIN.
If you remember in part three, the title is currently being used with a diesel motor in the frame. The other reason is that I want this kit to be available to non-motorcycle consumers should they want one. The product is more likely to succeed with a broader more diverse market base. My initial concern is proper running. I know from experience that any changes to the motor, especially the intake and exhaust, directly affect the fuel injection system. This effect is usually negative.
I'm not an expert by any means, but have learned a lot from my VII. An ECU's programming is complicated in detail, but simple in essence.
The ECU tells the coils when to spark and the injectors when to squirt fuel into the cylinders. It does this more accurately than a distributor and carburetor. You don't need to know how unless you want to, in the same way that you don't need to understand mobile phone technology to order a pizza. The Blackjackzero comes with its own stainless steel exhaust system. I'll have to make my own intake system. These changes will necessitate changing the ECU's map. You can use the word program as a synonym for map although it is not entirely accurate.
My experience with Power Commander has been very good so I would like to use their product again. The problem is how to get the car dyno.
I really need to have it put on a dyno. A car isn't going to fit on a motorcycle dyno. In a perfect world, I need a feedback system that is fully self-contained in the vehicle and can make automatic changes to the ECU's map.
Have I lost anyone? The almighty map is everything in fuel injection. To make a long study short, no-one makes a fully automatic self correcting feed back system that is proven. My second choice would be a feedback system that gave me the information I need to make map changes manually. I'm very comfortable making manual map changes with the Power Commander.
In a nut shell, it displays and records O2 levels from the exhaust. This information can be used to make the appropriate changes manually to the map in a Power Commander. Since I plan on mounting most of the electronics under the dash the main cable is too short. With all this said, it's time to get away from the computer and head to the garage.
My VII isn't getting nearly the amount of use as I would like. See you on the road, Kurt. Nov 5, Messages: Kurt had the frame and suspension pieces powdercoated red.
The Guzzi motor, VW trans and suspension and brakes are all bolted up. Very good quality stuff and one of a kind here in the US! Jul 17, Messages: Hey, no time, but here's a picture of the real deal. Ganzo , Jul 22, Oct 28, Messages: So, is it going to look anything like this?
RJVB , Jul 22, Jul 31, Messages: Zapa , Jul 22, I had to relink the pictures above, they should be there now. I'm looking forward to your next article. Guys Gonzo is the builder of above if you haven't made that link. Part 5 Last month I wrote mostly about fuel injection issues. This month I want to continue with other electrical widgets.
I often did that in high school when economics necessitated it. I even remember brush painting one car I had. Now that was, well, memorable, to say the least. But now those days are behind me and I can actually purchase the right parts for the job. I decided to use Stewart Warner DLX electrical gauges along with their corresponding sensors and senders. The tachometer can be calibrated to operate from 0. This is important because 0.
I decided to use the revolution counter output from the ECU which is 2 PPR because it will produce a cleaner signal than the ignition coil. It also must be calibrated and has an operating range of 0. This takes a lot of guess work out of making manual changes to the Power Commander. The speedometer must be electrical because there is no mechanical output from the VW transmission. I made a 16 tooth tone ring that mounts on the transaxle FWD with a permanent magnet sensor pick up that will produce the pulses needed to drive the speedometer.
The speedometer will need calibrated once the car is running. I bought a power distribution panel which contains 16 mini fuses and 2 relays from Ron Frances. Its greatest attribute is packing a lot of wiring into a small box. For more information see www. I made two internal wiring changes and relabeled all the connections and fuses to suit my needs.
I would recommend it to anyone. I also bought 6 more relays and bases from Ron. Total, I have 8 relays and 15 fuses in my electrical system. Being a Guzzi lover, I wanted to use as many Guzzi parts on the motor as possible. I needed a voltage regulator and, even though I was armed with the parts book, received the wrong one from the dealer.
After a phone call and a description of the old wiring harness I received the correct one. It seems that the parts manual is wrong. Gee, I never had that happen before.
I only know a hand full of people that are capable of designing and building parts that are better than OEM. All components have to be laid out in advance, even switches for future use. It also has to withstand the demands of a convertible in So. I decided on a Sony marine stereo. I also purchased a pair of marine speakers, but have yet to figure out how to make them fit. Only one was huge. This is much better than my SP II was. That schematic was so bad that it was useless.
I needed to use a pattern for making the Blackjack Zero schematic. The next best format that I know and have is Ford cars. So, I used it for my pattern. I put a lot of time and thought into it because it will be the only fuel injected Guzzi Blackjack Zero in existence. Sooner or later, someone will need to make another one. So what started out long hand is slowly being transformed into a typed manual.
One little oddity that I purposely created is wire color and number usage. Since I work on elevators I have a lifetime supply of wire. Elevator wire is pre numbered every foot and the colors change every ten numbers. Until next time, keep the smoke in the wires. It's not exactly cheap. I think I would be capable of building one, with time and patience same with a Caterham or similar but it would take me ages to enjoy it.
Zapa , Aug 20, Congrats on yer stick-to-it'ness. Do you find yerself expanding the work area and forgetting where ya put things? And more pics please Tonerjockey , Sep 14, Part 6 Well, the big day finally arrived. After months of looking at pictures, planning, building and scheming, the crate containing the Blackjack Zero kit car from Great Brittan arrived at the Port of Los Angeles.
From the time of order to receipt of the car was seven months. Some minor delays were due to the shipping company. I have never done this sort of thing before so I asked a lot of questions. I guessed two to three hundred for a customs fee. I was actually pretty close. What I wasn't prepared for were the myriad of other sometimes baffling fees tacked on by seemingly everyone who could gain from touching the paperwork, crate or it physically being within their legal jurisdiction.
So triple the customs fee and that's what it costs to get a crate through the Port of Los Angeles. Putting the unpleasantries of the dent in my VISA aside, the actual pick up went very smooth. I drove to the warehouse with my trailer, it was loaded and I left. It took one and a half weeks to process the crate through customs.
When I returned to San Diego, my wife remarked that I looked like a kid at Christmas while unloading and unpacking the crate. She called it a giant toy box. Gee, I don't know why? I enlisted the service of my son to help unpack my Christmas present for the next 20 years, or whatever I told my wife.
I first checked for any shipping damage. With the exception of one heavy piece that came lose and scratched a fiberglass part, all looked very good. I next arranged the parts in the yard for a picture then repacked what I didn't immediately need while the rest went to the garage. While sorting everything out I found the inventory accounting for every nut and bolt.
That's nice, but what I was really looking for was a CD containing the assembly instructions. After an e-mail to the manufacture I found out that none exists. This is going to slow me down a little. I'm up to the challenge! I guess it's my fault for presuming that I would get one because a 14 page assembly instruction exists on the manufactures web sit on a pdf file. I thought this was a sample, but learned that this is everything. Where to start without any instructions, I thought for a moment?
I decided to check all the parts that I made or bought for proper fit. Prior to the arrival of the kit I knew there would be some close fitting parts. First I temporarily fitted the transmission in the frame.
I had a high torque starter, which is larger than the standard starter that the manufacture uses. No problem, I had a quarter inch to spare in the frame. I next retrieved the pieces for the adapter plate, flywheel and hub that mate the Guzzi motor to the VW transmission. I found that my lower bracket that connects both throttle bodies to each other overlaps the adapter plate. Two hours later armed with a new and improved bracket I overcame that hurdle.
The motor I used, Stone, has the throttle potentiometer mounted on the bottom of the left throttle body. With the plug pointing rearward it now just touches the top of the transmission where the bulge is located that the starter fits in. The electrical connector fit fine, but I filed a little aluminum off the transmission anyway. I next found out that I had to grind off a half inch from two air fins on the lower rear part of the motor.
This enables an allen wrench to access the new bolts that connect from the adapter plate to the transmission. Ok, next it's the clutch and pressure plate. That wasn't happening at all. I had a mm set up that is correct for the VW Beetle transmission that I have, but the custom Guzzi flywheel is mm. After another e mail to you know who, I found out that the correct clutch and pressure plate is mm from a VW Beetle.
I had previously installed an oil temp sensor and fitting for the oil return hose crank case vent system in the rear of the oil pan.
These two parts are directly forward of the front transmission mount bracket. Well, if it all bolted together like an erector set, where would the challenge be? The kit comes with an aluminum sump oil baffle for the motor that looked real well made so I installed it along with a new dip stick that I made.
While I was on the motor I started replacing electrical connectors with weatherpac electrical connectors. I then put that aside to prep all the steel parts for powder coating. All the pieces were bare metal and had a little rust in a few places. The rust was irrelevant because everything would get sand blasted anyway. All the welds looked professional, but I did smooth a few out where they would be more visible and removed the weld BBs.
The car does not come with a front bumper. The motor is the bumper. After close examination of the frame I decided to drill and tap a few strategically placed holes for mounting a future bumper. I also drilled some holes for mounting electrical components. Tune in next time for the assembly of the frame and installation of the motor. Kurt Vogt Part 7 Small bits and pieces become larger assemblies.
In this part I want to talk about assembling the frame and power train. As I look back at this evolution I think of three things: There were many small setbacks as I put pieces together, but overall, it was clear to me that the manufacture put a lot of thought into the design of this kit. As one who has always been maintaining, designing and building widgets, I know good and bad designs.
If it's bad, you will hear me complain about the college educated engineer who obviously never had to build or maintain the junk they designed.
Believe me, there is a lot of it out there. I suspect the designer, Richard Oaks, did a lot of assembling and disassembling in the process of designing because everything is quite easy to be maintained after assembly. I have the 10th copy of the Black Jack Zero and I can see where design improvements have been made from its predecessors. I must say that the design concept is superb in form and function.
After assembling the frame and drive train it is very satisfying to see all the pieces work together in unison. For any mechanic, it's pure poetry. My wife wouldn't understand this at all. But to those of you who might be contemplating a project of this nature you will not be disappointed with the Blackjack Zero. I must say that one of the most challenging aspects for me has been assembling with little to no instructions.
Some things are obvious and others require close scrutiny of pictures and a measuring tape to figure out. A few questions required an e mail to the manufacture to gain understanding. Richard Oaks always promptly replied to my e mails which have been a great help. In my opinion, if this kit car is to be assembled by a layman there must be more than 14 pages of instructions. So far, in my experience with this kit, this is the weakest area that needs improvement. I started frame assembly with the 5 rotating arms.
These are the upper and lower left and right "A" arms and the rear swing arm. All require bushings of various design and coming from different donor vehicles supplied with the kit. So I added grease nipples. The rear swing arm bushings are made of nylon and require lubricating. The kit came with a package of grease nipples, but no holes in the swing arm. So I drilled and tapped to fit. Upon assembling the bushing in the arm I noticed that it was way too tight.
So I disassembled, took off a few thousandths off the sleeve OD and reassembled. All the arms required shimming. I found that the best way to make the shims was by using stainless steel washers cut to the right thickness on a lathe.
I next turned to the ball joints. The uppers went smooth, but one box of the lowers was missing its package of hardware. I wanted the left and right to look the same so I bought replacement hardware for both. I installed this assembly onto the ball joints.
Then the drive axles and hubs were installed. There is only one lock nut that retains the wheel hub to the axle so I drilled and added a cotter pin for added safety. Hub dust caps did not come with the kit so I purchased and installed a pair. The rest of the linkage, steering and stabilizer bar, went pretty smooth. I made steering stops to prevent the steering linkage from hitting the frame.
I made all the linkage adjustments with the suspension in full drop. The rear spindle mounted nicely on the swing arm. After pressing the bearing races in the hub, I noticed the spindle nut was missing. After a few calls to automotive stores I located this unusual extra fine metric nut.
The rear hub came with a dust cap. The springs and shocks require assembly. A spring compressor tool is really needed to assemble them, but since I didn't have one and didn't want to buy one I had to find another way. I compressed the springs in my press, installed four temporary wires around the circumference to retain the compressed state.
I could then slide the springs over the shocks, install the retainer and release the wires. Be sure to install the correct spring to shock. The rear spring is different. In my opinion, all three brake rotors are much heavier than necessary for a thousand pound car. I had a machinist neighbor, lucky me, drill cooling holes in them to reduce weight, improve performance and for visual appeal.
The brake calipers are very nice quality. The fronts have four pistons and rear is a single piston with an emergency brake mechanism. I only had three issues installing them. I had to remove. So I made my own. The mounting spacers on the front calipers were the wrong dimension. So I had to make those too.
The engine projects in front of the frame which is on jack stands. It took maybe 15 minutes with my son and a chain fall. If the motor was about 50 pounds heavier I would though. Connecting the drive shafts is easy. I decided to install the tone wheel I made for the speedometer to the left driveshaft coupling. It will work on ether side, but the left is more hidden by the starter. If you look at Guzzi Blackjack Zero carburetor and fuel injection pictures there is clearly one benefit, density.
My fuel injection set-up takes about half the space of the manufacture's single carburetor set-up. This frees up a lot of room rear of the air filters for mounting whatever you want. In my case it will be the crankcase vent canister and breather. I then mounted the tires with the lug bolts to ensure proper fit and take a few pictures.
They more than fit. The brake pads can be changed without removing the tires. If you are contemplating a project like this, here are a few things to consider. Through this process, there were many trips to the industrial hardware store.
I have one of the best just 3 miles away. You can get by without a mill, but not a lathe. Sounds like a plan. Part 8 My giant toy box of parts is getting empty. I can see the bottom now. The lump in the garage is starting to look like a car. My daughter says it's the weirdest car she has ever seen. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I next turned my attention to the exhaust.
Over built is better than under built I say. I placed one in the left, right and common exhaust pipes. The left and right are nearest the lower front corner of the motor and the common one is just upstream of the muffler. Ideally, I would want to monitor the left and right exhaust oxygen levels at the same time, but that's too expensive.
The body was mad from a polyester body moulding with subframes ad had a moulded windscreen. Around 15 vehicles a year are believed to have been sold. The Blackjack Zero was first designed as a prototype in and in March became the first kit car to pass the SVA test first time through. As with the Avion, the Zero was designed by Richard Oakes. This along with a few other tuning recommendations is added to a VW gearbox originally fitted in the S Beetle — Keeping to the VW theme.
The body has a steel chassis whilst the main body tub with reinforced bulkheads and panels are made from fibreglass helping to keep the weight of the vehicle down to kg.
As with past models the version is front wheel drive. The Blackjack Zero. Photo from the Blackjack Zero website.