When Martin asked for volunteers to write stories of their cars’ rebuilds I didn’t know whether it was a veiled request for me to get back with the pen again, as I have fallen out of the habit of writing while there was nothing going on with my car, or whether my conscience pricked a little too much. However, just by coincidence my car had arrived back from the body shop where it had been for almost 2 years after an initial estimate of a few months. I remarked to Martin that it can be boring reading about other people’s rebuilds and promised to try to keep away from the gory detail unless it was absolutely necessary for the story to make sense. So I’ll try to catch you up with the story so far.
For those of you who don’t know me, or have chosen to
forget, Heather and I came to the
I the autumn of 99 I allowed Heather to persuade me
that I needed something to occupy me and that there were plenty TRs out there
waiting for help. A nice 2-year task before we came back to the
Ripping a car apart is the easy bit, as all it needs
(assuming you have a fundamental idea of what you’re doing) is a lot of
penetrating fluid, the right size of spanners, and an endless supply of cutting
wheels. And a careful look at the parts manuals to ensure that the bit you are
about to put the saw through is in fact available before you commit yourself.
As the car was coming apart it became very clear that it was worse than it
looked, and I immediately started to source body panels on e-bay and from
anywhere within a few hours’ drive. Eventually I got to the end of the dismantling
and started to remantle. New floors, sills and
B-posts (couldn’t get in the
Meanwhile I had taken part in 2 courses at the local
Tech – one on car body repair and one on welding. Both classes were hands-on
and eventually I could lay down a decent seam. I bought myself a welder and hit
major problem number one. The normal domestic electrical system in the
All of a sudden I was making pretty well no progress.
The flow did get further interrupted somewhat as Heather’s next suggestion for
the maintenance of my health was for me to participate in the
The next 2 years were taken up with viewing progress, persuading, bullying, etc, but as long as the guy was doing it for fill-in outside of his normal paying work I didn’t have too much leverage except to take it away and find someone else. So we stayed with it, and got the car back at the beginning of September just a few weeks ago. I must say that I could not possibly have got it to the standard it now is even in the time Tom took. I think he probably rushed it a bit at the end, and there are signs that he could have taken more time on the chassis, but I cannot really complain. It still needs its final wet buff and polish, which he doesn’t want to do until I have finished crawling all over it.
The body came straight off so that I could get at the suspension more easily, and I’m now in the middle of rebuilding that. The bulk of the parts have arrived and I’m awaiting fast road springs for the front and uprated dampers for the rear from Simon, together with some poly bushes which I cannot get here. In a future article I will share some stories about US suppliers. I’ll devote the next article to suspension stories as I hope it will be substantially complete by then. If not, it means I have run into something fundamental I don’t understand. I’m off work this week and was hoping to complete it. Idiot. Another thought born of pipe-dreaming.
I am attaching 3 pictures – the car as I bought it, the car as I was stripping it, and the body-off ceremony a couple of weeks ago. I have asked Andy to add a few more to the website so that you can see some more detail and gasp in awe at the task I took on.
I cannot let this first note pass without acknowledging all the help I have had from folks at home, particularly from Dick and Andy, who usually get to field inane questions beginning with “How the hell…..” and “Remind me what you said about…..”
Talk to you next month.
More pictures here