Having stripped the shell and sent it away for welding, preparation and painting, we bought a few new parts to allow the rebuild to start as soon as the shell returns.
There was more welding work to do than first thought; some small additional patches welded in the floorpan and boot, and one on the engine bay on the inner wing where the screen wash bottle leaved and rusted the wing. The new wheel arches were fitted; bonded and then painted with the entire shell; the black paint for the arches and roof were done afterwards – this allows for nice neat lines between the colours and ensures a good seal between the arches and the body.
2. Subframe / engine cleaning We took both subframe assemblies to a friend’s factory and used his industrial steam-cleaner to degrease and clean the engine, gearbox and subframes. This is a VERY worthwhile step as it allows the rebuild to start under clean conditions. It also helped highlight the condition of the subframes… 3. Rear subframe. This seems the logical first step of the rebuild. Unfortunately, having steam-cleaned the rear subframe it was clear that the existing frame was well past its best; it was probably OK to refit, but would have needed replacing within a few years, so we took the decision to replace now. Other new parts include:
- Hilo suspension
- Rubber cones
- Brake pipes and flexible hoses (and t-piece splitter)
- Fuel pipe (all)
- Handbrake cables
- Rear subframe fitting kit (all new bolts and rubber mounts)
With the new frame and new parts, all carry-over parts were further cleaned, painted where possible (Hammerite), greased and rebuilt. The radius arms were stripped (rods removed to check condition of the rod and the needle bearings) – unfortunately both of ours needed refurbishing (Kings Heath Garage did these in 24-hours). Before the subframe can be fitted, the new fuel pipe and brake pipes need to be fitted as these both run behind the subframe. The new battery cable however, is fitted after the subframe is fitted. The frame was built and ready for fitting to the car. With the bodyshell securely on 4 axle stands, the new subframe assembly was wheeled into place on our wheeled pallet and jacked into place. Three of the four subframe mounts lined up perfectly; unfortunately, the 4th (passenger side heel board mount) needed the radius arm removing in order to loosen the mount slightly to get the subframe mount bolts in place. Once done, everything was tightened, radius arm refitted and all subframe bolts and mounts tightened. Next step – handbrake cables; we elected to fit all new cables; they’re not expensive and are easy to work with. Every moving part of the handbrake assembly on the subframe (and the central guides) were prepared with copper grease to keep them (hopefully) free and moving for a good while.
After doing the work above, we begin to do some light work on the engine, nothing major, the main things just being replacing the clutch, changing most of the ancillaries and giving it a good clean and paint. There were no real problems with the old clutch, but while we had the engine out of the car, we decided that it would be best to change it anyway.
Front Subframe Finishing
Once we had got the engine almost ready to go into the car, we needed to put everything onto the front subframe, so that the engine could be put onto the front subframe, before the body shell went onto the subframe. We did jobs such as replace all of the braking components and replace most of the suspension parts, such as CV joints and wheel bearings.
Putting the engine in…
To put the engine back into the car, we decided to lift the shell over the engine and subrfame, and guide the engine into the body shell by hand. As the shell was so light due to it being totally stripped down, with 4 of us, it was quite easy to lift up the shell and position it over the top of the engine.
Putting the interior in was quite a simple job on the car, as it involved lots of small jobs, none of which were especially difficult (apart from putting the windows back in!) Most of replacing the interior is just following the steps that we did to take it out, and just doing it in reverse order. We left the inside of the car very stripped out for a reason, one of which was that I liked the paint job so much, that it seemed a shame to cover it up with roof lining and rear carpets, etc. The custom seats are quite a tight fit, with lots of time spent talking about how they could fit into the car without either pushing against the windows, or pushing against each other. However, when they were in, they looked amazing!! Not only do they look great, they are incredibly comfortable even on long journeys.
The finished car!
After 14 months, the car is finally finished and being used as my daily driver, and what a car it is! Its amazing to drive and gets loads of attention, which is mission accomplished really.