Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Thinking out loud...

Not much to report I'm afraid. Work took me away from home for the best part of the last two weeks and that, combined with an overnight stay in Birmingham so we could spend Saturday morning at the FJ Classic Car Show at the NEC, has stalled progress on the saloon.

In an effort to keep the momentum up - on the blog at least - I thought I'd post a few words about my plans for the saloon's bodywork.

The general approach I want to take to getting the saloon back on the road is to keep as much of the original car as possible. This is not the approach I took with the Spitfire, and although it might sound a bit daft I have come to regret this to some extent. More of this later when I start on the jobs I want to get done on the Spitfire over the winter.

So, other than the serious issues noted in the first blog with the sills and floors which are going to require extensive panel repair and replacement, the only other areas that were showing obvious signs of rust were the front and rear front lamp panels, the front valance and the rear edge of the bootlid.

I cleaned the rust off a couple of times and tried a few tricks to stop it reappearing, but to no avail. It would always come back fairly quickly. However, when I got round to stripping the paint off I found it was all good, solid metal with only minor surface pitting evident, except where the front valence joins the front wings where the valence will need a small repair patch let in on either side.

What I'm thinking here is I'll finish derusting these panels and get all the old paint and primer off, get them as clean as possible, then paint with Hydrate 80, zinc primer and then I'll seal the primer with two or three coats of Triumph White from a spray can. The finish isn't too important at this stage - when I've got the bodywork sorted it'll go for final finishing and a full respray by someone who has the equipment and skills to do a proper job!

The other areas where I need to do some of the same sort of prep work are the roof gutters and a small area of windscreen frame in the lower O/S corner. There's no rust showing in these areas, but the paint is very tired and it looks as though they're about to start going the same way as the lamp panels and valance so best to deal with it now.

Where the bodywork and paint are OK and I'm not replacing panels it will be left as is.

What's left of the original underside by the time the front and rear floors have been repaired will be cleaned back to bare metal then treated and painted as required. I'll do all of this myself.

I've nearly finished cleaning up the lamp panels, front valence and bootlid prior to painting. Hopefully, if things go to plan, I'll be able to finish what I want to get done to these over this coming weekend. At which point the saloon will go under cover for the rest of the winter and I'll get on with the jobs I want to get done on the Spit.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

More Saloon Stuff

The longest parcel I think I've ever taken delivery of arrived on Wednesday last week!

It was the NOS inner and outer N/S sills from Chris Witor. So far, the panels I've collected for the saloon amount to:

Pair of front wings (Chic Doig)
Pair of front floor pans and outriggers (Earlparts)
NOS N/S inner sill and full outer sill (Chris Witor) ...

... and two second-hand rear floor sections in that lovely brown colour (Andy G, Register Forum).

This is way beyond the scope of the work I've done on cars before so at this stage it's a little daunting. Getting this stuff together well ahead of time is going to be a big help in figuring out how it all goes back together again. I spent an hour looking at the NOS sills and what's left of that side of the car on Sunday afternoon and a lot of things became a lot clearer!

I also fired up the car on Sunday and ran it for about half-an-hour in the garage to get the engine warmed up and check that it was still OK, and also to start getting it ready to swap places with the Spitfire over the winter. It's nearly a year since I last started the saloon but it fired up without any problems and ran beautifully.

The saloon came with a complete history, including the original BL/Triumph Passport, owners manual and what I reckon must be every MOT and receipt. Browsing through it a few things caught my eye:

The Passport shows that the 1000 mile service was carried out in May 1976 (at 1332 miles) - when the car was two months old. The 6000 mile service was carried out almost exactly a year later in March 1977 (at 5816 miles). The 3000 mile service isn't recorded!

By the April 1982 MOT the recorded mileage was 32,132.

By the December 1987 MOT the recorded mileage was 54,198. The mileage falls off dramatically after the 1987 MOT. I suspect that it became the previous owner's 'second car' at this time!

The labour charge for getting a replacement alternator fitted by an auto electrician in 1989 was the princely sum of  £3.00!

By the November 1992 MOT the recorded mileage was 64,916.

By the June 1996 MOT the recorded mileage was 72,256. The MOTs and receipts stop in 1996 so I reckon it's safe to assume the car was taken out of use some time prior to the MOT due in June 1997. When I got the car in 2006 the mileage was 73,292.

I found a receipt that included N/S sill repairs in 1983 when the car was only seven years old. Presumably these are the repairs to the sill strengthener that I found when I cut the outer cover sill off. That these repairs are nearly thirty years old would probably explain why the inner sill has rusted away so badly behind the repairs. I couldn't imagine anyone repairing the sill strengthener and not fixing the inner sill corrosion. The inner sill was probably OK 30 years ago! The sill repairs are the third item on the second page of the receipt reproduce below. I wonder what this lot would cost now? Interestingly, Powdrake Servicentre are still open for business at the same location!

Anyway, enough history - back to the present! The priority for the next two/three weeks is to finish cleaning up the front lamp panel, front valence and rear lamp panel and get them painted so that the saloon can swap places in the garage with the Spitfire and go under cover for the winter.