Thursday, 21 November 2013

Shiny new toy for fixing the Saloon but still no progress

It just got serious. Very serious. The entry form for the 2014 RBRR was posted on Monday 18 November. The plan is that myself, Glenn Gabriel and Dan Armitage will be taking part in the Saloon. There's a hell of a lot to do. I haven't even started the welding.

A week or so after we got back from holiday, around mid-October, the welding kit arrived from Weldequip. For a number of reasons I'd decided to go for a Portamig 185.

Portamig have an excellent reputation, are robust, have a low setting of 15A and are designed and built in the UK. They are somewhat more expensive than typical hobby welders but I reckoned it would be a wise investment since it will be getting used a lot on the Saloon project and on other projects that I have in mind for the future.

Unfortunately, just a few days after the Portamig arrived, out of nowhere I started to develop a nasty red rash and horrible itchy spots which eventually spread over most of body - except for my face thank goodness! My hands, in particular, were very badly affected becoming very tender and prone to developing callouses and sores at the slightest provocation. I still don't know what it is - 'a confusing mix of symptoms' according to the specialist I saw last week! I'll be getting the results of tests on Monday next week so should know a bit more then.

The jist of it is that I haven't been able to do any work on the cars for the last month - doing so would just have ripped my hands to shreds. But the medication's been working well and I reckon things have improved enough to be able to start again - albeit carefully - at the weekend.

But I need to get the Spitfire into the garage now as there's a number of things needing done that I can't put off any longer:

I need to strip the dash out and get it away to Chapman and Cliff for refurbishment. It's ten years old now and has suffered a bit from sitting out over the last two winters:

The other things I want to get done on the Spitfire over the winter are:
  • Strip and rebuild the rear suspension
  • Finish refurbishing the late Spitfire 1500 headrest seats I got last year and get them fitted in place of the MX5 seats
  • The front outriggers are starting to show signs of surface corrosion so these need to be cleaned up and repainted
  • Wire the headlamps through relays
  • Fit an intermittent wash wipe
  • There's a few paint chips that need sorted
  • I might treat myself at Christmas to set of the stainless steel bumpers that the Harrington Group sell so that I can rid myself once and for all of the horrible modern things I have that rust at the first hint of moisture
So I think the plan for the Saloon is going to go something like this:

Finish off cleaning up and repainting the rear lamp panel and bootlid at which point the Saloon will need to go outside under cover so that I can get the Spitfire into the garage.

Then while the Saloon's outside:
  • Get the front suspension stripped and rebuilt
  • Fit an anti-roll bar
  • I also want to install power steering so that Annette will be comfortable driving the car
  • Remove the front windscreen so that I can get a proper look at the surround and figure out what needs sorting (if anything). It'd be coming out anyway because I have one of Ted Taylor's heated and tinted front windscreens to go back in.
  • Install the electrics needed for the heated front windscreen and wire up the headlamps through relays
  • Remove the doors, strip, repair and paint.
  • Get all the woodwork away to Chapman and Cliff for restoration
  • Fit new diaphrams to the front seats (Chris Witor's retooling and new production of these couldn't have come at a better time!)
  • Get the remainder of the exterior trim off and get the channels, gutters etc cleaned up and repainted
  • Clean and repaint as much of the underside of the car as I can - weather permitting!
Then around February time the Saloon will go back into the garage to get the welding done and at the same time the rear suspension will be stripped and rebuilt. When that's done it will then be going away somewhere for a full respray circa April/May. Hopefully that should leave plenty of time to put it all back together again and get some miles in before October next year.

The engine, gearbox, overdrive and diff are sound and other than getting the radiator recored and the prop reconditioned I'm planning on leaving them well alone.

I wonder where this will all end up. We'll see...

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