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3rd June 2015

Well, here we are again at update time. Good progress and some decisions made.

Firstly, a few more pictures of the stealth ICE install, starting with the basic cage and telescopic system in primer and then during three stages of operation. It's still manual at the moment, but if I can source an appropriate motor and drive gears it WILL be motorised!


Primed and hanging up to dry

In action, with an old Clarion for testing purposes

Next came some concealed speaker mounts for under the dash, all fabricated by me, I'm pleased to say although in the picture it's only tack welded for a trial fit. Feeling rather smug with the result too! This was followed closely by the JB ashtray!

Next came a monumental decision. After much consideration and with Hilary's rather pressing serious health issues, I decided to hand over the completion of the bodywork to professionals. I'd got the bodywork almost finished but don't have time to be able to spend it in the garage fettling bodywork to a finished condition before painting.

I contacted a couple of well recommended local paintshops who both came out to look over the car to give an estiamte for the works. When they gave me their prices I was completely staggered at the amount of money they were expecting. Now I know body prep is labour intensive and for the best results you're going to have to pay for it but almost £11,000 to paint the car!, really? I think not. I contacted another recommended company who at least were honest enough to say that they were very busy and wouldn't ba able to touch it for about 4 months and that even then they would have to charge premium rates as they now had a contract with a few insurance companies and that their work took precedence.

I then contacted Mini Speed in Brooklands, what a breath of fresh air! I spoke to the owner, James, about what I wanted and and why I needed it done by professionals and he was eager to take the job on. He spent some considerable time on the phone with me and also looking at this very web site to see what he was going to be dealing with. In due course I borrowed a trailer from a friend of Dom's, thanks Reece, and took the car over to Brooklands for their painter, Vince, to have a look at. I returned to Mini Speed on the following Monday when Vince and I went over the whole car in detail to assess what was needed. I soon became apparant that we were both singing from the same hymn sheet, so to speak. I had a look at examples of his other work and was delighted with what I saw. Complete perfection.

Blinking in the light of day ready to go to Mini Speed at Brooklands

James rang me back that evening with a price to do the work, that was less than half of the previous quotes. I agreed on the spot, paid a deposit and work started the next day.

Today, I borrowed Reece's trailer (again) and went over to collect the chassis, leaving vince with the shell. The plan is now to strip, check and rebuild the engine then refit it to the chassis with a new clutch, refurb the carbs, buy and fit a complete fuel system, final fit and seal the floors panels fit an exhaust and start the beast. Once this is done, the plan is to take the chassis back to Mini Speed and VERY CAREFULLY lower the body back onto the chassis to bring it home for the final stretch of wiring, trimming and chrome.

Next came the engine clean and strip. When i bought the car from the dealer, I was told that the engine had been professionally rebuilt and stripping it seems to bear that out. It looks to have been nicely machined with the bores having had a +020 bore and hone with new psitons and rings, whilst the crank had had a +030 grind with new barings to match. Two of the bearings have small scratches on, probably due to not using cam lube in the rebuild and then having been stood since 1978 and turned occasionally by hand. So as a matter of course I'm going to put in new bearings and thrust washers and a new water pump.

Grubby dusty engine before cleaning ...

Clean engine after degreasing and pressure washing

Isn't it amazing how much space a dismantled engine takes up?

Current status is awaiting delivery of new bearings, core plugs, oil pressure relief valve and waterpump as well as a complete fuel system from tank to engine bay.

Today, whilst Hilary was having an afternoon nap I managed, with Alex's help to trial fit all the floorboards including all the fixings, just need to find some time to remove them at some time to be able to seal them down and then paint them.

24th August 2015

Next update is here. Quite a lot has happened in the toy box and this update will be rather picture heavy.

To start with, whilst the body was away I finished building the engine. Due to excellent planning on my part (smug mode engaged!) I had all the parts necessary to build the engine and consequently I went from a pile of bits scattered throughout the garage to an assembled, timed engine in about 5 hours spread over two days.

In preparation for the build, everything that could be pre-painted was cleaned, prepped and painted.

All the internals were cleaned in the parts washer, dried, checked for tolerance, oiled and wrapped ready for use. As a matter of course I popped out the valves, checked them for true and lapped them. Once the head was assembled I inverted it with the combustion chambers uppermost and filled each chamber first with a thinners/white spirit mix and then with fuel to check for any seepage past the valve faces. All was good so assembly could then begin.

I find it very theraputic building engines and managed some quality 'me' time in the garage building the engine up accompanied by some really excellent Benny Goodman tunes!

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