Having reached the limits of my capabilities on the bodywork I finally had some luck in finding some experts that should be able to get me past the finishing post. Devon is a long way from the TVR/Engineering Centres of Excellence that are Blackpool and Birmingham and finding someone locally has proved a challenge since I have only recently moved back into the area and haven’t yet managed to rebuild the network of contacts that is vital to finding good, reliable help. However, becoming RO for the Devon region of the TVRCC has certainly helped with network building and a member was able to suggest a body shop close by in Exeter. However, they didn’t really want to get involved in a restoration project but recommended someone else who probably would – and they turned up trumps. Less than 10 miles from home they have all the facilities and expertise to sort the body, get the shut lines perfect as well as doing some of the fabrication work that will be necessary to get the windscreen frame and side screens sorted.
After a few visits and chats about what needed to be done and what could be done and how as well as a handshake on costs and timescales, I took the plunge and made the decision that could make or break the restoration. So on a sunny Tuesday afternoon they came to taker her away!
Would I ever see her again?!
Question answered a week later when I went round to deliver the quarter bumpers that they would need to help get the lines right following repair to the left rear corner.
The tub has already had one low bake to drive out any moisture since the old paintwork was badly blistered down through the primer. Chances are they will give it another bake before starting with the paint work. Most of the initial rubbing down work has been done and will be finished off to 120 grit before a coat of spray filler. All rubbing down will be done dry to avoid any more moisture getting in. They will hang the doors and adjust as best they can and then get them perfect by building up the quarter panels where needed.
Then the talk turned to the windscreen frame. I had given them the old and “new” frame and explained that the rake would need to be adjusted to match the side screens but they had spotted that the top curve of the new frame looked shallower than the old frame so they wanted the glass to make sure that this would fit the new frame. I went back to fetch both old and new glass together with the top cover section and lower sealing strip and they will look at this over the next few days to see if there is a problem here that also needs fixing.
They are also going to have a look at the sidescreen frames to see if some rust damage can be repaired. I had thought that the frames just needed re-chroming but when I took the lower sealing strip out of one of the frames, I noticed that the rust had gone through in a couple of places. They are going to see if they can repair this by something akin to sputtering – so we’ll see if that works since re-fabricating the frame will likely be more difficult.
We’re back up and moving readers! Now that the bodywork is off my hands, I’ve got time to finalise the rolling chassis and get the engine running more smoothly. Target is to have the body back on the chassis in a couple of months (there, I’ve said it now!) and might just make it to the Pre-80’s but I’m not making that a solid prediction just yet.