First sight of the new colours

The repair work on the bonnet has progressed through July with the cracks and old filler being ground out within the marked up areas we saw last month.

Then new matting was applied and rollered in to place . . .

. . . before being filled and smoothed down

and then a few coats of primer before a series of rub-downs to make sure that it’s absolutely smooth and flat where it should be.

The styling lines on the bonnet were taped to ensure a sharp, straight edge during the rub-down but I don’t seem to have any photos of that stage. However, here’s one of the rear wheel arch getting the same treatment to ensure nice clean edges

Meanwhile preparation of the tub was complete with all cracks repaired, shut lines corrected and the scuttle profile modified to match the windscreen frame. It was therefore time to start with the primer, so time to finalise the choice of top coat colour. The code I took from the S3 that I saw at the NEC wasn’t recognised in the paint manufacturers catalogue which meant going through swatches to try and find a match. This isn’t ideal due to the small area of the swatch so we decided to spray the boot lid in what seemed to be the best match – and this is what it looked like

It’s still difficult to judge what the whole car will look like, but a dark metallic gray is close to the original scheme and it looks a good match to what I had in mind.
It was then decided to prep the inside of the tub by scouring-out and painting it black all over

And that is where activity on the body stopped for this month. There’s probably a couple of days work left on the tub and maybe a week on the bonnet which still needs the new frame and latch brackets laminating in as well as continuing with the rubbing down to ensure perfection!

Plenty to do in the meantime though, with the arrival back of the first few trim panels so that I can start with re-wiring of the dashboard and switch panel. The original interior trim colour was Oatmeal which I found to be a bit dark so the new Pebble colour is intended to lighten things up a bit as well as complementing the metallic gray outside – hope you agree!

The gaiters and switch panel are in black leather to offset the Pebble colour.

The dashboard keeps the same theme with the dashboard itself in Pebble and the cowl in black

With the dashboard back, it was time to look at smartening up the instruments before fitting them back in and wiring up. I had previously replaced the bezels on the 4″ instruments so it was time to look for replacement matt black bezels for the 2″ instruments. I found the perfect match at Holdens and ordered 4 of them but when they arrived one of them had one of the fixing lugs missing so it had to be sent back. The first instrument to get the treatment was the fuel gauge and having taken the bezel and glass off it looked like the dial also needed a cleanup so I decided to strip the whole instrument since the case and terminals also needed freshening up.

I was quite surprised to find that this was a bi-metallic gauge but this explains the smooth movement. There were also a couple of mechanical adjustments that could be made (presumably for zero and range) but left these as they were since there wasn’t a problem originally and I don’t have any calibration equipment. Still, nice to know that they can be tweeked if there is a future problem.

With the return of the tub not that far off, I’ve been finishing off all the small jobs that will be best done before the tub goes back on the chassis. The prop shaft has gone back on with new UJ’s all round, the new handbrake switch has been fitted and the speedo and clutch cable have been attached at the gearbox and bell-housing ends respectively. The reverse gear switch has been fitted but seems to be sticking when the detent spring retainer is screwed fully home. Whilst trying to find the reason for this I took the top panels off the gearbox and immediately lost one of the selector detent springs inside the gearbox. Not wanting to contemplate a removal and strip of the gearbox I bought a number of different types of flexible magnetic probes and finally managed to dredge the spring from the bottom of the box – saved!
Another job best done before the tub goes back on the chassis will be to fit the heatshield material around the engine bay and transmission tunnel. The material chosen is a flexible composite containing Kevlar and coated in a reflective aluminium foil. This will need to be cut to shape and hemmed before gluing and riveting it in place. Making the templates up meant a trip to the bodyshop and several hours on my hands and knees trimming bits of brown paper to size. The original heatshield material was in tatters and couldn’t be used as a base. So getting the shapes right was more difficult that I thought since I had to try and get best coverage whilst still being able to cut and hem from the strip of material that I had. This may mean a trial run with cheap cloth to try out the cutting and hemming before actually cutting into the expensive heatshield material.

Plenty of activity this month but now waiting for the bodywork to be finished before the next leap forward is possible. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get the tub back before the bonnet is finished so that I can get it back on the chassis and carry on with the re-trim and wiring.

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