Well it took a long time but it was worth it! On August Bank Holiday Monday, I got a call from the bodyshop to say that the tub had been re-sprayed and could they deliver it back within the hour? After a few milliseconds thought and the cancellation of our trip onto Dartmoor I said “of course” (of course!).
They had been fitting the body prep around their normal schedule of accident repair work and had a full order book in August so, with a touch of conscience, they squeezed in the final coat over the holiday weekend so they could clear some space for their increasing insurance workload.
Seeing the tub in all its glory (rather than just the boot lid) was a final confirmation that the colour choice was perfect – hope you agree (it’s the grey one by the way).
These pictures are of the body straight out of the spray booth. Once it has fully cured and is mounted on the chassis, they will give it the final treatment to take out any blemishes and bring out the full finish. I guess it will be a while before that happens!
Before I could get the body back on the chassis, I needed to fit the heatshielding around the engine bay and transmission tunnel. To choose the material, I consulted the oracles on PH and finally decided on the material supplied by John Zubak (who advertises in the PH classifieds). Before cutting into the expensive material, I made some paper templates and was a bit concerned about fitting the material around some of the 3D curves but it turned out well. After getting the hems done by a friend with an industrial sewing machine and using Kevlar thread (cotton might burn at exhaust temperatures) the fitting was surprisingly easy. silicone high temperature adhesive was spread over the back of the material allowing it to be slid into position before drilling and riveting using large diameter head stainless steel rivets.
With the tub now ready to go back on the chassis, I decided to modify the “one-man-lift” method that I used to get it off a couple of years ago (!) by using a block and tackle rigged up to the roof beams in the garage. The idea was to lift the front end by the beam bolted to the front chassis mount holes. This would lift it high enough to be able to roll the chassis part way underneath. It was then fairly easy to lift the back end up by hand so that I could get a support table under the beam bolted to the rear chassis mount holes in the boot. By adding a few more bits of wood at the back, I was able to roll the chassis far enough back so that I could start to lower the front with the back supported initially by the support table and then by the rear chassis rail above the diff.
By changing the sling point to the bulkhead instead of the beam, I was able to remove the beam and continue to lower the front end onto the chassis. By just lowering the front with the hoist, I was able to get the correct angle to make sure the front footwell slid under the chassis rail and almost into the correct position. With the hoist then slack, I could lift the back end and push the body the rest of the way forward and then drop the back down all the way to the outriggers. A final few shoves got the bolt holes lining up with the minimum of fuss and she was starting to look like a car again . . .
The next major job would be the trimming and I had arranged with The Trim Technician at their Open Day last year that they would do the trim panels and seats and then come down to sunny Devon for a holiday and fit the panels along with the carpets. With the odd delay in getting to the stage with the body back on, a summer holiday for TTT gradually faded but we eventually agreed on a date in early October. In preparation for this I needed to get the wiring sorted, particularly the loom to the boot since this would go under the driver’s side sill carpet and the rear trim panel. After much deliberation on what wires to include, I made up the loom using the standard wire colours and bound them using non-adhesive PVC tape to make a neat looking loom.
The loom includes all the rear lighting requirements including fog lamp (in case I decide to convert a reversing lamp slot to a fog lamp) as well as the audio, aerial pilot, tank sender and an extra thick power and ground cable for a power take-off socket in the boot. The radio aerial cable was laid separately.
The trimming has now taken place and took a day and a half to complete although there are a couple of items that needed re-working so John has taken them back with him to finish off in the workshop and he’ll send them on to me early next week. I know you are all waiting for the pictures but I’ve gone on long enough for now so will continue early next week when I should be able to close the trimming chapter – do chapters ever close? Now there’s a novel concept!