Today my GT left with its new owners. After 13 yrs of ownership I said goodbye. I once thought I would never sell the GT, and maybe I was foolish to have sold it, but I have replaced it with a 1995 MGF.
Wednesday, November 30
I took out the dash and gauges last night so that I could get at the centre support, which was fitted oddly. I tell you, this car's wiring harness was cut and spliced everywhere. I'm glad I have a replacement. It turned out the centre support was never bolted in at the top (no surprise). Out came the support and then the carpet over the gearbox tunnel and the cardboard gearbox tunnel itself. And there is sand everywhere in this car; even up in behind the dash.
I found when taking out the middle dash panel that both heater control knobs where broken; just sort of pushed on, and that the heater escutcheon has 3 of 4 mounting tabs broken and the spare that came with the car is cracked!
I only got two of the driveshaft's four bolts undone. I need to jack the rear tires off the dollys in order to turn the shaft to get to the other two but I'm leaving that for tonight. I did see a couple extra holes on the gearbox's mounting plate. What's the chances they are in the right place for the overdrive gearbox's mount?
Thursday, December 1
I made some headway last night. I removed the engine and transmission and put the car back up on axle stands. I have my stands close to their full height. I gave the car a couple shoves and it didn't move. I vacuumed the car and found lots of rust in the boot. I'll be patching this one up big time. There is fibreglass patches on the wheel wells on the inside and outside and the boot floor is covered in something. There is also metal and fibreglass patches in the wheel wells on the tire side. I hope I can patch these because I really don't want to buy new outer wheel wells; they're expensive.
I think I'll take out the body mounting bolts and lift the body off the frame a bit to make it easy to clean and then paint POR15 the top of the frame.
From looking at the bottom of the sill I can now see that they did not weld the sill together properly. The sill is not straight; it has a bit of a bow to it.
The lower A-post looks pretty good expect the bottom inch or so. I'm going to go by Obsolete and ask Carol or Jeff if I can trace the shape of the lower A-post panel so that I can weld on the bit I need rather than buy the whole panel. The '80 needed the panel replaced but I don't think this one does from the looks of things. But I'll know better once I get the fibreglass and tare patches off.
Tonight I started draining the Mk3's cooling system. It's radiator has a stop-cock on it so it makes it easy to drain. I was draining for a while and decided to jack up the rear end to get more coolant out. All of a sudden I start smelling gas. The line going to the fuel pump is spilling gas. I thought I had got the vast majority of the gas out of the tank from the last spill a couple weeks ago. Well this time I am going to make sure there is no more gas in the car by removing the gas tank.
I cut the rubber under the car at the back coming from the tank and drain as much as I can. I then clamp the line from inside the boot and unbolt and remove the tank. There still is some gas left in the tank so I drain even more into a container from top opening and leave the tank outside the garage to allow the last bit to evaporate. I also blow out the hard gas line from the pump back. This car is finally rid off gasoline.
I did find that the last bit of gas that I got out of the tank was rust-orange and did contain quite a bit a sediment, some of which looked like rust particles. Iâ€™ll have to inspect the tank further and possibly use a sealer on the tankâ€™s interior.
When removing the back interior panel to get at the filler clamp I removed the last of the pink insulation. Why would someone use pink insulation I really donâ€™t know. I did nothing but trap moisture, which is evident from the surface rust on the panels in the boot and the rust on the top of the gas tank.
I also removed the hood and frame from the car. The bar used the retain the hood the rear deck was bolted down using Â¼â€ coarse threaded bolts and nuts, rather than 5/16â€ fine threaded bolts and the captive nuts.
I am now sure that this is going to be the most difficult restoration that I have undertaken. There are so many DPO fixes such as:
â€¢ Coarse thread hardware used in place of correct fine thread hardware;
â€¢ Blue-crimp wire connectors throughout the wiring harness from front to back. Even under the driverâ€™s seat every wire in the harness has been spliced back together with blue crimp connectors;
â€¢ Button on dash for horn;
â€¢ Choke cable in the dash on the passenger side.
â€¢ Fibreglass in boot on wheel arches
I could go on and onâ€¦
Last fall my neighbour told me that he has a Spitfire in the mezzanine at his shop and that it has been sitting there for three years. After buying the car he decided that the car wasnâ€™t for him (too small) and that it also needed a lot of body work to make it safe to drive.
Just before Christmas my neighbour tells me that the car is mine if I want it. Being just a little bit smart a say that I have to see the car first. So he takes me to his shop and there is this Spitfire sitting up in the Mezzanine covered in a tarp. Itâ€™s pretty hard to see the sharp of the car, but I do feel around and find the floors and sills need replacing. But the bonnet is in excellent condition and so are the rear fenders, boot lid and floor. The car is complete so I say â€œsure, Iâ€™ll take itâ€.
So one night my neighbour comes by and announces that the car is out of the mezzanine and they also got it running, on three year old gas none the less.
Well, this past weekend we pushed the car onto my newly acquired tow dolly and bring her home. Now itâ€™s time to really see what I have got myself into.
The car does need new floors and sills, but the A and B-post both look to be in good shape; the door gaps are fine. Surprisingly the outer sills seem okay; maybe they were replaced once before? The boot lids seems to have a bit of wow to it; it doesnâ€™t sit quite right in the front corner. The rear fenders seem okay. There is a hole in the boot floor but that will be easy to fix. The bonnet is in very good condition, but people have been opening it using the handles; another easy fix.
The interior is essentially all there, aside from carpet. Both seats reclining mechanism need fixing and both need new foams and covers. The soft top is original and fits well. There is a tear near the rear window and the rear window is yellowed. We may be able to save the top. The dash has tow new additions: a choke over on the passenger side and a horn button. Also, the ignition has been bypassed, probably due to the broken key in the original ignition.
On my other two LBCs; 73 MGBGT and 80 Spitfire; I have been fortunate that the wiring system has not been played with. This time I am not so lucky. There are new wires running to the head light, the previously mentioned ignition, and for some reason someone has been putting the positive cable of the battery to ground. By the time the Mk3s hit the market Triumph has switched to negative ground. This is an easy fix; just repolarise the battery. Once I have this complete Iâ€™m going to try starting the car and take it for a spin before it disappears into the garage for a few years.
Aside from putting the door panels back on and a trim piece that needs repainting, I finished reassembling the car this past weekend! The only thing that I am unhappy with is that the is a gap at the bottom of both doors; the bottom of the door is out away from the sill, but other than that and a bit of orange peel, I am happy with the finished product.
This project did take me longer than I first thought it would take, but I guess six months to restore the body and interior of the car isnâ€™t that bad when I stop and think about it.
Noticed Wednesday that there were spots at the nose of the bonnet where I had got no paint on the metal so last night I mixed up a bit of paint and hardener (no reducer) and grabbed a brush and went at it. Looks pretty good too. Given that it is in an area you can't see, and obviously I couldn't get with the spray gun, the brush worked fantastic. The area is in back of the headlamps.
Also got the bumper painted and back.
This morning, out with the garbage, went the old panels and carpet. So far during the rebuild I have also tossed out two floors, sills, and one rear fender.