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September 2004

The engine I had sent out for machining and balancing but I reassembled and blueprinted it.
It is pretty much standard (+20 oversize) and has twin HIF carbs and a 25D distributor.
The distributor was given to my mechanic to be rebuilt as the vacuum capsule on it was
dead. The starter motor I rebuilt myself and I had the alternator rebuilt by the local
auto electrician. I decided on an alloy rocker cover and slightly unusual colour scheme
of red painted oil pan and tappet chest covers. The red spark plug leads go very nicely
with this! I have also had the radiator rebuilt.

I rebuilt the twin SU HIF carbs and I have shifted the vacuum advance take off from the manifold
to the carb body which should be correct for the earlier 25D distributor. I had to drill the
port for the vac advance pickup which I did by carefully measuring an old HIF body with the port
already in it. One of the fuel inlet pipes was broken on a carb so I had to drill out the old
pipe and insert a new one. I gave up trying to find original heat shield material and in the
end fitted some modern folded steel heat shield. Apparently it is used as turbo shielding material
in modern cars.

Big job today. To get a UK style dash to fit a US car you have to modify the scuttle top (the bit on
top of the dash board and under the windscreen). The US cars had a greater amount of curve in them
(top left pic) while the UK cars had less of a curve and a flat face to bolt the crash pad to and
bolts on the underside to attach the steel dashboard to.

I obtained a early scuttle from a donor car only the one I got was from a GT not a roadster.
(top centre). That caused me a little more work since the roadster ones have captive nuts in the
middle of them to bolt the convertible windscreencentre rod too. I simply cut around the nuts
(top right) and cut the middle part from my new scuttle. I cut and welded in the new piece very
carefully to make sure it had the right curve to it in all directions. After tacking it in (bottom
left) I finished welding it and sanded it all down. It is not perfectly smoothed off (bottom
centre) but that is OK since the welds are hidden under a vinyl top piece.

I did a final trial fit of my new dashboard and steering column. This is a later collapsible column
but I have modified the switch gear. I cut off the window wiper stalk and have rotated the
indicator stalk so it is on the right instead of the left as in US cars. I had to sand the writing
of it so it wouldn't be upside down! I will make a custom cowling to cover it and the wiring from
fibreglass. I need to make sure anything I change won't interfere with the steering wheel
collapsing in an accident.

This is the wood rim Momo I bought on TradeMe for $NZ100. I had to also to buy a hub adaptor for it.
It is about an inch smaller than the standard horrible rubber wheel. I do need to open up the hole
the shaft fits into in the bottom of the boss just to allow it to sit far enough down the column
to properly engage the splines and allow the auto cancelling on the indicator stalk to work. I
will do this on a lathe soon.

Update: I machined a tiny amount from the centre of the hub and now it fits perfectly. Since the
new wheel sits slightly further out than the original I had to bend the indicator stalk a little to
get it within fingertip distance.

October 2004

This shows the little map light on the far left of the dashboard. The switch for it will be a two
position toggle switch in the centre of the dash. The first position will be for this light and
the second position I might use for the hazzard lights. There are four 2 position toggle switches.
The are for wipers, heater fan, map/hazzard lights and headlights. Everything will be run through
relays. I will also switch to a modern automotive blade type fuse box.

Also shown is one of the new tail lights
which are the earlier, curved style. Next to it is one of the original US spec ones with the
brake and indicator lights upside down from the UK spec ones.

I think of the map light as more of a leg light. It seems perfectly positioned for lighting up
the legs of mini-skirted female passengers!

Spent the weekend stripping the engine bay of paint. What an awful job. I used a combination of
chemical stripping and scraping, wire brushing and sandblasting. I got sand everywhere! I got
sand in places sand has no right being. It is generally back to bare steel now but there are
little bits of paint and what I think is the original etch primer in places I couldn't easily
reach. I shall spray inside the side cavities with tar type sound deadening stuff which seems
to be what was used originally. Possibly the same inside the heater box cavity which is impossible
to get into to clean properly. No rust there though which is good news. I need to rust treat all
the bare steel still since there is a little surface rust on it (and will be more by next weekend
I imagine). I will also try a little lead loading over the patches I welded in to hide the joins
and flatten things out nicely.

November 2004

I spent about 8 hours cutting out and replacing the steering bracket. The old one had been welded in
since there were no captive nuts to attach the bolts to on the right hand side of the car. The
welding was shocking. I cut out the old bracket with the angle grinder and cleaned up the
firewall. I welded in a new steering bracket I got from another car. I plug welded it and then
used sheet metal screws as well. I also remade the little bracket that holds the mounting to the
square tube that runs across the car. Cleaning up the firewall is an awful job since there was a
lot of the tar like stuff all over it. When you wire brush it it melts and flys about as little
specks that get everywhere.

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Copyright © 2004-2009 Simon Jansen