Current Status 

The big news is that the car was completed in  July 2023. It's hard to believe it's done, it only took 7 years!  The car has now had a few short runs, including its first big drive to Parramatta for the All Britich Display Day on the 17th September. 

In the picture All Classic Cars proprietor Tony Pallas observes while yours truly sits behind the wheel, ready to take the car on its first drive.

A huge thankyou to Tony, and Takis, and the rest of the team at All Classic Cars for all their hard work and advice. 

What's been happening this week?

22nd April 2024

Classic Jaguar Magazine (UK) heard about the restoration and were keen to feature the car in an upcoming edition. To that end my two sons and I spent a pleasant morning in December last year photographing the car on the spectacular Sea Cliff Bridge just south of Sydney. We wanted to show readers some of the awesome driving roads we have here in Australia. Hopefully we have managed to do that. The results have now been published in the April/May edition, and should be available in Australia very soon.         Click here for more pics

8th April 2024

The first problem I found once the car was on the road was that the fuel gauge was not working. It showed 'Full' all the time. I traced the issue to the fuel sender, which meant pulling the tank out of the car. Once out I removed the sender, and found one of the fine hair like wires inside was broken. I had nothing to lose so I attempted to solder another similar fine wire to the stub that was protruding from the coil. It was my lucky day! I managed to solder in the new wire and reconnect it to the outside terminal. A test with the multimeter indicates it's working correctly. I'm off to buy a lottery ticket!

18th September 2023

We had a beautiful calm sunny (hot) day in Sydney for the All British Day this year. The SP handled the heat perfectly on its first big drive since the restoration. The car looked right at home lined up with all the other SP's, and happened to win two awards, Best Example of an SP250, and Best Car after first appearance after restoration (in the picture yours truly with the car back home). 

More pictures from the day can be found on the SP250 Worldwide Facebook page.

4th September 2023

After a couple of shakedown runs the car's first outing was Cars and Coffee at St Ives Showground on Sunday the 3rd September. What a great morning, with dozens of interesting cars of all makes and models.

After that it was a long battle with Sydney traffic (it was Father's Day) across the harbour bridge to bring the car home. 

The next outing is the All British Day scheduled for Sunday, 19th September.

7th August 2023

This week we chased down the remaining water leak. With the system pressurised we could see that we had a slight leak coming from the back of the engine, which turned out to be the blanking plate at the back of the LH cylinder head. It was simply a loose top bolt, which was a quick and simple fix.

All that remains now is to check the wheel alignment and a couple of other minor jobs, then I'm free to bring the car home, which due to other commitments may not happen until early September.

31st July 2023

When we restored the chassis we boxed in the rear support members. We meant to rust-proof the entire chassis at that point but we didn't get around to it. This weekend we finally did. With the car up on the hoist we were able to get access to the main chassis rails, outriggers, and other key areas. It's good to have this done, and should see the chassis good for another 60 years. To that end as I am not fitting a front bumper I am going to make covers for the front of the chassis rails to stop water and road grime entering at the front.

24th July 2023

I refitted the modified heater pipes but did not get a chance to drive the car so I don't know if I've sorted the leaks as yet. I also refitted the speedo, which I had sent away to be serviced, as on the last test run the needle was getting stuck and wouldn't return to zero. It's good to have that sorted, along with the tacho and oil pressure gauge which I had done a fortnight ago. The plan from here is to do a couple more shakedown runs, and if all goes well I'll arrange to bring the car home so I can start getting the engine run in before the SP250 rally later this year.

17th July 2023

After a couple of test runs the main issue I'm dealing with at the moment is some minor weeping from the stainless steel heater pipes. I'm using period style wire hose clamps, which  I don't think work as well as modern ones.To help get a better seal I am going to scuff all the pipes, then build up a lip using JB Weld. Hopefuly this will work and I can keep using the wire clamps, otherwise I may have to swap them out for more modern ones. I did have this issue on the thermostat housing (pictured) and since making a lip for that the leak has stopped.

10th July 2023

The big news is the car is now back on the road, and it looks and sounds terrific. We had to deal with a few minor issues such as a sticking piston in one of the the carbies which caused a slight misfire, and a small water leak from a heater hose. All the gauges work, including the tacho that needed a minor repair, and the thermo fan appears to cut in at the right time. The car is now registered, but I want to get a few miles on it first before I tackle Sydney traffic and the harbour tunnel en route to bringing it home.

3rd July 2023

One of the last jobs to do on the car was to fit the intrior mirror. It was painted in 2-pack body colour and the glass was then glued into place. I used new stainless steel screws to attach it to the dash.

The focus now is to tune the car and deal with any other minor issues. I still need to rust-proof the chassis, which I hope to do next weekend. The tacho is not working for some reason, so I'll need to look into what's happening there.

26th June 2023

Again lots of small jobs were dealt with this week. The driver's door had a minor repair and paint near the door lock. I was then able to fit the door trim. After some minor tweaking the bootlid now shuts and locks, as does the bonnet. The new front number plate mount was fitted, as were the bonnet rubber buffers and rivets.

The interior mirror was painted, I just need to fit the glass and to screw it to the dashboard. I think we're almost there.

19th June 2023

Lots of little jobs were dealt with this week. The rubber buffers for the bonnet needed some careful alterations to get the bonnet to sit correctly. The bonnet pin needed a spacer made to get it to locate properly, and we made a front number plate mount in anticipation of fitting the number plates. 

While we still have a few small jobs remaining we're probably only a week or two away from getting the car on the road and giving it a bit of a shake-down.

12th June 2023

Ah! The joys of car restoration and fitting reproduction parts. My car was unfortunately missing the interior door handles and window winders. The good thing is that reproduction parts can still be purchased, and I am grateful for that. The challenge is that the quality is not always where it should be. Closer inspection of one of the door handles shows why I couldn't insert the locating pin. Both the horizontal and vertical axis (of all the handles and winders as it turned out) were crooked. A relatively easy fix to re-drill them, but still it was an unnecessary nuisance to deal with.

5th June 2023

One of the minor tasks I needed to attend to was a leaking heater matrix. I did test it before installing it in the car, but I obviously missed something.

I managed to pull it out of the car without scratching it or the car, find and repair (with help) a hairline fracture around the inlet pipe, and then put it back in the car, again with no scratches. I'm glad to have this job out of the way, the other remaining jobs really are minor compared to this.

29th May 2023

I managed to find some time to attend to a few small jobs on the SP and to make a start  on the door trims.

I had to fit the door check straps first, and then I glued a layer of plastic between the door trim and the door itself to ensure moisture does not get absorbed by the trim panel. I ran out of time unfortunately and only managed to get the passenger side done. I hope to find time during the week to make a start on the driver's door.

22nd May 2023

The focus this week was on fitting the hood, hood cover and tonneau cover. The hood put up a fight, but trimmer extraordinaire Tony Dixon did a superb job stretching and pulling to get it into the correct position.

Next was the hood cover, which turned out to be straightforward and looks fantastic (as per the photo) and then the tonneau cover, which also proved to be straightforward. The plan now is to leave the hood in the 'up' position for the next week to allow it to settle into the correct shape, while I hopefully find the time to fit the interior door trims.

15th May 2023

The big news for this week is that the exhaust has been fitted. The even bigger news is we started the car for the first time in 48 years!

It started easily (as all V8 Daimlers tend to do) and we ran it at varying engine speeds for 15 minutes or so to help the engine's bedding-in process. To cap it off the car moved under it's own power, with a brief drive around the workshop. <view here>

This is a huge milestone and would not have been possible without Tony and Takis Pallas and the team at All Classic Cars.

8th May 2023

This week I took the opportunity to make a last minute change before fitting the exhaust. I have converted the car to accept a modern  spin-on oil filter. This meant removing the canister / cartridge from the housing and fitting a small adaptor that accepts a spin-on filter. I really wanted to keep the original setup, but having to remove a hard-to-reach bolt mounted on the top of the housing every time I needed to change the oil was going to be a bit of a pain. So at the expense of originality and  for the sake of practicality, it was out with the old and in with the new.

30th April 2023

As mentioned a fortnight ago the trim is now complete. I've tried to keep the car as authentic as possible, which meant fitting the rubber bungs in the transmission tunnel which are a bit unsightly, and the ashtray which will never be used. I hope to fit the passenger seat  sometime this week and then to make a start on refitting the doors.

Work should start on the exhaust in about a fortnight, and hopefuly by then we will have  started work on fitting the new hood and toneau cover.

17th April 2023

It wasn't until we disassembled the hood for painting did we learn that the hood rail timber wasn't in the best condition. Although it was mostly ok, each end has suffered from dry rot. I could have possibly repaired the damage in a pinch, but to avoid any problems in the future I've decided to use a new hood rail timber instead.

The photo shows the old timber against the new, with the rot on the old one clearly visible. Now that we have the new timber we can finish reassembling the hood and get it fitted to the car.

10th April 2023

Tony Dixon has worked his magic again, this time with the carpet that covers the gearbox. He's made the cover fit perfectly, with the holes for the gear lever and ashtay in exactly the right spot. 

As with the rear seat Tony had to cut and restitch various sections to get it to fit correctly. These are the challenges that occur when using a trim kit as one size does not fit all. The floor carpets also had to be altered, and these have now also been fitted. 

3rd April 2023

It's not the best picture, but this is the hood frame being painted in the paint booth. It was cleaned and sandblasted, then painted in the colour found on the frame before painting, which appears to be original.

I'd probably describe it as a light khaki colour, but I'm sure it has a proper name designation. It looks like it's the same colour as used on E-Type Jaguars of the period. We're just waiting on a new timber hood rail before we do a trial fit on the car. We expect to get the hood rail in mid-late April.

27th March 2023

I'm back from a brief O/S work trip and the wait was worth it. Tony Dixon has done a stunning job on the trim. I am really excited by the results. Tony's a true craftsman, his workmanship is just amazing, as you can tell by looking at the photograph.

The focus for the coming week is to finish the carpet, which includes altering the A-Pillar carpets, covering the gearbox tunnel, fitting the gear lever and hand brake lever gaiters, and fitting the footwell and seat mats.

19th March 2023

I spent this week sorting out all the new trim items which have been stored for the past 18 months or so. I have all the trim materials, boards, and fittings so there should be no delay. It looks like a bit of a jumble but it's all there.

Tony Dixon the trimmer will start on Monday. I was hoping to be on hand to assist, but unfortunately due to work commitments I won't be there. That being said I would probably only get in his way. I'm looking forward to seeing the results.

13th March 2023

This week the hood was disassembled and the frame was sent away to be sand blasted ready for new paint. Before being sent away the frame was colour matched to the original, which appears to be a green / gray colour.

The only snag in this process is the timber rail at the front of the hood, which looks like it's going to need to be replaced. Hopefully I can source a ready made replacement, otherwise I'm going to have to dig deep with some carpentry skills.

6th March 2023

At last the big day has arrived! The car was loaded onto the trailer and safely transported to All Classic Cars in Brookvale. We can now start on the final tasks such as fitting the exhaust, hood, doors, boot, bonnet etc. I will also need some professional help with the interior trim.

The exhaust and trim need to come first, then we can start on the hood, hood bag and tonneau cover.

I am hopeful it won't take long now. We're on the home straight at last!

27th February 2023

As I'll be loading the car onto a trailer in the next week or two it was time to bleed the brakes. My son Liam was called in to help. It was a tedious job as the reservoir is so small, so Liam endured countless ups-and-downs into the air on the hoist as I worked underneath the car and then in the engine bay topping up the reservoir.

The pedal feels good, which gives me confidence we can stop the car when the time comes to push it on the trailer and not crash into anything.

20th February 2023

The car will soon be off to All Classic Cars to have the exhaust made and fitted. In preparation for that I put together all the exhaust mounting parts so that they are ready to fit to the car.

I had previously zinc plated the U-bolts and cleaned and painted the mounts in 2-pack black, so the assembly was a quick and easy job.

Naturally I am using all new rubber mounts sourced from David Manners in the UK.

19th November 2022

I have been so busy with other things I haven't looked at the car since mid-May. Even though it's been in the garage under a cover all this time, I've been concerned that with so much rain and dampness here in Sydney this year that all the polished aluminium and chrome would have suffered. To my relief the car was actually ok.

So, a small job to kick things off, I removed the steering wheel and fitted a retaining collar to the (Spitfire) steering column as there was no machined groove for a circlip like other Triumph columns. Once secured in place I refitted the steering column cover and the steering wheel. 

16th May 2022

I've been working on the transmission tunnel as well as the carpet on the A-Posts. The transmission tunnel is tricky, the challenge being to the hole cut in the carpet for the gear lever aperture without leaving a gap between it and the gear lever gaiter. I am debating whther to attempt to cut and fit this myself, or have a professional do it. I don't usually mind having a go, but if I get it wrong it means cutting and stiching a new tunnel cover. Decisions decisions.....

In the meantime I did some work on the door cards, attaching the door pockets, which have turned out well.

9th May 2022

This week I fitted the black hardura covers for the firewall on both the drivers side and passenger side. The drivers side was fairly simple, while the passenger side involved cutting a complex shape around the battery tray, and then running down to the footwell. Three or four hours later and it was done!

I also fitted and tested the heater controls, including the wiring for the fan switch, and the cables for the heater tap and air vent flap. A big thankyou to Ab Hennekes for supplying me the 'A' knob for the air vent flap.

2nd May 2022

A very sad and tragic start to the week. Long time Daimler enthusiast, classic car, motorcycle, and antique collector Warren Cole, passed away on Sunday May 1st.

A week has passed and the news has still not sunk in. Warren was the previous owner of my SP, and had owned the car for just over 30 years before selling it to me. I was looking forward to him seeing the car when it's finally finished. Sadly that will never happen. My thoughts are with his family and friends.

25th April 2022

This week I finished off the steering installation. This included fitting a new Moto Lita steering wheel, and installing a Lucas parts bin indicator and horn switch on the upper steering column.

I also made a shroud where the upper column meets the steering wheel, using 90mm plastic drain pipe cut to size, and covered in a black rexine which was used on Jaguar E-Type dash boards. It fits perfectly over the column and the lower lip of the steering wheel boss.

I also did a wheel alignment, but will have this professionally checked once the car is on the road.

28th March 2022

I fitted the uppper and lower steering column and all adjustments are now complete - I think! I've been messing about with the steering on and off for about a year now and I think I've arrived at the best solution that gives good clearance past the exhaust manifold, and optimum reach for the steering wheel.

I used a flange bearing on the firewall to locate the steering column, with the upper steering column from a Triumph Spitfire and the lower column from a Triumph 2000.

21st March 2022

This week I have been trial fitting the seats and adjusting the steering wheel position for optimum reach. As part of this process I am also making sure I have the sufficient clearance for the lower steering column shaft where it comes past the exhaust manifold. This is obtained by rotating the rack slightly on its mounts.

I've also started fitting the carpet, starting with the transmission tunnel. Getting th gear lever aperture right is going to be a challenge. I may end up getting it done by a professional if I think it's too risky as I only get one chance to cut the hole.

28th February 2022

Work and family committments have meant that little progress has been made on the car since early December. The only real progress since then is that Bryan Purves in the UK has completed the door pockets, which arrived earlier this week. I am hoping to get stuck into the car in the next few weeks, as I am keen to get it back on the road as soon as I can. It's only been 47 years, so a few more months won't matter too much. It just needs the rest of the interior installed, refit the doors, boot and bonnet, fit the hood, and fit a new exhaust.

19th December 2021

Christmas has come early this year! I picked up my seats from the trimmer on Christmas Eve, and they look fantastic. I had thought about fitting the covers and foams myself but in the end decided to have them done professionally. That decision has paid off as the result is amazing. 

Bryan Purves in the UK made the covers and supplied new seat foams, the fitting and assembly was done by a trimmer in Brookvale.

13th December 2021

Progress has been slow these past few weeks with work commitments taking priority, so at the moment I'm working on small bits and bobs such as the battery clamp and the heater controls. I hope to get back onto the trimming work early in the new year.

Having recently spent quite some time setting the front camber, the opposite picture shows the technique I used to quickly remove and replace the springs to relieve the tension on the lower wishbone, making it easier to add and remove the camber shims.

1st November 2021

I borrowed a camber gauge off Tony Pallas so I could set the front camber with a reasonable degree of accuracy. The first reading showed the car with approx 1.5 degrees positive camber. As I am converting to rack and pinion I want to set it to 0 degrees. 

I had to make quite a few shims of varying thicknesses, and it took several goes to get it right. Now that's done I'll do a wheel alignment, and once it's on the road I'll have have it all professionally checked to ensure the settings are where they should be. 

25th October 2021

Again lots of small jobs, one being to finish connecting the nylon fuel lines to the carbs in the engine bay. 

The old line between the carbs has a curve to clear the throttle return spring. The new nylon hose is very stiff and difficult to bend, so to replicate the curve I made a simple jig. This allowed me to gently heat and bend the nylon hose to shape, and then hold it in position while it cooled. I also used the heat gun on the hose ends before pressing them onto the brass fittings. The hose then shrinks slightly when it cools for a tight, leak free fit. 

18th October 2021

Mostly lots of small jobs this past week. The brakes and clutch need bleeding, so I started with the clutch. So far so good, the new lines I've made are not leaking. I need to do a spanner check on the brake lines and then I'll attempt bleeding them, probably next week.

I'm still working on the trim, trying to work out where everything goes. I'll be starting on the back seat, parcel tray and wheel arches next, which will be an interesting exercise I am sure. 

11th October 2021

A major milestone this week! I connected a battery and tested all the electrics which have been dormant for the last 45 years. So far everything appears to be working correctly - lights, indicators, gauges, heater, washer, wiper and horn. I won't know about the generator and regulator until I start the car. The wiring is essentially all new - I fitted a new loom from Autosparks (based in the UK) and made up any missing tails that I needed. I fitted in-line fuses to all major components as well as relays for the horn and radiator fan. I also took the opportunity to convert the car to negative earth.

4th October 2021

This week the focus has been on the dash facia. Covering this has proven very tricky. The leather happily stretches one way but not the other, making some of the curves and corners very tight. Using alcohol on the leather is helping to stretch it into shape before glueing.

A big thankyou to my wife Tracey for the days she has spent so far working on the dash and the crash rail. The attached photo is a trial fit, some tweaks are still needed around the speedo and tacho.

27th September 2021

In preparation for fitting the dash back into the car I decided to check the internals of the speedo and tacho to make sure all was in order. Normally I'd leave well enough alone, but it seemed prudent to at least take a look before they go back in the car.

Both appear to be in excellent condition. There was no rust or damage that I could see. I applied some lubrication to the gears and other moving parts and carefully reassembled them. A nerve wracking job that I am glad to have done.

20th September 2021

Happily the 2-pack paint solved the issue reported last week, and the padded roll top has now been recovered, thanks to my wife Tracey's skills and patience. The leather needed all sorts of pulling and stretching to get it to cover properly with no bumps or wrinkles.

As the car isn't perfectly symmetrical either (surprise!) we did a number of trial fittings to make sure it fitted as well as it could with no large gaps. We are now working the padded dash facia.

13th September 2021

I've been working on the dash again this week. I've fitted the new glovebox to the dash panel, so that's now ready to fit back in the car. I have also been working on the padded roll top. I ran into issues though when attempting to glue the rubber to the metal backing strip. The solvent in the glue reacted with the paint and would not bond. After trying 3 different types of paint I stripped it back to bare metal and had it painted in 2 pack. This should solve the problem, I hope to try again in the next few days.

6th September 2021

More work on the dash this week. Fitting the new glovebox lid took quite a while, as it needed to be perfectly aligned before drilling the holes for the hinges.

The new padded dash cover is almost ready for its leather covering. Before I do that though I need to cover the padded roll-top first, as I can then alter the front cover to match the profile of the padded roll top for a perfect fit.

30th August 2021

I've not had a lot of time to work on the car these past few weeks however I did find some time to restore these switches. The 'P' switch was connected to the loom via a white cable with a blue trace which ran to the front of the car. I assume it was for a driving or 'Pass light'.

The 'R' switch was connected to a green wire and a white wire with a green trace, which ran to the back of the car. This switch was for a 'fuel reserve'. While my fuel tank does not show evidence of this, it may not be the original tank or the reserve pickup has been swapped for a standard pickup.

26th July 2021

This week I installed the radiator fan and the control unit. As I have converted the car to rack and pinion steering the original engine driven fan no longer fits. I am using a 10" Craig Davies fan which is the biggest I can fit, in a 'downstream' configuration - ie behind the radiator.

The temperature probe is situated up high near the inlet pipe. You can see the control unit mounted to a bracket which on the bottom left of the picture. If for some reason a single fan can't cope with a Sydney summer I will install another 10" fan offset in the front.

19th July 2021

I managed to find some time to make up the spark plug leads. I could have easily bought new leads and connectors but I wanted to re-use the existing parts where possible as they are original. The only new components were new spark plug terminals, new 7mm silicone wire core lead, and acorn nut washers.

I spent a pleasant afternoon cleaning the old distributor acorn nuts and spark plug extensions, and then cutting and crimping the new leads and terminals. Another job out the way!

12th July 2021

Progress has been slow these past few weeks due to work commitments. I had to make a new bracket for the washer bottle to enable it to fit correctly in the engine bay. That's been done and it's now installed. I am yet to run the hose and the wiring.

I also got around to connecting the flexible fuel line feed. Previous repairs in the engine bay and a lack of detailed photos from existing cars meant I had to guess the location of the securing P-clamp. It may not be accurate, but it locates the line with minimal tension on the hose itself.

7th June 2021

Now that the upper column has been rebuilt it was time to trial fit it to the car. I am mounting the column to the original hoop mount point using the triumph bracket. The bearing and flange plates have been bolted to the firewall and appears to be working well - solid and smooth.

I am yet to decide on how I will do the indicators, but I am pretty sure at this stage I'll use the Triumph indicator switch which incorporates the horn.

31st May 2021

This week I stripped and rebuilt the upper steering column. The upper column is sourced from a Triumph Dolomite. It allows for adjustment as it has a sliding spline arrangement. I managed to source new bearings from the UK (which weren't cheap!) and it's all back together now.

I have also made a change to the mount on the firewall. I have dispensed with the polymer bush that's normally used and am using a bearing with flange plates to locate it instead. This should last much longer and have no play whatsoever.

24th May 2021

Some exciting news this week, was the arrival of my new steering wheel from Moto Lita in the UK. Initially I had been quoted 12 weeks until delivery due to Covid restrictions, however it has landed on more doorstep in just on 6 weeks. This will be useful in setting up the steering column position which I am still working on.

I am also still working on the dash facia and the glovebox lid. I hope to have these recovered within the next fortnight.

10th May 2021

Even though they only made 2,654 SP250s and it's been out of production for over 50 years most parts are still available, which I think is amazing! There are some parts though that are no longer available and are hard to find. Half the fun in restoring an old car is hunting down these rare parts. One of the remaining items still missing from my car was part of the rear number plate light. I still needed the glass, steel clip, and rubber grommet. It's only been in the last week that I have finally tracked them down. The housing was zinc plated as were the mounting bolts. The end result looks terrific. It's a shame it won't be seen as it's hidden by the bumper!

26th April 2021

Hooray! Both doors are finally finished! Unlike the passenger door the driver's door did not require any repairs. The only snag was a slightly bent window regulator arm, which kept hitting the internal door lock mechanism whenever the glass was raised or lowered. It was no trouble to straighten, and once sorted the rest of the door was done in no time.

I've discovered the best order to fit out the door is: check strap, door handle, door lock mechanism, glass channels, glass and regulator mechanism, door top trim.

19th April 2021

After repairing one of the door frame mounts and a lot of trial assembly and disassembly, I finally have the first door completed. As they were completely apart when I bought the car I had to work out the correct order to assemble everything. I also had to redrill the holes for the lock mechanism which had been inadvertently filled when the door was painted. I used bicycle tube rubber to affix the chrome frames to the glass, made new gaskets for the door handles, and used new felt in the window guides. The glass winds up and down very smoothly, so that's a good result. Now for the driver's door...

12th April 2021

This week I started preparing the doors and all their component parts for reassembly. This involved cleaning and painting any parts that weren't zinc plated, and lubricating the winder mechanisms and door lock mechanisms.

Starting with the passenger door, I reinstalled the chrome glass surround, then trial fitted the window channels and the glass. In doing this I have discovered that I will need to make some changes to an old fibreglass repair where one of the window channels mounts. Once done I will continue on with the trial assembly, and if all goes well I'll strip it all down and do the final assembly.

5th April 2021

I managed to spend 3 solid days over Easter working on the car. I fitted the radiator, hoses and thermostat. I fitted the mesh grille and indicators - which was easily half a day's work. I soda blasted the door winder and lock mechanisms ready to fit back to the doors. I also fitted the heater hoses, and spent another day on a myriad of smaller jobs too numerous to mention.

It seems like there's not a lot to show for all this effort, but every little job is getting the car closer to completion.

22nd March 2021

I mentioned to a club member I still needed to work out what steering column to use. He suggested using one from a Triumph Dolomite, and that Northern Auto Wreckers at Londonderry may have one. As luck would have it they did. You just need to bring your own tools and remove it yourself.

So that's where I spent a pleasant hour last Saturday afternoon wrestling with rusty bolts and splines! At home on the workbench I can see that it's actually in pretty good condition. I just need to replace the bearings, regrease the splined adjustable shaft and give it a coat of paint.

8th March 2021

What I thought would be a quick and simple job this week ended up taking longer than expected. While refitting the door strikers and silencers, I discovered that at some point in the past one of the screws had sheared off in the retaining plate inside the B pillar. I'd have to remove it first to work out if it could be fixed or if it would have to be replaced.

I managed to cut it out from behind without causing any damage (phew!), then fibreglass in a replacement. While I only lost a few hours, with little issues like these it's no wonder it's taking longer than I thought to finish the car!

1st March 2021

I'm keen to refit the dash into the car, but before doing so it's best to have the glovebox already attached. If not it's pretty difficult to get access once the dash is in place. The only problem was my original glovebox had fallen apart and the new replacement I'd recently purchased just didn't look right. I decided to make my own.

I used a sheet of aluminium cut and bent to shape. I riveted it together and lined the interior with black felt. It's light, strong and water resistant, and cost less than $30 to make  It's now ready to be attached to the back of the dash panel.

22nd February 2021

Having repaired the seat frames late last year the last remaining job was to rivet plywood strips to the seat shells. This gives a permeable surface for the seat covers to be stapled to. Most of the original plywood had disintegrated so new pieces had to be cut and bent to shape.

So over the course of several days this week I cut, wetted, steamed, bent, clamped, drilled and riveted the various strips into position. It was a surprisingly time consuming job. The frames, shells, new foams and covers are now at the trimmers ready to be put together.

15th February 2021

Most of the chrome has now been fitted to the car. The plenum chamber originally gave me cause for concern as the black lattice grill was faded and warped.

As mentioned back in October last year I managed to restore it to its correct shape by using a heat gun and compressing it between two pieces of timber. Once back in shape I then used some automotive cut and polish to resurrect its original lustre. The black mesh contrasts really well against the chrome surround. They're now back in the car and look terrific.

8th February 2021

Wherever possible I am reusing all the original parts. Sometimes the originals are beyond salvage, ether functionally (usually for safety reasons) or cosmetically. This turned out to be the case with the tail light surrounds.

The original cast alloy is of poor quality. The chrome people spent hours on repairs trying to get a suitable finish. They were just too far gone, so I've had to settle for a set of reproductions. Apart from missing the drain holes near the bottom screw, the fit and finish is excellent and are difficult to tell apart from the originals.

1st February 2021

Only a few small jobs completed this week, but I figure every little bit helps! I finished applying the heat shield material under the car to components like the starter motor, and the under floor areas not protected by the original heat shields.

I also spent some time cleaning up and installing the rear tail lights. The old lenses were unfortunately too far gone so I had to use new ones. I am yet to fit the chrome surrounds - more on that next week.

25th January 2021

I managed to find time to finish fitting the exhaust heat shields. Originally these had a block of asbestos sandwiched between the shield and the floor. In the interests of safety the asbestos has been disposed of.

Instead, I have used some anodised aluminium heat cloth which I've stuck to the bottom of the heat shield facing the exhaust. The shields were then refitted to the floor with spacers, allowing for a 15mm air gap. This should be just as effective as the original asbestos setup.

18th January 2021

Again quite a lot of time spent on the car but not a lot to show for it. I spent a day setting the camber, or at least getting it close to where it needs to be. I fitted the rear bumper, started on the tenax fasteners, and also made a start refitting the exhaust shields and some additional insulation.

Next up I need to finish the front grille, route and connect the wiring in the engine bay, and install the radiator and heater hoses.

11th January 2021

Quite a bit of progress this past week: I made new brakes lines for the servo and the clutch, which took the better part of a day due to the number of bends and trial fitting needed. Once complete I then connected and adjusted the pedals ready for bleeding.

I installed the heater, and trial fitted the radiator. I also repaired the transmission tunnel cover and painted it with heat reflective aluminium paint. It's now back in the car as well. Last but not least I refitted all the brake callipers and redid the shims.

4th January 2021

The 4th January was a special day - 60 years ago on this day car no. 102631 rolled off the production line. It would have been nice to have the car completed in time for its anniversary but unfortunately that was not to be.

Happily today though was a big step forward, I fitted the new wheels and tyres on to the car. I spent a bit of time trial fitting various sizes, and in the end settled for 195/65/15 Michelin tyres. These appeared to suit the car best. I did try 205/65/15 but they were just a little too wide.

Earlier blog posts can be found under the Restoration Gallery Blog 2020 Tab

To do list as at 25th April 2024 :

- get out and enjoy the car!

- the car is missing its tool kit - start tracking down the correct / missing tools

The goal was to complete the car before its 60th Birthday, which was the 4th January 2021. As with all car restorations life gets in the way. Although I have a few minor things to chase down the car was more or less completed and on the road in July 2023.

Work completed as at 25th April 2024 :

- chassis stripped, cleaned, strengthened, painted in 2-pack black

- engine rebuilt with new valves, springs, guides, bearings, cam followers etc as well as fitting new 9:1 pistons

- body, repaired and painted, ready for reassembly

- rear axle rebuilt with new bearings, seals and rotors, reinstalled in chassis

- rear springs cleaned and painted, bushes replaced, reinstalled in chassis

- front suspension cleaned, painted and reassembled, all parts replaced where necessary such as trunnions, bushes etc.

- brakes cleaned, zinc plated, reassembled with new pistons and seals

- carbies cleaned (vapour blasted), smaller components zinc plated, new spindle bushes, rebuilt with new service kits

- gearbox cleaned, component parts zinc plated, replaced front and rear seals

- clutch changed to diaphragm type, new old stock clutch plate, flywheel resurfaced, complete assembly balanced 

- rear suspension changed to telescopic (spax adjustable) dampers

- new front (spax adjustable) dampers

- dynamo serviced, cleaned and painted

- starter motor serviced, cleaned and painted, bench tested and installed

- wiper motor and wheel boxes stripped, cleaned and rebuilt

- fuel filter vapour blasted, cleaned and reassembled

- radiator re-cored and repainted

- prop shaft cleaned and painted with new uni joints

- exhaust manifolds cleaned and coated flat black

- inlet manifold, rocker covers and other major engine components vapour blasted

- fuel tank cleaned and painted and installed

- pedal box and pedals cleaned, painted, zinc plated and installed

- throttle linkages zinc plated and assembled

- instruments cleaned and ready for installation

- new old stock keys and key rings sourced to replace tired originals

- screen surround, grille, door frames, ash tray, glove box lock and boot lid lock have been re-chromed

- water pump vapour blasted and rebuilt with new impeller, bearing and replica SP250 pulley in aluminium

- engine, gearbox and driveshaft refitted to the chassis

- body refitted to the chassis

- screen has been installed

- wiper motor and mechanism has been installed

- pedal box, pedals and accelerator linkage installed

- fuel pump and new steel fuel line installed along with new hoses

- brake servo fitted

- air filters painted, new filter / gauze material

- original bolt-on hubs removed and replaced with new splined hubs 

- rear bumper has been re-chromed and refitted

- MWS wheels have been fitted along with new Michelin tyres

- heater rebuilt and has been refitted to the car

- brake lines have been made and connected to the brake servo

- clutch line has been made fitted

- seat bases stripped, cleaned, repaired and repainted

- transmission tunnel repaired, repainted and refitted

- Front and rear lights have been fitted

- Rear bumper and numberplate mount has been refitted

- exhaust shields have been refitted

- heater hoses and clamps have been fitted

- radiator hoses and header tank have been painted and fitted

- door fittings have been cleaned, plated, painted and reassembled

- fit new glovebox

- make and fit new glovebox lid

- fit fuel pump cover

- install distributor and time engine 10 degrees BTDC

- mount washer bottle, connect wiring and clear plastic water tubing

- mount solenoid and fit cables

- fit radiator, fan, and thermo switch

- finish routing the fuel line in the engine bay to the fuel filter

- repair and refit number plate light

- connect heater and brake light wiring

- mount dip switch and connect wiring

- make and connect new battery cables

- restore screen washer switch

- restore R and P switches (fuel reserve and pass light)

- make and install spark plug leads

- refit dash panel and instruments

- fit tenax fasteners

- connect horn and relay

- connect indicator switch - install / mount battery

- conduct electrical wiring test

- overhaul steering column and mount

- fit steering wheel

- wheel alignment and ride-height check

- connect fuel line to carbs, make and connect over-flow pipes

- finish routing servo vacuum line

- bleed brakes and clutch

- fit door side pockets

- fit heater controls

- fit rear parcel tray, seat and side trims

- clean and paint hood frame

- fit gearbox tunnel carpet, gear lever gaitor and ashtray

- fit A-Pillar carpets and floor mats

- fit front seats

- make and fit new stainless steel exhaust

- fit hood to frame and frame to car

- fit hood bag

- fit doors, boot and bonnet

- fit door hinge covers

- fit boot lock and striker

- change oil pressure gauge fitting

- fit B Pillar trim covers

- fit B-Pillar turn buckles

- fit bonnet striker pin

- fit bonnet rubber buffers

- make and fit front number plate mount

- fit driver's door trim

- paint interior mirror

- fit number plates

- fit interior mirror

- rustproof chassis

- fit screen pillar rubbers

- repair faulty fual sender

- check wheel alignment

- check headlight alignment