Driving a 1954 Austin-Healey 100/4 from Peking to Paris in the June 2019 ERA Rally.

Sunday, 30 December 2018

0076 We DO get going again !

Sunday 30th December 2018
Almost 4 months with no running......but lots of activity !

154 days till the start
But only 90 until the car is shipped out !

Gidget ready for a drive after 4 months
Well, I finally got Gidget to the stage where I could take her out for a drive - The first time since we got back from Alice Springs in August and took her up to Peter Janetzki to get the roll bar fitted.  We had to remove the fuel tanks for that, and since then have been doing many items that prevented us from running the car - Replacing fuel pumps, moving fuel pumps, resealing fuel tanks, fitting seats, and fitting a new electric water pump and radiator fan.  With these and a number of other items completed, and after a tiny break over Christmas, I was finally ready to start Gidget up.  But it turned out that she wasn't quite ready !!

Sunday, 16 December 2018

0075 We almost get running again !

16th December 2018
More GPS training, and lots of work on Gidget

167 days to go !
(But only 100 till we ship the car !!)

Sample of our Tulip route book
Since our last entry, a LOT has been happening. Last weekend there was no time to post because I was down in Sydney with Ashton - I drove down in my Toyota towing Ashton's empty trailer down because (hopefully) I won't be needing it any more.  There was also another training and information session by ERA (P2P Organisers) that was similar to the UK session, but since there were only about 13 (Aus & Kiwi) teams there (instead of the 100 odd teams in the UK), it was a much more relaxed and easier to get the information we needed.  For once I was able to navigate and work with the Garmin, while Ashton drove in his Mini, so I was able to re-inforce all the things I had learned in the UK, and ended up the weekend much more confident in handling the Waypoints and other intricacies of the Garmin.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

0074 Fitting the new parts - Still !

Getting home and getting to work again !
3rd December 2018

181 DAYS TO GO !   
(But only 104 for the car !!  😟 )

Its a long way from London !

I came home from the UK on the new(ish) non stop London to Perth flight - That is a L-O-N-G 16 hours of sitting on a plane !  Then of course there is the time before the flight, plus the time in Perth airport and another 4 hours to Brisbane, so the total is a good 24 hours or more.  I just switch off, so don't mind it, and this time watched lots of movies, so time went quite quickly.  And I needed to relax because on my arrival back home I knew it was going to be straight back to work in the garage !  No time for jet lag !

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

0073 How to navigate across the Gobi Desert

20th November 2019
In England to learn some new skills

194 days to go !!

Gathering for the briefing in UK
The Endurance Rally Association (ERA) was holding its P2P Briefing at the Gaydon British Motor Museum. With less than 200 days until the flag drops at the Great Wall of China, almost 100 crews made the journey to Warwickshire, to meet their fellow competitors and the organising team, and to learn more about the event which is now fast approaching.  It may seem a little ridiculous to come all the way to UK for such a briefing, but with the not inconsiderable investment we have already made in terms of both money and time over the last 2 years, it would be churlish not to spend a little more of both in order to ensure we give ourselves the best opportunity for success. And since I had some urgent Healey parts which I could pick up in the UK, I came, leaving Ashton to hold the fort in Australia.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

0072 The radiator comes out

9th November 2018
A big change of plan for the cooling

205 days to go !

Side brace in boot
Started off the week by trying to work out a better and more stable way of packing stuff in the boot.  Our first efforts while we were out in Alice Springs were a miserable failure - Within only a few miles of bumpy roads the bags and boxes in the boot had escaped from their tie-down straps and were all over the boot.  A major rethink was in order !  One big advantage we now have is that there are main roll bar braces running down either side of the boot, not only providing a very solid limit to prevent movement of the items in the boot from side to side, but also providing a mounting point for brackets that can better hold down the contents of the boot.  With these ideas rolling around in my head, I looked at the optimal ways to implement them.

Monday, 29 October 2018

0071 Looking for holes

29th October 2018
We look for holes and do 1001 seemingly small things.

Fuel tank removed
After spending one day working on the door trim, it was time to move on to one of the more important issues - The boot, and the mystery of "Where did all that dust come from ?".  You will remember that every day in Alice we had a boot full of dust.  Initially we thought it was coming in past the rubber boot seals,
And the source of the dust found !
but we sealed the boot lid with gaffer tape one day, and it still filled up. Another day we sealed up all the body panel joins inside the boot - But that didn't work either. Then, last week, Brett had found big gaps around the chassis extensions where they pass through the floor of the boot - Today was the day to dig deeper.  To do this I had to remove the fuel tank, and to do that, I had to empty out all the fuel - It was full to the brim !  And to suitably access the underneath of the chassis in order to find the holes, I needed to remove the rear skid plate.  It was going to be a busy day.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

0070 Gidget comes home

14th October 2018
After a long month, the roll bar is finally installed.

231 DAYS TO GO ! 

Picking up Gidget from JH Restoration
The roll bar was finally completed this week, but we were faced with a week of heavy rain, so I was going to have to time my pick up carefully !  Due to the impending rain, JH Restorations wanted to get some extra space so they could get all their cars inside easily, and since the new seat bases weren't quite ready, I decided to pick up the car on the trailer rather than rush getting the seats in, or even putting the old seats back in again temporarily.  It is quite a job to get the undertrays off, and we want to weld the seat bolts in place this time so they are easier to get in and out, so it is better to take some time and do it properly.

Monday, 8 October 2018

0069 Roll bar, windscreen and more dust

9th October 2018
Slow but steady progress

Hydraulic jack in boot
The final completion of the roll bar is proving a little troublesome - Every time some welding is done on it, one of the four mounting points moves very slightly with the heat, and it then needs to be straightened again.   When I got to JH Restorations one evening this week, there was a hydraulic jack in the boot spreading the rear mounts slightly, and Brett had a chain hoist on the roll bar itself, pulling the legs in by about 2 mm.  It is almost there, but is very fiddly.  If the bar was
Roll bar sitting in position
just welded permanently in place, it would be easy, but making it removable means everything must line up with absolute precision otherwise it will not be, well, removable. And the fit of the sleeves into the 4 pipes cannot be loose otherwise they would rattle around in there. The final problem is that because the car itself is not quite perfectly symmetrical inside, the mounting brackets for each side need to
be shaped independently.

Sunday, 30 September 2018

0068 Roll bar, seats, and lots more

30th September 2018
We keep working while the roll bar takes shape

245 days to go !

Roll bar painted
At the moment progress on Gidget is a bit like watching a duck swim in a fast flowing stream - On the surface there doesn't appear to be much movement, but under the water the legs are paddling like crazy in order to keep moving forwards.   The car is still up at J&H Restorations at Yatala while the complicated roll bar continues to take shape.  The main technical difficulty is that each of the 4 vertical mountings for the roll bar base have to be exactly vertical so that the whole unit can be removed easily - One slightly crooked mounting and it would be difficult to remove. But now that has been done sccessfully, we are nearly finished.
In the meantime I continue to work on other items for which I do not need the car.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

0067 The roll bar takes shape

23rd September 2018
Roll bar, seats, and even more red dust !

253 days to go !!

Roll bar almost complete
Ever since we got back from Alice Springs 3 weeks ago Gidget has been
And seat almost there too
up at J&H Restorations to design and fabricate a roll bar. All the original design phase using plastic pipes, and options for changing the soft top mounting method were detailed in my last post - As were the initial plans to use some MGF Trophy 160 seats in place of the retro seats we have currently.  The time required to design one-off items like this is always a lot longer than can ever be imagined if you have never been involved in car restoration, but I am pleased to confirm that we are nearly there !  We almost have a roll bar and we almost have seats !!

Sunday, 9 September 2018

0066 Work starts again

9th Sept 2018
Seats, roll bar, and dust

"New" seat vs current seat (r)
Back from Alice, I hardly had time to unload the car off the trailer, and unload all the "stuff" from Troopie, and it was time to head off again in Gidget - This time to Peter & Brett Janetzki's JH Restorations in Yatala.  The only major work required on Gidget (that we know of so far !!) is the fitting of a roll bar.  A roll bar is "recommended" (but not compulsory) for the P2P, but after our experiences in the deep sand around Alice last week, we realised how quickly things can go horribly wrong if a big rock or a deep rut is hidden in the soft sand, we decided a roll bar was a "good idea".  However Ashton has some requirements - He wants it removable, and he wants, if possible, to be able to use the current roof over the top of it.  So it was off to JH Restorations to discuss further our ideas - We had already discussed it with them when Ashton was over here some weeks ago, so it was just a matter of fleshing out the ideas and turning them into reality.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

0065 Alice to Queensland

29th August 2018
A long way home - 6820 kms round trip.

1st & last pub in NT
Coober Pedy diggings
I finally got away from the Alice early on Sunday afternoon, and managed to get down towards Coober Pedy before sunset, passing lots of road kill, and seeing several eagles which only took off just before I arrived at the scene.  I stopped beside the road for the night, and continued into Coober Pedy the next morning where I refuelled and got some coffee.   Coober Pedy never ceases to
make me smile, with its seemingly endless mounds of dirt from the diggings piled up everywhere - It always makes me think of Hobbits !! From Coober Pedy I headed on south, and before sunset I had got through Port Augusta and turned east towards Broken Hill. I have never seen so many kangaroos beside the road, both dead and alive.  They were just lined up along the side of the road for kilometre after kilometre, and I stopped fairly early because it was just getting too dangerous.

0064 Days 5 & 6 of Classic Outback Trial

25th August
More days in the dirt !

Regularity stage in the sand
Our competitive results over the last couple of
Red dust everywhere
days of the Classic Outback Trial were not so brilliant, but Gidget continued to perform faultlessly, and since this was the major purpose of this shakedown, we ended up very happy overall.   We actually got too clever and instead of just following the provided time sheets precisely all the way through, ended up compounding our errors and as a result being late (or early) all the way through.  Lesson learned however, but since they do not have "Regularity" stages on the Peking to Paris, we do not have to worry unduly
about it !  In the meantime, we visited some stunning parts of the Northern Territory, and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with all the other competitors.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

0063 Days 3 & 4 of Classic Outback Trial

21st August 2018
We are still playing in the dirt !

I will write more tomorrow but just wanted to get the photo link up.  End of day 4 and we are up to 2nd place overall !!   Woohoo.

But boy, do we get dusty without a roof on !!

Come back for the story tomorrow.

Photos of the action :-  https://photos.app.goo.gl/B8zR7iQyuUgyZjSb8

Sunday, 19 August 2018

0062 Days 1 & 2 of Classic Outback Trial

19th August 2018
We do it in the dirt !!

Gidget goes bush !
Well, Gidget has finally had a chance to show off in the dirt, and she has acquitted herself really well.  Handles well, goes well, stops well (yes, really !), but she does have one major weakness - Sand gets in EVERYWHERE, to the point where we have had to use a friends garden blower to blow at least some of the sand out of the car (and off us !) at the end of the day.  Unfortunately I will have to get back later for a longer description of all the action as I have to do all my average speed tables for tomorrow's events, but I will just give you the link to the photos of the first 2 days so you can vicariously enjoy our fun.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

0061 3500 kms across Australia

Thursday 16th August 2018
It's a BIG country !!

291 DAYS TO GO !!

Drooping the trailer off at Barry's
On Thursday 9th August I hitched up Barry's empty trailer and headed out of the GC by 7 am, travelling south down the coast road to Sydney.  Barry has just moved to Sydney so I was just deliverying his trailer down to his new home in Sydney.  The plan was to overnight half way down and then run into Sydney for Friday morning, but the traffic was remarkably light and the roadworks were few, and by about noon I realised I was going to make it easily in one day.  So I dropped Barry's trailer off at his house in Tennyson Point, and made it to Ashton's before the traffic got too bad, and we then all met up at a local pub for a beer and a feed.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

0060 Getting ready for Alice

5th August 2018
Preparing for the first big test !

Ashton has already detailed all the good work Garth has been doing down in Sydney, so now all we have to do is get Gidget safely to Alice, and make sure we do our bit of keeping her on the straight and narrow during the COT Rally in and around Alice !  Gidget's ready, but are we ? 😉   Time will tell !
Stay tuned and we will try to get some of the action posted on here as it happens.   Meantime,  I have been dealing with a seemingly never ending stream of things which just seem to appear out of nowhere ! Storage, tools, cup holders, first aid requirements, paperwork, hotel reservations, accomodation in Paris, dinner suits for Paris - Where does all this stuff come from ?

Saturday, 28 July 2018

0059 Gidget gets fettled

Since Giles has dropped Gidget off with me in Sydney, I have to pick up the running on the blog :)

Following our initial run with the ERCA folks to Wollombi a couple of weeks ago, Gidget went to Garth at Repairs and Restorations, for a bit of fettling as follows; Garth's last involvement in Gidget's build was to refurbish the diff, so he was excited to see her so well progressed, and got stuck into the job list with great enthusiasm:
1/. Hopefully we've now sorted out the brake issue - the drums were not completely true, resulting in them rubbing, resulting in them heating up, expanding the small pocket of air which we couldn't get out of the front brakes because the routing is a daft up-and-over design between the two slaves on each drum, and then them binding on; so he's deglazed and trued up the drums, replumbed the slaves so the air pocket can't form, and had the front and rear shoes all refaced with new material as all had suffered from the overheating; he's managed to get decent pedal feel and they appear at this stage not to be showing signs of binding on.....touch wood....
 Before and after (watch the rim)
Front brake drum on the lathe for deglazing and truing

The same brake drum after machining
2/. Run the car up on the dyno to work out why she was pinking and over-running (dieseling) - turns out she was 25 degrees too retarded, had plugs that were too hot and too long, and was running two needle sizes too lean (albeit these previous settings were the ones the manual recommends - which goes to show you should never trust what you read :)) - before sorting the problems, she was putting out 85HP at the rear wheels (which I thought was pretty good for a 60 year old engine design); afterwards she's up to 97.5HP, and that's tuned for and running on 91RON fuel in preparation for the poor quality fuel we will probably encounter in Mongolia; as you will see from the chart below, the air fuel ratio was dangerously high at 15:1, and now is a more manageable (and less detonation-likely) 12.5:1. It does mean she's a bit rich at tickover, but based on yesterday's run, once she clears her throat, all is well!
Dyno before:

3/. Next Garth gave the doors a bit of biffo and they now shut straight and true; now I just have to find some rubber to seal the air gaps remaining....

4/. We agreed that fitting a high torque starter to replace the (albeit refurbished) Lucas number that was in there is probably good insurance - on the basis that we will be starting her from stone (often freezing) cold every morning, I want to minimise the draw from the starter to allow the sparks to do their thing
5/. And finally replaced the speedo cable so it should now work, even if our choice of tyres means the speedo is willfully inaccurate :)
Garth dropped her off yesterday morning, with the parting comment that I needed to run her up to full temperature, and try to work out a way of getting heat into the engine. This is not a problem I had expected to encounter, given all we have read about Healey engines running hot more generally. So I took her out for a run over to Bondi, as I had to pick up the intercom that we'll be using for the COTT out at Alice Springs in a couple of weeks from there anyway; and sure enough, even sitting for over an hour in slow and stationary traffic in inner-Sydney, the water temperature refused to go above 175 F, and the oil temperature didn't budge off the stop at 40 C. I was actually starting to think the oil gauge was faulty - given we bought it new from one of the UK suppliers, and our experience in some of the quality control standards from these guys has been less than perfect, I am still holding out hope that it is working, and that the problem is we are simply not getting enough heat into the engine. This was noticeable before Garth had a go at the tuning, but as he has put cooler shorter plugs in as well, the issue is even more pronounced.
Otherwise the run yesterday went really well, and the brakes not only have excellent feel, and certainly stop Gidget very effectively, but also showed no sign of binding, which is great news.
So today, apart from refitting the bash plate covering the pedal box (which we have left off to allow the brake issue to be fixed), I also have to fashion a temporary solution for a radiator cover. Who would have thought it, in Australia?! Then give her a wash a buff up, and she'll be ready to go on the trailer on Friday when Giles turns up to pick her up and set off for the middle of nowhere.....

Sunday, 15 July 2018

0058 No car, but still lots to do

15th July 2018
Building boxes, sorting spares, and checking brakes

319 days to go !

Gidget may be safely ensconced in Ashton's garage down in Sydney, so my garage is remarkably empty - but it is amazing how much there is to do.  Sorting out spare parts. working out what to take to Sydney, and making storage boxes after our first major run last weekend showed up our critical storage shortages.  This project does not stop just because the car is elsewhere - Especially since we are now down to just 319 days to go.   I get the feeling that we are going to need every single one of those days !

Sunday, 8 July 2018

0057 Gidget does it in the dirt

8th July 2018
We get to Sydney and Gidget goes bush......

326 days to go.....

Jack in the axle stand base

I took the car out to Classic Car Clinic so Steve could change the oils and do a final once over of the car before I head to Sydney, and in the meantime did some final work with Andrew.  One of the items with Andrew was to amend the ex-Mercedes jack that we are using in order to give it a more stable base - And his brilliant idea was to make it fit into the base of the jack stand we are using, which of course would mean the jack stand base would be performing two jobs !   As usual his work was excellent and the jack now fits suggly into the base.   Ready for use.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

0056 This car is a hoot !!!

1st July 2018
The more I drive her, the more I enjoy it !

Gidget is an absolute hoot to drive - I am stunned by just what an easy car it is to enjoy.  The steering is light, the (Toyota) gearbox is a delight, the exhaust note is muted but declares its presence with a few revs on board, and she has so much torque that you just plant your right foot and she goes !!   On the downside, there still isn't mushroom inside, and when the roof is up, it is positively claustrophobic and neck-spasm inducing.  So I am getting the feeling that barring absolute downpours, most of Gidget's future will be open top driving, with clothing worn by the occupants to suit the prevailing weather conditions !   So with this in mind, I have pulled out all my Arctic trip thermals and other clothing, and made sure they all still fitted and didn't have too many moth holes in them.  Result, all present and ready for minus 2 deg C in Alice next month !!  And my new fur lined leather flying helmet is superb.  Game on !!!!   But first I need to get the car to Sydney so Ashton can have a play with it - After all, he is the driver !!

Saturday, 23 June 2018

0055 We go for a drive....

24th June 2018
Finishing touches and a drive in the countryside

341 days to go

New gearbox lid gaskets

Steve takes Dave for a spin
By 10 am on the Monday morning, the gearbox gasket arrived by courier from Sydney - Plus a spare one in case someone else ever does the bolts up too tight !  I took it straight down to Classic Car, and Steve got it in correctly, and we re-installed the transmission tunnel, carpeting and switch box, so we had a car again.  Steve took it for a drive, and Dave Godwin, the business owner went for a passenger drive, and everything was working fine.  And no puddles of oil on the floor when they returned  😀
After checking over a few final items, Steve drove the car to my house and I brought him back to work - Time for me to go to work and make up for some of the time lost over the weekend.

Friday, 15 June 2018

0054 Big problems, but big progress

14th June 2018
A week in which we take 3 steps backwards, but 7 steps forwards, and finally another step backwards. 
 351 days to go

Broken windscreen pin
The last week or so has been hectic - Or perhaps I should say "more hectic than usual" ?   I had lent my 4WD Troopcarrier camper to some Welsh friends who have spent the last 75 days driving round Australia, and they arrived back with us last week.  While I am sure they would
have liked a rest, I
put Bernard to work in the garage with me, so he had a busy last few days in Australia !
Old vs broken vs new
First of all I was dealing with the windscreen, and in trying to just snug up one of the windscreen pins so it would never come undone again, it sheared off, leaving half the thread in the hole !!  Couldn't believe it - Just when everything on the windscreen was finished, I had to go and get someone to help me remove the stub as my eazyouts wouldn't get it.  Looking at the pins I have, the new ones (which is what broke) have a really narrow neck, which must be made out of cheesium or similar, as it is very soft.  The original ones which we had replaced have a much shorter thread section, and no "neck" made out of cheesium - Seems like the old style is better !

Sunday, 3 June 2018

0053 Trying to get everything finished.....

3rd June 2018
On the road again.........!                                364 days to go

Ashton enjoying Gidget

The week started off with me still trying to do 101 things in preparation for Ashton coming up for a visit at the weekend - Given the size of his smile when he got to drive Gidget last time he was here, despite her then only being "half dressed", I knew he would expect nothng less than a longer drive this time, with all her clothes on !  So the pressure was on !

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

0052 I think we need a mirror !

29th May 2018
In which Gidget gets a shiny bottom !

Front skidplate prior to fitting

This is a short post (sighs of relief from all !) but I just felt that I HAD to show off Gidget's shiny new bottom !  She has been up at JH Classic Restorations for the past week where Peter, Brett and their staff have worked their magic, making a shiny alloy skid plate that stretches from the very front of the car to the back.  If we can build up enough speed, I reckon we will be able to go surfing across the sand dunes of the Gobi !  And I am thinking that we need to get a big mirror to put under the car to show off this shiny piece of art - It is just too good to hide it away underneath the car where no one can see it !!

Friday, 25 May 2018

0051 Putting the front bodywork on, and more

21st May 2018.
Nice rear bumper in addition to the front bodywork !

Mock up of rear bumper assembly
Right from the beginning, when I found out that the rear bumper weighed 3.2 kg, while a single leaf of a spring only weighs 2 kg, I have planned to use a main spring leaf in place of bumpers for bodywork protection, while also providing us with a spare spring leaf in case of any breakage on the car.  (I was advised early on that when a leaf spring breaks, it is usually the long main leaf that breaks, so one (hopefully) only needs to carry that single leaf to have a spare.)  So once I had found a way to attach the original
Mock up complete

bumper hangers to the new chassis mount points, I just had to find out how best to attach a spring.  A bit of tape was good for the mock-up, while in the centre of the spring I tried to find a way to attach the rear number plate and light.  I also started to look for ways to attach the new little rear indicators.  Once I determined that a small bracket welded on to the bumper hanger was the way to go, and had made a template, it was off to Andrew's work shop for some welding.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

0050 In which we go for a burn up.....

13th May 2018
Ashton comes for a visit and goes for a drive !

Front ducting complete

Started off by getting the front ducting completed.  With brackets to support the side-scoops for the carbs on the left and the cabin fresh air intake on the right, and pinch weld on all the exposed edges, not only was the whole structure a lot more rigid, but also any sharp edges were covered and it looked a lot more "complete".   Very pleased with how it has turned out.

Monday, 7 May 2018

0049 In which Gidget goes to get measured for her skid plate

7th May 2018
And lots of other lesser things are addressed - Will it ever end ?

Rear of skid plate
Skid plate from the front
I was away in Perth for a week, and on my return I dropped in to
see Peter Janetzki at JH Classic Restoration in Yatala, half way between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.  Gidget was up on the hoist and the mock up skid-plate had been designed and taped onto the car in cardboard.  Now it was basically finalized, and with our agreement on a few minor points. the mock up was sent off to be laser-cut the following week.

Friday, 20 April 2018

0048 - The dramas continue !

Time to install radiator, fan, and lots more
14th April 2018

Pax door in place
The troublesome latch
After the excitement of starting the engine for the first time, Steve then had to leave, with the plan to return next Monday to get everything finished (carbs tuned, and the engine run up to hot, and a test drive) once I have installed radiator, fan, and a number of other items - Including charging the battery fully !!  Andrew started work on the doors.  First we had to fit them in place - Albeit temporarily as they have to be removed again before we fit the front wings.  While one person can remove a door, you need 2 people to put them on - Holding the heavy doors at the correct angle is a full time task while the other person gets the hinge screws started. Once the doors were on, we basically spent the next 3-4 hours trying to get them to latch properly.  Every test shut needed all parts to be fitted, and then any adjustments required filing all the holes to suit, so each adjustment takes about half an hour.  By 6 pm it was starting to get dark and we had been going non stop for 12 hours, so even though the doors are still only shutting onto the first latch, we called it a day.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

0047 The engine starts !!

Tuesday 10th April
Its been a long time coming, but we finally get there !
Steve working on the engine

Work on the many small items on the car has been so slow that I haven't had a lot to take photos of or to blog about, and was originally going to include the engine start up in that last post.  But then I realised that this is such a momentous occasion in both Gidget's rebuild and also our overall preparation for the Peking to Paris that it really should have its own space - So here it is !  And true to form, if you think the start was just a matter of turning the key, then think again - As usual with Gidget, it involved drama after drama !

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

0046 The boot won't lock !

6th April 2017
Nothing else wants to fit either !

Fitting rubber seal around boot
As you have all seen, we are so close to having a complete car again, and that is why this past week has been so frustrating !  Nothing seems to fit right, and parts which seemed to fit previously now are having to be removed because as we fit additional parts, they no longer fit !!  Aaargh ! This is such a frustrating business ! As you know, I worked on the boot lid last week, and after 3 days eventually got it to where it would more or less close.   Having chosen a rubber seal sample that looked likely to fit, I set off to Clark Rubber to get the required 3 1/2 metres, which seemed to do the trick.  Fortunately it is possible to look inside the boot from the passenger cell, through the spare wheel opening behind the seats, and through this I could see if any light was still coming in, and unfortuanately it was, all down the right hand side. That isn't going to be is held firmly closed.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

0045 Putting Gidget back together

20th - 29th March 2018
Putting panels, trim, and many small parts back on the car - At last

Rear wing & black piping
It is always quicker to take things apart than it is to put them back together.  But when many of the panels to which you are affixing everything are new themselves, then there are not even any holes or indentations there to use as guidelines, so everything takes a great deal longer even than the normal slow process !  But this is truly a part of this project that I really enjoy - Fettling, as I call it.   The effort to make the car better and more usable, so that when we set off on our Adventure, it will feel like putting on an old favourite glove.  Well, as close as possible, anyway !!  My first task was to bolt on the rear wings, and design and manufacture the rear mud flaps.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

0044 The panels are painted !

18th March 2018
The panels come back painted and we start putting Gidget back together

Battery & storage boxes
Open storage boxes
On Monday I spent the day working on the battery box and the storage
box which will fit behind the passenger cell down in the void near the rear axle. This whole area is where there were originally two 6 V batteries, but with the car converted to  a single 12 v system, this is valuable space that we need to take advantage of. It is low down, and in front of the rear axle, so is really valuable. Thus the storage box we have had made to fit there.   The only trouble is it is pretty tight in there, and drilling holes in the battery bearers (not the chassis) was difficult and then trying to get bolts in and tightened up with only one pair of hands turned out to be impossible.  So everything is ready and I am waiting on someone to come and help me !!

Sunday, 11 March 2018

0043 Finishing the body panels

11th March 2018
At last ready to paint all the body panels !

The door at the bginning
Since the car came back to my house from Classic Car Clinic
Same door at the end
about 10 days ago, I have spent the entire time working on the body panels - de-rusting them, stripping the paint and old bog, re-bogging the recent welds and old damaged areas, and priming them. Finally after 10 days of non-stop work, with sore fingers, tired legs from standing all day, and with bog dust everywhere in the garage, the panels are "finished" and ready for painting in Coronet Cream, after which they can be bolted back onto Gidget and the final mechanical work completed.  Time to line up the painter !

Sunday, 4 March 2018

0042 Strip, Scrape, Bog, Sand, repeat.......

4th March 2018
A week spent working on the body panels......

Scraping and stripping
Basically the entire week was spent stripping paint, sanding, de-rusting, and bogging Gidget's panels trying to get them ready for painting as soon as possible.  Because the green enamel paint had to be totally removed before we could paint with 2 Pack, this meant virtually every panel needed attention.  Luckily both Daryl and Winno came down on a couple of days and donated their time to the cause - Although I fear that now they have found out what a soul-destroying job it is, they may never be back !!

Thursday, 1 March 2018

0041 Fixing a major crack

1st March 2018
How to deal with a major crack in the bodywork

It has been a long time since we started this rebuild, and there have been some great solutions found
How it started out
to major problems that were discovered with the car as we dismantled it.   It hasn't been easy, especially due to the major accident(s) that the car had been involved in earlier which left the bodywork out of shape and often full of bog.
As we draw near to completing the bodywork and get close to painting Gidget's panels, I have one specific "fix" that I think is worth documenting in detail, as it has all turned out really well, and is very representative of several other similar repairs that have been effected on Gidget to make her a much stronger and effective rally car.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

0040 Paint stripping, bogging, and fettling

19th - 23rd February
Some things just aren't much fun !

Moving everything back home
New itg air filter arrives
Having got Gidget back to my garage last week, there were a million and one things to do.  There are just so many parts that have either come off the car and are worth saving as spares, or others that are still to go back on to it, that I hardly have a room to put everything.  Even moving everything back from CCC to the house meant several trips in Troopie, with the back and the
passenger seat packed full ! And parts were still arriving from suppliers - in this instance the new itg foam air filter which fits perfectly into the limted space available.  We ordered it with an un-cut backing plate so we could ensure it fitted our set up perfectly.   Eventually fitted everything in somehow, and started to get on with the work.