Now we have to be careful, no sharp items near the car. So the first damage was from my watch strap on the back window surround as I leaned in – Nigel was relatively pleasant about it.
We had sent the head liner to a local car upholsterer to copy, and after 4 weeks it returned. In the meantime various small panels of cloth covered hardboard were re-trimmed in my workshop at home and after a lot of hand washing Nigel and I started to try to fit our first cloth suspended head liner. This turned out to be easier than we thought, and once I had got over the idea that the replacement was too big, and it was designed to not be tight between the wooden cross members, the staple gun fixed over 1000 staples and the basic structure was in place. Starting in the middle, making sure the centre line was kept straight and our hands were clean seemed to be the most important factors as well as a very good electric stapler.
The sides of the headliner are stapled to what looks to be tightly rolled paper which is inserted into the metal frame around the doors. Once again with care this wasn’t too difficult to fit. The front door B pillars also had this paper rope and the next task was fitting the Furflex door surrounds. Before we chose the car colour, for some reason we decided to use a cardinal red Furflex to contrast with the cream headliner. This now looked great with the new body colour. The Furflex is a draught excluder and neatly staples around the doors. Finally the B post door panels are screwed in place, and it nearly looks professional.
The back window frame had rotted, and we have rebuilt this prior to painting, and now with a supply of rubber banding we managed not only to cut a hole the right size (nearly) in the roof headliner, but also to fit the rear window. The car now starts to look great that we just had to fit the engine late one evening.
Once again with the help of the JCB, the engine easily slotted into the body and the gearbox back mounting bolts just dropped into the new supporting plate Nigel had made. Some things in this project are maddening (filling and sanding jumps to mind) whilst others are so pleasing. Seeing that engine in place, and better still, fitting without the use of a hammer or other persuasion device into the front and back mountings makes me rather happy. Especially as I measured the holes! Nigel and Adam have done a great job on the chassis, with many hours of manufacture and welding, and it just dropped into place. Great!
Now it’s the exhaust system. This is relatively simple in that there are 2 exhaust manifolds running back to a silencer on each side which we have fitted into the chassis to protect it, then after much discussion, we have re-routed the exhaust outlets on each side under the running boards. The original set up was to take the silencer outlets back across the top of the chassis between the chassis and the body. However, one task I forgot to mention, which was fairly major in itself was to replace the old ford rubber type useless dampers with modern piston type dampers. In this race we are not allowed to use gas dampers and cannot have adjustable dampers, so we have gone for modern dampers but fitted them on new brackets front and back. This does mean that there is less room around the axle, so we decided to exit the exhaust system on each side just ahead of the back axle. It was decided for chassis strength to not cut a hole to allow the pipe to run through the side members, but to manufacture a curly pipe to drop under the chassis and then go back up to fit under the side runners – a feat of welding and cutting and Adam has worked hard to produce a tidy pipe for each side. I think we might get a spare or 2 made however as I can see it being ripped off if we ground the car in rough terrain.
Next…The test run!