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Guest Message by DevFuse


That vandalised Ambassador...

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171 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   rovamota


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Posted 27 December 2016 - 07:16 PM


A week and a half ago we went to pick up the vandalised Ambassador that we won on ebay. We decided to bid for it as it just looked so sad and needs to be brought back to glory once again.


It looks structurally very sound but, thanks to the mindless vandalism, there's a bit of work to do. First job will be to get the engine to go. There's a spark and a smell of petrol but sounds as dead as a dodo. Shouldn't be too difficult though, famous last words.


s-l1600 (1).jpg




We then set off for the uneventful journey home, stopping at Strensham services on the M5 for a comfort break.




Once home it was maneuvered into our garage and left as we were all pretty knackered by this time.
A good nights sleep and a few cups of tea later, the next morning we attempted to get the engine started. Once we'd discovered a connector had come adrift from the coil we found we at least had a spark but there there was very little in the way of any life from the fuel side. I went and got a gallon of fuel and we poured it in but still, no sign of any fuel proceeding from the tank to the carburetors despite the fact we could hear the electric pump working. We disconnected the fuel pipe from the carb and poured fuel directly in which, upon the turn of the key brought the engine bursting into life! It sounded okay apart from the blow from the exhaust downpipe clamps, but then white smoke started billowing from the exhaust - but as there was so little fuel getting through the engine didn't run for long enough.
There was still no sign of fuel from the fuel pump even with the engine running so I decided to remove it for further investigation as it can be removed in a matter of minutes. Once out it became clear what the problem was. There's a short piece of hose that runs from the fuel filter to the pump motor but this one had completely fallen to pieces. The only way fuel could leave the tank was if the tank was filled above the outlet pipe. I managed to find a suitable piece of pipe and refitted the pump back in the tank. 
Once all the fuel pipes were reconnected we could then run the engine for longer, so we decided to fill it with water...
Things got a bit worse from that point on. The engine then ran very poorly and the white smoke, or vapour as we'd now established, got worse. We could see water being spat out of the manifold/exhaust join and pressure built up very quickly in the cooling system. It was quite obvious we had a major coolant leak into the cylinders.
Inevitably the cylinder head would have to come off and so, 20 minutes later (it's hilariously easy to remove on these) it was on the bench. It was quite clear the the gasket had failed on No. 3 cylinder allowing coolant to pass between the fire rings and go straight into the bore and the wet piston just made it more conclusive.
This picture shows the head gasket still sat on the block
Forum 5.jpg
We've decided to dismantle the head and have it skimmed after checking it with a straight edge shows warpage around cylinder three.
In the meantime we'll get on and sort the other issues, but we have all of the glass except the bonded rear quarter. The sunroof was ripped out and, consequently, all of the parts that fix it to the frame have broken and are unrepairable but I'm sure that the sunroof is made by Britax and the mechanisms were shared across all other Austin Rover cars of the time so we may be able to source replacement parts to repair it. 

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#2 OFFLINE   eddyramrod


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Posted 27 December 2016 - 07:45 PM

Brave buy!  Good luck! :)

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#3 OFFLINE   stubeedoo


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Posted 27 December 2016 - 08:17 PM

Top shittage squire! I remember those lumbering old vessels.

#4 OFFLINE   Squire_Dawson


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Posted 27 December 2016 - 08:37 PM

Very good, clearly a martyr for the cause, best of luck with another one rescued.

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#5 OFFLINE   Felly Magic

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 08:44 PM

Some people are just mindless morons vandalising that. You guys will have that fettled in no time :) 

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#6 OFFLINE   Braddon81


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Posted 27 December 2016 - 08:57 PM

Wonderful save! I doft my cap to you,a big thumbs up on this!

#7 OFFLINE   Shep Shepherd

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 09:14 PM

What sort of shitlord vandalises a Wedge? I wish you all the best in your restoration efforts.

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#8 ONLINE   mercrocker


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Posted 27 December 2016 - 09:22 PM

Giving that a kicking is on the same level as puppy-drowning.   Good work in saving it and working though the problems - there surely can't be many VPs left

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#9 OFFLINE   Alexg


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Posted 27 December 2016 - 09:24 PM

Loving what you guys do.

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#10 OFFLINE   buckbuckbuckie


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Posted 27 December 2016 - 09:27 PM

Where in the UK are you?


If you are ever near Buckie you would be welcome to any glass I may have that would fit the car.


I have a few dozen bits of glass from old cars but no way of knowing what they are from...

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#11 OFFLINE   LC Torana

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 09:42 PM

Just a question from ignorance - would the top surface of the block be likely to also require a skim?

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#12 OFFLINE   MarvinsMom


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Posted 27 December 2016 - 09:57 PM

the o-series, which that engine is, has a cast iron block with an alloy cylinder head.


the head will need a skim after OMGHGF cos its alloy which can and does warp when its over heated, but iron will not. 


hence the block will be of ot go again when then engine is put back together.


i wish you chaps all the best with putting this wedge back on the road.


it looked so sad, yet saveable in the pics on the ad, so i hope that there will be plenty of updates as this car gets closer to going back onto the road!

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#13 OFFLINE   rovamota


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Posted 27 December 2016 - 10:08 PM

Thanks for the nice comments, offers and support. Part of the reason for saving cars like this is because they get such a bad press by the know-it-all 'scrap it' keyboard heroes that we set out to prove they're quite wrong and restore something worthwhile. This ain't no open cheque book restoration that would grace the likes of Octane magazine and end up on a rotating platform at some posh car show, it's the opposite and just the reason why we do it.

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#14 Guest_Lord Sward_*

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 10:15 PM

I think it was Triplex who at the NEC claimed to be able to remanufacture their entire back catalogue of glass.  

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#15 OFFLINE   Cavcraft


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Posted 27 December 2016 - 10:19 PM

Great stuff, we need a 'gold' thread icon for stuff like this. Looking forward to reading more about it.

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#16 OFFLINE   purplebargeken


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Posted 27 December 2016 - 10:19 PM

Brilliant save. Looking forward to seeing thi sorted :)

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#17 OFFLINE   adw1977


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Posted 27 December 2016 - 10:25 PM

Excellent save!

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 11:11 PM

What's the story re vandalisation? I missed that.

I have a soft spot for Princesses and Ambassadors, as my dad had them as BL company cars. Well done for rescuing this fine Beigemobile.

#19 OFFLINE   Skizzer


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Posted 27 December 2016 - 11:15 PM

You are total heroes.

What's the plan with this one - back to roadworthy then sell on? I can see this being rather tempting once you've done your magic with it.
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#20 OFFLINE   outlaw118


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Posted 28 December 2016 - 07:09 AM



Mate had a 2.0HL in JRG like this, and I was entrusted with keeping it ship-shape while he was serving a 6 month ban. (yep, speeding. In an Ambassador. HERO)


Bearing in mind I was running a 2.3 Ghia Cortina at the time, the Wedge was at least 237.84% moar comfortable, and certainly as reliable and quick enough. Had to alter my driving style a little - she didn't like being hurried, but given some welly, as long as you didn't expect Lotus Elise levels of cornering prowess, it was perfectly adequate.


As a footnote, my mate flogged it about 3 weeks after his ban was lifted due to MoT failure, and bought my Cortina off me. Which he threw into a ditch. The twat.

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#21 OFFLINE   EssDeeWon



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Posted 28 December 2016 - 10:43 AM

Top save, very rare car and what a lovely old thing.


Well done mate.

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#22 Guest_Lord Sward_*

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 10:48 AM

I'm sure I've got a boxed NOS door mirror for one of these.

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#23 OFFLINE   RoadworkUK


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Posted 28 December 2016 - 10:53 AM

This is excellent news. 2016 wasn't all shit.

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#24 Guest_Lord Sward_*

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 11:19 AM

2016 was GR8.

#25 OFFLINE   Skut


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Posted 28 December 2016 - 12:22 PM

Should paint it a bright colour to mix things up abit.  Every Amby Iv'e ever seen is either mushroom or metallic.    Did BL even offer any bright colours?.  

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 01:06 PM

There used to be a black VDP in my street and the garage I worked at serviced a red AmCLASSador.

#27 OFFLINE   blakey79


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Posted 28 December 2016 - 01:06 PM

Our next door neighbours had a Dark Blue Ambassador...

#28 OFFLINE   The Old Bloke Next Door

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 02:12 PM

Should paint it a bright colour to mix things up abit.  Every Amby Iv'e ever seen is either mushroom or metallic.    Did BL even offer any bright colours?.  

I used to pass a bright red one on my drive to work when I lived in Walsall, it never moved for years then disappeared, scrapped I suppose. I owned a Princess 1800 L for a few months in the 80's, scrapped when it failed mot with excessive corrosion. 

As we all like pics, here's a neglected example.



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I must not buy any more cars.

#29 OFFLINE   Timewaster


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Posted 28 December 2016 - 05:41 PM

A bold colour could work.
That yellow Princess with black details on here looked fab.
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#30 OFFLINE   rovamota


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Posted 28 December 2016 - 05:51 PM

Here's the original ebay ad for those interested. http://tinyurl.com/h7lo8l5


We had a good look through our haul of parts it turns out that we have all the glass we need except for the rear quarter.

Yesterday I managed to remove the saggy roof lining material (that the vandals also tried to set fire to) and panel and will be ordering new material for it soon. 
Later we got on with the job of replacing all of the door glass, made more difficult by the fact that the front windows are electric. After vacuuming out the broken glass from the bottom of the doors it was then just a matter of sliding in the glass and maneuvering it onto the guide rails and into the channels. We had to liberally lubricate all of the components to get near to a smooth up and down motion. Fitting the drivers door window went very well but the passenger door window motor decided it only wanted to work intermittently and then not at all. I swapped the switch for the drivers side one and it started working again so the switch will need replacing. I think we have a spare one. I also noticed the door lock solenoid has been removed from this door, but we have spares so another job to sort.
It was then on to the offside rear door which is a real faff as the quarter glass has to be removed in order to fit the new glass. It took as long to do this one as it did to do both front windows but we managed to get it in, but as the light started to fade we decided we'd done enough. Next job will probably to fit the windscreen.
Having looked at the sunroof panel all of the locating parts that make it fit to the sunroof frame are broken after the yobbos ripped it out. The sunroof was probably made by Britax and my thinking is that the parts must be the same for all Britax sunroof panels of that period and as fitted to the Metro, Maestro, Montego, Rover 800, etc. so they must be obtainable.

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