I finished the passenger side tinbashing yesterday, so time to look at the front valance and drivers wing.
Bit of crunchiness on the bottom of the valance:
Patched that up:
Off with the drivers wing, I knew this one had a bit of rot in the rear lower corner.
Disappointingly it was quite bad:
That 'spine' thing down the rear edge was pretty badly rotten all the way down.
I came back home to see if i could find a source for a new wing. After some digging, I found a few sources, but all would have cost about Ã‚Â£100, which is a full years turnover here at skinflint motors. so i ate some lentil soup then went back down the garage.
I managed to get the spine thing right out of the wing:
I fastened it on the car through the original bolt holes and welded a new edge onto it.
And a new bottom:
I also welded a big piece of new steel into the outer wing at the bottom:
This lot took all day, knocked off at 8.30. As i was clearing up, the phone rang, it was the chap from http://www.oldpanels.com to tell me he had plenty of NOS avenger wings and I could have one for Ã‚Â£50! BOLLOX.
Well i've just about finished 'repairing' this one now anyway, just got to put that spine thing back in to it and seal/paint it all up and i'm done. If the whole lot looks shit when refitted I'll splash the Ã‚Â£50 on a new wing I suppose. Otherwise i'll spend it on a steering rack!
Ms_Bo110x is not about this weekend so i've been in the garage today and am going back there tomorrow! Been doing a bit on the avenger.
Fettled the leading edge of the bonnet a while back:
In the meantime I have removed the font calipers and bought rebuild kits for em, also bought a complete new exhaust system and a pair of new headlights. I've taken the steering rack off (Its buggered) and will get a new one when I feel I can absorb the Ã‚Â£60 hit that will entail.
As the body is pretty decent apart from minor frillage on the fornt wings/bonnet I reckoned i would sort those minor rusts out then respray the front end with my electric spray gun. So today i took the passenger side wing off and had a look at it.
Like always, there was a bit more work than expected - i've stitched 4 small patches into the wing and a couple in the inner wing.
basically I have spent most of today chopping out and fixing little bits of rot on the NS front wing - tomorrow I plan to do the other side, which also needs some minor reprofiling down the rear edge, and a bit on the front valance. If I can then get the wings bolted back on and seam sealed, and put the welder away, i'll be happy with the weekends progress, its not often I get two decent days in down the workshop.
So, Most shidders know that I had a cheeky bid on this Avenger a couple of weeks ago on eBay and won it. I should not have bothered looking on eBay, but it caught my eye as I have not seen an avenger wagon for yonks and for a fleeting, fateful moment i could see myself blezzing round in it in the sunshine looking KOOL. Anyway I won it, and after some faffing about ("i'm listing it for a friend, he works shifts so you'll have to text him", "Yeah its parked in my mate's yard, you'll have to get in touch with him to arrange collection" "So are you paying me, or the owner when you come to collect? He's not spoken to me about it" and so on) I got both the seller and the landowner organised, got a bailout from the IMF to pay for the fuggin thing, and also drafted in the help of legendary A-framer and all-round $hiter extraordinare LANKY TIM who wanted to test out his BRAND NEW Landrover D701SWL. Sadly a shovel and a bit of checker plate fell off it at the dealer so instead we used his camping-gaz fuelled Audi to drag it home, and we all got stuck in yesterday, with the day starting for me at 5.30am.
The car was located on the Suffolk/essex border so it was a canny old trek to get it home alright, here's the route:
Anyway we got moving from LT's gaff just after 7 and arrived after a totally painless journey at about 10.40 am! A good start.
First problem was that the car was down the bottom of the yard, and inaccessible. When we arrived the landowner, himself was a tat-hoarder of epic proportions, was trying to drag it out with his Mazda 323. Unfortunately, a combination of sticky brakes on the avenger (it had sat in the same spot for 5 years!!!), cracked tyres that would not stay inflated, and the effect of 24 hours solid rain on the ground meant he was not getting very far and was just getting himself stressed out over 1) needing to be somewhere at 10.30 2) chewing up the ground and 3) making loads of racket and annoying his neighbour!!! We told him to get moving and we would sort something out.
After an aborted attempt to start it using a flat battery, we hooked it up to LT's audi with a rope. This suffered similar wheelspin problems to the other chap, but by pulling the rope tight with the audi, then holding it on the brakes, while I then hoiked upwards on the towrope, after a fashion we managed to inch it out from its resting place to the front of the yard where we could work on it. This chewed up the ground a bit and got me a couple of free mud showers, but who doesn't enjoy one of those from time to time, lets be honest.
Next issue was that all the tyres on this avenger were shafted. 3 of them held air, but they were all visibly cracked and one of them was completely jiggered ('flatter than a kippers c0ck'). A-framing on those was a definite no-no. I had quizzed the fellas about this beforehand and so had brought some tyres with me, that I bought the previous week. 4 x brand new 165/70-13 Avon ZT5's!! No 'Stomils' here. The local tyre shop had these on special offer so i bought a set (another Ã‚Â£120 ) with the intention of fitting them myself on site. I had been practising my tyre swapping skills the previous week so reckoned it oughta be possible, but the seller and landowner fellas were a bit dubious.. Anyway I got stuck in with the big hammers, soapy water and tyre levers. Heres the tyre bay:
I had expected to have to fit the tyres then cart them all down to the local supermarket to inflate them with an airline, but on the offchance I got LT to have a go with the seller's wobbly footpump. Lo and behold it worked!!! Heres LT WORKING IT for the camera, he loved being on footmup duty as you can see:
To everyone's amazement including my own, fter about an hour of extreme hammer swinging and leg pumping the avenger was sitting on a full set of brand new boots!!! We're cooking on gas here man. I had a cup of coffee and an apple to celebrate.
I could have found a set of Sierra wheels or something to bring it home on, but TBH i didn't know where to find some cheap, and I would have had to buy a set of new tyres anyway at some point. I also reckoned that if we got stopped by the plod, a full set of brand new hoops might help persuade them that we were taking the A-frame lark seriously and not trying to MAIM THOUSANDS OF INNOCENT HARDWORKING BRITISH MOTORISTS WITH OUR IRRESPONSIBLE ACTIONS.
Anyway, after a cursory check, I secured the rotten exhaust with some cable ties, we got the 'Shiters friend' rigged up and fitted, and we were more or less ready to rumble.
It was by now about 1pm and the stress levels were already falling. Time to have a look at the avenger in a bit more detail!!
I must say, bodywise it seems to be in remarkable condition considering its been sat in this damp paddock for 5 years!! The sills, wings, arches and door bottoms are all original, and sound as a pound!!! You can still see the factory spot welds on the arches and you get that hollow ringing noise if you rap em with your knuckles. I don't think its ever been welded and I could not see any obvious bits that needed welding either. The paint seems to be 99% original with just a couple of bits on the wing tops looking like theyve had a bit of buggering about.
The interior is a bit miserable, the seats and dash are split and these avenger interiors are pretty grim at the best of times IMO, even an Ital is more inviting. But, its all there and probably would respond well to just a good clean up and hooverage for a start. Probably chuck some daft furry seat covers in as well.
Theres plenty of stuff needs sorting out though before its back on the road. I noticed the following while mucking about:
1) exhaust kippered 2) headlamps rusty and loose (seems to be the case on all Chrysler/Talbot Avengers in my limited experience of them) 3) Brakes obv need overhauled 4) steering rack gaiters knackered 5) various bushes perished underneath 6) bit of TLC required on those wing tops 7) Chicken pox HT leads
Anyway, we set off about 1.30 pm, stopping once to feed ourselves and the Audi. In the pez station we got a careful drive-by stare-out by a traffic copper but he didn't feel the need to pull us up so that was OK! LT is a skilled A-framer and fully understands Newtons laws about conservation of momentum so we made good progress and arrived back at the Costa del Crewe at about 5.45 pm.
Annoyingly one of the new tyres had gone very soft and an hour later was completely flat, I hope i haven't got a puncture already. More likely theres a bit of rust on the wheel rim stopping it sealing properly, I will whip the tyre off and have a look tonight.
I paid Ã‚Â£285 for the car, Ã‚Â£120 for the tyres and we burned Ã‚Â£75 of gas over the course of the day so i'm already getting near Ã‚Â£500 plus a Sunday's arsing around just to have this on my drive, which TBH doesn't sound like very good value for money to me, but there we are. Now i am completely stony broke! I don't think a vast amount of money will be needed to get this on the road though so now I have to get on with it and move it from 'project' into the 'usable old car' category to make the numbers stack up again.
Check the view out of my kitchen window now.
Finally, at the A14/M6/M1 junction, if you look to your left while going up the sliproad onto the M1, there is the remains a ROADLINE truck body in there, virtual pint to the first person to get a snap of it. It looks like the green panels are being stripped off it so don't hang about!!!
Guys. I know its bad for to start a new thread for a single spot, but look what I saw parked on the roadside in Somercotes this morning. (I urge you to click on the pics for maximum appreciation). I feel like a flippin zoologist who's just photographed a friggin tasmanian Tiger in the wild.
What else can I say? I'm off to the George & Dragon to celebrate this paradigm-shift in 4-wheeled outright stubbornness.
Look at the rear arches on it man.
. I'm not kidding when I say that the whole arse end of this car has been squashed out of shape by presumably DECADES of carrying loads that are far too heavy for it. The rear wings have splayed aout above the top of the arches as if there is a flippin hinge section in the roof above the rear doors. The rear door aft gaps have completely gone.
It did have a load of something in the boot, covered over with a blanket, I'm guessing it was either gold bullion, housebricks or a pallet of osmium. The sills looked like they were on probably their 3rd set of cover sills crudely hammered on over the old ones and tacked along the top & bottom edges.
Just fucking WOW. I so want to see what the trenchcoat-wearing old bastard who drives this, actually looks like. I might g and camp out in the Co-op car park over the road and try and pap him.