It's been almost a year since the 240 passed its MOT after being welded back together. At one point I mooted the idea of doing a post-mortem of sorts on the whole project, to have a look one year on and see what worked and what didn't. Since I'm now at the point of going over the car again for its upcoming MOT, this is as good a time as any to do this.
I think the main thing you'll probably want to read about is how well it has held up to rusting further, and if any of the expensive chemicals with big promises actually did anything useful to help.
It's important to mention that I haven't babied the 240 in any way whatsoever. It's been driven in snow, ice, deep water, on beaches, along forest roads, and I've never bothered my arse to wash any of the mud or salt off after use. I absolutely love the 240 as a car, but I've followed Volvo's marketing advice and Drove it Like I Hated It.
It gets stored outside permanently. I've put around 6000 miles on the car since December last year so I don't reserve it as a weekend classic either.
I'll break this down into sections, and I may slot in some more photos after I'm finished with the text and have a chance to upload them.
Rust-proof primers / zinc primers
Screwfix Galvanising Spray Paint
First up is this stuff from Screwfix. If the description is to be believed this is a zinc-rich cold galvanising spray which is also spot-weldable. This sounds ideal for coating panels before you get back to top coating them properly. The idea is that the zinc is a sacrificial layer which corrodes in a harmless manner before the steel itself can be attacked.
I used this on the external surfaces of the passenger side A-pillar and sill repairs while I got on with repairing the rest of the car. I also gave most brackets, bolts and nuts a quick blast with this after bathing them in acid to remove the rust. I also gave the steering rack a quick coat of this to freshen it up a little.
Unfortunately, it's a bit shit.
The first sign that it isn't really up to the job is the weight of the tin. If the paint really is zinc-rich, it would be much heavier than it is, plus it would dry a fairly cloudy, matte grey. In reality this appears to be nothing more than shiny silver spray paint.
Most of the bits I painted in this began to rust again within a week or so. That's just putting up with atmospheric moisture, never mind abrasion, water and salt spray. In fact, the unprotected inner surfaces of the steel I welded on didn't look any worse than the bits I painted with this.
Verdict : 1/10.
Bilt Hamber Electrox Primer - Aerosol
This is the so-called professional version of the above zinc spray and as such costs over twice as much. However, you can tell right away it's a better product as the tin feels significantly heavier.
I did some sections of the floor and chassis outriggers using this. This dries a much more believable matte grey colour (ie: it looks like zinc). The outriggers were left painted in this while stored inside the damp, leaky car for months without any signs of rusting. It does appear to do what you expect it to.
The outriggers were then welded on and overcoated with some underseal. After a year, they look just the same as when I repaired them.
I've also painted the leisure battery enclosure on my campervan in this, which is quite exposed underneath and comes into contact with all sorts of spray, grit, salt and mud. That has been on the van a couple of years now and shows very little signs of corrosion except where the coating has been damaged. I have to say I'm quite impressed.
The major downside to this is the cost. £40 per Litre for the brush on version is eye watering, and I find that coverage is a bit disappointing so you tend to use quite a lot more than you expect.
I also find that this flakes / chips very easily so you'd probably want to topcoat it, although it seems to stand up to the claims that it can 'self heal' going by the campervan battery housing.
Verdict : 6/10
Zinga cold galvanizing system - brush on.
Being impressed with the Electrox but not the price and coverage of it, I thought this would solve both problems. Zinga are careful not to call this a paint or a primer, and are keen to reinforce the image that electricity pylons across Europe are painted in it.
This was (back in 2020) much cheaper than Electrox - around £45 for a 2.5L tin, although this is sold by weight rather than volume. This is a good sign as it means you are buying actual zinc by weight rather than fresh air and binders. The tin itself is spectacularly heavy for its size, another good sign.
I used this to paint the insides of the rear wheel arches, the insides of the sills, and the internally facing sides of repair panels. I also used it as a primer for the outer rear arches and the front windscreen surround (after giving up on another product).
I've also used this as a primer coat for the inner arch and boot floor repairs I did on the 205, coated with some underseal.
This stuff works really well. It brushes on nicely and dries quickly. It's easy to topcoat despite Zinga being coy about calling it a primer of any sorts. I also find it gets into crevices and holes much easier than the Electrox spray, purely because you can coax it into place using a brush.
There's less wastage as you don't have overspray to deal with, so the tin lasts a surprisingly long time when brushed on carefully.
After a year of this being on the car, I'm very impressed with it. I haven't spotted a single sign of rust breaking back out anywhere where it has been used. I have some offcuts of panels that have been lying around my garden exposed to the elements that were coated in zinga before being chopped. None of those have started to rust either.
It 'self-heals' very well, and in fact if you take a wire brush to it, you can see how it has bonded with the steel underneath and changed its colour.
The repairs on the 205 have also stood up to a similar level of driving it hard without giving a shit. Recommended.
It gets negative points for being an absolute pain in the arse to clean off of brushes as it's not dissolvable in white spirit - you need to get 'Zingasolv' to thin or clean it and it isn't cheap.
I also find it's a bit fragile. In some places you can scrape it off with a fingernail and minimal effort, which doesn't inspire confidence. It does seem to hold up though which is the main thing.
Verdict : 8/10
Rust-Anode Cathodic Protection
I found this while looking for another tin of Zinga, which seems to have rocketed in price over the years. This is around 25% cheaper than Zinga for the same size, yet the technical data seems very similar.
I've used this only on the Amazon so far but I'm mentioning it here because it's relevant. I've not had a full year to test it out, however the Amazon is sitting outside being battered by wind and rain and sleet, with shit door seals and big holes in the engine bay.
I've painted the Amazon floor in this and despite it regularly filling with water which lies for days, there is not a single speck of rust to be found, even where the floor was previously a bit rusty!
I'm convinced this does the same job as Zinga but is a fair bit cheaper. I also find that this covers better and is less prone to flaking and scratching (it feels more paint-like). You can also thin and clean with white spirit which makes life less complicated.
Verdict : 9/10
Plastikote Zinc-Rich primer
I bought this as a stop-gap when I ran out of Zinga and just needed to finish off a couple of bits of welding. The tin isn't very heavy for its size, which suggests to me it's not as Zinc-Rich as it claims to be.
I didn't do huge amounts with this, but it does seem to have worked fairly well. The shock absorber top mounts are a notorious rust trap on the 240s and I used it here before covering in underseal.
So far there's been no rust breaking back out there.
I have used it in a couple of other locations where the results weren't quite so good. Admittedly the metal had previously been rusty, and as such had been cleaned and treated before this was sprayed over. Zinga and Rust-Anode managed to keep the rust from breaking back out, but this stuff struggled a bit, showing blebs of ginger in places.
It would be fine for clean new steel, but not for anywhere you had to de-rust.
Verdict : 6/10
Bilt Hamber Hydrate 80
I had really high hopes for this as it seems to be highly regarded in restoration circles. The idea with this is that you wire-brush off the worst of the rust, then paint this over it in two coats, one perpendicular to the other. In theory it should form a stable barrier that smothers the rust and prevents oxygen from continuing the corrosive reaction.
It comes out of the bottle a sort of milky white colour, and then as it reacts with rust and steel goes a very dark blue. It's quite mesmerising to watch and sort of gives you the impression it's doing 'something'.
I used this on nearly all of my original suspension parts which were heavily surface-rusted. I first went over everything with a jetwash, then several rounds of degreaser followed by wire brushing, then more jetwashing, finally finished off with a wipe down with panel wipe. This is to get rid of any contaminants as most of the suspension parts were covered in grease and oil.
Some parts of the suspension I ran a finger sander with a 40 grit belt along to get rid of heavier corrosion and provide a nice keyed surface. On top I applied 2 coats of H80 at perpendicular angles. This was done at around 18C as I've heard anecdotally that cold weather can prevent the converter working properly.
Once this was completely dry it was then topcoated with Bilt Hamber Epoxy Mastic, which is also touted as an amazing product and the ideal thing to topcoat H80 in so that it never rusts again. Allegedly.
Frankly, this is all complete horse shit. H80 really does fuck all except ruin your day.
It doesn't seem to be remotely waterproof despite it claiming to be ok to leave it uncoated. On the bulkhead of the 240 the areas I coated in H80 while I worked elsewhere rinsed off in the space of a few days, leaving huge levels of surface rust to break back out. It also isn't a very tough barrier and the slightest knock or bump seems to cause it to fall off in great big lumps, exposing plain old untreated rust underneath.
Below you can see where I have painted perfectly clean brand new steel in H80. The reason for this is that where clean steel meets rusty steel, you're supposed to paint the whole lot in H80 to keep a uniform coating.
It seems to have done nothing much except added rust where there wasn't any. The image above is pretty much typical for anywhere I've used H80. You get a week or two of 'hey that looks alright', then it all goes to shit and leaves you worse off.
The passenger floor is another good example. Here it was used to prime the floor which was half pitted steel, half brand new metal, then topcoated with Bilt Hamber 2 pack epoxy.
It hasn't done much either on the clean or already rusty steel. It has flaked off in places, taking the top layer with it. In other places it has bubbled up and it looks like a light wire brushing would take most of it off.
I've been through a whole 1L bottle of this and had to remove and redo pretty much all of it. No amount of experimenting with this gave me a decent result. I even contacted BH who gave me a list of things to try to improve it, none of which really helped.
Verdict : 0/10
This is essentially the same idea as H80 - an acid based rust converter mixed with an agent that sets over the top for a waterproof / airtight barrier. A lot of people here swear by it, so I thought it was worth a shot.
Admittedly I've not used huge amounts of this as the H80 experience really put me off these all-in-one rust converter products. However I did touch up a few areas here and there where I noticed rust breaking out due to damage, or me simply missing out a few bits.
So far the touch-ups I've done here and there have been so-so. On the LS400 I treated the radiator crossmember before refitting the undertray. 8 months later, it's still holding up, although I can see a few areas where rust has already started to poke back through.
I treated a couple of areas in the engine bay and boot floor of the 240 with this. In the engine bay it has held up nicely (perhaps the heat helps?), but on the boot floor it has simply cracked and began to flake away exposing rusty steel.
I've found that this is very dependent on what temperature you apply it at. If you apply sub 15C it has a tendency to form a powdery white substance which just brushes off. Above that, it does seem to activate in the way that H80 does - it progressively gets darker as it dries.
I find that it won't stick to non-rusty steel at all, no matter how well cleaned and keyed it is.
Use it to tidy up some underbody areas before undersealing? Yes - and it'll probably work quite well.
Use it on bodywork I wanted to paint and look good in the future? Probably not.
Blob it on to prevent a rusty scab becoming a great big hole in 6 months time? Definitely. But expect to have to redo it.
Verdict : 6/10
Concentrated Phosphoric Acid
I came across this by accident as @Lacquer Peel dropped off a bottle of it. It's branded as Bonnyman's Rust-Off, but it's pretty much just concentrated Phosphoric Acid.
The idea behind this versus the other rust converters is that you let it do its job, working it into the steel with a wire brush, and then you're expected to topcoat it. The difference is that the acid isn't diluted by the other ingredients, and you can be a bit more confident that it's actually doing its job before you put paint over it. Being able to work and agitate it into the rust seems to be the key here.
This works really well. As you work it into rust you can clearly see the surface going darker and harder. When it dries, which only takes a few minutes, the rust is very well contained in a hard layer (iron phosphate?) which in theory stops oxygen getting in. If you take something sharp and scrape away at this layer, you can see that it has soaked much deeper into the rust than either of the rust converters above.
I tested this on a few places on the 240 but didn't really document it with photos, sorry. I wasn't particularly confident it would do anything but I seem to have been wrong. Even on rust which has broken out on an external surface, I've dabbed some of this on and forgotten about it. Months later despite water being able to run down the panel, the rust stayed a dark blue/brown colour and didn't spread.
I've used this mostly on the Amazon where the results have been surprising. Here I've used it on a heavily rusted part of the scuttle. This is after being open to the elements for a few weeks without any topcoat, which alone is a decent test given how long the H80 lasted.
And after about 7 months of being exposed to the elements. Ignore the extra holes, I made them deliberately.
Yes, some orange has returned, but this is a really unfair and unrealistic test. It has done a surprising job given that it has had water pooling on top of it for months on end and hasn't been topcoated. Plus, I've been dragging the bonnet on and off weekly, scratching both the scuttle and the tops of the inner wings essentially taking chunks of the protective layer off.
A fairer test is probably on the Toledo, where it was painted on the very rusted chassis leg and left for around 3 months.
I've got a lot more faith in that than in the H80 or Vactan. I think it's as close as you'll get to killing off rust without cutting it out.
Verdict : 9/10
Next up, I'll list the topcoats and underseals I used, but I need to get some before and after photos arranged, as the contrast is really interesting!
They did the doors cast shut in the U.K. towards the end of production, I’ve got one with day glo windows and cast shut doors. I think the rarest is a China production one in the early 90’s with flames on it.
Blower motor is now fitted in its house. I have had to die grind some plastic out of the mount, and some off the rear bearing mount to get it to fit. I tapped the holes out to m4 0.7 but none of them lined up, so drilled new ones. Issue there is the threads are very thin due to the thickness of the mount, so one needed locktite. We will see how it goes I guess. Just need a day off to rebuild it now.
Left wing he forgot to weld the rivets on for the trim clip, must still be on the old section in the scrap bin. I think I got away with it. Unfortunately when refitting the front bumper both iron bolts snapped off, so the welder came out and put some flange nuts on the back.
Seems there was a deal starting in the 80s to ship old unused tooling to Bulgaria for local sale. Initially this had to be returned after a year so the Bulgarians would make as much use of it as possible in that time and churn out umpteen different variations using whatever paint they had. Later shipments ended up being kept indefinitely so a load of 1970s/80s Matchbox carried on being made in Bulgaria well into the 2000s. There are supposedly so many colour variants nobody has ever attempted to compile a definitive list of them!
If you click on the link below you can see some of the Bulgarian variations,
SEARCH RESULTS (vectis.co.uk)
Matchbox were also made in Brazil
Christian Falkensteiner's Matchbox Inbrima Index (cfalkensteiner.com)
Also you can get Japanese market Matchbox in Japanese style boxes with specific J prefix numbering
I am a huge Ford enthusiast, their range throughout the sixties and seventies were head and shoulders above their competitors and had a huge influence on my obsession with cars during my childhood and ever since. Their cars were well designed, reliable, comfortable, stylish and affordable. ( note:were) If only they had the build quality and rustproofing of Volvo 740’s they would be indestructible but would also have been more expensive. Others may not share my opinion but at least I know I am right 😀. It all went wrong in my opinion when they had Mr. Blobby designing the Sierra and Granada. I have owned a mk1, 3 and 4 Mondeo, all very capable and good value for money but all lacking any character or driving pleasure which earlier Ford’s had bucket loads of. The Mk1 Mondeo was the best of the Mondeo’s in my opinion, I had a poverty spec. 1.8 LX and was amazed how well it drove for a front wheel drive, it really was leagues ahead of other front wheel drive cars at the time to drive and seemed a lot better than the Mondeo’s that followed (it also had the most comfortable seats) It was not however an easy car to maintain and I would happily of swapped it for a mk3 Cavalier. Vauxhall took over Ford’s lead during the mid eighties to nineties with the Carlton like @sutty2006 being far better than Ford’s offerings at the time. It is clear many like the Focus, I have driven several, all when nearly new and found them extremely dull. I am aware my opinion may differ from others but that is why I am here and not on pissed on heads.
RWD Volvo’s and Mercedes are great bargains for us now in the used market but would not feature on most company car lists and the purchase price new would be hard to justify for most.They were cars for the super rich, not riff raff like me.
I'm starting to realize that Ford is a religion in the UK to say that the Mondeo and Focus are the best cars ever is ridiculous considering how many amazing cars there are. These 2 are mostly just boring means of transport and here they had and have among the shortest lifespans of any car.
I would say that the Volvo 240, 740 and 940 and Mercedes in W123 variants and W124 variants are peak cars. I still see them in daily use, just in my immediate area there are about 5 W123 and S123 in daily use all year round, almost 40 years after they went out of production. What these Volvo and Mercedes have in common is that they do most things well, they are reliable, well-built and long-lasting and are not a boring box on wheels. There is a reason the owners keep them.
I am not sure about the tongue in cheek part, this is a more valid suggestion than most of the others on here. I thought this was a site for car enthusiasts? The sixties was probably the peak for styling but I was not around to appreciate and enjoy it. I cannot believe the namby pamby comments about N cap and mega fuel economy, I thought I must be on mumsnet or some such nonsense The below is what I imagine you mean and looked even better up close. I have borrowed the picture from @Soundwaveas he is a much better photographer than me.
It's taken five months of frustrating work fixing various electrical gremlins and leaks and it failed to even reach the garage on two previous occasions when i booked it in for MOT. I fought through a nasty infection to overhaul the engine gearbox and carbs when i should have been in bed then the seat then collapsed when i fitted the new interior.
I found this car sitting in a garage in Nottingham where its been since 2015 upon initial inspection the car seemed good i couldn't have been more wrong. Ive been lucky enough in all the years ive owned and restored old Rovers not to have a LEMON but this was easily the most frustrating car ive had to deal with. As with my previous projects i restored it from my drive braving the weather and sometimes working into the night. Time after time i would fix all the faults and get everything as it should be but as soon as the car saw the MOT bay something broke or refused to work. I was at breaking point around November and had promised the kids a bonfire and put serious thought into torching it.
Looking back i am glad i didn't because today the car finally passed MOT it's first since 2014 the horn failed on the way home so clearly i have some minor bits to do but i am so glad its got a fresh cert. This will be the third SD1 ive rescued and restored i dont think il be doing anymore as working on Rover for years has rendered me an invalid 🤣
Long live Rovers and all who sail in them!
Bump for a real Fred.
My new office is en route to Goodwood, and there's a lovely hotel at the end of the lane in the old railway station where you can stay in a coverted pullman carriage. Great for passive spotting during Revival weekend
It's obviously popular with the barge brigade
This was actually seen much later in the year, but presumably also Goodwood-bound
Hammond Collection auction viewing threw up a couple of interesting things including this
Back to planet earth, there is much less bilge knocking about Brighton than there used to be, but still the odd daily-driver cla**ic
Diverging from my usual Asda car park spots, here's a much classier Waitrose car park spot
This is a bit more like it, in the wilds of Sussex/Kent borders. Looked like a daily, c/w kid's booster seat in the back, and very nice apart from the typical crusty arches. Great colour, no?
Saving the best for last. This was a most unexpected snap on my way to work one morning. Not sure I've ever seen one of these just 'in use' before. Lovely stuff.
Seen in Reigate, Surrey on 20th July.
✗ Untaxed - Tax due: 1 November 2022
✓ MOT Expires: 10 June 2023
Vehicle make FORD
Date of first registration 21 April 1990
Year of manufacture 1990
Cylinder capacity 1297 cc
Fuel type PETROL
Export marker No
Vehicle status Untaxed
Number of previous owners: 3
Current owner since Nov 2010
Mileage at last MOT: 105,264
Mileage since previous MOT: 5,764
Seen in Merton, south London on 23rd April.
✓ Taxed - Tax due: 1 February 2023
✓ MOT Expires: 8 February 2023
Vehicle make TOYOTA
Date of first registration 8 February 1994
Year of manufacture 1994
Cylinder capacity 1332 cc
Fuel type PETROL
Export marker No
Vehicle status Taxed
Vehicle colour RED
Number of previous owners: 1
Current owner since Nov 2012
Mileage at last MOT: 67,543
Mileage since previous MOT: 1,386
Seen in Golders Green, north London, showing off it's nifty well-integrated reversing light.
Vehicle make MG
Date of first registration 8 August 1967
Year of manufacture 1967
Cylinder capacity 1622 cc
Export marker No
Vehicle status SORN
Vehicle colour WHITE
Number of previous owners: 2
Current owner since Sep 2022
(I took the photo on 1st August, at which point it had the same owner since June 2007)
Mileage at last MOT (2014): 28,830