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Korean Cortina - now the hottest Stellar in the UK!


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Thought I should probably start a thread, given that a few people have suggested it. For my sins, my first car was a 1985 Hyundai Stellar. Bought back in 1997, when the sun still shone, I had more hair, and the world was generally a better place.

 

This may be the earliest photo I have, I think from 1998:

 

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Anyway, I drove everywhere in it, and clocked up over 100k miles before I was given an Alfa Romeo 75. So I took the Stellar off the road for some much needed TLC. Made some progress on it - Rebuilt all the suspension, fitted a rebuilt Cortina* rear axle, Princess 4 pot front calipers and Capri vented discs etc - before a couple of house moves and renovations put it on the back burner.

 

* before anyone says they are identical underneath, there are some differences. I fitted a replacement axle fairly early on in my ownership, only to fit that not only was the propshaft flange the wrong size, the UJ was totally different so I couldn't even fit a new yoke. Finding a company on the day before New Year's Eve who could cut off the end, weld a new UJ on and balance it wasn't too easy, especially one that was accessible by push bike!

 

Anyway, late last year I found some renewed motivation, and have been working on it when time and money permit. Here is what it looked like in October:

 

 

OMG barn find?

post-5223-0-57635800-1499627145_thumb.jpg

 

Front suspension OK at first glance...

 

post-5223-0-14203200-1499627242_thumb.jpg

 

...but it has turned out the calipers had seized (so are away being rebuilt) and all the (brand new) ball joint boots had perished:

post-5223-0-78308600-1499627162_thumb.jpg

 

 

Quite a bit of welding is needed too, but I had a setback just before Christmas when we were burgled and my welder stolen :(

 

post-5223-0-28759700-1499627100_thumb.jpg

 

Crusty roof rail

post-5223-0-45914200-1499627117_thumb.jpg

 

I've cleared some of the crap away from it now (it's not stored at mine - I'd love to own somewhere that big!) so might be able to get more photos. Currently working on the rear brakes, and disappointed to find that the shotblasted rear axle is now starting to rust after two coats of POR15 and 7 years storage under cover...

 

post-5223-0-45928200-1499627230_thumb.jpg

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It was last on the road in 2003, but I probably fitted the new joints a year or so afterwards. That was back when I bought mainly on cost...

 

At least I haven't actually torqued anything up, so will be a simple job to replace. But how do you know the quality of anything on eBay or the like? Easy to simply pay more for the same poor quality. Might use somewhere like Burton Power.

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I'll have to have a dig around for my cortina book, I think they used to assemble them under lisence, and these are loosely based on them, a sort of cortina mk 6 perhaps?

 

Great to see a stellar!!!! There used to be a j plater that went past my school bus stop back in the day, a " New York" special edition IIRC

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Restoring a Hyundai Stellar can´t be honored enough!

 

Thanks :) I dread to think of the time and money I've put into it! Probably the most expensive bit was the windscreen which had to be custom made, but fortunately not out of my own pocket. It was early 2006 and I had decided to weld up a few holes in the panel below the winscreen, using a genuine Hyundai panel I had managed to obtain. I checked with Autoglass to see if windscreens were still available and they had one in stock, so seeing as they didn't charge any extra for removing on top of the supply and fit charge, I got them to take the old one out. This was a wise move.

 

I finished the welding and arranged for them to refit the new screen. At this point we had sold the house where the car was and were living in rented accommodation some 150 miles away, so I went down for the weekend when they were due to visit. I was most pissed off to get a phone call saying they they were very sorry, but had damaged the screen when putting it on the van, and to make matters worse they, nor Hyundai had any replacements. Neither did any other glass fitter I tried. Fortunately I forcibly argued my point that as they took the screen out, they were responsible for putting one in at no extra cost to me, so they agreed to get one made. I think the cost was into four figures...

 

I didn't know that these were based on the Cortina.  How much of it is?

 

In a nutshell, all the suspension, hubs, brakes etc. The front clip is similar and swappable with a Cortina, but slightly different in that the camber is adjustable - the lower bolt has a slotted hole and an eccentric washer on each end to move the lower wishbone in or out. Maybe this was to cope with larger production tolerances than Ford?

 

They started off building Cortinas under licence, so presumably wanted to use up any inventory of parts they had. Even the gauges were Lucas designed, and made in the UK although I don't know if they are similar to Ford items.

 

post-5223-0-41195300-1499627485_thumb.jpg

 

From the 1987 model year they moved to a MacPherson strut front end, and added a Panhard rod to the rear axle, as well as updating the interior slightly.

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I think they used to assemble them under lisence, and these are loosely based on them, a sort of cortina mk 6 perhaps?

 

Sorry, didn't see this when I posted.

 

That's a early Stellar like..............never seen a B plater before.

 

According to How Many Left, the earliest left in the UK!

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I've been thinking, when I do get it back on the road, what to do about paintwork? Although the body is pretty solid there's a bit of rot around the rear wheel arches, and doors/bonnet/boot lid are all from a mint donor car I bought in 2004 which was a non matching gold colour. So leaving it unpainted will look shit.

 

I'd probably want to keep it mainly silver, but later in its life I went for the two tone look which I think it looked quite smart. Found this old photo (sorry for the quality) so you get the idea:

 

post-5223-0-09187700-1499627676_thumb.jpg

(Notice my old bike on the back of the car, together with my girlfriend (now wife) and her 205 XS. I was helping her move house, hence the trailer with bed in it!)

 

Thing is, it's normally done (as it was in my case) to hide rust - matt black covers a multitude of sins - so am having second thoughts...any opinions?

 

When looking through the old photos I also found one of the engine, looking quite clean under there so must have been not long after I bought it!

post-5223-0-02480000-1499627699_thumb.jpg

 

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My dad paid £400 for H481 HEM in 1997 (£400 for a six year old car) - must have been one of the last.

 

It wallowed a bit and was a bit "buzzy" on motorways, but altogether nice to drive.

 

I wonder what one would look like with ford badges and wheels? Maybe an aussie ford?

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This one shows what seems to be a Cortina/early Escort wheel. And better shows the two tone effect I was thinking about.

http:[email protected]<script data-cfhash='f9e31' type="text/javascript">/* */</script>/7453341456

 

Coincidentally I paid £400 for mine also in 1997, but being twice the age I think I was ripped off! I didn't think it was a bad car either, just dated dynamically for the late 80s. But in terms of reliability and equipment I couldn't really fault it. The rear reading lights were especially well used as a teenager; in fact I recall losing a small red fruit in there many years ago :oops:

 

Back to the present day, I shotblasted and painted the petrol tank a good few years ago. The outside isn't looking too bad (just dusty)...

 

post-5223-0-08361500-1499627807_thumb.jpg

 

 

...but the inside, having no petrol in for so long, has suffered:

 

post-5223-0-20215800-1499627823_thumb.jpg

 

 

I have a cunning plan, involving electrolysis, which should hopefully clean it up inside without costing too much in time and money.

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I have a confession to make, back in my banger racing days I got through a few Stellars, they were rare even in the late '90's/early 2000's. Very tough motors but the quality of the interior was pretty dire, I remember the door cards being especially flimsy. I had heard the early ones used Cortina front suspension but never saw one so thought it was a bit of an urban legend, this is the first proper "Cortina Mk6" one i've ever seen!

 

I sold the diff out of one to a guy who raced F2 stock cars and he later found to his annoyance they were completely different to the Cortina diffs he used. I didn't offer him his money back though.

 

I'd deffo use one as a daily driver. I think the styling has aged very well!

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I've seen one J plater before in a scrapyard, but only that one.
 

You managed to pull in a Hyundai Stellar? That's pretty er, stellar...


I think it was more despite the car! And there have been spectacular failures too - back while I was at Uni in Sheffield it was a sunny day just before the Easter weekend. I was just becoming mates with a girl who I rather liked, so I had the great idea of trying to impress her taking her to the seaside (Bridlington) in my car. Why I thought she would be impressed with a trip to a seedy seaside town in my Grandadmobile Stellar I'm now not so sure of, but at the time it made sense.

Anyway, it was such a lovely day that we were both wearing shorts. I had the foresight to bring a pair of trousers with me, which, as we decided to stay into the evening was a wise idea as the temperature dropped. Being the chivalrous kind of guy I am, when she got cold I donated my trousers to her - still hoping I would be able to get her out of them later.

In one of the pubs we met a huge guy and his girlfriend. We got chatting and it turned out he was a bouncer at the local club (Harbour Lights?) They suggested we came along, so later that evening we did. Bearing in mind this was a strictly shirt and shoes kind of place rather than T shirt and trainers, the fact that I was still in T shirt, trainers and shorts made me feel a little self conscious. Especially as I was sober so I could drive us back afterwards! We met up with our new 'friend' and fortunately he let us in, much to the surprise and displeasure of those that were being turned away because their shoes weren't shiny enough!

After a while she explained to me that she was actually gay, and not only that she fancied the girlfriend of the bouncer we met earlier. To make matters worse, this girl was also in the club and obviously of a similar persuasion as I caught them snogging passionately. It's not a turn on when she chooses the girl instead of you...

After a while they both disappeared but I stuck around in case they were still there. I needed to give her a lift back as I couldn't just abandon her! I saw the bouncer furiously looking for someone, so I kept a low profile (not easy being the only one in shorts!)

At the end of the evening it became clear that they had both left the building, at which point I became rather nervous that the bouncer would blame me for it and give me a beating. I managed to leave via a window in the Gents and got back to my car, where I spent the night in some woodland.

Not having a sleeping bag or indeed any warm clothes I did not sleep too well, so was listening to Radio 1 early on Good Friday morning. They asked people to phone in to say if they were having a good Friday or a bad Friday - I was having a very bad Friday, being over 100 miles from home, having slept in my shorts alone on the back seat of my car, after the girl I fancied turned out to be the other way inclined and had disappeared with another girl. Whilst she was wearing my bloody trousers!

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There was actually a slightly happier ending to the story (she was impressed (and apologetic) that I hung around all night for her) and we did get it together briefly a few months later. However, she was rather drunk when this happened, and I think that repeated rhythmic motion caused her to throw up quite violently. At least I prefer to think it was motion induced, and not anything to do with my close physical contact...

 

Fortunately she managed to turn her head to one side, and was sick over the edge of the bed. Less fortunately, my clothes had previously been chucked on the floor in reckless abandon, and took the brunt of it. I confess that I didn't stay the night as this spoilt the moment somewhat, and after washing my clothes the best I could I left before she woke up.

 

ANYWAY, this is supposed to be a car blog so back to the Stellar. I made up a solution of washing soda (sodium carbonate) to fill the petrol tank with, using a sacrificial anode from a piece of steel tube. Connected 12 V from a battery charger via a headlight bulb as a current limiter between the tank body and the anode, and let electrolysis begin!

 

post-5223-0-13169100-1499627925_thumb.jpg

 

And this is what had built up on the anode in an hour :shock:

 

post-5223-0-50610700-1499627951_thumb.jpg

 

After a few hours the bulb goes dim as the current reduces, so I have to take the anode out and clean it. Ideally the anode would be large in comparison with the item you're trying to remove the rust from, but I'm limited by what can fit down the neck of the tank.

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