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1974 Dolomite Sprint


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It's a shame you're so far away or I'd have joined you on the road to misery and the eventual overdose from welding fumes when you find there's more Dolomite on the floor than attached to the shell...

I seem to find welding old shit that should be scrapped  very therapeutic for some unknown twisted reason  😂

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Suffering from either being rundown/exhausted or a low lying cold, I didn't have much energy last week to do anything.

Yesterday evening I got a chance to cut off most of the windscreen rubber seal. Quite a satisfying job, especially as I know it leaked badly. There is just enough left on to keep it in until I can get my lovely assistant to give me a hand taking the screen out.
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I also started drilling the rivets out of this superb previous repair.
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Got half way through that and decided it probably should wait until I've got the screen off before I pulled those plates completely off!

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I keep going back to the first page of the thread and looking at the photos. I can’t believe it’s the same car. 
The rust and bodges are some eye opener. I’m sure you’ll do the car proud and don’t worry about temporary lack of mojo, it’s impossible to keep going at 100% all the time. Remember that this is a hobby and you’re doing it for pleasure.

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Really coming along with this, enjoying the updates. That screen seal looks grim!! Remember it’s always best to make/have repair sections before cutting any the rusty section out. 

I’ve got a bead roller and English wheel here if there’s any tricky repair sections you find yourself  needing , you’re not that far away 🙂

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  • 2 weeks later...

A few more horror pictures.

Cleaned out the lumps of filler from the pillar to see exactly what was going on. The plan is to cut out minimal amounts to get underneath but not compromise the strength of the structure.
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This isn't too bad. Plan is to square off the edge and weld a replacement section in.
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The rest of the sill actually is alright. I'll probably run a bead along that edge to be sure.
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This upper part of the A-Pillar is a patch welded on. I ripped this off with screwdriver, so the welds weren't up to the job.
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Passenger rear door is a holed mess
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Filler is all in the holes, so someone didn't fix this and just lobbed filler over the top before paint.
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It's crusty on the inside too. Probably possible to fix this door, but wondering if I'd be better off trying to find a replacement.
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It's not as if this car hasn't had a replacement door already elsewhere! This is also filled with wax and probably why it's in good condition.
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Finally I got on with the windscreen/bonnet area. This bit is going to have a new section put in where I've cut out the worst.
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Passenger side isn't as bad and I'm hoping I can fill this up by bridging the holes with the MIG torch.
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I was hoping to start welding today but the filler made such a mess, I ended up spending a few hours hoovering. Will be a big moment when fresh metal starts going on this again. Nearly a year since the last lot went in.

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It looks like the base of the A and B pillar are both double skinned? Weld a bar across the door frames (probs from door latch to around the interior light door switch) and lop it all out, not all at once but pick a section and cut it all away. The A pillar in particular looks bad all the way up under the door hinge, and up at the top where the rain gutter ends it looks like the rot extends out along under the wing. I'd be tempted to cut them off as well in order to actually get at the A pillar and the edges of the bulkhead. This assuming that the sills are at least fairly passable underneath...

cutaway.thumb.JPG.810bd415bd566fbef2951e4a1116d7b2.JPG

With that out of the way you'll be able to get a proper look underneath the rot and see if it extends much further, most of these panels look to have rotted from the inside out. It also eliminates the fucking about with trying to weld fresh 1.2mm steel to pressed, marginal, pitted, whatever-the-fuck-mm BL tin. If bits turn out to be passable (like the decent looking B pillar section) you can just weld it back in.

With the rot along the middle of the bulkhead where the bonnet sits I'd just cut all that out too and seam weld in a big L piece on to the decent steel at the extremities of where you've ground the paint back. It'd be faster than chasing holes in tinfoil and would be a longer lasting repair.

On the rear wheel arch cut out the spot welds and pull it off, even if you're hoping to use it as a template it's no use being on the car. You're going to have to mash the inner arches with a point hammer, especially the leading edge, with the amount of tack welded plates this car has shown so far I'd not be surprised if 1300-esque horrors are lying in wait. This looked fine from the outside of the arch, but it had rotted from the inside due to trapped shit from the bodged outer arches.

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You've stripped your car down further than I have (mine still has a full interior sans-dash!) so you may as well go to town on it now. Nothing you've uncovered would be massively nightmarish to fabricate but you'll be making your life harder by trying to patch to pitted steel or fill in pinholes in nearly 50 year old metal that wasn't much good to start with...

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Shitting nora you've got your work cut out for you there. There's nothing you can do but unpeel that onion.

Can you get panels for the the tricky A and B pillar bits?  

I don't know if you've seen this guy (he famously restored the SD1 police car basket case) but on the dotty videos (around about 20-25) he tackles a similar B pillar repair to what you're looking at.

The good thing about the videos are they're not polished so you genuinely see the the work involved in doing it.

https://www.youtube.com/user/nitrosilvia/videos

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Right! This hole
c9d5b1df1ec343248aad7f98ef6c19ce.jpg


Cut a template to match and transfer onto fresh steel
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Line it up sorter in the right place
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Pulled out my old friend Mrs GYS MultiPearl Something Something Synergic MIG welder
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Lay my first set of welds in well over a year. Looks shit naturally.
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Got reasonable penetration. Always good when that happens 😁
Also realised I should have cut this off rather than trying to bend it after.
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Weld the bottom. Looks even crapper. Forgot to take a picture of that, but have another of the backside. I probably should have welded it this side really. Easier to grind the welds and less messy the other side.
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Put my mate Mr Angry Grinder into action. Messy and noisy but certainly neatened up a job.
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Didn't quite finish that tonight as I hit my new (wife imposed) 10pm curfew. Gives me a chance to fire watch and write these updates at least.

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21 hours ago, captain_70s said:

It looks like the base of the A and B pillar are both double skinned? Weld a bar across the door frames (probs from door latch to around the interior light door switch) and lop it all out, not all at once but pick a section and cut it all away. The A pillar in particular looks bad all the way up under the door hinge, and up at the top where the rain gutter ends it looks like the rot extends out along under the wing. I'd be tempted to cut them off as well in order to actually get at the A pillar and the edges of the bulkhead. This assuming that the sills are at least fairly passable underneath...

cutaway.thumb.JPG.810bd415bd566fbef2951e4a1116d7b2.JPG

With that out of the way you'll be able to get a proper look underneath the rot and see if it extends much further, most of these panels look to have rotted from the inside out. It also eliminates the fucking about with trying to weld fresh 1.2mm steel to pressed, marginal, pitted, whatever-the-fuck-mm BL tin. If bits turn out to be passable (like the decent looking B pillar section) you can just weld it back in.

With the rot along the middle of the bulkhead where the bonnet sits I'd just cut all that out too and seam weld in a big L piece on to the decent steel at the extremities of where you've ground the paint back. It'd be faster than chasing holes in tinfoil and would be a longer lasting repair.

On the rear wheel arch cut out the spot welds and pull it off, even if you're hoping to use it as a template it's no use being on the car. You're going to have to mash the inner arches with a point hammer, especially the leading edge, with the amount of tack welded plates this car has shown so far I'd not be surprised if 1300-esque horrors are lying in wait. This looked fine from the outside of the arch, but it had rotted from the inside due to trapped shit from the bodged outer arches.

666453529_DSC_6626(Copy).thumb.jpg.a72547eb55f9aa3d7950dbf6600a960a.jpg

You've stripped your car down further than I have (mine still has a full interior sans-dash!) so you may as well go to town on it now. Nothing you've uncovered would be massively nightmarish to fabricate but you'll be making your life harder by trying to patch to pitted steel or fill in pinholes in nearly 50 year old metal that wasn't much good to start with...

I'm currently ignoring the pillars and rear arch. I find it too easy to have a hundred projects but none finished. So I'm trying to go in a progressive order from mid to back. Then deal with the drivers side wing, eyebrows, light mounts and that little hole by the battery last. 

On that rear arch, looking inside the boot I can see the tack weld pentration marks but no repair panel and plenty of clean steel. I suspect there will be a lot of steel behind that tacked panel. I'm just hoping that dirt and moisture hasn't got in and destroyed it. Would be nice to only do the arch where I need to. However that little surprise will come a fair bit later on.

The pillars I don't think will need to be cut out quite that much. Underneath on the double skin section is not in that bad a condition. 

Despite the pictures, mine does seem in remarkably solid condition. Just a few repair sections that were done badly on the last restoration and caused severe localised deteroriation. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've been debating whether this is the right thing to do. The hole section under the windscreen area has thick steel at the top but then thin at the bottom where water has pooled. I didn't want to cut out the bad bit as it was mostly good metal. As it was an area of flex, I wanted to double skin it.

Essentially I have welded a piece of metal to the back side.
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Then welded on the other side too.
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I don't want to call it a patch repair but it kinda is. Biggest difference is that I'm welding on both sides, unlike a normal patch. I have debated whether to just cut the area out and have a single piece of metal all the way along. But in my mind, a piece along the back and welded on the front should be stronger.

Also made up a few pieces to box in this area once I'm done. I'll need to make a few holes in these so I can get the wax injector pipe in.
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Also did the old trick of welding up a few of the holes on the A-Pillar. Usually takes a couple of goes of welding it up, grinding back down and welding up any holes that appear or thinness.
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Ends up looking alright
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This one was a tiny 2mm-ish sized hole, so nice and easy to fill up. The bigger hole to the right is going to need a bit more than that though!
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So I slowly plod on with this. Main priority is to get all the metal work done first, then go from there. Depending how long that takes, I may put it back in storage after doing that - basically if I'm fed up of working on it and need a break. Also the cost of paint is pretty prohibitively expensive. But then still have a whole lot of mechanical work still to do too.

I'm really champing at the bit to start work on this too. Quite interested to seeing how they compare back to back as well! Similar BHP but the E28 weights another 200kg more. It should be less metalwork and more mechanical. So very much a welcome break from that and one project that should be satisfyingly quick to get on the road again.
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51 minutes ago, SiC said:

I've been debating whether this is the right thing to do. The hole section under the windscreen area has thick steel at the top but then thin at the bottom where water has pooled. I didn't want to cut out the bad bit as it was mostly good metal. As it was an area of flex, I wanted to double skin it.

Essentially I have welded a piece of metal to the back side.
0031559d2fe5860071fde29e4c639245.jpg
9a82830f36fb2976c997f6a7833aacf7.jpg

Then welded on the other side too.
0e52881aedb63ff6083c1cae5a6f8652.jpg

I don't want to call it a patch repair but it kinda is. Biggest difference is that I'm welding on both sides, unlike a normal patch. I have debated whether to just cut the area out and have a single piece of metal all the way along. But in my mind, a piece along the back and welded on the front should be stronger.

Also made up a few pieces to box in this area once I'm done. I'll need to make a few holes in these so I can get the wax injector pipe in.
a5e50e7576cb4712768d377a0c218b8a.jpg

Also did the old trick of welding up a few of the holes on the A-Pillar. Usually takes a couple of goes of welding it up, grinding back down and welding up any holes that appear or thinness.
38f6560a5afee8336b38b108e2b0cb6c.jpg

Ends up looking alright


This one was a tiny 2mm-ish sized hole, so nice and easy to fill up. The bigger hole to the right is going to need a bit more than that though!


So I slowly plod on with this. Main priority is to get all the metal work done first, then go from there. Depending how long that takes, I may put it back in storage after doing that - basically if I'm fed up of working on it and need a break. Also the cost of paint is pretty prohibitively expensive. But then still have a whole lot of mechanical work still to do too.

I'm really champing at the bit to start work on this too. Quite interested to seeing how they compare back to back as well! Similar BHP but the E28 weights another 200kg more. It should be less metalwork and more mechanical. So very much a welcome break from that and one project that should be satisfyingly quick to get on the road again.
 

If I could weld, I'd be taking a similar approach.  Maintaining morale when taking on these potentially major projects is half the battle. By strengthening the rusty bits whilst also improving it cosmetically you have a better chance of getting to drive it. For me, driving a classic* is the primary objective once it has been made structurally sound and reasonably reliable. Seeking perfection is a laudable aim if you have the time (you have the expertise) but then you'll likely end up with a trailer queen, nervous breakdown or broken marriage and still have a tasty E28 in the queue. 

Other opinions are available.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I took a few days off work to try getting on with this. Exhaustion and burn-out has meant a lot of that time has been spent resting. Anyhow any progress is better than none, so I got on with at least boxing in the windscreen area.
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That's the only picture I have of the boxing in so far. I've cut other pieces ready and hopefully I'll get a chance soon to put them in too.

In the meantime I couldn't resist peaking to see what was going on behind that rear wheel arch panel. Been wanting to do it for ages but held off as I didn't want it to be too bad and be demoralising. But I need to start thinking on what parts needed to be ordered, so I need to remove it and asses the situation. My outlook is nervously optimistic I think is the correct phrase.

I mean it looks really bad from the outside.
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However looking through the boot area looked more promising that there was a lot of good metal there.
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So there was nothing more to do apart from removing it. I carefully went along with a thin cutting disc grinding off the tack welds. Then further abusing my wood chisel to pop the last bits off.

I was left with this.
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Well that looks not too bad! Almost looks like the same with the panel on. Given how good it is under here, it seems a waste of a rare repair panel to have had welded one over the top of this.

But the question is how much of that is filler/paint and how much metal. So out with the wire wheel to leave this...
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Plenty there left to work with!

I then used the finger sander to carefully remove the remains of the tack welds. Unfortunately there are indents from the cutting disc but this is one of those few times that I'm happy to use filler to resolve these imperfections!
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The wheelarch area inside didn't look too bad initially
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But after attacking with a grinder, I found a plate welded on badly. The welds were weak enough with little penetration to pull off by hand
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That bit is a mess and will require a bit of work to fix up. At least it's simple flat shapes and not something that is readily visible.

For the repairing the main arch I would like a repair panel. However they appear to be hens teeth. I did manage to snag a nearside panel (thanks Captain70s for the heads up!) but the offside had already sold before I got a chance to buy that too.

However the damage doesn't look much more than what can be fixed up with the club repair panels. With this arch lip repair piece
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And this rear wing repair panel. The rear wing might have enough left to be simple enough to fix with just some bent flat steel.
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So all in, I'm quite happy with that rear arch. Could have be so much worse. Inner arch is pretty much all there too, with a few thin areas on the edge and another repair patch at the base of the arch. That repair patch seems done a longer while back and still seems very solid.

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11 minutes ago, motorpunk said:

Fantastic! It’s a big enough job without photographing  and documenting it all for us shiters to enjoy. Keep it up 👍

I've always struggled to get a good picture of bodywork. Rust ends up looking way worse and shiny clean metal doesn't show much definition. I think the lighting and background isn't the best but struggle to think how I could improve it from what I've got. 

Maybe some fancy filters on a lens would help, but all my photos end up just being ones from my phone. Anything much more would be too much hassle I think. Work flow is basically grab my phone every so often after doing a bit, snap a couple of pics and then before bed/morning do a write up on Tapatalk. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Last bit of metal to go in on the windscreen/dash area. Thank god.

You're upside down, on a cold metal sloping surface with welding sparks falling down on you. Also makes the top of the welds look shit as gravity pulls the weld pool downwards. Still got to grind it down too which is even more unpleasant as you have red hot iron filings being flung out at you. You try to be on the bottom side of the grinder as less sparks but they're still falling downwards thanks to gravity.

c9b8d2de4bb0c19fc9059945414bcc69.jpg

What you see above is two hours of work...


Make a template out of card/thick paper
Cut template to shape
Transfer to metal
Cut metal with cutting disc
Shape metal with flap disc
Clean up metal
Offer up metal to body
Reshape metal to fit some more because you cut out on the wrong side of the line
Repeat the last two a couple of times
Attempt to align the metal in place while fixing into place with magnets
Swear when the magnets and the carefully aligned metal falls onto your face when you let go
Put magnets back on but with a wedge to try stopping them falling off again
Tack into place while using a screwdriver/hammer to keep pressure on area lined up
Weld between tacks
Use air to put out the nearby underseal that's now on fire
Move out of the area because the underseal fumes are wrank and can't be good for your health
Put respirator on
Weld some more
Use air line to try removing condensation from inside your helmet thanks to the respirator
Start welding again but through fog
Swear and do a dance because a hot molten ball of weld has just gone through your Sketchers/inappropriate footwear
Do the above for an hour
Finally sigh at the awful looking welds in the knowledge they'll look respectable once you've run the flap disc over them and also appreciate you don't do this for a day job

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Finished welding and linishing them.
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Then painted. Rather hard in this cold weather, especially when your heater is broken. Ended up using my heatgun to try getting the metal up to temperature. Worked alright until it sucked up a load of grinding dust... Produces quite a spectacular shower of sparks!

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Glad to get that bit done. Next up is the A-Pillar. Two areas, first around the door near windscreen area and then at the bottom of the A-Pillar. This is a much smaller area but going to be fiddly.

In other news, I saw a offside rear arch panel and decided that would make my life massively easier fixing that arch. Unfortunately someone else must have thought the same thing on theirs, so ended up spending quite a lot and far more than I wanted to. BUT it should massively speed up and improve the outcome. If I don't cock up attaching it.

Wish these were readily available and in current production.
518907c41f5e9354d7d040efc1b15348.jpg

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      Hullo,
       
      I'm a masochist from Leeds who is running two rusty, worn out Triumph Dolomites as my only transport in rural Aberdeenshire. You might recognise me from various other forums and Facebook groups. Realistically I need to buy a modern car of some sort, but instead I find myself looking at £300 Citroen BXs and Triumph Acclaims on Gumtree and thinking "yeah, that'd fit right in with the rest of the broken cars I can't afford".
       
      On to the cars, the main attraction being my 1976 1850HL "50 Shades of Yellow" that I bought for £850 and is currently my daily driver, here is a picture of it before I sanded off some surface rust and sprayed it badly in the wrong shade of yellow with rattle cans:
       

       
      Within a month of purchase I managed to plant it in to a steel fence backwards after a botched gear change on a wet roundabout and ruined the N/S rear wing, although judging by the other dent that's packed with filler it looks like somebody had already done the same. I also managed to destroy a halfshaft and one of my Sprint alloys (good for an extra 15hp) in the incident, so now it's sitting on it's original steelies but painted black (good for an extra 5hp).
       
      It's only broken down on me twice. once with some sort of fuel delivery related problem which may or may not have been an empty fuel tank and once when the thermostat jammed shut and it overheated and blew out some O-rings for the cooling system. It has recently developed a taste for coolant and oil which is rather annoying, although it's done 89,300 miles which is about 80,000 more miles than BL engineering is designed to last, I'm keeping my eye on eBay for replacement engines... 
      I tried to keep ahead of the rust a bit by rubbing down the arches and re-painting them, but apparently rattle can paint isn't great when you are spraying it at -5C, it also highlighted how although my car might have been Inca Yellow in 1976 it's now more of a "cat piss" sort of shade. So I ended up with the wrong shade of yellow which has rust coming back through after 5 weeks. Did I mention I'm incompetent?
       
      The other car is the first "classic" car I bought, so I can't bear to sell it. It's a '77 Dolomite 1300 and it cost £1400 (about £400 too much) and has been nothing but a pain in the arse:
       

       
      It looks much prettier (from 100 yards) but that's most due to the darker paintwork hiding the rust. It lives a mollycoddled life in my garage, where it somehow still manages to rust, and is utterly rubbish. 0-60 is measured on a calendar, top speed is 80ish but at that point it uses more oil than petrol, it rarely ventures over 50mph and if you encounter an incline of any sort you can kiss that sort of speed goodbye, along with about £20 of 20W50 as it vanishes out of the exhaust in the form of blue smoke.
       
      One of the PO's had clearly never heard of the term "oil change" so it developed into brown sludge that coated everything internally with the next owner(s) blissfully pouring fresh oil on top of it. This lasted until about 600 miles into my ownership when there was muffled "pop" from the engine bay and the car became a 3-cylinder. The cause was catastrophic wear to the top end causing a rocker arm to snap:
       

       
      As this was my first classic car I'd assumed it was supposed to sound like the engine was full of marbles, it wasn't.
       
      I put the engine back together with second hand bits declared it utterly fucked and promptly did another 5000 miles with it. After about 3500 of those miles the oil burning started, valve seals have gone so it's been relegated to my parent's garage as a backup car and something to take to local car shows as the 1850 is now embarrassingly ugly. I'm keeping my eye on eBay for replacement engines (deja vu, anybody?) Oh, I also recently reversed it into a parked Ford Fiesta and royally fucked up the rear bumper, rear panel and bootlid. Did I mention I'm incompetent?
       
      There have been two other cars in my life. My first car, a 2008 Toyota Yaris 1.0 an it's replacement a 2012 Corsa 1.4T. I didn't really want either of them, but it's a long story involving my parents and poor life choices. Ask if you want to hear it!
       
      So that's a brief summary of my current shite. If you want more pictures or details of anything do say as I've got photos of almost everything I'd done with the cars.
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