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1974 Dolomite Sprint

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Yeah this is exactly why I don't want to go prodding there right now ?

It's probably been welded over the top and left the inner section to rot, like how the front wing was done on this. Hopefully not just glued on though! What is a bit suspect is that it's showing through too. 

Have you looked under the dash at the windscreen area yet on yours? Might be somewhere else that may need some attention if you're doing major welding repairs on yours already. 

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  • 4 months later...

I feel really guilty about this car. It's been sat outside for a winter and a good part of the summer since buying it. Life, house moving, work and other cars have taken priority over this. Not helped by adding to the fleet by buying a Austin 1100 over lockdown. But finally it now is it's time for going into the garage. I imagine this project is now going to make most of this winter.

First off I gave it a good wash. Amazing how much dirt came off it from sitting a year outside and then later in storage (old chicken shed). Being up close reminds me how much work is needed and the rust bubbling through the paint. I was hoping to avoid a full respray, but I'm being to think it may be necessary.

Even the boot badge is corroding FFS. Oh and I shouldn't have poked the bubble on the boot either!

In the boot was mouldy and minging. Ended up washing this out.

Then finally the push into the garage. A massive improvement over my old workspace but still going to be tight working! Especially once I start stripping bits off.

My hope at some point this door will be replaced with a roller door. Ideally before I get this car done!

Then closing the door and reclaiming the drive with the moderns.

So this is going to be a lot of work. First steps now will be to do a stock take on the car and build a list of jobs that need doing. Primarily it's going to be bodywork but there is a few mechanical bits that need attention. Mainly carb rebuild, cooling system attention and suspension refresh.

One of the first things I need to do is removing the windshield and rear glass. I know the front windscreen seals are available, but are the rear? Both are heavily perished and fit for the bin.

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You might be able to shorten a front screen seal and use that at the back, as an aside a dolomite breaker is buying my knackered dolomite, and all the metal under the front screen is rust free so no doubt he could cut that out for yours maybe.

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You might be able to shorten a front screen seal and use that at the back, as an aside a dolomite breaker is buying my knackered dolomite, and all the metal under the front screen is rust free so no doubt he could cut that out for yours maybe.
Has he bought it already? I would be potentially interested in a scrapper as I could do with plenty of parts and panels.
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38 minutes ago, Jikovron said:

Yeah hes looking to pick up next week at some stage, the difficulty I had was that his 250quid offer seemed fairly decent weighed against the state of the thing lol 

That's because the parts are worth a fair bit!

I'm in need of a lot of parts both interior and external. Probably ought to get a scrapper really as it'll be the cheapest way.

My dash foam has split, steering wheel rim has cracked at the bottom, seats ripped on the vinyl and foam naturally kaput.

Bodywise I could do with some preformed metal for the front of that windscreen. Headlight retainer metal is gone. Eyebrows I think are saveable hopefully with a bit of patching. 

Fuel tank is unknown. It used to hold fuel, so hopefully not too bad. 

Rear arches are buggered. That's what I'm most worried about finding replacements of. Hoping that I can fashion something reasonably appropriate. 

Also I know there is a whine in the driveline somewhere. That I'm forgetting about right now. Last owner did many miles like it without an issue. 

Probably plenty of other stuff that I've not uncovered yet. Would make more sense to sell as is given how much they've gone up by, I could easily get my money back and out of this. However then I won't be getting another as like most classics they've gone up a lot.

So let the poor financial judgement begin...



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Aye, the club do a panel that's just the wheel arch lip and another which is the whole lower wing from the wheel arch swage line down.

eBay is best bet for the NOS style panels, but they sell fast if on BIN. I nabbed one for £80 on eBay and bought half of another from the club spares secretary for £65.

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I'll have to whizz over with the wire wheel and see what it's like under there. Fingers crossed it'll be possible to reweld it up and the panels will be in generally good condition. However if it's like the front wing, it'll be just overlap welded on with the remaining rusty bit still attached. 😫

It's the amount of filler skimmed over that's the irritation. I don't think it's hiding anything, just someone went over the top to get a super smooth finish on every panel. Problem is, once you take it off on a section, I'm going to either have to put the same level of filler back on or take all the filler off. 

It is really tempted to strip it to a bare shell, but I know I'll be opening up myself to more complications and (crucially) cost. Also it'll end up taking even longer to get back on the road. But then I've said before I won't do something and then up doing it!

I do have the advantage that mine will only be a fair weather car and it shouldn't be living outdoors for any length of time under my ownership. So providing it's structurally solid and safe, I don't have to worry as much as you do on stuff like water ingress and it's associated damage.

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If they've just left a lip on the old rear arch to weld to rather than leave the whole lot intact the arch panels may be salvageable.

The amount of filler on my car was obscene, needed loads to smooth over the height difference due to overlapping panels.

Aye, my car would probably have survived with its level of bodgery for a long time if it'd been dry stored and only dragged out for the odd sunny weekend...

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Went surveying with the screwdriver last night to figure out the extent of what needs to be done. Rusty picture heavy warning!

Starting from the front.

Bulkhead/windscreen area I know about. Not too terrible.


Wheel arch corners need finishing off

Made a small hole by the front at the battery area

Drivers side headlight mounting has gone at the back. Passenger side looks fine though but need to clean back the dirt to check.

Drivers side lower wing needs finishing off. I have a panel for this. Made a hole in a rust bubble on the bottom of the door. Straight through so will be a bit of a job.

Rear driver's door isn't as bad. Will be interesting to see how thin this is.

Rear wheel arch ...

Unfortunately it looks like someone has welded a repair panel over the top of the body. Dirt has sprayed up in the arch and has got between the two.

I'm going to run over the top of the area and take the paint off. Hopefully I can cut the repair panel and fix it up as I know they're hard to get hold off. I suspect this one may not be salvageable.

Boot floor isn't terrible.

Boot lid is crusty but not holed. Hopefully clean up and fresh paint will be all that is needed.

Rear arch on passenger side is not too bad. You can tell the same problem where it's welded on top. Not decided what to do with this yet. Probably should cut it out and reweld it in properly. I'll figure it out once I've been through everything else.

Bottom of the arch is bad too.

Door jams have had a bodge repair previously.

Found fibreglass and lumps of filler. More cleaning up needed.

Front isn't as bad but still needs cleaning up and new pieces welded in.

Finally the bubbles along the front eyebrows aren't that bad. Only one hole poked through.

Then the bonnet catch needs a quick few welds to reattach the mount.

At least the roof opens fine though!

So all in the bodywork is not as bad as I feared! A lot of work but it's not insurmountable. Rough list:
- Windscreen/bulkhead area. No real pics in this post as dash is in but there's pics earlier in this thread.
- Offside Wheel arch corner
- Front light surround
- Lower Drivers side wing
- Both offside door bottoms
- Rear offside wing
- Boot floor
- Nearside wing
- Nearside door jams/posts
- Nearside wheel arch corners
- General small patches and cleanup

Main parts I need to find now is the rear wheel arch panels. Hoping the rest will be possible to fabricate up. Interior will need plenty of bits, but I'll come to that after the bodywork is done.

If anyone sees any for sale, please let me know!

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Cracked on with a few minor jobs. Door removal first. Wish I could have done this when I worked on it last.

Six bolts came out easy enough

This had been "repaired" before. I knew it was there but foolishly thought it was welded. Not sure why, because welds don't look lumpy. Anyway I poked.

Next up was removing the steering column. This bolt is a right bugger to get at and remove.

Once that's out, undo the column height adjuster and remove the pin that holds the bolt in. Then lift the whole column out.

Then next up was the dash out.

First job was to remove the clocks. Easy enough. Then couple of bolts and screws to remove the whole dash section.

With that out, you can see where I was at last time when I had to pause. No better than it was but no worse. Big difference this time is ok going to cut out the windscreen. That way I can cut out the riveted plates and sort all this properly.

Bit more disassembly and then I can get on with putting fresh metal in.

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Strewth, that makes me feel better about mine, it's quite disheartening when you find it's worse than you expected but they are well worth doing and the values re only going one way. 

Mines still away having a new sill fitted, jacking point replaced and front crossmember replaced, I dare not poke about anywhere else though! 

Good luck with it :)

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31 minutes ago, 320touring said:

It's doable, but you need your own version of @Tickman or @GingerNuttz to help you along!

I could do with one of them making me a new rear wheel arch panels!

22 minutes ago, trigger said:

Strewth, that makes me feel better about mine, it's quite disheartening when you find it's worse than you expected but they are well worth doing and the values re only going one way. 

Mines still away having a new sill fitted, jacking point replaced and front crossmember replaced, I dare not poke about anywhere else though! 

Good luck with it :)

I haven't seen the updates on your car recently! I thought it was nearly a minter?

Thankfully my sills have been noticably replaced before and a half decent job. Not brilliant and the inner membrane doesn't look fantastic.

Jacking point on the front drivers side I did last year. Need to drill a hole in and give a good spray of Dintrol or similar. Need to get that lower ring repair panel on. Bit irritating there is a fair amount of filler. Don't really want to sand back and have the whole wing repainted though. 

It's the interior I find a bit disheartening as so much is not available. Really need the seats sorting, Vernier and foam dash has a few nasty cracks in. All quite pricey and not easy to get hold of. Stuff like this is why @Jikovron rotten dolly is worth a fair whack and I could do with a scrapper with a half decent interior!

Don't feel too bad for me though, I don't know what you paid for yours, but mine was under £3k and still had some MOT left on it. (£2800 I think?) Going by price increases, I suspect yours was a bit more. 

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11 minutes ago, SiC said:

I haven't seen the updates on your car recently! I thought it was nearly a minter? 

So did I! I knew it had a small scab on the back of the sill and the mot was due shortly so went to see my tamed welder for a price on a patch, that was a depressing visit! 

Basically a previous owner had fitted a new sill and rather than weld it on they had pop rivited it and then brushed over the bottom with seam sealer and schutz over it all... IMG-20201004-WA0002.thumb.jpg.7f8d4a271608d0593e949ea1e8b943e2.jpg


The front jacking point needs replacing too


I had to order a new sill from the owners club for £65 but I had to join the club to buy it which was another £27, oh and the new rear main oil seal is pissing out oil and the box needs to come back out again.

I paid £6000 for it and probably getting on for another £1000 on top of that now. So much for paying top money so that I didn't have to do lots of work on it! 

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Ouch! At least my sills are welded on I guess. I haven't been able to get a good look but I don't think my membrane is anywhere near as good as yours. 
Mine also has a whine from the drivetrain. Was there before the last owner bought it and it hadn't got any worse. It'll stay like that once I get this back onto the road and then see about getting either a gearbox or diff rebuild, depending where it is. 

TBF, £6k isn't too money for these. Earlier this year a few minters were on for £8k-10k and sold pretty quickly. 

My front jacking point I managed to stick my finger through not long after I bought it. Likewise the front wing. Both had been welded over the top of old. What I'm almost certain has happened to the back arches. Why I didn't poke that bit with my finger when I bought it I don't know!

This went earlier today: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/184479880313

Reminds me that right this moment, I could hit the eject button and get out of mine unscathed. BUT I wouldn't be able to afford another. I just hope that they're as good to drive as everyone says!

The one and only drive I had of this was a ~50 mile drive back on the M5. Squirrelly and a lot of concentration was required to keep it on the road. Not particularly pleasant. Wasn't helped as it had three nearly new Kumhos and one tyre branded as a remould made in England!? The alloy that was supposed to be on there had a spacer stuck on it weirdly. Tapped that out and the car now has four Kumhos. Also the shocks are aftermarket (Koni I think) but very crusty and all adjusted badly. There is a bit of a creak from the suspension, which I think is the polybushes. Have some new stock shocks from Rimmers to go on though. 

Yours is in much better condition than mine though and will likely always be worth more. Not least that mine has had 13+ owners, 130k+ miles and the tatty interior. 

I just have to make sure I don't get too carried away trying to make it restored perfectly. This car I want to be a drivers car rather than a show queen.

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Ah here we go


Pushed with my finger

Left a hole!

Looking back at a video I did last year, it wasn't in too bad condition really. Definitely degraded heavily after a winter left outside. default_sad.png

Probably wouldn't have to done those arches if it was left undercover. Unfortunately I didn't have much choice at the time and was when I was going through a rocky time trying to move. After 5 attempted sales and 3 attempted house purchases, my hopes of getting it undercover during last winter was repeatedly dashed. Ended up being February this year when it was tucked up away ready for moving in March. Which point the worst of the winter weather had been on it.

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You need to assault the grotty bits with a heavier poking device, see what's left to save. We've been using the pointy end of a hammer...

This bit and the inner arch in particular. It's actually looks quite a lot worse than it was on my car and is quite crucial as far as holding things together goes. When we repaired this bit on the driver's side we braced the door frame with a  bit of box section...




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10 minutes ago, captain_70s said:

You need to assault the grotty bits with a heavier poking device, see what's left to save. We've been using the pointy end of a hammer...

This bit and the inner arch in particular. It's actually looks quite a lot worse than it was on my car and is quite crucial as far as holding things together goes. When we repaired this bit on the driver's side we braced the door frame with a  bit of box section...

My weapon of choice has been a relatively blunt, much abused wood chisel and a hammer. It's especially strong at getting through lumps of filler...

I need to find a good steel supplier around here so I can pickup stuff like box sections. So far I haven't braced anything. Theory being that the bits I've made holes through have taken so little force, they would have gone through normal chassis twisting. Also I'm going to do each bits as I go and finish each bit. That way I'm building strength as I'm working and not removing too much out when cutting into. 

With three Dolomites having heavy bodywork on here, it's not the best advert for them. 😆

Don't say mine is worse! I was hoping it wasn't quite as bad as yours. Admittedly having a quick look at your most recent post, your wheel arches look strikingly familiar. 

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Always worth bracing the rear doors if you plan on cutting the arch and sill off together to keep the rigidity in the rear.

Door skins for the bottoms are a doddle to make as are the sill panels but the rear arches are better bought to get the right lines imo, you'll have to fully remove the arch to see if you need just a lip panel or the whole thing like Captains Dolly. Also have a good poke around up in the rear wheel wells as we found filler poked through holes and undersealed over. 


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Sill is in good enough shape that I thankfully shouldn't need to remove it. 

Unfortunately I think there is a good chance I'll need a full arch panel on that side :(

Otherside is 50:50 and depends on how bad it is. 

I'm going to try not getting distracted and only doing one section at a time. But when I come to it, I'll whizz over that area with a wire brush to get the paint off and have a look. If I do that now on every area that needs work, I'd get depressed about the work needing doing pretty quickly!

First job will be to get that windscreen area done. Probably the largest job of all on the car and one that is going to be pretty fiddly. I'm hoping I can just cut away the weakest section on the front and then put fresh metal in there plus on the inside. Inside doesn't look too bad and isn't going to be visible once all in. I could cut away the whole bottom section and replace with a good bit from a scrapper, but I don't really want the bother of trying to get it all lined and measured up. Get it wrong and the windshield+doors won't fit properly. 

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