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Achtung! 1979 Spitfire 1500 - facial reconstruction


N Dentressangle
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  • N Dentressangle changed the title to Achtung! 1979 Spitfire 1500 has landed
2 hours ago, Joey spud said:

Stone Street is a very exclusive sort after area between Borough Green and Sevenoaks consisting of large houses with long gated driveways cut into the woodland so i'm sure the Mr Carpenter had suitably deep pockets.

There used to be a restoration place called Classic sportscar services in nearby Otford.

That colour makes it special too.

2014-04-05132906_zpsbbf09b31.thumb.jpg.ef7cbdf43a7baf331745f5262791ffbf.jpg

This is the sort of 'old tat' that lives in Stone Street.

Interesting - thanks.

This is the place that did the resto:

http://www.performance-cars-directory.co.uk/classic-sports-car-services

No longer in business I suspect, but maybe the one you're thinking of?

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Best of luck with the Shitefire. I remember lusting after one in the Nineties when I worked in a garage. The proprietor soon explained why they were a PITA, but it didn't stop me wanting one. Nice curves and looked proper sporteh.

Seems like you made significant progress already, what's next on the list?

Also... What's it like underneath?

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Underneath is OK, really. I'll put it up on the ramps tomorrow and have a proper rummage, but most of the welding looks quite professional compared to all the pigeon shit I've seen over the past couple of weeks. There's an isolated rust hole on one of the sills, and some of the repairs aren't as neat as I'd like but overall I'm happy enough with it. Pics tomorrow!

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2 hours ago, Joey spud said:

Stone Street is a very exclusive sort after area between Borough Green and Sevenoaks consisting of large houses with long gated driveways cut into the woodland so i'm sure the Mr Carpenter had suitably deep pockets.

There used to be a restoration place called Classic sportscar services in nearby Otford.

That colour makes it special too.

2014-04-05132906_zpsbbf09b31.thumb.jpg.ef7cbdf43a7baf331745f5262791ffbf.jpg

This is the sort of 'old tat' that lives in Stone Street.

Here's the previous owner:

https://www.bdbpitmans.com/our-people/toby-richards-carpenter/

Obviously a poverty stricken working class chap 🤣

I'll drop him a line and see if I can get more of the story. I've also found his old Interrailing ticket which he might fancy for posterity!

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14 hours ago, N Dentressangle said:

Interesting - thanks.

This is the place that did the resto:

http://www.performance-cars-directory.co.uk/classic-sports-car-services

No longer in business I suspect, but maybe the one you're thinking of?

Yes I remember his place from my RAC days working that area.

I don't know if you have found it yet but Classic sports car services is still going but he has moved to Midhurst Sussex and is on Facebook.

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5 minutes ago, Joey spud said:

Yes I remember his place from my RAC days working that area.

I don't know if you have found it yet but Classic sports car services is still going but he has moved to Midhurst Sussex and is on Facebook.

Brilliant, thank you - is it these guys? https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063601209399

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15 hours ago, N Dentressangle said:

Here's the previous owner:

https://www.bdbpitmans.com/our-people/toby-richards-carpenter/

Obviously a poverty stricken working class chap 🤣

I'll drop him a line and see if I can get more of the story. I've also found his old Interrailing ticket which he might fancy for posterity!

This area is very popular with affluent commuters.

Sevenoaks station has a massive car park and the line gets you to London Bridge in about 25 mins.

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Gradually bringing things on the car back to life. It's always surprised me that people who are not handy with cars sometimes choose to buy old ones, given the way they inevitably need maintenance and attention. Even the relatively modern Berlingo was a relief to see sold to two lads who knew what they were doing, given the ease that a 20 year old French car can throw a £4-500 garage bill.

The Spitfire has been owned by a mixture, but thankfully mostly people who paid professionals to sort it out. Sadly the PO but one was not that kind of person and did a lot of work on the car himself. No need for Holmes and Watson to know that electrics weren't his specialty. First the Kenlowe fan I sorted yesterday:

f493x7X.jpg

The red wire is the live feed from the fuse box to the fan thermostat switch. The white wire is the switched feed to the fan from the thermostat switch. Our hero had shonkily squeezed on a couple of spade connectors and then mummified the lot under yards of insulation tape wrapped around the main loom you can see running towards the headlights. In the pic, I've unwrapped all this mess and wired things in correctly - I'll tidy up with fresh loom tape and secure things properly with cable ties. I much prefer it when you can see what is connected to where and how.

Next job today was the windscreen washer pump. Connected were a black wire (usually earth on old Lucas stuff) and a brown wire with a nasty yellow modern insulated spade connector. According to the wiring diagram the live feed should have been light green with a black trace. Hmmm. The brown wire isn't live when I press the washer switch, so clearly something's afoot -maybe there's an alternative switch wired in somewhere I haven't spotted. However, I noticed the loom spur leading to the pump is oddly bulgy under its generous wrapping of insulation tape, and so I start to cut and unwind it to reveal...

the stub of a light green wire with a black trace! Which once bared gives 12v when the switch is pressed. What the brown one does I have no idea, but it's been taped onto the loom and disappears through the bulkhead. Hey ho - I fitted a nice age appropriate insulated spade to the proper feed, attached the black earth and we now have windscreen washers:

NpulZIy.jpg

Next up was the smell of petrol. Suspect #1 was the tank filler, as it had got much worse after I filled up. Took the tank cover inside the boot off and found the leak was actually coming from the stub on the tank for the breather pipe, which was uncapped and happily sloshing fuel out. There's no need for this on UK cars with a vented filler cap, so I fitted some 8mm fuel hose and plugged it with a hose clipped bolt. Stink gone.

Whilst in the boot I filled some of the holes with grommets and tidied up the wiring to the number plate lights:

3xPDOOg.jpg

It's all been painted in there with some black Buzzweld shit. not my taste but I suppose it keeps the rust down. I'll sort some card trims out eventually. Made both reversing lights work too by taking the bulb out, cleaning up the white fuzz and bending the contacts so it worked. Boot lamp doesn't work yet - needs the switch playing about with and I couldn't be arsed:

3JPDbO9.jpg

Next up was the comically lazy wiper motor. Removed, dismantled, lubed, commutator cleaned and worn brushes noted - new set ordered. Re-installed and not much better. We'll see what new brushes do, but might be a question of getting the wheelboxes to move more freely:

z5HHP97.jpg

I'm mostly happy with the car's underbonnet. The engine is oil tight, has electronic ignition and runs well, although the garish yellow HT leads might get changed for something less offensive and there's a second hand genuine battery clamp in the post. It was being run without one :shock::

qRd7h1k.jpg

I'd like to change the oil and filter - filter doesn't seem to have any anti-drain properties and the oil looks fresh but thin to me. Probably semi-synthetic 10-40 or something these engines really shouldn't have.

Interior needs a good going through. I need to find a centre radio console / dashboard support thing - fuck knows where that's gone. New steering wheel centre badge is on its way. Ungrateful bastard that I am, I also don't like the £500 worth of 'Clubman' seats that someone has fitted. Anyone got a lead on some original houndstooth ones?

K3V5z5p.jpg

 

 

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  • N Dentressangle changed the title to Achtung! 1979 Spitfire 1500 - making stuff work
Just now, N Dentressangle said:

Yes, they're fine. Got the receipt for them in the history somewhere - they weren't cheap.

I just prefer things original.

Do me a favour (obvs when you have chance) can you see if the receipt says they are called something like BB1 clubmans or something like that? They are the ones I'm looking to buy and a real world appraisal of quality and comfort would be shit hot before I make an expensive mistake!

I agree though re the seats, the original houndstooth ones look well smart, just to be hoped you can turn up a decent set.

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43 minutes ago, Matty said:

Do me a favour (obvs when you have chance) can you see if the receipt says they are called something like BB1 clubmans or something like that? They are the ones I'm looking to buy and a real world appraisal of quality and comfort would be shit hot before I make an expensive mistake!

I agree though re the seats, the original houndstooth ones look well smart, just to be hoped you can turn up a decent set.

No problem. Here are the receipts:

MQSK2eJ.jpg

mEW3v3g.jpg

That's as much as I know about what they are.

They seem comfortable enough. They're a bit short in the back for me, and I'd prefer more shoulder support. The bum part seems fine, and I managed over an hour in the car yesterday with no ill effects.

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No, no servo but the brakes are pretty good. It's had EVERYTHING replaced in the last two years, from the M/C to the drums and calipers, so they should be! Travel was a little long so I adjusted up the rear drums which I hope will help a bit. Adjusters still moved freely, which is a sure sign things are OK!

My next priority for making this a usable car is sorting out the heater / demist. At the moment it's basically shit, with no demist obvious and not much heat to the feet either. It's another one of those things that folks with old cars often seem to put up with but which prevents them being actually usable. So, they sit in the garage, everything seizes up and they gradually become even less usable... Bollocks to that.

First off I pulled the centre dash panel to see what was up. Tiny grub screws in each of the lever knobs and a couple of screws - S Class Merc this ain't! And we're in!

a2BY2iW.jpg

Wiring looks reassuringly unbodged (bear in mind I'm used to Series Land Rovers which ALWAYS resemble an unstable, sparking rats nest of splices and 13A house wire). I'm looking for the outlets from the heater box to the dash vents, and you can see the passenger one in the dark at the centre left of the pic. Without anything resembling a air duct attached to it. Hmmm. Let's have a bit more light:

o18Hmvp.jpg

There's yer problem, right there. 

Using tactics any gynaecologist would be proud of, I unscrewed the clips on the end of the stubs of the heater box and demist vent and extracted this:

Nx9CYZ4.jpg

1 3/4" ducting has now been acquired from Clarke's in Stroud, and maybe we can sort this one out.

However, there are some other 'challenges':

The driver's side has similar problems and is much harder to access. I need to remove the driver's side dash panel for access, which looks more of a PITA (as much as anything is on a Meccano car like this)

I'm really wary of mission creep on stuff like this. Having another old car in bits in the garage for months is not part of the plan.

So, time for a cup of tea and a think about how to attack this...

...which has produced the plan of lying in the driver's footwell looking up underneath the dashboard. The hose seems to be in one piece (phew) and still attached to the demist vent. The heater box end is flapping around unattached. I reckon with a bit of patience I can re-attach it and tighten the clip. Against this is that I'm 15 stone and as flexible as Vladimir Putin.

#prayfornorbert

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1 hour ago, N Dentressangle said:

I'm really wary of mission creep on stuff like this. Having another old car in bits in the garage for months is not part of the plan.

I know the feeling 🤣

I was only supposed to be patching up the front wing on the Dolomite and the A-Pillar on the Midget before using them.

 

PXL_20220714_195109489.jpg

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My brother in law has many fine qualities, including:

  • he's much nicer than my sister in law
  • he's nice to the sister I'm married to
  • he has an engineering degree, and is very practical / mechanical / can make stuff
  • he does triathlons, is v fit, flexible and dextrous in a way I will never be
  • he enjoys a challenge

Guess where this is leading?

Ultimately towards an hour this afternoon lying under the Spitfire dash for my BiL, fixing the demist pipes. Passenger side was easily sorted with new hose from Gates. Drivers side was a right PITA. It was still attached (luckily) at the vent end, but when by BiL tried to refit it to the heater box it cracked.

A plan formed. I found some 40mm white plastic waste pipe left over from a job and made a 50mm joining piece. We then used that and a couple of jubilee clips to attach a length of the new Gates pipe to the old pipe, and then fitted this onto the heater box stub:

7uXVW81.jpg

Job jobbed, and we have demist once more on both sides of the car!

According to my BiL, the flap operating the air direction in the heater box needs some cable adjustment:

2sRlvg9.jpg

but mindful of the liklihood that the bolt securing the cable would snap if we tried anything we decided to leave well enough alone.

Still, happy warm days! 😁

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7 hours ago, N Dentressangle said:

 

...which has produced the plan of lying in the driver's footwell looking up underneath the dashboard. The hose seems to be in one piece (phew) and still attached to the demist vent. The heater box end is flapping around unattached. I reckon with a bit of patience I can re-attach it and tighten the clip. Against this is that I'm 15 stone and as flexible as Vladimir Putin.

#prayfornorbert

I recall one hot Sunday morning adopting a similar position in my Gt6 (for reasons long forgotten) when the then Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, walked past to get the Sunday papers from the Shell garage opposite us (he lived round the corner). He was wearing a particularly 'period' pair of short shorts and my inverted position gave me a view even the strongest of all eye bleaches has failed to remove. 

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4 hours ago, leafsprung said:

I recall one hot Sunday morning adopting a similar position in my Gt6 (for reasons long forgotten) when the then Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, walked past to get the Sunday papers from the Shell garage opposite us (he lived round the corner). He was wearing a particularly 'period' pair of short shorts and my inverted position gave me a view even the strongest of all eye bleaches has failed to remove. 

You could have sold your story to the papers; "I was flashed by Cabinet Minister". 🤣

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Today's jobs (it gets put to work next week, so needs sorting by then!)

  • Fix the heater temp control cable
  • Change the oil and filter
  • Fit a proper new front number plate

The first job should have been a piece of piss and ended up taking ages. The trunnion had come off the end of the heater valve cable and got lost. None in stock at my local Halfords and seemingly impossible to find short of Ebay. Ended up drilling a hole in an M6 bolt and making that work, but what a fiddly cunt of an unrewarding tedious job that was. Took ages, and no pics because it's so utterly unimpressive and no-one wants to see an old heater valve.

Oil was thin and getting dirty, so I changed it for new 20/50 (Comma X Flow, I think) and a Wix filter from my local old car guys:

https://ryeford.cylex-uk.co.uk/company/north-ryeford-garage-16320237.html

They're a proper old fashioned garage - no website, old cars everywhere etc - and they specialise in MG stuff and keep a fair amount of parts on the shelf. Always handy and really helpful nice chaps.

Made up a couple of angle brackets from aluminium I had left over from  the kit car I built when I was 15, drilled them and @Uncle Jimmykindly bolted them to the front bumper as he was visiting on his new superbike. Used a hairdryer for the only use I have for one these days and carefully peeled the nasty stick on b&w number plate off. Lidl universal thinners took care of the glue residue.

Old face:

3OL4pXl.jpg

New face:

d8yHS6M.jpg

Got a set of silver 1500 decals on order to finish the job 😎

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  • N Dentressangle changed the title to Achtung! 1979 Spitfire 1500 - facial reconstruction

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