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Topless Swedish content - early July fettling update


MAF260

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Having recently sold my Fiat coupe 20v turbo project I realised I was in great need of another car to fettle and enjoy. The impending summer (still waiting) turned my thoughts to how great it would be to find a suitable convertible for some top-down fun. I've only ever owned 2 convertibles in my almost 40 years of motoring:

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A beautiful E30 I renovated and improved over 5 years, fitted 2.8l 24v running gear to and regretted selling as soon as it drove away. It was replaced with:

 

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A late Audi 80 convertible, 2.6l V6 powered in a very rare colour. I improved this cosmetically over a year or so and moved it on as the drive was rather dull.

After looking at all sorts of different options, from BMW Z4s to Audi TTs to Merc SLKs the right candidate appeared before me. There's a huge amount of nostalgia in this purchase as my father owned a new car from this manufacturer every few years from 1978 until he passed. Mostly 'Classics', then a later modern diesel model. My parents' favourite of all of these cars was a bright red turbo Classic nicknamed Nellie, which they took all over Europe and Ireland after my father retired. This is the only picture I have of that car:

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My next car was a no brainer. You may have followed my epic collection thread last week which involved aeronautical travel and a 400+ mile drive home.

 

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I had a chat with Split_Pin over the phone while I was away on a short break and made some travel arrangements for the following week.

I flew to Scotland and was wafted back to his home in his lovely Audi A8 to meet the latest addition to my fleet.

 

 

 

 

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A brief inspection, the car was as described thankfully, money transferred and I was on my way home. Just the matter of 400+ miles in an unknown to me quantity.

I had nothing to worry about; a relatively leisurely cruise home via Gretna Green, Tebay services and a visit to a friend in Cheshire, I arrived home that evening without drama as the car performed faultlessly. It rained the entire journey, though. So much for topless motoring!

I haven't had much chance since to do a lot with the car, but have started to make a few plans to bring it up to the standard I want.

First job was having the tracking checked and adjusted. The steering wheel wasn't centred, although the car didn't pull to the side.

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Money well spent; the car drives even better now and the steering wheel is straight which satisfies my OCD.

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While I'm waiting for a few bits and pieces I've ordered to arrive I have had a good look over the car and will start with a very thorough clean of both the exterior and interior. This is a job I really enjoy as the results are instant and obvious. So that I can plan what's needed with the little free time I seem to have I made a start.

Cream interiors, especially on convertibles really show any grime and dirt. This car is no different. I grabbed some leather cleaner to see if I could make any improvements:

Before

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After a quick clean:

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The driver's seat is understandably the worst. Upon closer inspection I found that somebody has previously 'renovated' the seat. The treated areas of the seat have a different texture to the rest of the leather which hasn't worn well and cracked; it's also a different colour to the rest of the interior!

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I need to add a leather restoration kit to the list.

The shiny steering wheel gave up years of oils and dirt from the hands of the previous owners after a very thorough clean and now looks like new, with the matt/satin finish it should have. Very satisfying!

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I bought a new wind deflector which makes a massive difference when driving with the top down and have mostly been enjoying driving this car around in the sunshine we are finally getting. Some collection duties for the Mrs demonstrated to her just how practical this car is:

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I was really keen to take this car to show my mother, but was worried it may upset her with memories of good times past with my late father. I drove it down to see her and she was absolutely overjoyed - a tearful moment for us both as she looked up to the sky to ask my Dad if he was watching.

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Her smile says it all!

I've had a few bits turn up over the past few days, so I'm hoping to find some time over the weekend to do some fettling.

 

More soon if there's interest?

 

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19 minutes ago, MAF260 said:

I bought a new wind deflector which makes a massive difference when driving with the top down and have mostly been enjoying driving this car around in the sunshine we are finally getting. Some collection duties for the Mrs demonstrated to her just how practical this car is:

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Funny looking wind deflector, any good? 😛

 

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1 minute ago, Spiny Norman said:

Funny looking wind deflector, any good? 😛

 

It’s the latest in Swedish aero design 🤣

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I meant to say that's an Aero steering wheel, worth ££s apparently, no idea how it got there!

The seat was removed and renovated by a cack-handed fool who ripped the under seat wiring loom to bits when taking it out, causing the air bag light to permanently illuminate. Thankfully I got a new loom from a scrap car and fitted that. I covered it on my You Tube channel if you're interested. 

I used to be really into getting my cars super pristine but life just gets in the way these days. The seat looks loads better now!

I don't normally bother what happens to my cars after I sell them but because this one has cheated death twice, I wanted to see it be appreciated and that's certainly the case here!

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Parked behind my Dad’s last 93 which hasn’t moved in a couple of years since my Mum stopped driving. I need to come back and give it a good clean as she will never get rid of it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I finally managed to find some time this weekend for a few jobs.

The scruffy number plates really let the car's appearance down.

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I was initially just going to buy some replacement plates, but after seeing some old photos of the car and a couple of other Saab convertibles I thought it would look better with a personalised plate.

Time to take the old plates off, to be met with many old applications of sticky tape. It was a bit of a mess...

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A good few applications of tar & glue remover followed by lots of gentle scraping with a plastic tool got the old gooey fixings off. Some heavy compound followed by some polish and wax got the number plate areas up to a better condition. I know it can't be seen and will be covered by plates again, but it's something I had to do

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Time for the new plates to be fitted:

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Next up to address was the cracked instrument cluster

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I hoped I might be able to swap the clear plastic lens from another cluster. People seem to want daft money for these clusters, I couldn't find just the lens anywhere. Patience paid off and I bought a cluster on eBay for just a few pounds. It was time to remove the original cluster to see how I could sort it.

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A bit of straightforward, methodical dismantling resulted in the cluster being freed. It was very clear that somebody has been here before me:

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I could see that the clear plastic is bonded to the black plastic, so my plan to replace this was a non-starter. Bugger 😡

After another look I found that I could liberate the gauges from the binnacle and just swap them over - 4 screws and all sorted.

Dashboard back together, the fix has really lifted the interior for me as the crack was always in sight when driving.

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  • MAF260 changed the title to Topless Swedish content - early July fettling update

Last job of the day was replacing the headlight bulbs. I've not driven this car very much in darkness, but the few times I have I've found the light output to be dreadful. I was going to fit replacement LED bulbs, but some online research persuaded me against this for various reasons. I ended up buying some trusty Osram Night Breaker bulbs which I knew wouldn't throw up any errors; I've previously had good experiences with fitting them to other cars.

Lofty promises...

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I'd read of some owners experiencing difficulty fitting replacement bulbs, having to move/remove all sorts of parts to fit them. I have no idea why they were deemed by some to be awkward to get to - just the filler neck for the washer fluid needed to come out with a gentle pull

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Then access was reasonably decent on both sides.

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Rubber covers off, a 90 degree twist and the bulb carriers were out.

Old vs new bulbs for comparison:

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2 minutes later the new bulbs are in.

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I'll take the car for a drive in the dark to see if they've made much difference. The headlight lenses aren't cloudy, but I reckon they would benefit from a polish - another job to add to the list.

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Ace work on the sticky stuff. Most of it was from me just giving up trying to remove it. What product did you use as most of my other cars are the same!

Glad to see this being appreciated, especially the cosmetics. 

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4 minutes ago, Split_Pin said:

Ace work on the sticky stuff. Most of it was from me just giving up trying to remove it. What product did you use as most of my other cars are the same!

 

I've tried just about every product out there and swear by Gyeon Q2M Tar which removes tar,  glue and 'organic contaminants' (whatever they are!) very effectively. It's not cheap, but you don't need to use much. That lot took 2 applications, a bit of soaking time, then some patience with a plastic scraper followed by a microfibre cloth to clean it all down.

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Cheers I'm going to have to get some as I've run out of space to apply the pads and my plates keep falling off.

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