Saturday, February 28, 2009

The light of day

After probably its first night under cover in years, the GT6 was wheeled out this morning for a wash. She was imported in Sept/Oct 2007 and probably sat outside since then - and goodness knows how many years before that. She was filthy!

After the wash, I spent an hour going over her, noting what bits are missing and broken. The right hand rear quarterlight is gone - carefully removed and left somewhere. All four US-spec cruising lights have perished or lost the lenses, and need replacing. Various bits of interior trim have vanished or crumbled away, but as a full retrim is on the agenda they don't matter. All the window rubbers have perished, the tyres are cracked, the windscreen is broken, the wiper arms have fallen off, the tachometer is broken, the dashboard ply is falling apart, and the bumpers are pitted and dented. Most of the panels have small dents, but there really is almost no rust (except for the tailgate) so she'll be able to keep all her panels. California cars...

All the mechanical bits are in place, so I changed the plugs, leads and air filters, put on a battery and turned the engine on the starter. Good news, it's not seized and spun easily. I hotwired the ignition and ran a hose from the fuel pump to a jerry can, but couldn't get her to fire. There was spark at the coil but not the plugs. The engine service kit I bought had parts for a Lucas distributor, but mine's a Delco, so I couldn't do any more on that side. The carbs were seized, and spent a while with CRC56 freeing off all the linkages, only to find the accelerator pedal itself is seized solid! A pair of Dolomite Sprint 1.75" SUs are on their way, so I couldn't see any point persevering with the Strombergs. The radiator leaked like a seive, but the tanks look OK so a simple recoring should be all that's required.

Another impression. The interior was cleaned thoroughly for shipment (thank you Australian Quarantine) so it's not completely disgusting, but this car has spent years sitting in the sun. The seat foam is crumbly (high backed recliners, the best and still very comfortable), the steering wheel is falling apart, the dash foam is history... she smells like a barn find, dry, dusty and dessicated, and everything inside is dirty. The hinges, pivots and locks are dry and stiff (more CRC!). But the view down the long bonnet is the same as I remember from my only other GT6 experience, driving a white Mk1 on a grasskhana. She was worth the expense and the wait.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The GT6 arrives

Last month I bought a GT6 Mk3, sight unseen, through eBay. The problem was that it was three states away in Adelaide. However, one of our contractors regularly moves graders and bulldozers around the country, so I asked him if he'd have room to bring it north. He agreed, so I'll say it here - Ross Yendle, you're a star!

The car arrived today. I knew from phone calls roughly when it would arrive, so a mate and I headed out to the main highway to meet it and follow it into town. We gave him directions via two-way to a local freight depot where we could unload the car - it wasn't on the part of the trailer with ramps.

Unloading was a bit nerve-wracking, despite everyone's claims that they'd done that sort of thing heaps of times. It worked - not a scrape or bend underneath - but I hope we don't need to do it again.

From the freight depot it was a quick tow home, via a petrol station to pump up the almost flat tyres. With only a handbrake to slow down, it was an interesting ride. 30mph feels fast when your bum's so close to the road, and with a host of rattles, vibrations and road noise coming through the floor, it was pretty agricultural.

Tomorrow the car will get its first wash in years, and I'll go over it carefully to work out what's missing, broken, bent and worn out. One thing there's very little of, though - rust.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Trim and fit

Waiting when I returned from the Blue Mountains was a package from Newton Commercial. It contained two new 13/60 door trims, boot carpet, and a red carpet set for the V8.

The door trims are 'Stag Grain', and are frankly better quality than the factory trim. When I repainted the Herald I replaced the manky and warped original panels with some better Shadow Blue trims, repainted black. They were OK, but always on the list of things to replace. The new ones are perfect.

I also replaced the left hand door's window channel. This required finding some (almost) flat steel rivets and attaching the old channel's brackets to the new channel. The hard part was finding steel rivets in an Outback mining town...

At the same time, I bought a new Herald boot carpet and wheel cover. I still need to fit the domes and jack restraining strap, and will need to buy a dome popper tool.

The last part of the package was a Matador Red carpet set for the V8 coupe. One of the first things I bought for the 13/60 when I started restoring it was an early Newton Commercial black moulded carpet set, and they've survived extraordinarily well. Comparing the old and new carpets, it's obvious that Newtons have developed their product over the years. The new carpets are more intricately moulded, and also thinner. Possibly their new press can't accommodate the old 1/2" thick material? I'm sure the new carpets will fit perfectly, but the thinner backing material may not reduce cabin noise as efficiently as the older set.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Newcastle and the Blue Mountains

January's adventure was south to New South Wales to visit my friend Katie. First stop Newcastle, the second settlement in Australia and named after the UK's Newcastle because of the coal deposits upstream. The sunsets are taken from Anna Bay, just north of the port.

After Newcastle we took the train south to Sydney - a much nicer way to travel than driving in. The next day I got out from under her feet and headed inland to the Blue Mountains. The term 'mountain' is a bit misleading, as it's really a sandstone plateau dissected by rivers to form huge gorges. I stayed in Katoomba, on the edge of a valley overlooking the Three Sisters. These spectacular eroded rock pillars are one of the most photographed landmarks in Australia, along with the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays, the Seven Apostles and Uluru / Ayers Rock.

The Blue Mountains are also home to the Jenolan Caves. I toured the Lucas Cave, and there are more waiting for next time (there's too much to see for one visit). There's a Scenic Centre at Katoomba with a steep traintrack into the valley, so tourists can explore the forest without too much exercise. I did several walks around the tops and bases of the cliffs - the Giant Stairway up one of the three Sisters is very well named (ouch my poor calves).

Between the scenery and catching up, it was a damn good trip.

Oh, and the GT6 is somewhere between Adelaide and here. The vendor mailed me the dash plaque I thought had fallen off, so I have one bit already!