Monday, August 16, 2010

Got the blues (or is it greens?)

One of the biggest parts of a car's restoration, and one that has a huge impact on its finished appearance, is the paint job. Car painting is one of those jobs where skill, practice and experience are all-important. I painted my red Herald 13/60 and my Grandfather's Avenger, and although the results in both cases are OK, they're not exactly show quality. Both have orange peel, and when the Australian authorities water blasted the Herald upon import, a small section of paint came away!

This time, I decided to stump up the cash, and get the GT6 painted in 2-pack by a professional. To keep costs down I've spent the last few weeks stripping all the paint off myself. It's a slow, painstaking but oddly satisfying job - that way I get to see all the old dents and repairs, and in a funny way it's a bonding process. I can honestly say that I know every square inch and curve of the car now, from its slightly squished nose to rounded hips and tapering tail, having stripped and sanded from one end to the other.

One use for a mine-spec V8 Landcruiser!

This morning I winched the bare, gleaming silver shell onto a trailer and towed it to the painter, 200km away in Mackay. We stopped a few times to check the ropes, and I was thankful Triumph provided tie-down points at the back of the chassis - very convenient :-) I've given the painter a list of all the repairs required, parts like the replacement floorpan and dashboard frame to weld in, and a touch-up pot of Mallard (106) to match the paint to. The next time I see it, it should be blue, or green. Whatever Mallard is!

And now I'm left with an empty garage for at least the next month :-(

Saturday, August 07, 2010

It looks like a car again!

A couple of hours work this morning saw the body tub refitted to the chassis. It took a while to get all the rubber washers in place between the chassis and tub, but with the aid of a ratchet tie-down all the holes lined up perfectly.

When I rebuilt my Herald I solid-mounted the shell to the chassis, having read that it increased the car's rigidity. The only effect I could see was to make the body creak over uneven surfaces. One day I'll take the wee red monster apart again and do it properly.

The next step will be to remove the last of the paint and filler before it goes to the panel shop, possibly as early as next week. Now I can roll it in and out of the garage, it'll only take a few hours to get it completely clean using a wire brush on an angle grinder. The bonnet will take longer, as stripping the underside back to bare metal looks like a real pain, especially in the front corners. Fortunately it's so dry here in the winter that bare steel doesn't seem to rust, even after months exposed to the air. A change from New Zealand!

Friday, August 06, 2010


The GT6 finally has a rolling chassis, and I had fun this morning pushing it around in the sun for photos.

The 'tail' is the breather hose for the diff, which will connect to an overflow reservoir under the boot boards. Looks kinds cute though :-)

One tweak fitted last night is a pair of Canley Classics' top wishbones, to try and pull the tops of the wheels in and reduce the need for flaring the front arches (we'll see how much difference they make). The wishbones' welding looks neat, they're well powdercoated, and the ball joints are able to accommodate the full range of suspension travel. Hopefully the certifier will like them too... The front camber has been set to 1.5 degrees negative at a target ride height of 115mm clearance under the front chassis rail, the same as my Herald.

The body will be refitted tonight. Should be easier than a Herald, as it doesn't have a separate bulkhead to align.