Stage Four

Part 1

With the body shell fully refurbished and painted it was time to start putting the car back together.  Of course it was still a mammoth task.  Lots of the trim needed refurbishing or replacing and the main mechanical items needed action.
The chrome work was either replaced or rechromed - for example, the door handles.
The engine had been reconditioned 3,000 miles earlier but prior to the restoration starting, it was apparent that the gearbox and possibly rear axle/diff and prop shaft needed some tlc.
The gearbox and diff were separated from the engine and back axle respectively and sent away to a specialist rebuilder.  The half shafts were also removed and renovated.
Inside the body shell, a brand new headlining was fitted - not a job for the faint hearted!
Once the axle and diff were reunited the whole of the back end running gear was given a lick of paint.
Rather than refitting old bushes or finding new old stock, I decided to buy a full kit of poly bushes.  For "classic" cars you can now get less obtrusive purple/dark blue ones - far less obvious that the bright orange or yellow varieties.

Part 2

Now that the car could sit on its rear wheels again, it was time to reunite it with its engine; gearbox; and front suspension.  All, needless to say, went in from underneath.  With all the main mechanicals back in place, the steering could be fitted and the car lowered onto its own rubber for the first time in many months.  This made it manoeuvrable and meant that instead of working inside the dusty workshop - where the car would become coated in no time - it could be worked on outside in the summer sunshine - yes, we did have a little of that last summer.  The problem now was where I had put all the various accessories and trim to go into the car.   Very little of the original was used with most of the interior trim coming from a donor car whilst new headlamps were fitted and re-chromed and cleaned rear light clusters.  The door cards were re-carded old ones however, the drivers one - with the new door - proved problematic to fit.  Facelift doors have a different clip pattern to pre-facelift ones (and the car had a new facelift door - see earlier in the story).


Part 3

There were various "teething troubles" with re-assembling the car.  One that sticks out - and was late to be "solved" - were the tabs on the front valence to which the grill mounts.  The pre-facelift and facelift cars have different mounting tabs.  Although we were aware of this (we used a new facelift front valence on the car) and thought that we had satisfactorily sorted the problem, it wasn't until the grill was offered up for fitting - after painting - that we discovered we hadn't got it right!
Finally, 10 months after it went into the bodyshop, the car was MOTed and ready to drive out.  Even so, various problems subsequently arose - and are still steadily being sorted.  The keen eyed amongst you will note that some of the fittings under the bonnet still need "restoring".  Some have been done - that bracket to the air filter for example - others will get done in time.
I hope that this restoration story has been of interest and also given those of you out there thinking about starting a project, some insight into what is involved.

     Last Updated: 27 March 2010