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Nick & Chris's Gt6 Mk 3

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With Chris's Spitfire more or less done and in daily use, thought's move on to the GT6 that has been lurking in our car port for several months.


This car came from Dan Kelly who had stripped the body and made a start on the welding, but had taken the difficult decision to move it on having found that life was getting in the way!  Thanks for the opportunity Dan!


It is an early-ish GT6 Mk3, with rotoflex, in white.  It was last on the road in about 1990.  It's "medium crusty".




Good parts:

- The main tub is not that bad rust-wise.  Most of the floors are there and even most of the sills with only a couple of minor patches.  Drivers side (RH) will need a sill for sure.  Passenger side, maybe not, though it will need a strip of floor.

- It seems very complete and has overdrive

- Chassis seems ok though covered in underseal.  Looks like hinge boxes have been replace before.

- Tailgate good


Less good:

- Usual Mk3 grot at the front of the roof

- Screen pillars also have been quite bad though Dan has already had a good go at these

- Most worrying is evidence of rear-end impact damage and fairly untalented repair at some point in the fairly distant past.



- 2000 saloon engine fitted according to engine no. and hacked off mounts on front plate.

- Doors horribly rusty

- Bonnet pretty rusty


First job is to bolt the tub back on and get everything lined up and fitting properly so we can brace for sill and floor repairs


Much more to come....



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But you haven't finished the Vitesse estate yet.......?  Or did I miss something?  :P


I've got one of those too - not so old but it leaks oil like an old Audi (MUCH worse than an old Triumph!).  So I was trying to fix the rocker cover gasket so I could actually cut the grass with it without all the oil escaping.  Rocker cover gasket only available as part of a head set - which costs more than the head set for a Triumph.......  Not even Honda, just a nasty Chinese (or American) copy of one.  Fixed (I hope) by throwing the gasket away and using good quality silicone.



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Today's disappointment is finding more evidence of accident damage on the right hand side which includes a newer front wing (poorly fitted), sill (wrong shape, lots of filler and a bent main chassis rail at the point where the RH lower wishbone rear mount is.   Would possibly straighten, but prefer to find another chassis I think.....  Not the end of the world at this point.


Initial build will probably be fairly standard though final engine and transmission spec might well depend on how knackered they are now!  I do have another W58 in stock though not sure I can be bothered to create another bellhousing.



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We knew the front edge of the roof/screen surround was ugly......




But perhaps not how ugly the screen surround itself was.....


unholy mix of braze, random repair sections and filler, thickly applied.


Coming off



Really ugly!


Donor victim being sized up



Donor section being stitched in.  There will be no lip.  Difficult to replicate and creator of drag, wind-noise and a rot-trap.



Been looking closer at the rear end of the tub too, above the light panel. Oh man........!



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  • 1 month later...

Ok then.....


Chris carefully stitched the rest of the front edge back together, bit by bit.  


Welded and ground back



We then removed the inner support panel as it was also rather frilly.  You can see why they rot up there - no paint!



I then decided that filler was not good enough and I would have to learn to lead-load.  This wasn't really a beginners task,



but it didn't go too badly.  Will need a thin layer of filler but the weld is sealed with lead from the front



and painted with zinc-rich paint behind



The repaired support panel was then stitched back in.  That's the end of the roof repairs for now.



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Then Chris went away for a holiday (using his Spitfire as transport  :) ) leaving me scratching around for jobs within my skill range.


We're going to need a drivers door as a reference point for the sill replacement and rear wing fitment - and the door that came with the car wasn't great with a row of holes along the bottom edge...... 


......making it worthless as a guide to sill position


So I removed the skin.  This is not the original door being originally french blue so is presumably another result of the "great impact".  The shell wasn't that bad being fairly sound in the upper corners (which are difficult to fix) but did need most of the bottom replacing.  I must be learning too as it came out pretty well (though I say so myself)





and I was able to fit the NOS (cheap but somewhat surface-rusty) door skin so that when CHris came back we were able to bolt the body down to the chassis properly, fit the bonnet and trial fit the new wing (proper 25 YO BL/Rover stickered panel) with my newly skinned door.


The results were encouraging.



All within the bounds of adjustability.  No major distortion to worry about.


What did show up though was that the bonnet was so rusty around the frame attachment points in the nose we had no control over how it sat.

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the front bonnet corners both looked like this.  Rotten and cracked through,



The nose of the top panel didn't look too clever either



New panels were made, including the headlamp support panel on the RH side



and grafted in.  He then repaired the nose before removing the inner support panel.  The plan had been to make a new one of these too but in fact it was good enough to repair and refit.  Chris also spent a long time boxing the arches, repairing the arch corners and the rear top edge (where it meets the bulkhead), which had rotted along the bracing strip.


I need to take some pics of this......


He also cut out the top front corner of the RH wing as it was hopelessly out of shape having been thumped quite hard at some point and well creased, then teased back into some semblance of shape with heat and a big hammer.  We couldn't get it to fit the contours of the headlamp cowl so it was chopped out.....


.... a repair section made......


....welded in and ground back.


Bonnet was then refitted to make sure that everything could be aligned and happily it still could and we now had control of the bonnet position too.

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That meant it was sill-time.  The RH sill was actually pretty solid but the edge of the floor was not.  The sill was also a poor fit and proved to have masses of filler in it.  The guy who fitted it may have been a crap welder but he was a Bondo sculptor of some talent.



In this pic you get some idea of the filler thicknesses applied and also the rather good looking (but entirely fictional) sill to A pillar seam



and again


At this point the crude previous repairs to the base of the A-pillar can be seen with rust (though no holes).



After this the remains of the panel were removed with a good tug, such was the weld quality.......  Note that roof or no roof, we still fitted a door brace.



Repairs were then made to the edge of the floor (only the narrow strip needed, the floors are really good), the base of the B-pillar and the base of the A pillar.  We could perhaps have left the inner sill but as well as needing rust repair along it's bottom edge it was also somewhat wrinkled and creased ahead of the cross-member by accident damage.  This damage doesn't extend into the floor pan though so this repair removes the last signs of it.


Then time to offer all panels up again.....



Not bad...... so inner and centre sections have been welded and the outer sill will be fixed tomorrow.  The wing may get fitted too - or may wait until repairs at the rear are completed.

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Yesterday we took a little road-trip to Tavistock to visit "Tavistock Steve" in his outdoor Triumph part emporium.


A chassis came home with us on the roof of the Sootmonster......






Apparently this looked scary to following traffic as there was a notable lack of tail-gating!




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There's been some repair to the tailgate seal lip.  Apparently we've run out of sander (power-file) belts....... again.




This what the catch support bracket looks like.  I'd like to know what it's supposed to look like though - anyone have any pics?




Rear boot corners had gone missing so new repair sections were made




and welded in.




Then the rear valance was removed to for assessment.  It's not the original and more than a little crusty.  However, it's mostly there and pretty straight (and new ones are expensive) so it'll be fixed and put back one the boot floor is fixed.




The lamp panel will be coming out too as it's also been previous replaced and is barely hanging in there.  Something none-too clever has been done where it joins the deck panel which needs doing properly.  This will be a challenge as the deck panel has been "reshaped" more than once by the looks and has lead on it.....  Lead is not always an indicator of skilled, high quality work apparently (well you did see me put some earlier..... so you already knew that!)







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Having proven everything would fit together the inner and middle sill sections were welded in and given a coat of zinc primer



Then the outer sill was fitted and fully welded.



We then pushed the car out of the garage, turned it round and pushed it back in to make the LH side available for attack.  We had thought this side relatively undamaged.....


..... but this is a section through the front of the rear wing, on the swage line.  It's 9mm thick in total.  About 1.2mm original panel, 4mm of lead and 4mm of filler.


The outer sill was original and almost good enough to leave alone.  However there were some small holes at the front, low down and quite alot of the flange along the bottom had rotted and separated, so off it came.  The middle panel had some holes but the inner was good.  Had to  distress it a bit to separate it from the floor in order to fit a new edge strip.  I seem not to have taken any pics of this as Chris was on a mission and soon ended up with this



There were repairs to the bottom of the the A and B pillars involved but only to the very bottoms.  It's much less rusty than the Spit was.


Then we had to get the wing to fit, which it does without much argument - except that it's a Spitfire wing and needs a fuel filler hole.....


... now sorted.




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We've also spent some time looking at the rear end. I may have mentioned before that it is in a distressed condition.



I spent some time with a hot air gun and removed about a kilo of filler



There's lead under there - 10mm thick in places I reckon, especially along the rear edge.



Also this.....


..... yep, a weld.  It goes right across between the wing seam lines.  Originally we thought it had had a piece of another car welded in - and couldn't work out why they'd apparently put another bent one in.  However, we now think they cut it out to beat it back into shape and then welded it back in.  The puzzle now is why they did such a poor job of straightening it before refitting - it looks like it was placed on a knobbly rock and beaten with another knobbly rock.....



The pic doesn't really show how lumpy it is.......  I'd really like to cut it out and weld another decent panel in instead.  However, having made some enquiries it looks like my chances of finding one are somewhere between a lottery win and growing a tail...


Not sure what to do about it.  I'd rather not leave it as it is as the rear edge is especially ugly and starting to rot again



It's not a simple piece to make though.......  The way Chris is cracking on with the rest though - I'm going to have to make a decision fairly soon!



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  • 1 month later...

Before he went off to his new life at Plymouth University..... Chris spent some time trying to figure out how to make a repair section for the rear deck.

First we had to try and plot the shape and see how even it really was  (eye said not very) and then try and figure out how to massage the numbers to make something that is even and symetrical.

We came up with this measuring rig.


Took a few passes to get numbers (actually not as easy at it might first appear) and Chris put the numbers in a spreadsheet, proved that it was an odd shape, fiddled with the numbers to try and make it more right and produced this buck


Trouble was, for reason of the basic measuring (we did it wrong) the curvatures were not right......  So he made another, which was better but still not right.  It was also really quite difficult to form the shape over the buck and allowance needed to be made for "spring" - which may be the main reason the second attempt didn't work.


Trouble is, we were fairly convinced the second one was right........ convinced enough to do this


Ahhh..... no going back then!

And then he went off to Plymouth and left my car with the arse torn right out of it's trousers...... :unsure:

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So that left me with a bit of a challenge.  Not least because I've not actually done very much metal work myself in the last couple of projects - just been pointing and grunting.

I did have one advantage though - the light panel had been completely liberated and so could be used as a direct template.  I spent about 45 minutes with the grinder trying to tidy up the top edge of it as it had the remains of the original decking of the donor vehicle plus the "repair" remnants.  Came out reasonably ok.  Will need repair due to rot but not until I've captured it's shape!

Mark centres and clamp sheet to the top edge.  Mark the line on the fresh metal.


Cut along the the line and tidy up


Use the steel as the template and transfer to wood.  This is a nice bit of 18mm ply that used to be a shelf - it even had a bow in it that was really quite close to the shape I wanted, so I encouraged it by packing up the centre and clamping the ends to the bench


Clamp the metal to it, shifted forward 25mm


and tap it down.  I used a rubber mallet and worked from the centre outwards in multiple passes. The vertical curvature meant that as I approached the 90º I started to get some minor rucks forming - but I was happy to see that as it meant I was getting the curvature as part of the first operation.......


So when I put it gently through the shrinker it took the rucks straight out and after a couple of light passes I had this


At this point it is (intentionally) quite over-curved in the vertical, but the horizontal is a spot on match for the lamp panel.  The reason for the over-curve is that I think that when I form the return it will tend to flatten out again....... maybe...... hopefully!

Chris made this tool to form the return


It takes a while to turn over 1.2m of panel edge a few degrees at a time.......


I've not finished yet as it was getting late and I could feel impatience and "consequential cock-up" stalking me.  So I stopped.  Must be learning something in my old age.....

To be continued........


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