Lots of progress over the last couple of months now as Warwick finished up a long term project that was in front of mine. All the panels have now been gapped. Lining all the doors up was a bit of an ordeal as they don’t fit perfectly across the top and bottom. I suspect they never did. The compromise is getting all the vertical gaps perfect and making sure that the stainless trim will run perfectly down the horizontal. One of the back doors needed to be opened at the seam and re-welded to stretch it a few mm. Again, all the work has been finished in lead. The boot gaps are perfect but in the process a crack in the frame at the rear exhaust mount was discovered. In order to fix this the frame cut to be cut open, straightened, welded and a new captive nut welded in. The bonnet was a lot trickier as it was too tight across the front. To fix this Warwick split the front passenger guard so that he could widen the front end the few mm it needed. The final rust repair that the car is getting is the bonnet. They rust across the front as moisture runs down the curved bonnet and sits in the bracing at the front. A few minor spots turned into big holes when sandblasted, highlighting why blasting is such a good thing on these old cars. Warwick is concerned that the rust is under the bracing and will return so he is going to unpick the bonnet, repair any rust under the bracing, clean up inside the bracing and treat it so that rust never returns to this vulnerable panel. It’s amazing watching this craftsman work.
A while ago I sent my gauges off to Geoff at Classic Restoration. I needed the tacho converted to negative earth as I am running electronic ignition and want to add a hidden 12 volt plug. At the same time I thought it would be good to have Geoff look at the rest of the gauges. Good thing I did as the speedo was stuffed. I have attached Geoff’s description of the work completed.
It’s amazing how much time you can spend getting the little things right. Some time ago I had pulled apart my handbrake mechanism and had the housing sandblasted and powder coated. When I went to put it back together again I realised that the original mechanism was broken. So I sourced another under dash handbrake. When it arrived I realised that the handle was metal, whereas my original was plastic. Other than that they were identical. This turned out to be a blessing as I was able to restore the handle. I sanded it back and painted it up gloss black. I also sanded back the linkage and gave it a coat of silver as it’s not possible to re-anodize the end as it is fitted to the cable. The lever was sanded with fine wet and dry to remove scratches and discolouring and polished to bring back some shine. With everything dry I fitted it up to the previously powder coated original housing. A new rubber grommet was installed as the original had hardened and tore when removing from the car. The rubber grommet was actually one of the harder to source items on the build, eventually I found it on eBay UK.
Have been cracking on with lots of little jobs in preparation for getting the car back soon. Completed building up the diff. Fitted up a new bias strap for the rear handbrake mechanism. The old one was pretty much stuffed so I drilled out the rivets and disassembled the brackets on each end. Sanded them and painted them with etch and then gloss black engine paint. Finally I bolted up a new replacement rubber piece that I bought from the UK Owners Club. Looks really good fitted. You can buy replacements that look close to the original but they are $70 and while this one is accurate but not quite concourse, I’m pretty happy as it only cost about $5. Installed a new rubber bush for the handbrake lever, greased it up and installed my bias bar, that has been powder coated, with new nuts and washers. I had new brake lines made up a while ago as a copy of my old brake lines. The back one across the diff has some bends in it which I’m not really sure why they are there. I copied how they were bent when I took them out but I think I’ll get a new one made after I’ve put it in the car as I think I can get it a bit neater. I’m also missing the clevis pin that holds the brake bar in so will order a new one shortly. A couple of areas need a touch up with some black paint but really it’s all as good as new now.
So, I finally got round to completing the rear brakes. Was a bit of fiddling around getting springs back on and a fair bit of sanding out of holes to remove paint and powder coating but everything appears to be operating as it should. I’m not sure how the self adjusting mechanism works, I guess I’ll find out the first time I go to stop!
Dropped in to Warwick’s on the weekend to check on the progress of the body work. Warwick has been busy and all the rust repairs have been completed and the new panels from Ex-pressed fitted. A couple were a good fit but most required a fair bit of fettling to fit well with some of the curves incorrect or length not quite right. Warwick has also gapped the front doors and they look absolutely spot on. This car will certainly have better gaps than Ford ever managed from the factory and a lot of work has gone into extending some of the panels and shortening others to get them perfect. All the joins have been welded and lead filled. I don’t think there are many panel shops still around that would lead fill but the result will be a car that should still look terrific for decades to come without the fear of rust bubbling to the surface.
Started building up the rear brakes on the diff. Was a bit annoyed that when I pulled all my brake parts out that the Cortina Club had sent me one correct and one incorrect rear brake cylinder so I could only build up one side. Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos of the brakes when I pulled them apart so it took a bit of fiddling around at first as it’s been a long time since I built some rear drum brakes. Eventually things fell into place and I just need to order another brake cylinder and the diff will be ready to install when the car arrives for assembly