Thursday, December 09, 2004

Dashboard Confessional

Yes, I'm got myself involved with another job that didn't really need doing. The varnish and veneer on the dashboard was flaking off and it looked terrible, particularly on the passenger side. So, having laughed at the prices charged by the TSSC (£185 to you, sir!) I set about reveneering the dash myself.

I've always thought Spitfires just look plain wrong with burr walnut dashes (its a sports car for gods sake, not an Rolls Royce!) so I set out to find something that looked similar to the original. The closest match was some Brazilian mahogany from Vale Veneers ( so I ordered enough to do the whole dash for a £7.20. After buggering up a number of times and spending another £7.20 the dash was looking good but required sanding that seemed to go on forever!

I was planning to include a T pull for a fire extinguisher system (to be added at a later date) where the cigar lighter is on later Spitfires. I didn't have the balls to drill into the newly finished dashboard though, so I made up an aluminium bracket to mount it under the dash on the passenger side (where it will be out of the way!) although I haven't fitted it yet.

This last photo shows the dash up close. I went to a lot of effort to make sure the grain flowed perfectly through all of the panels and it seems to have paid off!

Friday, December 03, 2004

Ebay Bargains!

While the car was undrivable I sensibly decided to make more work for myself by rebuilding the twin SU Carbs. I was a bit nervous about taking it all apart but soon made myself quite unpopular in my house at Uni by making it smell of petrol and carb cleaner. I did it one carb at a time and used plenty of diagrams to avoid making mistakes. I bought all the gaskets I needed and some solid throttle discs (with no over-run valve) from Canleys as its important to use genuine SU parts and I didn't want any problems later. The throttle shafts were okay but are on my list of things to replace in the near future.

After removing the inlet manifold I discovered the water pipes were knackered and so I bought a replacement from the TSSC ( with stainless pipes. A few bits of 13mm silicon hose, some braided fuel hose ( and some K&N's of Ebay and the job was done. The K&N filters were bargain of the decade because the owner didn't know what they would fit! I got them for just £12!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Suspension Rebuild

Having had a few months of driving the car about I am beginning to notice that the Spitfire clunks and clanks its way over the lumps and bumps in the road and that there is quite a bit of slack in the steering. The causes were obvious after poking around under the bonnet for a couple of minutes. ALL the bushes I could see were powdery and breaking apart and the steering ball joints had a lot of slop in them. On closer inspection the brake calipers didn't look too clever either because the previous owner had broken the bleed nipples off and just left them. This rebuild was quickly getting out of hand but I coudn't leave it having noticed how bad it was! I stripped off all the suspension, radiator and anti roll bar. I thought I might as well paint the chassis while the suspension was off and began the slow process of getting all the oil, Dinitrol and rust (and even some paint!) off the chassis.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Chassis Crack

Rather annoyingly I've discovered that the chassis has an annoyingly small stress crack by the hole where the passenger side lower wishbone mounts. Apparently its common on cars that have had a trunnion fail in the past. My first thought was that it might have been caused by the device the AA used to tow me home when the engine failed, but there's no way to prove it either way. Only one thing for it.....spray over it for now and get it seen to professionally later.