Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Finally some luck came my way! I was having a look on ebay when I came across this set of 6x13 Wolfrace slotmags going for just £80. Should be absolutely perfect fit on the Spitfire and they're already fitted with 4 Yokohama Advan A032R tyres. Perfect for the type of driving I've got in mind!

I should be returning to the UK at the end of this month and I plan to get the spitfire drivable again in the short time I'm at home. Bleeding the brakes and refurbing and fitting the wheels are my number one jobs.

Here's the picture from the ebay listing. As you can see these are the original Wolfrace wheels with the squarer slots. I was planning to go for the Alleycat slots with the more rounded holes but I eventually decided the squarer holes would suit the car better. I plan to spray the centres black (or possibly anthracite) and polish the rims to a high shine. Can't wait to see how it looks!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Not being in the UK has been a major disadvantage this month! There was a set of Alleycat slot mags (5.5J size) for sale on ebay and they looked to be in decent condition with Pirelli tyres. The guy wanted them collecting though and thats a little difficult with me out of the country! It's a real shame as they would have been ideal for refurbishing and fitting to my car. Oh well, I'm sure something else will come along!

I've also got my eye on a pair of Halogen headlights with built in sidelights so that I can finally get around to fitting up the US style indicators that 'GT6Steve' sent me over from the US. It seems to be the same light unit as a Mini so I'm just shopping around for the cheapest supplier at the moment but will place an order soon!

Also about to be purchased is another essential for my 'killer' top end rebuild. I'm ordering a set of steel spacers for the rocker shaft from Moss Europe. Should give me a more positive location of the rockers than the springs that are fitted as standard. The spacer set is a bargain at around £12 but plus the postage and VAT is more like £22. Obviously VAT isn't their fault but that makes the postage the best part of £8. Seriously, how do these companies get away with it?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Valve Caps

I'm still really busy flying planes at the minute but I've still managed to fit in some shopping for Triumph parts!

I have been meaning to do some more work on the top end of my engine for some time now and my new 'killer' cylinder head is just the excuse I need to do it! Theres no point in putting so much effort into modding a cylinder head only to build it up with the standard Spitfire 1500 rocker gear!

I'm going to keep the standard rocker shaft (although obviously I'll replace it if it's knackered!) and either use polished standard rockers or roller rockers from TSI Imported Auto along with a TriumphTune (Moss Europe) rocker spacer kit to more positively locate the rockers over the valves. I've just bought these alloy valve caps from ANG Triumph. I'm not sure how much difference they'll make and if they aren't sufficiently strong they could cause an expensive mess! Apparently they are half the weight of the standard steel caps though so I'm going to reserve judgement on them till I'm back in the UK and can check them out myself. I'll probably lighten my cam followers and fit tubular pushrods and call the job a good 'un!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

More future mods!

Okay, so here I am posting after saying that I wouldn't be adding anything to this blog for at least 6 months! I have a fair bit of spare time and I thought I'd use it to introduce some of my future plans for the car by outlining just a couple of future mods per month! Here are this months 2 mods then!

I need to get my bonnet sorted because the inner wheelarch panels are rusted to bits and I'll probably loose the seam that seperates the bonnet and front wing panel. I'd want to get it seam welded properly of course rather than just bunging it up with filler so I can get it looking like this photo I copied off US Ebay of a rather nice racing GT6!

I've also been thinking about what wheels to go for. On the Spitfire the choice basically comes down to mililite style wheels, Revolutions, wider Dunlop steels or 'slot mag' type wheels. Minilite style wheels very in quality and in my opinion the only decent looking brands are Minilite, Superlite and the Compomotive ML's. Trouble is though the minilite style wheel has been done to death on just about every classic car ever made and I want a different look for mine!

So that leaves a choice between 5.5J Dunlops steels, Revolutions and Wolfrace slot mags. I like the 4 spoke Revolutions on GT6's and I think they look good on early Spitfires but I dont think they suit the later Spitfires very well. They look a bit too open for my tastes whilst the 5 spoke versions are super rare and almost certainly out of my price bracket even if I could find some!

Dunlop 5.5J's are nice and wide but they look pretty much the same and I really fancy a change. So that leaves just 'slot mags' which I always thought looked cheesy on Triumphs, but that was until I saw this photo on the Club Triumph messageboard!

With the centres painted black and the rims cut and polished I think these look absolutely great. Different and with more than a hint of drag racer style, I've almost certainly made my mind up to get some of these, paint them up and try them out on my car to see how they look! I think these are made by Alleycat because the Wolfrace ones seem to have slightly squarer holes so I'll be on the lookout on ebay as soon as I get back to the UK!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Gone till November!

Yes thats right there will be no more updates on this blog for a while I'm afraid! The primary reason being that I'm on the other side of the world training to be an Airline Pilot! I'm based in Hamilton, New Zealand and currently doing my PPL flying having passed all the written exams!

I've just started work on my ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot Licence) exams and should be back in the UK in November to take the exams at Gatwick. In the mean time here are a few pics of one of the aircraft I'm flying. Its an Alpha 160A and it makes 160HP from an unbelievably unstressed 8 litre engine at 2700RPM! It cruises at 127KTS which is just shy of 150MPH!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Brake Lines

I've been cracking on with the Spitfire a lot recently and I'm not doing too badly! The new master cylinders (both from Wilwood) are in and new braided brake and clutch hoses are made up and fitted.

Fitting braided hoses between the clutch slave and master is a good idea because there is a lot of vibration between their mounting points. Its no better than normal brake pipe between the brake master and the union but it looks cool and can be removed more easily! It certainly isn't any worse!

Anyway, in order to do this to your own car all you need to do is follow these easy steps!
  1. Get hold of about 3 metres of Euroquip brake hose (Rally Design part number EURO600) and four 3/8 x 24 UNF convex brake hose ends (Rally Design part number RD1500). If you've got Wilwood masters then you need to get two of those and two of part number RD1504 and use them with the supplied adaptors.

  2. What you then do is measure the hose out and cut it at the correct length. I used a junior hacksaw with a fine blade for cutting and it was pretty straightforward. A good tip is to wrap the hose in tape and cut through it to keep the braid from fraying everywhere.

  3. Now take apart the end connectors. You will have three peices - the bit that screws into the union, a brass olive and female threaded finisher that attaches it all together.

  4. Push the finisher onto the hose (you'll kick yourself if you forget this stage when it's the second connector you're attaching!)

  5. Now you're aiming to gently ease back the braiding around the end of the hose just enough to persuade the olive to go on the hose. I found this was relatively easy if you grab the end of the hose with the olive on and push it hard into the workbench. Make sure the olive is on the end of the hose as far as it can go!

  6. Now insert the hose onto the back of the threaded peice and make sure its pushed on firmly.

  7. Now pull the finisher down the hose and use it to lock it all together. Shouldn't need to be mega stupidly tight but it does need to crush the olive and keep it all locked together.

  8. Repeat as many times as needed.

  9. Check for leaks!

So there we have it - quite an easy and satisfying job. Just watch for the sharp ends of the braid cutting your fingers up as they can be really sharp.

Other jobs I've done include refitting the front quater valance I removed and resprayed earlier along with it's light unit and stripping out most of the interior to get at the clutch slave cylinder which I now need to bleed. The brakes are now done apart from the master cylinder reservoir. I have bought a used girling cylinder from Ebay and will use the reservoir from that - an idea I got from Club Triumph forum user '2 litre e'!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Late Braking News!

I've not been doing much on the car recently due to work, illness and the fact that I've been busy preparing to go to New Zealand to learn to fly planes in May! I'm frantically trying to get the car sorted so that I can at least have a few drives in it before I go off.

I have finally finished prepping the area and painting it and have now fitted the clutch pedal. I will do the brake pedal when I have suceeded in finding the pivot pin! I also need to cut down the piston pin on the Wilwood clutch master cylinder and fit the clevis pin through the pedal. I am currently waiting for payday so that I can buy a matching brake master cylinder and set them up together so the pedals are in the normal positions.

This is how it's looking so far. The paint looks much nicer in this picture than it does in real life! All that remains to do now is to strap the wiper motor back down, reconnect the choke cable and the accelerator cable and to sort out some stainless braided lines for the brake and clutch!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


I finally got hold of some pedal bushes from 'jimslittleshop' on ebay. These arrived this morning and I fitted them with a carefull series of blows from a large hammer. I protected the bushes with a block of wood so as not to damage them. The pedals were now looking pretty good!

So then I cleaned up a rusty pivot pin and made sure it was good to go. All that remained to do then was to fit it up in the bracket and bang it through with plenty of oil. Once it was through I locked it with some new E rings I bought last time I went to Canleys. I'm still trying to get hold of the brake pivot pin but the clutch assembly is done now!

I also invested some time ripping out some rear speakers that a previous owner had put in the rear cockpit board. These were fixed in with a ridiculous amount of plastic spacers which (together with speakers) weighed the best part of 2kg. I'm not looking to rid my car of speakers forever but I am planning to fit smaller and more discreete ones under the dash somehow. The ones I removed are actually reference quality Infinity speakers so somebody has obviously spent a fair bit of cash on them. I'm hoping to sell them and replace the rear panel with a carefully cut sheet of aluminium. I might even go as far as sealing it like the firewall of a race car!

Speaking of firewalls...I'm still getting on with spraying the bulkhead round the master cylinders but I'm not so tempted to go out in the garage while the weather's still this cold!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

New Master Cylinder

I've been pretty busy since my last post! Firstly I took all my drilled out brackets and a whole lot of other stuff to Lap-Tab in Birmingam and told them to sandblast and powdercoat them. They said it'd take a week but gave me a call a few days later and it was all done!

The credit card also took a beating this week at the online shop of Rally Design. I need new master cylinders for both the brakes and the clutch systems as the old ones were worn out. Thinking they'd be available relatively cheaply I checked at all the major suppliers and couldn't find one cheaper than about £60. I then heard of a company that can resleeve the inside of the cylinder (Past Parts) so I emailed them for a quote thinking this might be the cheapest way to sort it out. How wrong I was! The quote was exactly the same as a new cylinder!

So that left only one option really and that was to buy a Wilwood master cylinder from Rally Design. As this is only £30 it's both a cost and spec improvement over the standard stuff - which is a nice change from normal! I wasn't impressed by the postage charges on their website though - I don't think a flat rate of £8.50 is very good to be honest but they did get it sent out quickly.

I went for the Wilwood integrated reservoir cylinder and I will use it for my clutch as the capacity is pretty small and I would like a bit more 'in reserve' for my brakes. Club Triumph forum user '2litre-e' has a nice looking Wilwood cylinder with an external reservoir so I have posted on the forum inquiring about that!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Finally finished drilling!

I've finally finished all the boring drilling. I've now lost weight from the front grille, grille bracket, battery clamp and both the small and large valance brackets. The last three of these I finished today. I rushed off to the podercoaters to get them sorted this afternoon but when I got there I found they'd all gone home at 12.30! At least there's no more drilling to do!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Lightening Fast!

I had a bit of a rush job on today. I went to Canley Classics this morning to pick up some stuff I needed for the master cylinders. I bought a complete set of mounting bolts, washers and shakeproof washers along with master cylinder gaiters, pivot pins, clips and the pedal pivot E rings. After that I went on to KD Triumph to drop off some wheel embelishers for a mate of Karls that got in touch via the Club Triumph forums. I am clearing my garage out at the moment and have more stuff to give away including a Spitfire 1500 radiator which is available free to anyone who can collect it. It's not the uprated wide type but it works 100%! Get in touch if you want it!

I was also intending to take the master cylinder brackets (and a whole lot of other stuff) into Lap Tab in Birmingham to get them powdercoated. I decided to do it tomorrow instead and spent the evening lightening up a few more bits and peices so they can go off and get coated. Shown below is the brackets that hold the front quater valences on. They are now 20g lighter!

I'm now just left with the smaller quater valance brackets and the battery retaining clamp to drill and then I can relax!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Today I got back to work on the area around the master cylinders. I used a wire cup brush on an angle grinder and also on a drill to clean up the area around the wiper motor and the brake cylinder. This area appears to have been suffering for quite some time and is now quite badly pitted. Fortunatly the steel is still strong and I have no worries about the structural strength of the panel.

Having done my best with the wire brushes, I used Hammerite Rust Remover to sort the remaining rust. I'm not particularly impressed with this slimy green mixture but it seems to work alright and is inexpensive. When its gone I will replace it with the equivalent product from Bilt Hamber Laboratories, which I have heard great things about!

I still have the area around the clutch cylinder to wire brush but I sprayed the rest with primer just to minimise exposure to the air while I finish the rest off. This is how it's looking so far...

Another thing I've been getting on with is the drivers side quater valance. This now just needs flatting down and respraying before abrasive polish and then laquer can be applied. It's looking good so far but I'm not sure how close a match the colour is to the rest of the car!

Continuing the theme of modding the front of the car, I also cut the number plate horizontally so that it is the minimum size allowable by law. This means that there is only 11mm between the top of the letters and the edge of the plate. This gives a slight airflow advantage into the radiator because the area of the plate is reduced by 40 square cm. I think it looks better as well and saves 15g!

Finally, it also occured to me that I havent yet shown a picture of the T handle that I have fitted to the interior. This will eventually be used to activate a plumbed in fire extinguisher system but for the time being the cable remains curled up in the glovebox. I had initially planned to mount this in the dash but I made up a braket and mounted it just under the dash on the passenger side where the driver can reach it as well!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

More Weight Saving!

Finally got around to loosing some weight out of the boot! At some time in it's life my car had been fitted with carpet covered hardboard on either side of the boot. Over the years this had gone soggy and nasty along with the black vinyl covering the wheel arches. 2 minutes work to rip it all out and a weight saving of 1.5kg for absolutely nothing!

Amusingly there was also a boot light fitted on the right hand side panel that had been fitted in the past and had never worked. On removing the panel I discovered no bulb and loose wires just hanging down the back!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Quater Valances

I just couldn't bring myself to fit the nice new indicators into the shonky old valances that appeared to have been badly painted with the wrong colour paint! So off came the drivers side to start with and out came the 4 bolts that were holding it on along with the bumper attachment. I then detached the old indicator electrical connections and pulled the whole thing free of the car!

So, after dealing with a seized screw retaining the indicators I was left with just the metalwork. I fired up the angle grinder and stripped the paint off using a wire cup brush. For the edges and finer stuff I used a smaller wire brush in a drill. The reason for the awful cracked paint became pretty clear. It seems that the valance had been crudely painted black before getting a waxy stonechip style coat and then finally a colour coat on top. Naturally a waxy coat like that isn't the perfect base for a colour coat!

When it was in bare metal I noticed a few little knocks that needed fillering so I protected the bare metal with U-Pol Acid primer before giving a few spots a skim of filler. I then gave those areas a good wet and drying afterwards until the areas were super smooth (no perceivable ridge between filler and bare metal). I then recoated with etch primer to give 2 nice and thin coats over the area and when that had dried I smoothed it with fine wet and dry paper and gave it all 2 coats of zinc primer followed by, you guessed it, more wet and dry rubdowns! At that stage it was looking like much better! Check out the spot welds - I could have filled and smoothed them but I like them original!

So I left that to dry overnight and started on it again the next morning. First thing I did was give it a couple of thin coats of regular primer. The zinc stuff isn't very smooth and this helps to give the colour coats a smoother finish. More flatting back followed that and then I could finally get on to the colour! One coat of Tahiti Blue (from a Halfords spray can) and it was now looking like this!

More news next time!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

More Brackets!

Not much to report recently. Still looking after my grandma and making best use of my grandads workshop before he comes out of hospital! Spent the past few days lightening a few things. I know it's not going to make a noticable difference but I do want to have a bit of underbonnet wow factor! My favourite mod so far has to be the two small holes in the radiator cap 'ears'!

Monday, January 29, 2007


So I've been pretty bored over the last few weeks and have devoted a fair bit of spare time to making up a pair of brackets to hold my CD Changer in the boot. I know that it's heavy and that I really should do without for the benefit of performance but it's still a car I use on the road and I like having a wide range of CD's to choose from!

So I made them from 1mm steel and drilled them to fit the CD changer before bending them in a vice and spraying them with zinc primer, silver wheel paint and then lacquer. I will mount this on the panel inside the boot on the left hand side (to offset the drivers weight and as low as possible to keep the centre of gravity low!)

While I was there I also gave the wiper bracket a lick of the same paints. I know it's getting more publicity than it really deserves but here we go with a picture!

Also while I had the drill out I reduced the weight of the overengineered bracket that attaches to the chassis to the front and holds the plastic grill on. I may well drill out the horizontal parts of the grill in the future. Believe me I have a lot of time on my hands!

And finally a picture of the indicators. This was just a test fitting to see how they would look on the front of the car. Readers opinions are most welcome but I personally think they look great. The US light units are lighter than the standard ones, give me bigger indicators and will raise the sidelights up into the headlights. Hopefully this will mean more people will see me and should make driving it a bit safer!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Viva Las Vegas!

I always try and do different things with my Spitfire and to do modifications that most people maybe wouldn't think of! One of the ideas I had whilst looking through Custom Car Magazine is to change the look of the front of the car by removing the 'white and amber' lights that are under the headlights and replacing them with the 'US spec' all amber models. Of course that would leave me without pilot (side) lights, so in order to get those back I'm going to change the headlights to the type that include sidelights!

Halogen conversions with the sidelights built in are very common from all sorts of places in the UK because they are the same fitting as minis but the 'US spec' indicator is all but impossible to come by in the UK. Thats where I had a bit of help from GT6 Steve in the US, who very generously gave me a set for free and all I had to pay was the postage from Las Vegas. The postage was pretty hefty but worth it for a part that you just can't find in this country. Believe it or not I had been looking for 9 months! Quite some time for a part that I thought would be shipped over with all those 'rust free' US bodyshells and available for peanuts!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Wiper Motor Bracket

I've recently been spending a lot of time looking after my Grandma while my Grandad's been in hospital so I've spent the time making the best use of Grandads workshop. Inkeeping with my lightweight theme (and whilst I had it off to strip the bulkhead) I whizzed up this lightweight wiper motor strap (15g). Okay so it only saves a few grammes but it looks pretty neat!

There is also good news on the clutch pedal. I dropped it into a small garage in Caldmore where the chap it going to weld up the hole so I can redrill it. Should save me fractions of a second with every gearshift!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Clutch Pedal

Trouble always seems to come in threes and my Spitfire is no exception! I pulled back the rubber gaiter on the clutch master cylinder and was greeted by the unmistakable slimy feel of brake fluid. It seems the clutch cylinder had been leaking as badly (if not worse) than the brake cylinder. All this leaking fluid had stripped the paint off the bulkhead and the clutch pedal, which now needs repainting.

As I was cleaning up the clutch pedal I spotted that the hole near the top was worn oval by the pin that links it to the master cylinder! You can see in the photo how years of use have worn the hole out of shape. This is a setback as I now need to find someone who can weld the hole up so that I can redrill it and refit the link pin. At least it explains why the clutch pedal was so crap though!

I've also been thinking of upgrading both master cylinders rather than getting straight replacements for them as Wilwood do decent ones that are a straightforward fit and are a bit cheaper than most of the Girling ones I've seen about. This is getting expensive though and the budget is tight so we will have to see. While the cylinders are off I want to repaint the bulkhead, get the brackets powdercoated and upgrade the lines to braided hose.

This is as well as pulling the engine out and replacing the rear oil seal and the clutch and upgrading the rear engine plate to the alloy one I purchased from Davesideways. Sadly though the engine plate is lost in the post at the moment and I haven't had much luck finding an engine crane to borrow! At least the clutch I bought of ebay has shown up. Another bargain - a genuine AP clutch plate for just £6!