Monday, November 15, 2010

Big Decisions!

Over the last few months I've come to the inescapable conclusion that the time has come to properly restore my car! The last 7 years have taught me a lot about Triumph Spitfires - how they work, why they don't and, above all, the importance of top quality workmanship! Whenever I've had a job to do I've always tried to do it to the best of my abilities regardless of the time taken or, at times, the financial cost! The results of my labour is a car that is pretty much mechanically sorted. The bodywork however, is another kettle of fish. I've had a few patches welded on the floorpan in the past and needed a few more before the RBRR. This got me thinking - if I don't restore it soon it might deteriorate to the point where it's not worth doing.

I think that you basically seem to need a combination of four things to restore a car. Those four things are time, money, skills and space! When it comes to money and time, like everyone, I could do with more of both but I hope to keep the costs down by doing a lot of work myself. I also have the advantage that all the mechanical stuff is done already so I won't have the costs of that to factor in. In terms of skills, I'm going to need to learn how to MIG weld and I'm also going to have to get better at bodywork. There is really no getting away from that, those are essential! I've made a fairly serious investment along those lines but I'll discuss that another time!

In terms of space, I've really lucked out! My grandparents house is only a mile from my house and has a sizable double garage with a workshop at the back. It's full of junk but should be just fine once I've cleared it out. It has a special significance for me as well as I have many happy memories of the projects my grandad and I built in there before his death last year. Back in the 60's it was also used to build an Austin 7 special so I'm hoping it will bode well for my car! Here are a few pictures of my car settling in...


I've just started stripping it down. The front bumper, lights, spoiler, overiders and number plates are all removed and boxed up in my workshop. It begins...

3 comments:

Richard Baines said...

Sounds really exciting! Definitely looking forward to reading about your progress with the resto.

For your particular car you'd probably find a lot of value comparing notes with the one at Gaydon as being a V they're probably quite close in build dates. Little details (like fit and finish of sealing rubbers when a hardtop is used) seem to have been lost over time, I noticed when I saw that car that the A post and hardtop seals actually overlapped which mine have never done. Just the 'little touches' like that really make it feel like a new Spitfire.

Don said...

Looks like you have a good start going. I'm at a similar point with my Spitfire after 18 years. Bodywork is reasonably sound, so I'll focus on the interior first. I've got the time and many of the skills, some of the money and no space, so I guess I'll be working outside for most of it, though that isn't anything new. Fortunately, North Carolina winters are reasonably mild. I'll be following along with interest,
Don Wankel

Richard Baines said...

lol just realised I'm talking absolute shit, your car is an R reg. Wonder why I assumed it was a V? Still, the Gaydon car is an interesting one.