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Spitfire Total Rebuild!



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,940 ✭✭✭Bigus

    hella led rear combination lights


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,504 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    sogood wrote: »
    Hi croppy and thanks for the response. I have since gotten a small mig welder and am experimenting with it, getting a feel for it and its' operation.

    So far sogood, although I'm nowhere near ready to start any actual work on the car, still finishing off another project. So many restos, so little time.......

    And of course, keep up the good work!

    I've only started experimenting myself with the MIG welder recently. Just spotting panels on and tacking things together until my neighbour is free to weld it up properly for me. It gives me a bit more freedom in that I can get things mocked up and in place in my own time and then get him to do the proper job on it.

    Its very hard trying to avoid burning holes in what is very thin metal! :rolleyes: But, inevitably holes do appear and then trying to chase them and fill them up! :mad:

    Ah, best left to the expert! :D

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,504 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    Bigus wrote: »
    Whats the rear light plan , I think you should keep them original, but if you're going twin light conversion are there any Ferrari ish retro LED light available instead of the imp type lights ?

    Hi Bigus, many thanks for the links; appreciated!

    I have however since purchased a number of Lucas L691/L692 lamps (the ones previously pictured as seen on Imps, Austin Healey 3000's, some Lotus cars etc) at a car show, all original and all very cheap; cheaper than the new repro versions I was about to buy! ;) Stay tuned and you'll see how I have incorporated them into the rear panel of the car, I didnt just want to plonk them on the flat panel....

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,504 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    So, the boot floor and rear valance!

    Major body work almost at an end, just a few more jobs to tackle!

    ^ Rear valance I suppose wasnt the worse, had some patches, a few holes, holes of filler and some rust for good measure, but, seen as I had a practically new one that was salvaged I decided to rip out the old one and replace with the 'new'

    ^ 'Twould tap out I 'spose!

    ^ Not much to talk about really. The bulk of the old one was chopped out then the spot welds drilled and the new one, after being cleaned up was put in place. Fit was pretty good and as I still had the original rear light panel in place I was pretty sure everything was good! :) Here the new panel can be seen in for a dry test fit.

    ^ Original boot floor; not so good! Again, I suppose with time and effort it could have been saved! It was rusted around the inner arches, had patches and, as can be seen from the pic below......

    ^....the bumper iron bracket came away, along with a section of the floor with just a little wiggle!!

    ^ Luckily however I had a 'new' salvaged boot floor; however, this unfortunately had also been attacked 'chain saw massacre' style with an angle grinder *sigh* to the driver side and was missing a section. But, not to worry.

    ^ Old boot floor cut out, leaving just a lip of the original floor upon which the new floor would sit.

    ^ Dry fit not looking too bad!

    ^ A missing section of the original boot floor lip welded in place. This lip would later be cut back to approx 15mm or so.

    Then, while waiting for the boot floor to be welded in I tackled the driver side wing!

    ^ Given a final coat of rust primer and then the weld areas cleaned back to bare metal.

    ^ Inside of the wing was also given an extra coating of rust primer on the lower sections and then a good dollop of Dinitrol seam sealer around the wheel arch to hopefully create a little bit of a seal between panels. Of course, these can be sealed up later from inside the car.

    ^ Wing spotted on and welder in the boot tacking the floor in place.

    ^ Spun over to get at the underside of the bootfloor and weld it along the lip of the original floor.

    ^ Sparks a flyin!

    That is, the last of the major panel work done! Delighted!!! Now, of course, there are 101 smaller little jobs that need to me done, little patches, small areas of rust on the doors etc that need to be sorted. Its these jobs that will take a longggg time and you dont see any immediate result from it as opposed to banging on new panels, but, they must be done and so the show goes on.....

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,607 ✭✭✭toastedpickles

    I really want one of them spinny things haha everytime i see it :P

    Awesome work though :D

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,504 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    I really want one of them spinny things haha everytime i see it :P

    Awesome work though :D

    Cheers! Ah, if you closely, well, you dont even have to look close! You'll see its pretty simple, made up of scraps, bit of tubing and a couple of scaffold stands. Thanfully however I had a seperate chassis that I could mount this to and then build the tub on top of this; dont know how you'd do it with a chassis-less car.

    Now its gets controversial!! Purists, divert your eyes!!

    Now, you'll remember my light modification ideas. I simply dont like the cluster /slab lights on the tail of the Spitfire, I see them as an after thought, ill concieved and bland. Besides, I figure this car is my baby and I'm not out to satisfy the purists or make it look as it did when it rolled out of the factory, there are enough examples that look like that! Thus, I want to make this car unique, different, one of a car! :cool:

    So, I had tried the landie lights, but, found them to be too small at 70mm and a bit; basic. Next (and most affordable) option was Lucas L691/692 light fittings that were contemporary with the Spitfire but never used on them. I had found a supplier in the UK and was about to purchase when I visitied a local car show and picked up a load of original bases and lens for a few euro; they were very grubby but cleaned up nicely!!

    ^ So here are the lights wedged in place along with some reflectors, just for a look-see. It was convenient that the holes for the original lines were 84mm, just the size of the chrome bezel of the new lights! ;)

    ^ Just pushed in place, litterally minutes after I got them home.

    ^ Original Lucas reflector also.

    Now, my plan was to use this layout and fit a reversing light under the bumper. But, with some thought and consideration, plus a few pointers from a few (and I mean very few) in the Spitfire world I decided I would go with three lights on either side and make a feature of them or create a bit of interest rather than just plonking them all on the flat panel.

    So, I set to work....

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,504 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    ^ Forming a bit of 1mm that would be the side wall for a recessed light panel.

    ^ Base in place.

    ^ Where its gonna go!

    ^ In place and already cut to an angle!

    ^ I forgot to take a pic before hand, but, basically the rear panel is curved, no flat, so, I determined a straight line at the rear of the panel, then, starting from the left side of the new light panel, which would be flush with the old, the panel gradually recessed into the boot space to give the angle as shown.

    ^ Flush on the left side.

    ^ Stuck the lens on for a look.

    ^ Lights remain on the same level while the surround panel slopes.


    ^ A bit of work on the base of the light panel and the chrome bases for the lens could be temp fitted! Bling!!

    ^ Bit more work and a second light unit was made!

    ^ Unfortunately I dont have clear lens that'll fit the bases, but the plan is to either fit a single clear lens to act as a reverse light on the light nearest to the number plate on the right and have a fog light in the lamp nearest to the licence plate on the left, or, have two clear lens either side of the plate to keep the symmetry, but then will a red bulb be strong enough for a fog lamp? I dont know.

    Anyway, there the mod done and dusted. The units I made up will be eventually welded in once they have been cleaned up and they will be blended in and painted the same color as the car; at least thats the plan anyway.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,358 ✭✭✭kev1.3s

    I think the pictures don't really convey what you're trying to do but I like it.
    Much better than just plonking them on there, maybe you could paint the dish in Satin black? Anyway you're right not to worry about anybody else when building you're car, no matter what you do you'll get plenty of know all's criticising it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,574 ✭✭✭dharn

    Those 3 individual lights look very well , but a lot of trouble was gone to with the recessed area, unless you paint it a different colour as suggested

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,504 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    Cheers guys! :) I'll see how the new light sections look once welded in and cleaned up, I dont necessarily want to draw attention to them with a different color, but, just create a little bit of interest on the back panel rather than just simply fixing the lights on to the existing panel.

    Few more pics from very recent times, ie last weekend!

    The major body work has been done so now its down to the trivial little jobs that need doing, like, patches of rust on the doors. I had been kind of dreading this, but, it was a pretty easy fix in both cases and I enjoy doing them, so, here we go.........

    ^ Rust had eaten through the skin of the passenger door. Wasnt sure what the lip/flange below it was like. Only one way to find out!

    ^ Rusty section removed and the lip below revealed and found to be very sound; apart from some surface rust that cleaned up.

    ^ New piece of steel in for a trial fit.

    ^ Excess trimmed away with enough left to fold over. The rusty section was cleaned up and treated before the metal was folded over.

    ^ Tacked in place and folded over; my first half decent attempt at MIG welding!! :P

    I'll get back to that one later.

    Now, driver side door needed work too!

    ^ Rust had eaten through door skin and unfortunately the lip/flange underneath; damn!

    ^ Outer skin cut away.

    ^ Flange cut away and template made up.

    ^ New section added.

    ^ New outer skin section in place and welded. Just to be cleaned down now and folded over.

    And that folks is you up to date! I've been playing catch up up to this point and throwing up pics when I had the time/felt like it, now however you will have to wait until I get time to work on the car! :P

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,574 ✭✭✭dharn

    Great stuff super welding, interesting to see how you manage the fold over on that curve

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,504 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    dharn wrote: »
    Great stuff super welding, interesting to see how you manage the fold over on that curve

    Curve has been sorted ;) Simples really, just cut the curve with about 20mm extra, then cut a number of slots and folded it over. There will be images soon that will show it infinitely better than I can explain! :p

    But, in the meantime, I just realised my modifications to the lights look remarkably like the set up on the rear of the Aston Martin DB5!! :eek: I swear I didnt use this as a style que! They even use the same Lucas light fittings.....



    The plate onto which the lights are fixed seems to be chromed, or stainless?? Hmmm........

    Also, the Jensen C-V8 has a similar set up also using the same Lucas fittings.



    So, whilst I can no longer claim my car is original, it is at least in good company! :D

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,504 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    Update time!

    Sorry guys, been a while, but, like I said, the frequency of updates now depends upon how much time I get to work on the car :P Up to recency I was trying to catch up with myself with the posts/stages of the build.

    Anyway, I left off with the door repair looking like this....

    The welds were then ground down (to reveal a few little holes that needed to be touched with the welder again.

    The profile of the curve was then drawn onto the repair section and the rest cut away.

    Must have got carried away at this point because the images are lacking! :o But, essentially I made a number of V shaped cuts into the inner curve marking and then one by one bent these tabs following the shape of the curve, like so...

    Just needs a final cleaning, a touch of weld and a skim of filler and the jobs a good'un.

    Now, the rear light panels were good to go having had the three holes made larger to allow for light fittings and the mounting points for the light units drilled.

    My own (messy) attempt at welding! Note the rusty area in the upper corner to the rear, this'll be cut away and replaced eventually.

    Driver side light panel welded in and partially cleaned up. Needs another bit of grinding and cleaning up, but at this point it was getting late so a quick sch'lap of rust primer will keep it safe until I get back to it.

    Driver side sill was good to close up! All rust proofed and will eventually be given a good dose of Waxoil when all the body work is done. The box section is the strenghtening bar as discussed earlier in the thread.

    Again, my attempt at welding! :o Not so bad along the sill but I ended up burning away the lip where it meets the bulkhead/firewall! D'oh, ah well, I'll clean it up and get it welded proper! Hole to fill in the bottom too.

    Other little jobs have been carried out too, minor bits of welding, filling gaps etc; all of them little steps towards getting the tub off the chassis, flipping her over and treating/sealing the underside!! :D

  • Registered Users Posts: 22,275 ✭✭✭✭endacl

    Nothing to add. Just to let you know the thread's being followed and enjoyed!

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,504 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    Bit more work has been done, but, not that much to show for it really :confused:

    I'm still at that rather annoying stage of trying to get (what seems like) the millions of little jobs done on the tub; the little holes that need cleaning and filling, the little cracks that need dressing, te rusty spots that need little patches or filling. When putting on large panels; wings, sills etc you seem an immediate difference, but with these little jobs, not so much so. Spend almost 12 hours straight on it Saturday and it still kinda looks the same, but, at least I know I'm a bit closer to getting the tub sorted! :)

    ^ About to get stuck in with another days work, but, as you can see, its still up in the air!

    ^ View from the rear.

    ^ Touching up a few little spots and cracks in the floorpan. Strenghtning ribs have also been knocked into the replacement section of floorpan nearest the sill.

    ^ Seat rails going in :D temporarily :( As a new section of floorpan was added the lenght of the floor on this side new holes had to be drilled and nuts welded to the underside to take the seat runner.

    ^ Had some spare brackets left on the donor tub so I figured it'd be no harm to have them added to the bulkhead.

    ^ The last of the rusty sections cut from the rear light panel! I had been putting this one off as there are a number of layers here and difficult profiles, but, I bit the bullet and got stuck in.........with a grinder!! Here the rusty section has been cut away.

    ^ First piece goes in.

    ^ Next bit in on top and tacked in place. Didnt get any more pics of this repair after, got carried away and stuck at it while I had the daylight, but, another two pieces were added and I'm happy to say that job is now done!! :cool:

    ^ Filling up a few little spotweld holes on the rear deck, remnants of earlier days when the car was split in two!

    Until next time.......

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,504 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    Got another bit done yesterday evening; few little holes welded, little bits an' bobs cleaned up and I reckon come the weekend *hopefully* I'll be able to lift the tub off the chassis!! :D

    The plan then is:

    1. The crappy bonnet can come off now and the chassis that I have been using can be put aside for the time being. Flip the tub over onto stands, give it a throughout cleaning back to bare metal and then it'll be chemically rust treated, sealed and painted.

    2. The second, spare chassis that I havent used yet will be brought in and inspected. This chassis looked to have been cleaned back and coated, possibly power coated, unfortunately it's in a Triumph deep orange :cool: So, I'll scrape that back a bit, see what its like underneath, if its good then it'll be sanded back a bit and given a coating of black.

    There are a number of new parts on this rolling chassis, so, I'll have a good look to see whats what, order new bushes, seals, brake parts etc then, once the chassis is rebuilt and rolling the tub, with its underside seaded can be dropped on ready for the inner prep! :)

    At least thats the plan.....

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,358 ✭✭✭kev1.3s

    Ah that sounds very straight forward, good luck!

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,504 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    So, not going exactly to plan, but, the weather has turned, there has been more little jobs needing to be done and even managed to squeeze in a weeks holidays!

    This is how she stood last week....

    I picked up a cheap tin of red spray just to cover up any raw areas of metal to tide me over until I could get back to it. The red will eventually be cleaned off! There was also a reason for picking the red; I wanted to see what the light mod to the rear would look like with some color on it! :D

    ^ A patchwork of color! Bonnet off, Bare/raw areas sprayed red and the seam covers on the rear wing seams to keep any water out!

    ^ Mid way through the repair on the rear light panel.

    ^ Repair just about finished and still in need of a little cleaning up.

    Below are some images of the rear panel with the lights temp in place (with wood screws! :P) and the chrome trim in place. I'm pretty damn happy with it!! :o






  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,607 ✭✭✭toastedpickles

    She looks well! :D

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,574 ✭✭✭dharn

    Looks very well indeed croppy, man standing with arms folded surveying his great achievement;)

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 433 ✭✭MaggotBrain

    Great thread, and a beautiful canvas, reading with interest here :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,358 ✭✭✭kev1.3s

    There's nothing quite like seeing all you're hard work covered in paint, even if it is only tempory rattle can. Good job, looks well.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,504 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    Cheers guys! :o

    Nothing worth taking pics of lately, just cleaning up some of the panel joins/welds in and around the boot area/rear wings, treating them with Jenolite and LOWE rust primer, just trying to get a bit of protection down into the seams/joints itself.

    Other than that I purchased one of these finger/power files in Aldi yesterday, have yet to put it to action, but if it does work adequately there are lots of little welds and areas that need grinding/cleaning up that a disc grinder cant get in at! So, lets see........


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,504 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    Took the opportunity over the weekend to go take a look at the chassis! It's exactly as I got it back in February and stored at a family member house with other odds and ends (mostly junk) from the build.

    The chassis is in very good, clean condition with no evident rust or previous repairs and had been finished in a Triumph orange and assembled by the previous owner whom obviously never got round to finishing the project. It looks to have a number of new, or very seldom used parts fitted already (thankfully!).

    Those parts being:
    - Aftermarket/custom? 8 leaf spring with lowering block.
    - Shocks on the rear
    - Discs and dirt guards up front.
    - Bushes and gators

    Thankfully someone has already spent a few bob. The plan however for this chassis will be to strip it down, clean it back to bare metal in a few areas and assess the condition of the metal underneath; if good it'll be generally roughed up and painted black (should be the body color by right, so, we'll see). All the suspension components will be cleaned up also and repainted.









  • Registered Users Posts: 2,574 ✭✭✭dharn

    I cant believe my eyes I saw thes pics already today on spitfire facebook page, thats a well kept secret croppy, the level of knowledge there is amazing:)

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,504 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    dharn wrote: »
    I cant believe my eyes I saw thes pics already today on spitfire facebook page, thats a well kept secret croppy, the level of knowledge there is amazing:)

    Hah, glad you joined the group! :D Its a great page alright with plenty of knowledgable guys and gals that'll answer any and all questions (no matter how trivial), still though, they cant tell me what kind of leaf spring I have! :pac:

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,574 ✭✭✭dharn

    Id say its off an ould trailer :p

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,504 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    dharn wrote: »
    Id say its off an ould trailer :p

    Y'know what? It could be! :pac: I like to think however that it was a special, custom made one off spring for the car :P

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,504 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    Ah hah!

    At last, a little bit of progress and a somewhat exciting stage of the build, it has, for now moved from the reconstruction phase to 'finishing', well, the first step in a veryyyyy long finishing process, but still, its a new area! :D

    The body tub was lifted off the chassis where it was rebuild, hammered, welded, patched, strengthened and spun round and round 360 and was moved, or, squeezed would be a more appropriate term into my former woodworking workshop (had to pull out some workbenches and put away all the old chippy tools :o ). But at least she's in out of the weather, dry and relatively warm (when I light the stove!) so, I'm happy about that.

    ^ Looks tight but there is room to move and work around the car.

    ^ With the car in, and turned upside down the plan is to completely strip the underneath of the many layers of underseal and gunk that was applied by the previous owner. Top marks for effort, there was 3 layers; grey Schultz, white epoxy and black stonechip! Unfortunately the prep work was lacking so there was many patches of rust under all these 'protective' layers, so, one has to wonder if the underseal was protecting the rust! :rolleyes:

    Anyway, a bit of heat, some old chisels and plenty of elbow grease will have that stuff off in no time.

    ^ Not a great pic, but, you get the idea of what I'm working with.....a mess.

    I hope, if I have the space and it works to mount the tub on a spinny jib so I can work at it more comfortably as well as similtainiously working on the inside floorpans, but, we'll see how that works out.

    The plan for the underside is...

    1. Clean off all the underseal, old paint and any other junk.
    2. Do any final bits of welding that need to be done and clean up all existing welds.
    3. Clean all the underside down to bare, clean metal.
    4. Thouroughly clean and degrease.
    5. Apply Deox gel as per instruction; that'll both highlight and kill any active rust.
    6. Clean again and and apply Hydrate 80 which will put down a rust proof barrier.
    7. Over this will be applied an epoxy resin.

    ^ Deox Gel and Hydrate 80.

    We'll see how it goes.......