I know I have said it before, but I feel like I have to keep saying it just for my own peace of mind. The thing I worry about most with the “Ultimate Restoration”, is that people will get the idea that a restoration can be done in a very short period of time. I guess it can, but it would cost a lot of money. That isn’t what we want to do here at the shop. We want customers to have an affordable restoration, and give them a quality product at a fair price. What concerns me is that there will be some who want the quality product, the fair price, and have it done in a week. Oh well, I guess we’ll deal with that as we go along.
For now, I thought I would show some before and after shots of a few things so that you could get some idea of what takes up the most of the time when we do a restoration. The cleaning, repairing, polishing and painting of all of the parts to be re-used on the project takes, what seems like, forever to get done. Here are some pictures of the light assemblies I have just gone through-
It took just over three hours to complete these assemblies.
These took about an hour and a half. The end results make it worth the time.
Enjoy the ride!
True to my theme, this is one of those cars that has a story. Our customer got this car in the mid 60’s. It was a driver, and she loved the lines and style of the car. Who can blame her, the TR 4A IRS is one of the best looking cars that Triumph ever built. A few years after she acquired the car, she decided that it was time to fix it up. At this point she took the engine and transmission out, stripped the interior and basically got a really good start on the restoration. She was even able to tear the engine down and re-assemble it and get it ready.
At this point things changed. She got married and life went on. The fortunate thing is that she never lost sight of her TR 4. Equally important is the fact the her husband realized how important the car was to her, and he kept the flame of hope alive for the restoration. Fast forward to about six months ago, and that thoughtful guy she married finally was able to put his plan into action.
He was nice enough to enlist us as the shop he wanted to restore the treasure he and his wife had protected for so many years. We picked the car up and the project began.
The major issue we found was that rust had taken over way too many parts of the car. This became the most costly and time consuming part of the restoration.
We removed the tub from the frame, began repair on the tub and then began repair on the frame. After the frame was repaired, we had it powder coated.
While the body work was continuing, we started on the restoration of the parts we were going to put back on the car. One of the main parts was the engine. We were happy to find that the rebuilding work she had done 30 years ago was still very serviceable today. We opted to check everything, and install new seals and gaskets. We did upgrade to the rear main seal to where there really was one, and made sure all other tolerance issues were met.
After we were able to get the drive train in the chassis, we started getting everything installed on the frame. This is where the Triumph’s really shine on restoration. You can get everything on the frame and have it basically on the ground and then set the tub on. It’s just like they did it in “The Old Days”. Now the body work was drawing to a close, and things were getting painted.
The painted parts started to take shape.
Now it was time to secure the tub to the frame and start the assembly process.
After the finishing touches were put on, it was time for delivery.
It’s now on the road, and ready to go. A project that started a long time ago is completed, and the big smile she had as she drove away told us everything we needed to know.
It’s this kind of story that makes it all worthwhile for me.
Enjoy the ride!
Here’s a little quick project that our guys here at British Auto Works just got back on the road. When I say quick, that’s in restoration time. It really took about six weeks. What we have is a later Bugeye Sprite that our customer has had for about 10 years. It was a pretty original car, it ran well and, the most important things is that it didn’t have any rust.
A major problem with the Bugeye is that they are very light and the trunk area is very susceptible to rust. Of course the car is spartan to say the least, but they are very cute, and can be modified to run very well. We have actually upgrade three of these type cars to a 1275 and installed the B210 5 speed, and they are very quick, and a ton of fun to drive.
What we have with this car, is that the customer wanted something a little different. After some discussion we decided on using a Corvette red and add the two white stripes. I think it made the car look sharp.
Our process was the usual. We stripped the car of all the lights and chrome, we took out the interior and repaired some small dents.
Once we had the car back from paint, it was time to install the new carpet and insulation. The seat were in good shape, so the customer opted to keep them as they were. From there, it was installing the chrome and the lights, and it was back on the road.
I’ll have to admit that compared to an MGB, a TR6, a Midget, Spitfire or even a GT 6, this was a pretty easy car to work on. Like all British Cars, they are good looking and fun to drive.
Enjoy the ride!
Out of the backroom, comes another good looking restoration. This TR 4 is owned by a customer in Tillamook. We didn’t do a frame off on this one, but it had been in an accident and had some front end damage. We had to replace a front fender, and the inner fenders, but the rest of the car was in very good shape.
The engine and transmission were also in good shape. We installed new seals and gaskets, and new mounts.
We added new carpets, new upholstery and put new rubber gaskets and seals for lights and glass.
The car is not painted with an original color, actually it’s a ’02 Ford color, but it grows on you, and we actually had several good comments about the color. What really made the car was when we put the Minilite style wheels and new P185 Michelin tires on the car. After that, it became a true “eye catching” TR 4.
If you’re on the coast, watch for it. The owner wanted to have a driver, and he’s driving it
The month of July is drawing to a close, and the body work on the GT-6 is done, and it is getting ready for paint. We were lucky that there was very little rust repair to do, the battery box was the only thing.
We decided to just cut out the old box, and insert a new one. The rest of the car had only some small surface rust spots, and they were easily sanded out. Since we are going with the original color, we left some of the interior color as is.
The hood turned out very nice, and the underside actually shows the final color.
The British Auto Works challenge of restoring a 1972 Triumph GT-6 keeps moving forward. We tore down what was left of the engine. The head had already been removed years ago. In fact, I found that I had sent it in to have the valves ground, and new guides and valve seats installed. Wow, that was lucky. Not that I had already had the work done, but that I was able to actually find it.
Anyhow, here are some pictures of the block and parts.
I have to admit, things are pretty rusty. If I had continued the repair on the rest of the engine, none of this would be an issue.
Here’s a great example of what happens when car parts are neglected. As you can see by the picture, there are five piston assemblies, and of course this is a six cylinder motor. Well, number six is soaking quietly in penetrating oil, and we are all hoping for the best.
The frame is back from powder coat, and we are beginning to fit the front suspension parts. We are going to powder coat the suspension parts which we are going to re-use. The other parts will be new. Our main goal now is to try to find component packages that will allow us to have certain groups of parts that will create a “sub-assembly” if you will. These will then be fitted and ready for the assembly process at the show.
Here’s the frame as it looked back from powder coat-
Remember, this is what it looked like-
One of our E-Type projects is continuing. We have the body and paint work completed and we are ready to clean and paint the frame, and get the engine and transmission back together and start putting in the interior.
We have sent the chrome off to be re-done, and we have ordered the new gaskets and seals for all the lights and trim.
Here are some before and after shots of the body.
This is the original color for the car, and it turned out really good. Here are a couple of other pictures of the paint-
Posting the pictures of the latest E type restoration reminded me that I haven’t posted the recent pictures of the earlier restoration of an E type we are also working on.
This car has a bit more rust damage, but after the paint was stripped, we found some other damage in the rear quarter panels, and some in the hood. For the most part though the body is in pretty good shape.
Our plan now is to cut out the rusted areas, and replace with new metal. Most of the body panels that have been filled with Bondo, will be cut out and repaired with new metal. This is the most time consuming part of any restoration. It is also the part that receives the most attention. We have to make the car look good so that every time you walk up to it, you think “wow, that’s a great looking car”.