TRADITIONAL CELLULOSE COLOUR
Classic and vintage specials.
Sympathetic conservation, preservation and longevity
in refinishing and spray painting of classic and vintage vehicles.
Structural and panel refabrication.
This unique car has been sympathetically restored to keep as much originality as possible, all original structure and panelwork has been repaired and refabricated, not replaced with dodgy pattern parts, seam welded and lead loaded to present an original looking vehicle.
On this first page we investigate what appears on the surface to be a car in very good order and discover some horrific previous "restoration" work. We then cut out all of the rot ready for refabrication works to begin.
They aren't brilliant because these were Polaroids. Note the Ti type spoiler, mirrors, non Lotus petrol cap, Minilite wheels, towbar and four mudflaps.
The Talbot Sunbeam Lotus has rapidly turned into an iconic classic. Designed specifically as a World Beating rally car and produced in limited numbers for sale on the High Street more or less specifically for homologation purposes, to allow the car to be rallied, the car was the last of the line of such cars. It was the car that knocked Ford off the top slots in rallying, and was the last two wheel drive winner of the World Rally Championship.
This particular car is very interesting. It will be noted that firstly it is green. This is original and there is no evidence anywhere on the shell that it was ever any other colour. All "normal" production cars were either black or light metallic blue. This is only one of two cars to have been finished in this colour new from the factory.
An informed source tells me that this car was allocated to Newcastle Police for a time in the capacity of high speed persuit car, in the vein of those allocated to Greater Manchester Police, and registered there; although the Contract did not materialise apparently. It was sold on the open market from a garage in Sussex, having been bought by them on a Talbot Dealer scheme.
The car has a complete history file which includes the originals of the pictures above. The file includes a complete list of previous owners, together with receipts etc. for work undertaken on the car, which includes stage two tuning, to 180bhp (rolling road demonstrated), lsd fitment, and uprated suspension (Bilstein).
Although having been converted to have a Series two front end, with the larger headlights and updated grille and having at some time, lost its spoiler, it was obviously originally a Series one car, and the intention is to return it to that original state, once again with spoiler fitted.
It is in generally good condition, but nevertheless it still has considerable rot which has to be cut out and replaced sensitively so as to keep as much of the original vehicle intact as possible and to preserve the rest of it. Hence there is no wholesale panel replacement. All the existing panels are to be repaired with new metal.
Having this car to work on is very exciting and one feels responsible for the preservation of a very important piece of motoring history.
Firstly, on getting into the workshop, an assessment is made of what work will be required to bring the car up to a standard which will see it last another thirty years plus, without major bodywork issues.
This means a strip down of all body fittings, inside and out, to allow proper detailed inspection of all rust prone areas. The mechanics are sound on this car, apart from a tune up and some run of the mill issues, so are not covered here.
After this, some investigation takes place in areas which are obviously suspect and in need of attention.
A couple of small surface bumps in the C pillar led to investigation of what appeared to be a perfect panel. We were straight into filler.
Investigations showed that the whole front leg of the chassis would have to come off and be renewed. Very dodgy previous repairs consisting of a number of patch welds over holed areas without removal of old rusty steel have ensured that this requirement has come sooner than it ought to have. This plus the total absence of any cavity protection.
It had already been decided that the rear arch rings would have to be removed even though they had been renewed. This was because they had been stitched in place over the top of the original arches and inner arches without any treatment or cutting out of rust. There was three layers of steel all very rusty and falling apart. It was touch and go whether the new rings could actually be saved. The inner wing was already detached and this is the sight greeting us on removal of the arch and remains of the rear quarter. The front lower portion was left in place as it has formed part of the much better quality cill repair job. The edge of the inner arch ring will be trimmed back to good metal.
Now that the invasive investigation stage is coming to a close and the re-fabrication stage is about to start, it may be a good time to reflect on what all this is costing.
It is a bit acedemic because I own the car, as I bought it in to restore, but nevertheless it is costing my time. I happen to think that this car is worth the input, due to its very interesting history.
For those contemplating something similar, to date, the complete works pictured here up to now, have cost 110 hrs, which translated into hard cash, to you, would be a cool £2200 seeing as I love the work so much (!)
Now let's carry on and move to page two, covering the refabrication work.