Kate calls her ‘Tina’.
Click photos to see full size.
She was bought on 6th June 2015 and based on a Ford Cortina Mark 1V of 1981 origin. Built by a chap in Kidderminster who had passed away a number of years ago, the car remained in the family for sentimental reasons although she was never driven again(we now know why!) We collected her and made it to Tamworth services; she was running a little hot! She forced us to call in three other services on the way for the same reason before making it home. The plan was to run her till October and then begin a small restoration of mechanical parts that would no doubt show themselves during this period and achange of colour was also planned. However binding rear brakes, a leaky brakepipe, leaky radiator and knackered suspension bushes plus a host of other things made me ‘set to’ after our summer holiday. Starting with the front suspension subframe/cross member, we cleaned, painted and re-bushed, fitted new springs and shock absorbers. The chassis had it’s aluminium panels removed along with the car’s interior. The tub was painstakingly wire brushed and sanded then stone chipped whererequired, re-primed and re-painted to ourchosen colour - French Blue. The whole front sub frame was re-fitted and then the rear axle had the same treatment. Running board brackets were re-fabricatedto hold a stainless steel side mounted exhaust as well.
Purchasing 2 meters of 50ml stainless tube, 2x90 degree and 1x45 degree bend, a flexible section and a 5’’x24’’ straight through silencer- all via a well-known internet auction site for a ‘buy it now’ price of about £120. I assembled this, fabricating mounting brackets to suit and it fits very nicely but as yet I don’t know what it sounds like! The entire wiring loom was removed and a few wires taken out that were not required i.e. heated rear window (a little superfluous on a Spartan.) Some wires were added for ancillaries. This was then rebound with cloth tape, although I must admit to missing one wire out from the engine bay harness – I may strip it down yet and start again! A new aluminium radiator was purchased along with new hoses and an aluminium frame was fabricated to hold the 40mm thick radiator which is based on the original Cortina item for width, depth and outlet/inlet positions. The heater unit was removed from the front bulkhead which was then covered in jewelled aluminium. Thebrake master cylinder was cleaned and new seals fitted. New copper brake pipe runs were madeup and re-routed around the car. Brake callipers were cleaned, painted and new seals fitted. These will be fitted with flexible stainless hoses. The dash board was made from wood veneer with a plywood base. The gauges posed a significant problem – I bought a set of white faced analogue gauges which looked really good but problems arose with one or two of them so they were returned. Replacement items came from America, these digital gauges may not be agreeable to Spartan purists but this is the 21st Century and I like a mix of new tech and classic. These are now fitted into the dashboard.
Doors, as you may have seen on face book have been reworked adding a section to hold a mirror that befits the car and is in a position where it is useful! (See last Spartacus, Editor) The new section also holds the cable operated door release handle with a homemade mechanism. New door tops have been made from 1’’ square steel tube. I couldn’t find any light weight tube so holes have been drilled to lighten it. The tube frame was difficult to set up as there is no adjustment as on the original, a pattern and a jig were used to verify sizes. Padded arm rests have been made for when the side windows are removed. The side window frames have been rebuilt and welded. They now have polycarbonate ‘glass’ in situ. The twin window runner was difficult to source. I managed to find all shapes and sizes but not the one I wanted until our friendly internet auction site came up with a company in Egypt of all places! The sizes were correct for what I needed and fit the frame perfectly. Rear seats and all door cards, hand brake and gear lever shrouds have been remade and re-trimmed by myself. The front seat upholstery was stitched by a locally friendly upholsterer after the pattern was made again at home! He only charged me £25.00 for stitching the two seat covers – bargain! I had to make a booster seat for Kate who couldn’t see over the lower window frame – she thought the car was only 3’’ long at the front!
All paint work has been done in my ‘spray booth’/polytunnel but changes made to some areas require new metal to be painted at a later date. A set back with the bonnet and one wing will require more attention, I think due to the temperature in the polytunnel, despite trying to keep it cool forced the paint to shrink which has crazed. The bonnet is the worst affected and with it having louvers it may be a pain to remedy. The rear and front panel work is in position but there is still a long way to go. She now has a nearly full interior – carpets, door cards and interior panels. I am waiting for warmer weather so some more bits can be refitted and then hopefully see if she will start. She issat in her ‘polytunnel garage’waiting for warner weather! Work continues in my shed – I am doing the best I can to make/clean and repair items through the cold spell to save time at a later date. I will keep updating with photos on face book as things progress.
Kate calls her Tina, I call her money pit!
Regards Ian and Kate
Hope to see you at Stoneleigh but I’m sorry to say we won’t be arriving this year in Tina/Money pit! (2017)