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Welding near completion at last

Posted by Bodyworks Robin Gell on June 12, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Much has happened since the last entry and I can't quite believe how long it has been.  The rear radius arm bracket manufactured in March was installed and since then, we have progressed around the car, systematically cutting out and replacing anything with rot.  In this car, it was much.

March also saw us construct a complete new chassis leg for the front off side, which, when installed also looks like it's an original part. 

The end of the month into April saw some progress in reconstructing the rear lower quarters, cutting in, the previously made new sections, before eventual fitting back to the car.  We moved on from this however, and these were not tacked in place until the middle of June, to accomodate what was considered as more major work, which was prioritised first.

Much of April saw us cut out and reconstruct a complete new top section of inner wing for the rear off side, including the tube section connecting the inner and outer wings, for the petrol filler pipe to pass through.  This section included the new interior closure panel behind the wheel well, and required new flanges to be fitted to the arch section.  Other sundry repairs to lighten the day were the filling in of big holes cut out from rear pillars either side of the bottom of the tailgate, which had rusted out completely.

At the end of April, the engine and gearbox were lifted out, as one unit, in order that most of May would be taken up with suspension turret repairs, and footwell replacement. 

Firstly, both footwells were cut out and remade in new metal, as per the original construction.  Together with new sections of inner wing, these were rewelded into position.  Then the wing retaining flange to the top of the inner wings had to be replaced on both sides.

The inner wings over the front turrets were double skinned, and the underside skin was in holes, as could be seen underneath around the turret top.  Thus the top sections of inner wings had to be cut out and the lower skins replaced.  I have preserved the double skinning as there is just a chance that this could have been an original Lotus addition to this car, despite it not being a standard fitment.  Better safe than sorry, and the turrets are now very strong with new double skinning.

The end of May saw us try to repair the headlight box on the offside, give up and make a new one.  That was installed, and then we cut off the radius arm bracket outer ear from the near side chassis rail, as the chassis was in holes behind it.  We renewed the holed section of chassis and then reattached the bracket.  Repairing a big six inch square hole between the turret gussets just above the chassis leg, finished the month off and started into June.  Even this was not an easy repair, it needing seam welding all around, and spot welding to the chassis leg flange and turret legs.

So now we are into June, exactly six months into the work from the start.  We are going round the car mopping up the remaining welding stages which were either left unfinished due to prioritisation, or were left until later.  We have just tacked on the repaired rear arches and quarter sections, ready for final setting before seaming up and joining to the new inner arches.  All that is left to do now is to fill some more holes in the shell, replace some interior panels by spot and seam welding, and then we can lead load all the joints etc. to get a trully perfect result.

One more interesting job to do, and that is to repair the rear C pillars which have rusted out under the vent louvres, due to the big built in moisture trap,  This is being designed out of the repair, as the relevant part of the restoration page will show.

The shell can then be put on the spit and turned over sideways to clean off the underside.

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