1972 Scimitar GTE
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This is the story of the work done to restore My Scimitar Se5a, This was the first car rebuild project that Dave and Myself had taken on and was a sharp learning curve for myself. Especially as I had previously not done much mechanical work.
The car was off the road for over 10 Years and had a series of owners who had not managed to get her back on the road, The backstory as it was told to me was that it had been stripped for a new paint job a couple of years before and no one had ever found the time / money to reassemble it from the large pile of parts…
I’d not taken on a project of this size before but hoped to make fairly swift progress towards getting MOT’d and back on the road. With that in mind I set myself a Hopelessly optimistic target of 3 months to complete the work needed to get it to a roadworthy standard!
The aim was to use the car as everyday transport once on the road, so the rebuild aim was for reliability / factory spec rather than any sort of non standard / high performance build.
I received a car that was theoretically complete… but few things are as straight forward as that. So home in my garage I started out by trying to work out a (Very long) jobs list and to work out what was missing.
Heres a few photos I took shortly after I got the car home (sorry I’ve not got any photos of it before it went in the garage.)
Some useful some not, some from completely different cars…
(Not Pictured: Exhaust manifolds, Propshaft, Fuel Tank – non stainless, lots of internal trim,)
I’ll add some of the recent progress in the next post.
In the first week of getting the car I put together a Jobs list in no particular order though the engine test list has been what I’ve been working on recently.Jobs / major missing parts list List:
To run the engine (to test):
Fit Gearbox and Clutch so engine will be mounted on something other than a piece of 2×4!
Sort Provisonal Electrics,
Fit Starter motor,
Sort out a temporary cooling system,
Sort out temporary ignition,
Exhaust manifolds & pipes
Mostly ok, as far as I’ve seen feels very solid,
missing several steel plates that support the nose / radiator,
Completely Re bush,
Roll bar Drop Links,
Missing antirollbar clamps,
Calipurs need full service / one has snapped off bleed screw
Replacement hoses, pads, etc
Missing a dust cover,
Replacement Brake adjuster 1 missing,
Rear wheel cylinders missing ,
New master cylinder,
New Slave cylinder,
Repalcement hose (still struggling to find a supplier for this)
Reweld pedal after a bodge by a previous owner,
Radiator will probably need repalcing,
Missing Radiator Expansion Tank,
Fan & Mount missing,
Hoses will all need replacing,
Will need rebushing / checking,
One Rear shock needs replacing, may do both at same time,
Front loom missing (will remake)
What has been rewired is in need of redoing properly,
Fuse boxes need replacing,
may reattach non stainless one initally,
missing a sender,
needs new hose,
Far distant will be the interior fit and the rechroming of the front bumper.
A few weeks into the GTE rebuild and Progress had been made making a new front loom, dash loom and connections to the fusebox. The rear loom was reused fro the time being. We have also fitted a new stainless exhaust system laid the front brake pipe sections & copper clutch pipe, repaired the front nose supports, painted and refitted them. Also we rebushed the steering column fitted a steering lock with ignition as well as fitting the dash.
I took a few photos on the way, nothing spectacular but they help to show the progress.
Wires being laid for the new loom,
Refitted pedal box which had been messed about with by a previous owner has now been put back as it should be. Boy racer pedal covers will go at some future date.
Running the new cabling for the loom:
Fusebox close up:
Front nose sections after fitting, With old radiator which has now been replaced by a new one.
New brake lines made in cupronickel:
Connection to servo
Once the electrics were laid out they were fitted with connectors and then removed so they could bey made up into looms, To help to keep things simpe in the future the same colour scheme wires as appear on the wiring diagram were ordered from Auto electric supplies AES LImited.
New front loom:
New main dash loom,
Ready for fitting, Fusebox end has been wapped up in film to protect the terminals as its pulled into place.
Loom in place, also shows new repacement steering lock that cam from an Mg midget 1500 and is a perfect match.
New stainless exhausts:
Engine bay after fitting new rad and cooling pipes.
The next stage was to get the engine running.
This turned out to be a very frustrating process. We set the firing order up in accordance with the parts book we had, fitted a new distributor cap, points, condenser and plugs. But despite changing HT leads and dismantling the carb we could only get her to run by pumping the throttle therefore dumping petrol out the acceleration jets into the manifold. It ran ok at high revs but misfired & backfired on lower revs – the airfilter is now very charred and i have less hair than when i started! (lack of windscreen!).
The following day decided to set up the ignition timing from scratch, after being very confused for several hours Dave realised the ignition lead/firing order diagram in the Graham Walker catalogue is numbered incorrectly. with no timing light or pressure indicator the dizzy was pulled out the block and set up with TDC on no1 with a bit of wire down the plughole. Popped the dizzy back in set the points gap and advance with a feeler guage, turned the key and she’ started and idled beautifully – no misfires when you rev up or drop off after two days of frustration we had a running engine!
A day later and I drove the car under its own power for the first time. Not far just out of the garage and onto some stands. The valve clearances were set-up properly and the Essex now sounds very smooth considering it was an entirely unknown factor when I got the car. Driving the car was a pretty good psychological boost, especially as I was now financially committed to making it road worthy again.
Finally a few photos:
Car out in the daylight, (it went onto the stands under its own power)
I had the car up with the intention of laying new copper brake lines but realised I’d lost a vital die from the flaring kit
Engine bay in daylight:
And from the other side, The copper pipe is a temporary ctuch pipe as my new banjo and hose had not arrived.
Inside with a temporary seat! Since I took this photo The steering column has been finished off (I was missing the cam that operates the self cancelling indicators and the locking nut for the wheel! Fortunately QRG had both in stock.
Now with fitted propshaft:
Having given up on laying brake pipes on account of the missing die I on a bit of a whim decided to fit the windscreen as i had a new rubber seal and screen that came with the car, which in hindsight was probably a bad idea… But it does give the car a nice I (if artifical) sense of completeness.
The rubber was pressed into the body and then the windscreen went in bottom first, It did take 2 goes to get the alignment right,
Since taking these Its been finished with the chrome rubber srip which I got from a local classic car specialist for a bargain £6
We the spent some more time digging a bit deeper into the rollbar corrosion problem. Cutting out 2 sections of the fibreglass to expose the good metal.
The bottom section of the rollbar went off to the Isle of Wight were Dave was able to fabricate up some replacements, Looking at them it doesn’t look like it was ever painted so its not that surprising that this is a common problem! It seems the rust has affected the sills too which looks like another area requiring attention to go on my jobs list.
Rollbar episode led me to re-evaluate the whole chassis condition (which is generally speaking in fairly good order.) Concerned about other little corrosion problems hidden away, I decided for future piece of mind I wanted to to take the body off and make a proper job of the whole underside.
Taking the body off was also an opportunity to do some body repairs to the fibreglass itself, the engine bay shelf on the passenger side is currently steel as part of an old repair its presently solid, but I wanted to put this back to the original fibreglass. It was also a good opportunity to replace the rear section of the engine bay which was missing.