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It’s been ages since this thread was updated, mostly as its been on the road being used and enjoyed! Since I last updated it was involved in an accident (a mondeo owner decided to reverse into it) and its since been repaired, (done in house rather than left to insurance.) It’s passed another MOT in september with one advisory for an oil leak!
The big changes are the wheels which have been widened! The standard 12″ diameter wheels have gone from 3.5J all round to 5.5J at the rear and 4.5J on the fronts. This gives a benefit in grip and handling, as well as adding a subtle dish to the wheels which really increases their kerb appeal. The wider wheels have also been fitted with new Falken tyres, Since the photos were taken its also been treated to new shiny chrome hub caps.
The dash still needs to come out for a coat of paint and some new vinyl on the top. There are plans to send a number of bits off for chroming including the gear stick, dash heater vent surrounds, sun visor mounts, gear stick and handbrake surrounds. There’s also a plan to re-introduce period Britax seatbelts (chromed, of course!)
Outside the front indicators have been swapped for clear glass lenses, (some rebels appear like this in the advertising material.) A new old stock rear bumper has been fitted! replacing a slightly pitted original. I’m still on the lookout for a perfect front bumper to match! (although most of the mondeo dent has now been removed) In the near future the grill is going to be fitted with a stainless mesh to help protect the radiator.
The engine is still the 600cc engine that was dropped in as a temporary measure and has coped with the unfair demands put on it far better than we ever thought it would! It has a tendency to burn oil though and what it doesnt burn it chucks out the crankcase breather at an alarming rate… It also returns a fairly shocking mid 20′s mpg! The plan is still to drop in a tuned custom built race engine, which is in progress. This can’t turn out to be any less fuel efficient even with the Dellorto FZD I’m planning on fitting!.
An order has just been placed for a set of fully adjustable Gaz shocks and springs which will hopefully further enhance the handling.
As seen here in some recent photos:
Showing new wheels and tyres:
Work on the front brake Disc conversion is almost finished – I’ve been working on a setup allowing disc brakes to be used with the original 12″ road wheel diameter. A standard Spitfire setup has clearance issues as well as being the wrong PCD, after much thought (or speculation?) I’ve come up with a solution which should be more than adequate for a Rebel….
This is a unique setup utilizing machined Vauxhall Firenza Hubs with turned steel adapter rings to take re-drilled triumph Spitfire Discs running on modified Scimitar 5 – early5a stub axles attached to New old Stock Triumph Spitfire Vertical Links, Inner bearings are on a specially turned 316 stainless spacer on which the Lip type hub seal also runs. Calipers are Genuine Girling type 14′s with new pistons and seals fitted with Mintex pads intended for an Austin Maxi!.
Whilst this might sound like a complex nightmare it should mean that future service parts (bearings, Discs, seals etc)will be readily available off the shelf with only the stub axles requiring turning down in a lathe, it also increases the front track width by 2″ which combined with the wider wheels should make the car handle even better than at present.
This shows the Viva Hub attached to the Spitfire disc:
Rear view showing the adapter ring mounted inside the disc:
Spitfire Vertical link and dustshields:
Rebuilt Type14 Caliper:
Another modification I’ve been working on is a fully synchro’ Gearbox – The early semi-synchro rebel Gearbox is derived from the Regal but has a much longer mainshaft and a tailshaft extension with remote gearchange mounted on top – This remote is a precise feeling short throw setup which gained much praise in period reviews (virtually always considered best in its class). Later 750cc Rebels have a fully synchro gearbox but lost the remote change, as well as having synchromesh on first/second this box also benefits from a higher ratio gearset and better parts availability (close ratio gear-sets are also available for this box!). I decided to build a gearbox based on the 750 box but having the benefits of the early boxes Remote Change, this is complicated somewhat as reverse is a longer throw on the later box as well as being in a different position.
Having decided to create the ultimate Rebel gearbox it stood to reason the antiquated carbon clutch release bearing setup should be engineered out – Later three wheelers use a Ford Fiesta/escort roller bearing clutch – although this was only made as a cable operated setup. I’ve decided on a hydraulically operated system as this will be smoother and more robust, this has required welding bushes into the bell-housing to take a vertical cross-shaft to mount the Ford bearing on.
All Rebels (and most 3 wheelers) are fitted with inertia starters – When starting from hot it inevitably takes two or three attempts before the engine fully catches as the inertia starter gets kicked out as soon as the engine try’s to fire.
Very late three wheelers have a pre-engaged starter and therefore a different bell-housing, unfortunately these gearboxes are not compatible with a Rebel tailshaft extension so I’ve taken a section from one of these later bell-housing and welded it into my inertia gearbox.
The end result will be a Franken’Gearbox which will have synchromesh on all gears. Short throw remote gearchange, Pre-engaged starter and Hydrualicly operated Ford Roller Bearing Clutch, This is built using entirely New old Stock components with the exception of the Mainshaft and the case.
Overview of modified gearbox with remote change unfitted:
Section removed from original bell-housing:
Showing section from late pre-engaged box welded in and (unfinished) clutch operating shaft and arm fitted:
Arrangement of Ford release bearing – Note newly drilled inspection hole filled with rubber plug for checking bearing once fitted to car:
I’ve modified the flywheel from the standard 3 bolt fixing:….
And drilled and threaded the crankshaft to suit:….
As a reward for reading this far here’s a Video of the Rebel razzing it’s knackers off down the Military Road…
I’ve recently got back form the Isle of wight where I’ve been assisting Dave fitting out the Rebels interior… I thought this was going to be a fairly nice job but the dire weather left the tent where we were working half full water. It made it interesting trying to keep things clean and dry!
Outside the bumpers and badges have been fitted and the boot trial fitted (still needs work on the hinges to get it quite right and the rubber gaskets need trimming to get a better fit. The windows have also gone back and are now just waiting for some new chrome infill to finish them off.
Inside the Insulation, carpet and vynide have been fitted as has the vinyl covering for the roll bar and a new headlining has been made.
Some better post spray job photos now with bumpers and badges on:
The boot, The seal will need changing for a different type as this one is a bad fit when its closed
The locking filler neck, still needs a pipe sorting to connect it to the tank though!
New British made Chrome hinges and New old stock badge. The taillights desperately need replacing the chrome is poor and a couple of the lenses have small cracks. Ideally we are looking for some that are new old stock or very good used.
The following pictures show the Jute underlay being cut and fitted, we’ve used more of this than Reliant did so hope for a reduction in road and engine noise. The underlay was fixed into place with High temperature contact adhesive
Rear seat armrests were sanded town to give a surface as smooth as possible to fit the vynide to, its very thin so imperfections show up really easily.
Footwell carpets in, gearbox tunnel carpet being trial fitted,
First vynide bits in.
Gearbox tunnel carpet fitted,
The headlining and rollbar cover, This is our first attempt at making a headlining from scratch its not bad but has some small rucks at the ends which could be improved on in future. The general affect with the rollbar seems so work it ties in well enough to look like its standard fit.
B Pillar vynide / vinyll join
For the c-pillar and a-pillar trims we recovered the original aluminium
The Rebel shortly before leaving to catch a 2:30 am ferry…
The next stage will be another hit to get the doors built up and fitted ( they are currently waiting for the hinges and frames to be grit blasted and then sprayed.) Then the over carpets need edging and the seats need new covers made. There are lots of other odd jobs to tackle like the dashboard, door cards, etc
Sorry only one phone photo for the moment… but its now red again!
Dave’s been prepping the Rebel for paint, working around his other commitments its taken 2 weeks of repetitive work: Priming with a roller, flatting back. priming again, filling, sanding off, swearing, spray priming, flatting back with wet and dry…. but as of today the rebel has now had the final flat off with 800 wet and dry and is now awaiting top coat!
Sorry I’ve only got one crap phone pic but I thought I’d share It anyway.
With the Rebel undergoing prep for painting we’ve started to think about building up a decent engine. This is no small task, During the last 8 months numerous engines (at least 12) and countless parts have been acquired with the intention of building a “tuned” 750cc motor, Unfortunately other than spending a impressive amount of cash we hadn’t actually made any progress on this front until recently…
The following photos show some of the parts we’ve been procrastinating over. The first set of photos show a Brand New 750cc engine block with balanced crank and flywheel, polished con-rods and strapped center main bearing. Its in its original packing case destined for Export and has no serial number.
These next three show a ex 750 Formula Race engine. Fitted with a Ford Kent oil-pump on a custom cast Ali timing cover driven off the front of the camshaft, Polished rods, strapped center main, lightened rockers, high lift cam and non vacuum distributor.
We bought this Early 600cc engine last year, Modified for 750 formula use it came with the following – All 3 main bearings strapped, High lift cam, fully lightened and polished crank and rods, hepolite pistons, ported head and lightened rockers and a full flow oilfilter conversion instead of the original bypass arrangement. The intention had been to use this engine but once we stripped it down it needed a fair amount of work, The block has cracked across where the center head stud thread is located (a common problem with reliant’s), the crank was badly scored and the liners were badly pitted on the outside where they’re exposed to the water-jacket.
Rather than use one of those engines I’ve decided to spend even more money on modifying the original 600cc engine that came with the car (the only reason i can come up with to justify this is that it has the right serial number on the side) The block has now been modified to take 750/850 liners and the current plan is to use a 750cc crankshaft rather than a longer throw 850 one to reduce piston speed and make it a bit more responsive on the rev front. The next stage will be to get the center head stud Tig welded up, steam clean the block and strap the center main bearing and modify the oil system to give better flow to the main bearings.
In the next post I’ll share some of the options for ancillaries, heads, cranks, valve-train etc!.
Anyone want to buy some race engines?