Part 2, of the Unipower GT blog from Cornwall.
The story of one car coming home!!
The audit of what needed to be done was indeed long and involved, but item number one in the plan of “originality throughout”, was to return the body to exactly as it was when it left the factory back in 1969, i.e. no great big wheel arches, extra air ducts, enormous air dams etc, etc. None of this would be possible without using the original genuine factory body moulds. Enter Gerry Hulford!!! For those that don’t know, Gerry, (founder of the Unipower website: ‘Unipower GT Owners Club and Register’), has all of these factory moulds, so, any body part can be supplied! This is incredibly useful, as so many cars have been butchered and ‘modified’ over the years, that to be able to return the panels to original and standard, is a godsend. With classic cars, in this day and age, authenticity is king!
Having removed the MG Metro Turbo engine and gearbox, to expose some, er, interesting chassis modifications, taken the clam shell off the rear, the car became a simple rolling chassis. Now to begin!!! Where do I start? (At the beginning, Ed.) The huge 13” wheels were removed along with the Metro Turbo 4 pot callipers (weight: 4.25 Kilos each!!!...why bother, with all that weight, Unipowers are all about lightness?) and original style 10” wheels installed front and rear, to move the car around the workshop. The bulbous front wheel arches meant a large part of the front wing had been cut away to fit them, so the new arches had to be made with this in mind. The pic below shows the work involved in grafting on the new arches. Accuracy and precision were needed to get the swage lines perfect. An amazing job done by the GRP superhero….
At the same time, a close look at the clam shell revealed it had had just one chop, one modification, one horror too many and so, it had to go….GRP superhero and clam shell moulds to the rescue: a complete brand new, freshly made clam shell where everything is true and correct.
At the same time, the old spoiler was ground off and work started on the residual surface to make good. Now, it was starting to look like a proper road going UnipowerGT again!
Once the clam shell and new front arches and newly exposed front sans air dam/spoiler were all in place, a new problem showed up. The roof/B pillars did not sit true to the new rear end. A professional chassis alignment check was then done to reveal the chassis was true all over. That was a relief for sure but it showed that the roof and B pillars were somehow out of kilter.
This called for a big think, discussion and decision…yup, a new roof, B pillars and sill sections were the only solution. Not an easy job though, but all possible with the moulds and expertise available!!! Pics to follow soon on that one, meantime, while that was going on, the clapped out gearchange mech needed completely rebuilding….
.Tune in next time for ‘what happened next’ and how to rebuild your gear linkage….