After much preparation of cracks in the paintwork of the body, caused mainly by there being a number of previous re-sprays by the factory which had gone very hard over the years, with two further complete re-sprays by a previous owner and myself. The gel-coat itself, was in good order and after considerable flatting down, it was ready for a respray in the factory correct yellow.
At the same time the engine was totally rebuilt including the gearbox. The bores in the tappet chested 1293cc block were within tolerance and just needed a light hone, after which new Omega pistons/rings were fitted along with new crankshaft bearings, with finally all the reciprocating parts being balanced to a fine tolerance. The cylinder head was further fettled by my good friend Nick Swift of well know Swiftune, to extract the most whilst still retaining the original head. The 4-speed gearbox had all its bearings replaced and new 3-speed syncro's fitted to the existing Straight-cut, Close-ratio gears. The Jack-Knight LSD was in good order as well as were the Transfer gears. Whilst these were again Straight-cut versions, they were retained as original as was the primary gear on the crankshaft which was just re-shimmed for end-float.
The long standing problem of crankcase pressure at high-rpm causing the paper gasket between the block and the gearbox to blow out in places (very common problem), was solved by an additional breather union being installed in the existing casting in the factory modified clutch bell housing. The original rocker cover had its breather increased to 1" bore some time ago as is common place in FIA cars to relieve pressure further. An alternator had been fitted some time ago and has been retained, although a period look dynamo, fitted with alternator internals, will be fitted at a later date as again is often common practise on FIA spec race cars.
The re-spray was entrusted to an old friend who operates from an 'old-school' facility but produces amazing results. A base grey undercoat being applied before the yellow.
Returning from the re-spray, the car was slowly reassembled, the chassis having been rubbed down and repainted where possible.
However it had always been the intention to retain as much of the original 'patina' from its early racing days to retain its provenance.
Suspension parts had been rubbed down and re-painted, the serviceable replacement Spax shock-absorbers being refitted. Of note was that all the original rose-joints for the principal suspension attachment, were showing signs of wear from years of competition and needed ideally changing. The problem was that these joints were uniquely threaded UNC with the 'ball' being removable for greasing, by turning through 90 degrees and exiting through a slot in the outer casting. On trying to source these, it was understandably found that they were no longer made having evolved into the now well known, phosphor bronze or PTFE bushed versions. A couple of months after my initial enquiry, when I was told they could be re-made but in a minimum quantity of 1,000, Autosport Bearings who had bought all of Rose Bearings stock, found a box of brand new joints in a back store room. So all these rose-joints were replaced with period correct items.
Original hubs were rebuilt with new Timken bearings as well as new brake discs fitted with the correct sized Cooper 'S' brake callipers and my favourite EBC brake pads.
The remaining rose joints were smaller and phosphor bronze lined including those on the gearshift mechanism, which was rebuilt and re-bushed. (see the article in a previous Blog post)
More on the next stages of the 2014 re-build of what is the first Competition version built and last remaining factory prepared and internationally raced car.