STOP THE PRESSES! NEWSFLASH! Just learned that I have the winning bid on a pair of TR6 headlight buckets!
The car was retrieved from storage in May of 2002. A freshly charged battery, a few cranks of the starter, and away we go. The storage building is a very near my home so – look both ways and make a quick dash. The car is not registered, has no lights (not even the fixtures!), wheels pointing in every direction, no bumpers, no door handles, and not even an interior. It was fun.
Once home the first priority was to bolt the fenders in place. The fenders have been painted off the car so the search began for a suitable seam sealer. I considered using caulking gun style sealers but was concerned that they set quite hard. I also wanted to be able to reposition a fender later for door gap tweeking and who knows what else. A strip type caulking from 3M (#08578) was chosen. This black caulking comes in one foot strips, can be placed with your fingers, and remains pliable. NAPA offers a similar product, MS 4424. So far I’m very pleased with the results. Between fenders there is a recessed thin black line. It cleans up with 3M Adhesive Remover and is even paintable. Ask me in a year or two how it is doing.
With the fenders firmly bolted in place, it was time to add the bumpers. As I have done through the project, brand new fine thread bolts were used. With a borrowed set of gasket punches, new black rubber washers were cut out for insulators between the fender and the bumper side sections. Everything lined up nicely. What a relief! With bumpers in place it was beginning to look like a car again. The taillights are held in place with one bolt awaiting new gaskets. The bumpers could stand to be rechromed. I have one shiny section in the center of the rear bumper. It was replaced five or six years ago after it rusted through.
Installing the new interior was started late in July. The quality of the interior from Prestige is excellent. Dealing with them has also been a pleasure. First up was to clean up and install the transmission cover. This fiberglass cover was on the car when I purchased. It has always allowed water into the cockpit. The cover has been removed several times but somehow I never noticed that there were no bolt holes fastening it to the firewall! No wonder it leaked. It’s now securely bolted all the way around.
Covering the driveshaft tunnel is a pressboard piece. Over the years it had been rainsoaked, stepped on, and pretty much destroyed. It looked like a good candidate for a fiberglass replacement. Using the old piece as a mold, it was fastened to a 2×6 with enough drywall screws to take the warps out of the sides. The inside was filed with whatever I could find to return it close to it’s original shape. The serious flaws were filled with bondo and it was sanded to a smooth shape. A coat of old auto paste wax was applied and to keep the fiberglass from sticking. The first two layers laid on was fiberglass mat. The third and fourth layer was cloth. The whole thing was squeegeed to remove bubbles and excess resin. Before it had reached full hardness a utility knife was used to cut out the parking brake opening and trim the edges. It came out quite nice and is far better than the original. Too bad it may never be seen again.
It’s now mid August and I have been dragging my feet on the interior installation. There have been a few glitches along the way. At first I had mixed up some of the pieces that belong under the dash on the transmission cover. Prestige faxed a diagram, that once seen, was incredibly obvious. Don’t know what I had been thinking. Anyway the jute padding went down easily using 3M Super Trim Adhesive (#08090) in a spray can. I found that with carpet installed over the jute pad there wasn’t enough clearance to get the dash center support in place. Removing the section of padding under the support gave just enough room to force the support in place. The rear deck padding and the drive shaft tunnel carpet laid down easily.
The triangular support gusset between the sill and the “B” post was the next hurdle. Prestige supplied a triangular shaped pressboard section covered with vinyl. It is designed to tuck behind the gusset and fold over it’s top with the excess vinyl pulled over the exterior. These pieces were just too tall to fit. I’d say they were about 3/8″ taller than needed. I pulled the vinyl back on one and trimmed it back on a bench grinder. I thought all was well until noticing that the grinder had also cut thru the vinyl covering. In the pile of remaining carpet pieces I found a section of vinyl to recover the little triangle. Trimming was also needed on the passenger side but it went quickly and easily. Pictured is the outboard side of the gusset covered with adhesive.
The inside of the gusset was filled with 1/2″ foam. The same foam was used under the rear wheel arch covering. The masking seen in the photos is really great stuff from 3M. It is masking tape with a 12″ wide sheet of plastic attached. It comes on a roll with the plastic folded neatly. The gusset was covered by the little pressboard triangle and the vinyl was folded over to cover the outside surface. The fuzzy door weatherstripping covers the edges.
In this photo the inner sill, already covered with jute, is masked off and covered with adhesive, ready for carpet.
August 24, 2002. Here we are nearing the end of Summer 2002 and the car is still not done. There is no one to blame other than myself. I just had to go fishing and take care of all those other summer priorities. With my target date of September 18th approaching for the British Invasion, I probably won’t make it. Close, but I don’t see it being driveable and having enough local confidence building miles before striking off on a five hour trip into the mountains. Never the less, it will be on the road this year!
Sept 19, 2002 Things have slowed a bit at work and my boat sold, so there is more time for the Triumph. As the car comes together I find I’m plagued by little details that halt a job. Even though I believed I did a credible job of surveying and ordered all the parts to complete the car, every time I work on it there is something damaged or missing, needing replacement! Mostly little tings like the cone shaped washers under some of the interior screws. Or door clips, or shorter 1/4-28 bolts, or a grommet, or door panel retainers, or a seat belt spacer, etc etc. None of these are major items but they each stop progress. I keep a note pad in the car and try to keep track of needed items. There are always a dozen or so things to order. Thinking about it now, there are some items to be ordered tomorrow. Better planning and they would have been here for this coming weekend.
The interior is shaping up. The carpeting is all done except for the outer side kick panels. One of those haunting little missing items halted the project. The original backing boards (black pressboard) are too warped to reuse. Hopefully my local upolster will have a suitable replacement. The carpeting looks very good but installation hasn’t been a walk in the park. Prestige supplied the biscuit leather (leather only on the seat fronts) kit. It is the complete interior except for seat foam.
Now back to the interior. . . The seat foam came from Moss but they don’t offer headrest foam. Suppose I’ll end up cutting that myself.
There has been a lot of discussion about the various suppliers of TR6 interiors. I can only speak about the Prestige brand, having never purchased others. First may I say that the folks at Prestige have been been great to deal with. Customer service is excellent. The quality of the parts is superb. That said, there have been a few things that would have made installation easier. This car has been apart for three years and all of the tattered interior carpeting removed. After three years my memory isn’t what it used to be so the big cardboard box of torn carpet remnants is like a puzzle with parts missing. I had trouble figuring out the new pieces for the forward part of the transmission cover under the dash until the folks at Prestige faxed a layout map. There are no instructions with the kit. I looked to some of the competitors web sites for instruction hints. Most folks may not need instructions but like I said this car has absolutely no interior. The rear fender wells originally were covered with 1/4″ foam. There is no foam in the kit and all that could be found locally, was 1/2″. It worked out just fine. Still unsure about how much overlap there should be where the transmission jute matting meets the floor matting. I have about an inch of overlap that makes corners and seams slightly rounded. The new wool carpets look great. Any clever hints about drilling a hole through the jute without it balling up around the drill bit? Maybe some tape around the bit? Just finished the driver’s door panel but not without a little difficulty. The new panel clips just wouldn’t line up with the holes in the door. Try as I might, nothing worked. Finally noticing that the new clips purchased for the panels (not supplied by Prestige) were incorrect. My fault for not knowing that the clips used to hold the rear interior side panels are different than the door panels. Between the two original panels there were enough clips to finish one door. Now waiting for more clips. Back to Prestige thoughts. The door panels look great. The original panels had plastic rings behind the panels that lined the door pull opening. The new panels don’t have these and the openings are just too small to reuse the old rings. Does anyone know if there any fasteners used near the pull openings? This was a trouble spot for the old panels. Recovering the seats will have to wait till the dead of winter. Way too many things left to be done to make it roadworthy. About five years ago the seats were recovered in the orginal shadow blue vinyl. The covers are still in excellent shape so if anyone needs some blue seat upholstery, make an offer.