Here's an attempt to re-create a thread I wrote on the old TSSC forum, concerning the (ongoing) restoration of my Herald. This seems the best place to put it now...
The story starts with with my 1966 12/50 Convertible, which I bought as a second car in 1998. Maybe I should have steered away from a non-standard build, but I didn’t realise that no such model existed. It did have a proper convertible rear tub and was in better condition than the other genuine 1200 convertible I was looking to buy. Anyway, we had a few adventures in this car; Stafford 1999 and Norfolk’s MOT in 1999 and 2000. Repairs had to be made to keep it on the road, so I set up accounts with Rimmers and TRGB but after two or three years of fun, it failed the MOT due to serious corrosion. A friend and I stripped the car down one Easter Holiday to start the restoration. Progress was slow but got even slower after a Rimmers flyer dropped through the door in late 2002.
On the back pages, amongst the restoration projects, I spotted a Triumph that I recognised instantly from my childhood. It was purchased new by a neighbour of ours, so spent a lot of time opposite our front window. Eventually, my Grandfather owned the car and when he gave up driving, sold it onto my other Grandfather. When he gave up driving in the late 1980’s he left it with his local garage to dispose of. I assumed that it was either scrapped or left to rust away in the yard, so was very pleased to see it still in existence. The bodywork was rough, but the interior still good (apart from one of Grandad’s pipe burns to the seat!) A price was agreed with Rimmers for the car and delivery to my house by recovery truck in early 2003.
I had visions of a quick patch-up to get an MOT so I could attend the TSSC Norfolk MOT event that September. I even imagined that I could work quick enough to have both Heralds on the road by the end of the year. How wrong could I have been?
My old 12/50 was still in pieces in the garage, so this was (and still is) a driveway restoration for fair weather days only. I built a small car port over the car to help keep the rain away, but the roof run-off isn’t good enough so when it starts raining I know I have 15 minutes before the rain water gathers in pools and starts to drip through the plastic.
Here’s a rough timeline of work done. I’ve taken plenty of photos and a few notes and diagrams jotted down in a notebook. Sadly,I’ve failed to keep track of the photo dates in my notebook. Not a disaster, but I wish I’d kept such information....
Friend from work lends me MIG welder, big bottle of gas and another friend comes up and gets me started; helping me replace O/S door step and seat belt mount. That’s all really, my own welding is pretty poor and I’m disappointed.
Grind away base of O/S rear wing by B post to reveal lots of rot extending into kick panel under rear seat. Not much left of bottom of B post either. Remove body mounting bracket here. Note extent of rust in rear wheelarch and order outer wing repair patch and inner arch as well. Hope to get that all done by the Summer! For some reason think it is time to grind off O/S/F outrigger.
Remove rear ¼ valance and see how rotten main body is around rear wheelarch. Start grinding away inner wheelarch.
2006 & 2007
No photos, which suggests nothing was done. The borrowed welder had given up and I bought my own along with an auto-darkening visor, that helped improve things. I think I put a new kitchen in during 2006...
A flurry of activity...
Repaired bottom of O/S B post and surrounding floor. Repaired holes left in chassis when I removed front outrigger. Made repairs to O/S/R wheelarch, after having parts to do this sitting on shelf for four years! Getting much more confident with the welder but forgot to keep an eye on heat distortion. Have bulge in rear wing and much filler needed in repaired skin at B post. But I see progress and no holes! Large patch added to O/S/F floor pan. Can see evidence of previous repairs, but looks solid enough for now. Small holes patched in complicated curves in door frame by bottom of A post and boot floor. Start attacking O/S/R outrigger; grinding off and repairing chassis rail where it had holed. Removed flaking bottom of driver’s door skin and welded in new repair panel as well as repairs to door base. Yet again things get too hot and door skin tries to flatten out rather than follow nice curves. Small bit of filler helps, but looking at it now in 2016, I can see the profile at the door base is much flatter than it should be.
Finally weld on front outrigger that was removed in 2004! Weld on O/S B post body mount. Attach rear outrigger but realise it doesn’t fit. I made some mistakes with height of B-post floor, adjusted body mount flanges to suit and now it’s all too low. Grind away new B post mount and start again....
Repair holes in boot floor on both sides where boot outriggers attach. Looked solid from above but the metal is hidden under a ¼” of body sealer! Confident enough to do these bits on a warm evening after work, so must be finding the welding easier.
Replace rotten boot outriggers after making first plea for help on TSSC forum. Find everyone to be very friendly and helpful. Everything lines up nicely. Used wooden props under rear over-rider tubes to stop boot floor sagging, but doing everything in sloping driveway isn’t the best way....
Make repairs to boot floor side under fuel tank (Tank removed years ago) and start taking a look at the nearside of the car, which is a lot worse!
Repairs made to base of N/S B post and surrounding floor as well as N/S/R wheelarch. Bit more confident with my method here, but still don’t manage to get the factory spot welds where outer arch and wing meet. The inner arch has a return much wider than the wing, so I MIG these overlapped parts together and then grind the inner one in down to smooth the welds and match the depth of the wing return. It was dusk as I did this and yet again, got carried away and things got hot. Didn’t notice the distortion in the rear wing until clearing-up. When will I learn? !
Boot stay re-attached to rear wing as it snapped off. Obviously the fuel tank , when in situ, takes the weight of the boot lid.
Realise that I should by a new car cover. Old one had torn and so I threw it away, leaving car under leaky “car port” but exposed for a year or two. Spare wheel well full of water, nice set screws bought as part of body attachment kit are now very rusty and front of roof bubbling-up nicely.
Another year of achievement! N/S/F outrigger removed, repairs made to surrounding chassis. Then complete N/S/F floor replaced along with repairs to very flaky bulkhead base. Was quite surprised at the amount of work required on the new floor pan to make it fit; had to cut into it, add small curved sections and then bend it up, as well as extending it to reach under the A post.
Before that I had replaced all of the complicated curves at bottom of A post replaced, using my 12/50 Convertible (still hiding in garage) as a reference for cardboard patterns. Not an exact replica, but better looking than the weld-over repair section available for the bottom of the door frame. There were not many clues left as most of the A post base as well as subsequent repairs had rotted away.
For a bit of light relief, removed the courtesy light switches, straightened out bent pins, cleaned and lubricated as the original ones seem hard to get. Light comes on (for what good it does) every time now. Replaced rotten rubber gearbox mounts also.
Rear tub body mount attached and this time looked a good fit when rear outrigger was replaced. Bit of a loss to know what references to use when re-fitting these chassis parts as I had no solid metal to use as reference points on this side, however it does seem to be fitting together in the right places.
Have taken more care on this side to re-attach valances etc when measuring-up to ensure that new panels end up in the right place.
A friend at our local TSSC meet has sold me a nice second-hand fuel tank and I have given that a couple of coats of black Hammerite. However, bringing the project up-to-date, I’ve chipped a lot of that paint off over Christmas whilst trying to fit the tank. Still can’t get the drain plug to line up in the large boot floor hole, so I wonder if I have made this hole in the wrong place. Things might fit if I unscrewed the drain plug, but that’s when the bottom of the tank came away on the original one!
Hope this little write-up is of interest and not too boring. This year (as every year) I really want to see the car finished. It won’t be concours, but I hope to have a lot of jollies out and about and support more local TSSC activities.
So by the end of 2011, I thought this was the list of remaining jobs:
Two new front wings to fit along with D plates and indicator panel repairs.
Two new cross tube ends to be welded on and flappy fibreglass front valance to be re-attached.
Add door step panels to repaired floorpan and replace rubber seals.
Service brakes, suspension and steering.
Fit new windscreen –but only going to subject myself to that pain if it fails the MOT.
Finish sanding and repainting rusty wheels then add new tyres.
Refit fuel tank add new fuel and bake pipes.
The car was sold as a “Good Runner”, so I’m hoping the engine and transmission is still in reasonable order. I make some basic checks to ensure that nothing has seized and then run the engine once a year - it’s nice to hear it. Don’t think I can expect too much though, I found a previous owner had entered this car on the Drive Archive website and reported it to be “Very Tired”.
Hopefully once MOT’d, I have a colleague at work who is happy to repaint it, but maybe he will need to straighten out some of my overheated bulges in the bodywork first!
Back to 2016 now and that's a lengthy first post. Will continue in a new entry....stay tuned....
(and this is the end of my script, so why does this rogue thumbnail keep appearing?)