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Need Moral Support: Spitfire Body Dead with Terminal Rust...


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Short version:

I have pictures uploaded here:




with capital S

(sorry about the linking... I can upload pictures next time...)

What you don´t see is the gaping hole in the A post that was covered by fiberglass, the 6 inch/10 cm of rust and holes all around the bottom curtain , rockers, sills, and trunk/boot.

When body parts started to flex and when we started scraping the weld seams and discovered that rust had started to actually push the panels apart my body shop acquaintance told me to get a new body....

No amount of work could save this...

I have not given up yet. Chassis and hood/bonnet are still good so if I can find a decent body it may actually save me time and money in the end.

If someone knows someone in Western Europe let me know. I have a contact in Belgium and have asked in my Spitfire club.

Otherwise moral support would help me feel better. 🙂




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Im sorry but i have repaired alot worse than this. Mind you i only scrap a body if there is nothing solid to weld too. 

Yes there may be some difficult welding to be done but from your pictures nothing that could not be done.

Having re read i notice you said your body shop, so cost is a major factor.

If you can get a better shell for less spend than repairing yours it maybe the way to go, thats your decision. 

Edited by Mathew
Read wrong
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Thanks Matthew,

He was very open. He did say it COULD be done but the question was whether it SHOULD be done.

The pictures were taken a few weeks ago and I haven't had time to make new ones (rolling the car in and out is a 2 person job and I am usually alone). Since then the holes in the floor have grown as I stomped around the car.

The pillars on the windshield frame can have a screwdriver stuck through every 4-5 inches.

Rocking the frame makes the walls in the footwell flex.

You can almost pull the outer rocker/sill off with your bare hands.

The floor is starting to give way and the captive nuts are gone on the driver's side.

Every weld seam has rust in it and is starting to burst.

The bodge on the A pillar was the stab in the heart for me. Covering that with fiberglass (the hole is about 1 inch in diameter) is down right dangerous.

Since I can't do body work myself (No space, no equipment, no knowledge and likely no talent) my goal was to have the car rebuilt so that it would likely never rust again. While you could grind the rust away , treat it and repaint there is a high chance it would come back again.

German MOT (TÜV) does not allow any rust to be visible on the body of the car.

Decent panels would cost me several thousand easily and they likely won't fit right so if I can find a decent tub that needs little to no work it is likely an easier/cheaper endeavor .

He pretty much only works on older cars. A TR6 was in his shop recently.

A doorskin here costs between 600 and 800€. He repaired it for half that so I don't really question expertise or cost of labor.

Having said that, I am more than happy to house someone who wants to come over and do all the work for me!



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Does sound like a replacement tub is in order, i got one from the states about 1990 as at the time it was cheaper than the panels required to fix. They do come up from time to time now, just wait and make sure its a good one. In the mean time you can busy yourself restoring all the other bits so they are ready when your tub is done. Not the end of the world, just some encouragement needed. Your find plenty of that on this site.

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Likewise I've seen far worse where floor panels and sills and a few patches fixes things up again.   The question is whether it's more economical to just buy another Spitfire or whether you feel that one deserves being saved from the crusher.   I don't supposed you're allowed to build a special on the Spitfire chassis in Germany ?  That could be fun.

Chin up Andy they'll be something positive waiting just around the corner.  No not this corner ..the next one ;)


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It looks like a long term project. Or worth looking at something like a "barn find" and make one of two?. Selling on any unused parts for spares?. For example a quick look on Flea bay brought this up?.


Maybe someone based up in the North West. could take a look?.


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Thanks guys,

I am going to look at a '72 that was dismantled and stored dry in '82 (according to the owner) tomorrow evening (unless I get my first jab and feel all wonky...). I have no clue what he wants for or if it is as clean as he claims...

If that doesn't pan out there is a guy just a little farther away selling an abandoned  1500 project that "needs rear fenders/wings" that he has but hasn't put on. The floors look OK on the pictures and I can see an engine (which I don't need). The frame has been blasted, rust-proofed and treated. Which I technically don't need either. I like the idea of the 3.63 diff (even though I really want a 3.27) and the wider rear stance though... he wants almost 3500€ for the lot but it has been up for months so I could talk him down....

Last on the list is also an abandoned project that has already been patched up and painted but the welding looks very rough and he also want 3500€ for just the tub. He is willing to negotiate but I would only see it as a last resort.

A few months back a 1500 came up that had been smashed up in the front but the rest was fun... so they do show up from time to time.

Making any mods to a car almost always require TÜV (MOT) approval and without some sort of a certificate can be time-consuming and expensive. Fiberglass body panels often aren't allowed, shock absorbers and and stainless steel brake lines need to have certificates. Heck, even using tires that are 10 mm wider than stated in the papers can render your car un-roadworthy.

It is grey area if you chop up a car and transpose the VIN and chassis numbers.

There is a movement to try to get some more relaxed rules for classic cars but because there is already a classic car law on the books that requires everything to be original it is problem...

With things opening up and the weather being nice I having trouble doing anything on the project... my original plan had been the body shop takes the car for 6 weeks and I do other projects that I need the garage for. Then I take it to the paint shop for however long and when it is back and all shiny I start the rebuild.

Not knowing how the body situation will pan out has caused me to juggle a multiple of other things (plus trying to get vaccinated..) so it just hasn't been mega high on the list... Part of the prob is, let's say I get a broken car and it has better bits than mine...? I don't want to waste my time...

It is a passion project. I have a general idea what I want to achieve and I am in the very fortunate situation of hopefully being able to afford that as I am taking a "good, fast, cheap: Pick two: I'll take good an cheap" so taking my time....

I would like to have it done before my half-century so I have a  year or two yet...


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The Germans won't let me become German without giving up my US citizenship.

As long as my Mom is alive over there I won't because when I need to be get over there it has to be a "now" sort of thing.

When my Dad died I was in the US within 12 hours (including flight time).

I had 3 colleagues who gave up being American to become German who had at least one parent die and they could not be there because of the pandemic.

Besides, the US does not understand why anyone would want to give up US citizenship.. if you do you get the "red folder" at the airport and they detain you anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours as you are already a "statistic". 

Also the IRS (internal revenue service aka tax monster) checks if you declared taxes "properly" for at least 3 years before they let you go. My Mom, who professionally did income tax for farmers, small business and individuals and couples for nearly 40 YEARS cannot confirm I have been doing my taxes right because the law was written in 1865 and never updated. (Yes we are double taxed, I can deduct what I pay in Germany but only to a cap).

Did I mention that unless you are registered in state in the US you can't vote for president because there is no electoral college person to "represent" you?

Wasn't there some thing about taxation without representation somewhere in the 1770's...?

I have been mistaken for a Canadian though...

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20 hours ago, DVD3500 said:

There was an ad in the local paper "Learn English for Senior Citizens! 50+..."

My wife and I started to laugh... then we started to cry....

I remember being incensed by a piece in the local newspaper about an elderly man (53) being knocked off his bicycle 😡

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Smallish update.

Visited another '72 that has been off its chassis since 1982 (!).

Body has lots of surface rust but I could not find any holes. Even areas like the captured nuts (is that the right term?) where the seats are bolted down were OK.

The problem was the car was a good 1.5 meters in the air on stand and mounted to a donor chassis and the passenger side was up against wall.

It is kind of funny because the two cars (mine and this one) were like fraternal twins: Everything that was good on my car is rotten on his.

The chassis has almost an inch of rust on it.

He didn't name a price but he would prefer to get rid of all of it. And I only want the body.... I crawled into the car to try to see more and scratched my head (being balder than a babby's bum I have no hair to warn me) pretty bad....

There is an abandoned 1500 project about and hour and half from here I will visit on Sunday. He likely wants to get rid of it all too but at least his frame  has been sandblasted and rust proofed. I wouldn't mind a 3.63 diff (until I can find a 3.27) and the wider 1500 stance either. He currently want 3500€ for it but we will see...

Wish me luck!

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At those prices would you be able to import , say from the states? Will be lhd as well. My first restoration used a body from the states. I know they are not as common as they used to be. Uk ones tend to go between 300 and 1200 but you will need bits from yours to convert.

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I wish you good fortune with securing another body and parts needed.   The first one (fraternal twin) sounds ideal if the price is right and you can buy just what you want. Make him an offer and see if cash speaks louder than what he might 'want'.  ;)   'captive nut' is the term we use.

Sorry to hear about the cut to your head.. ouch.!   Through the winter I got used to wearing a woolly hat when I'm working under the car or dashboard.  I had a cotton bush hat for when working on the boat ..all too often with me wedged in very awkward places.  Aside from protection it kept paint, fibreglass and the glass fibres off.  It made me look dumber than dumb, but it served the task well.  Alas it has been lost somewhere.  Note to self ; i must get another.


Good Luck,



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Oh I prefer mismatched overalls and shirts, holey caps and mismatch gloves. Keeps people from asking annoying questions...

The perfect solution has not presented itself.... some good, some bad.. some in between...

Someone made a note with things opening up people will be dropping their "projects" and more stuff may make it to market.

Unfortunately many fear people will do that with pets they acquired last year too...


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4 minutes ago, DVD3500 said:

Unfortunately many fear people will do that with pets they acquired last year too...

Sadly, that is already happening, there has already been local reports of (especially dogs) being left for in excess of 6 to 8 hours. Now that more people are no longer "child minding Schooling" and are going back to the "office".


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  • 3 weeks later...

Small update: Found an abandoned project car in Belgium. Californian car complete except for the interior.

Probably the car that I should have bought in the first place as it has the gearbox, brake system and stronger doors that I wanted BUT I only found the seller through contacts that I got by buying the first car.

Plan is to use the best/preferred parts from both cars.

With any luck I will have it stripped and ready for rebuild in September (maybe sooner if the the weather holds up)...


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