A few weeks work ahead on this early ’90s Astra GSi. The Owner has had it for a good few years and wants it back on the road for sentimental reasons.
As with most modern classics, they hide their corrosion very well. Its only when you dig around underneath that you find problems like this sill
Rust chopped out and new metal welded in. The inner sill was then rust treated and anti corrosion paint was applied.
The new sill was then welded in place….
…and closure panels made and fitted.
On to the other side and more of the same.
So the top coat was given a week to harden then the work began. The whole car was rubbed down by hand with 2000 wet and dry paper and machine buffed to a shine using Farecela G3. This was very time consuming, arm aching and boring work. I usually put some music on and let my mind wander…
As you can see assembly has begun with the engine and gearbox being fitted as one unit. A new 3 piece clutch and slave cylinder were also fitted.
A job that makes a massive difference to the overall look of the car is fitting the grill and lights which were done today.
I am struggling to get the windscreen to body seal to fit properly so this is now held under compression with a couple of ratchet straps with the desperate idea this may help.
I have started on the interior and have half fitted the carpets. This job is next on the list to complete. Once the doors are built up I will be able to fit the door cards and seats. The interior will then be finished.
The engine should be up and running next weekend so this is something to look forward to.
If no problems occur the car should be ready in around 3 weeks.
So the primer was flatted back and the low spots filled and rubbed level.
Several more coats of epoxy primer were then added and the process repeated.
After this was flatted it was finally time to start thinking about the top coat. The Midget will be painted in the original colour of Brooklands Green.
First off the door shuts, edges and gaps were painted with a small spray gun.
After this I sprayed 4 coats of top coat over the whole car.
The finish is not perfect with a small amount of orange peel and the odd bit of dust which I expected. These will flat out before the final polish after time has been given for the lacquer to harden fully.
I am pleased with the result as you can see my shadow giving the thumbs up below.
So finally after several weeks of welding, panel beating filling and sanding the Midget was ready for it’s first couple of coats of primer.
The primer used was two pack Epoxy primer. Two coats were applied.
The primer was applied on Friday and was ready for initial flatting on Sunday.
Over all I was pleased with the result. A few issues became apparent now the car was one uniform colour. This revealed a couple of low spots but nothing a skim of knifing putty and 320 grit in a block couldn’t solve.
A guide coat was applied to show any low spots.
I have managed to flat one side of the car today and hopefully with a bit of help flat the rest tomorrow. After this I will apply several more coats of the primer and do a final flatting hopefully next weekend.
The owner came around and brought the grill he wants to fit. It is an original Austin Healey Sprite item for a pre ’70 car. I think this is a great choice and ,in my opinion, is the most attractive of all the grills.
Not a massive amount to report this post, I managed to source some nice front indicator lights. I decided to get these with a clear lens and use an orange bulb or LED. If I decide to go the LED route I will have to change the flasher unit which is not much of a problem.
The lights are similar to early Morris Minor units and are flatter in profile than the similar Land Rover type. One problem with them is they have 2 contacts inside so I will have to bridge them together with a soldered strip of copper to make then fit a single contact indicator bulb.
I smoothed off the back side and it is as smooth as a babys bum. In fact it is as smooth as a Midgets bum. mmm…
The left hand side of the car is now getting there and soon I will be hand blocking the whole car ready for primer.
Just need the weather to change as it is wet and snowing outside.
The panel gaps on the Midget were pretty bad. The right hand A post had a gap that got bigger towards the bottom. instead of relying on filler I welded a short length of 3mm steel rod to it to build up the edge.
This was then ground back…
…and filled. The whole area then had a light skim of filler to get the all the panels the correct level and straight.
When the rubber bumpers are removed there is a large hole were the indicator needs to be. This is not on the earlier midgets so needs to be filled in.
A piece of steel is shaped to fit…
…welded in and ground back. This is welded slightly back from the front surface so filler can be used for final profiling.
The same was done on the other side.
Filler was used to smooth out the contours and a location hole measured out for the front indicators.
More sanding and profiling of filler was used to cover the repair work on the other side of the car…
…and attention given to the door gaps and levelness of the panels.
I find this work tedious but satisfying at the same time. Hopefully the first few coats of epoxy primer will be going on in a couple of weeks.