This is going to be a continuing story, each month as work is done; I will write up the progress and take photos. I am doing this to keep a record for my benefit so might as well share my experience.
The story so far is—A long time ago (December 1989) the car was involved in an accident. The events just before and later are a story in itself but not one to be included in this narrative. The final outcome is that the insurance was voided and we had a seriously damaged car on our hands.
I am unable to find the original photos but for any that are interested they were published in the DLOC magazine, May 1990, Dart Talk April & August 1994. The body was demolished from just behind the front wheel to in front of the rear wheel right side, the damage going into the scuttle. Fortunately, the previous owner had installed a very strong extra chassis member to stiffen it up similar to the B spec. This obviously has saved the chassis from more serious damage. Not all the damage was from the accident, the towies managed to do more in moving the car, and I suppose they thought is was a write off.
For some time the car was stored under a tarpaulin at the end of our drive, time and finance were not available to do any serious work. I have always worked on the principle that I like to see the end before I start. After a while room was made to shift it inside and a start was made to dismantle. In the end the floor was cleared and the parts stored in every place we could find. With the chassis up against the wall I was able to get the Daimler V8 250 into the garage.
From the start, one of the problems we faced was the body. Though badly damaged it was repairable though it was the general opinion not an economic proposition, so a search was on to find a replacement. Some 10 years ago a company in the UK were making a replica SP250, but the cost at the time of a new body from them was beyond us. Recent enquiries have resulted in finding that that company has disappeared, and no one knows where the molds are. Like a lot of us budget and time constraints forced us to put the restoration on hold. Circumstances have changed now so the search for a body was resumed, in the end two were located in the UK, a complete B spec. with some damage is the one that is of greatest interest. Negotiations are going on and at the same time some hard to get parts are being sought, to be shipped at the same time.
After a lot of soul searching we have decided to rebuild the car as near to standard as we can, therefore as long as we can get the parts it will have the original gearbox and steering etc.
The way is now clear for a start so 30th October 2001 is a red letter day as the chassis was set up on two stools and Steven Carr who is helping when I need help, came round and we did a quick survey. From what we can see there is a lot of tweaking to do not all of it from the accident. Having seen this I wonder what the other SPs are like and how they would bear up under a close inspection. On the Thursday following the chassis was transported to Steven’s favourite body shop to wait for a space on their machine to get it surveyed and straightened.
While the chassis has been away, I have repaired a genuine steering wheel and fixed an indicator – horn assembly. The horn assembly was quite a job as I had two, one in good working order but with a broken skirt surround and one that was no good but with a sound skirt. To make one good one I made a wooden jig to hold the assembly then I took a coping saw and very carefully cut off the broken skirt, then did the same on the other one. Then using the jig I glued the two together, when the glue had hardened I filed off the surplus and sanded the lot to finish the surface. Next a coat of paint and when it is assembled with the chrome ring round the horn button I doubt if anyone will be able to see the repair. Much cheaper than a new one from UK at 140 pounds.
Monday 12th November, picked up the chassis and took it to Steven’s place to have the B spec. pieces we had fabricated many years ago welded to the chassis. We had taken the opportunity at the time to copy these from Steven’s car when it had a bare chassis and all the measurements were easily available. The chassis was examined for cracks and suspect welds; these were tended to, the chassis now looking sound. Wednesday we took it to Advanced Corrosion Treatments Ltd., Neilson St., Penrose for sandblasting and painting with a two-pot finish.
Tuesday 20th – Chassis back home, it looks a million dollars, a work of art, a sculpture, what a pity the I have to put all those bits and pieces on and then cover it up with a body.
Started overhauling the steering box, having trouble getting the rocker shaft out as must examine the stud that engages the worm, all looks OK so far. Started to clean and ready for painting the back axle, front suspension and any other parts that will be black parts. Have also been making up a frighteningly long list of parts that will be wanted. I have been shopping on the internet and making inquiries to anyone who just may be a supplier of parts for the SP, in the process have found some startling facts, when I finally do order, I will let you all know the outcomes.
Evenings have been spent going through all the Dart Talks and noting technical articles that will be of help. As I only have 2 tyres (now over 12 years old and will need to be replaced) and two bare rims, I have obtained 2 worn tyres to make a rolling chassis in the mean time.
The steering box has now been checked out, old lubricant cleaned out, all ready for painting.