The wiring is basically complete, had to get a new flasher unit, the only thing left to be resolved is the high-beam warning light glowing dimly when on low-beam, a bad earth in the light circuit some where, will take a bit of searching to find this one. The petrol pump and filter are in place with all new hoses, heater finished off. Distributor bolted in and timed using the light bulb method, all new spark plugs in place and all the leads connected. After some searching I found the oil for the gearbox I wanted, Castrol GP 50, unfortunately I had to buy 4 litres when I only need less than 1 litre so I have enough for three fills of a SP gearbox to sell if anyone out there is interested.
Bolted the re-chromed front grill, the front bumper extensions in place with the horns. The rear bumper brackets in place, the over-riders attached to the bumper and the assembly bolted up.
Preparation in hand to put motor into body, borrowed back the gadget I made and traded to Steven Carr that makes it easy and very safe to alter the centre of gravity while installing a motor, wouldn’t attempt it without that now, makes this virtually a one person job.
Took the gear lever off, hoisted the motor and it slipped in easy as pie, bolted the mounts down and gear lever back in place. Cut packings for the heater and bolted it in place. Made a trial fit of the radiator to find the mounting holes didn’t line up so out it came to slot the holes, second time all was well. I have made a point of running a tap through all threaded holes to clear ant paint etc out a bit of a bind but well worth the trouble in the end. Coupled up all the new coolant and petrol hoses. A bit of advice here, some days after I had the motor in I received an e-mail reminding me to attach the hose to the oil pressure gauge before installing the motor as this is almost impossible to get at after. I hadn’t done this but fortunately the position if this coupling has been changed on my car in taking the piping to the by-pass filter and this hose can just be coupled with some difficulty, I was very lucky. I was unlucky though as the hose was so brittle it snapped, so needed to be replaced. I did think of using hose as used in fish tanks but, as this has quite a low heat tolerance looked around for something more suitable. With Steven Carr’s help (he want some too) we located a 3/16 od. hose marked Nylon 12 (1200 series) from Hose & Couplings, Neilson St Onehunga, plus some 3/16 id. to shield it through the fire-wall. You literally have to use boiling water to attach the fittings, I had a T fitting that was the same as the gauge end, this helped hold and to retain more heat this end, it took several goes to get the fittings on fully.
Made up mounts for seat-belt attachment, these out of 3mm steel, decided to go for 3 point belts. Made sure that the attachments were very strong and well attached as they have to be certified by an engineer before the car can be re-registered etc. I managed to find one who made house calls. He passed the ones attached to the chassis, but as there are no specifications for anything attached to fibre-glass he would not pass the ones on top of the back wheel well even though he considered them to be, at a guess OK.
According to him they would have to take a strain of 1½ tons and he had no way of checking that. Can you imagine a strain of 1½ tons on your shoulder, over kill surely, officialdom gone mad. His advise was to go through the system with lap belt only and to fit the 3 point ones later, time will tell if that scheme works OK.
The drive shaft had to be shortened and balanced, it had been lengthened to accommodate the Jag box, it is now installed in the car. All the instruments in the dash are in place and coupled, the steering wheel with the wiring down the column installed and connected and checked. Filled the motor up with water intending to use this for flushing the system and found the drain tap on the radiator was not screwed in properly, could not be done in place so out comes the radiator, tap screwed in and back in again.
With a bit of tongue in cheek I had cleaned and checked the brake and clutch master and clutch slave before putting them in the car, unfortunately these were not OK so were taken to Sterling Clutch and Brake. The brake master and the clutch slave were re-sleeved with stainless and the clutch master replaced. Installed, charged and bled, everything working OK. Always get good service from that company.
Had a trial fit of the assembled windscreen to check how it would sit, the two holes at the door hinges had been covered with filler etc during the fibre glass repairs and painting so these had to be drilled and bolts made for this job. I used long ¼” UNF bolts, drilled 3 nuts to slide down the shank, brazed 2 in line with the head and the other at a point to give the length of thread I needed. These bolts give a better guide than just a normal bolt, and with the confined space it is certainly needed. The screen glass I used was a rejected one that was delaminating that I had been given, the intention being to get a new one before the final installation. Just as well as one of those side bolts was too long and I cracked the corner of the screen. The trial fit showed that some serious packing was going to be needed to get the screen’s position correct. I am told most have washers etc used for this purpose.
Decided to try the motor, the petrol pump clattered away and after a few revs she fired up. Took it up to 2000 revs for a bit, great oil pressure, almost 50lbs, but suddenly there was a strong smell of petrol, a quick look round and found the pump casing had a split in it and the boot was getting a fair dosing of petrol. Reluctantly stopped the motor and put an order into the Spares Club for a new pump. The pump was a fairly new one and the split was next to the outlet at a line where the plastic mould joined. This banjo joint I had not touched. It is possible I could have repaired it with Arildite but a new pump was the safer bet.
A start made on fitting out and attaching the doors, driver’s side first, what a hell of a job. This is the door that had been repaired so needed quite a lot of work made harder because all new felts had been glued in the guides. A whole day later and still not fully satisfied. Went on with the passenger side door, this went together so easy it only took about two hours. Before finally fitting the doors we dismantled the wind-screen and fitted the new glass, then using the information about packings gained from the trial fit bolted it in place, with some pushing etc it all lined up OK. Finished off the driver’s door, almost got caught with the lock, it was only catching in the first click, not going into the second, had to move the catch out to achieve this. The window guides in place and adjusted, the winders are going to be very stiff as all new felts have been glued in the channels.
Bonnet and boot lid attached with new hinges, the stays fitted, had to make a clip for the bonnet stay as the original couldn’t be found. After several tries the catches are now working OK, have to make up a safety catch for the bonnet. New petrol pump to hand and installed, now able to run the motor again, going quite well, a bit rough as nothing has been done to the carburettors, idling far too fast but all this to be attended to later. The seat runners are now in place with new C/S socket head screws, the counter- sinking in the rails had to be deepened for these, but they do a neat job. Jacked up the rear and took the wheels off to run the gearbox to check to see if the new gears are working OK. A bit stiff getting into second for a start but after working it several times I’m sure it will be OK.
Put the wheels back on, put a seat in place and found the I can get into a SP, I had thought that with my limited knee movement with the artificial joints I have I would not be able to. I then drove the car up and down the drive a couple of times. The steering is all to hell, I had originally just bolted it all together with no packings. In trying to correct the serious toe-out I find I will have to reposition the steering wheel as no adjustment left on the drivers side. The wheel alignment will be attended to later.
With all the chrome on it now looks like a real car, a check with John McKechnie who is going to do the upholstery and a tow-truck was booked to transport the car over to his place. 3rd October 2003, another red letter day in the rebuild progress. John says 6-8 weeks to finish the job.
As I will have very little to do to the SP until it is fitted out inside and there will be very little to be done when it returns, this is probably the penultimate article. I do hope my efforts have been of interest and maybe of help to other SP 250 owners.
Many years ago this car was dismantled and the parts put into storage. About 18 months ago we decided that something had to be done with these parts so we decided to do a full, thorough rebuild with the intention of offering it for sale when it is finished. This decision we felt was better than selling it off for parts, it saves another SP for the future. The project is now getting near completion and even though it is tempting to keep the car, especially after the many hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars that have been spent on the job, it is still for sale to anyone anywhere who is interested. I can be contacted by email