Coupe Build From Australia

If you have a long-term project and would like to share/document progress, this is for you.

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b.c.flat hat
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Post by b.c.flat hat » Thu Jul 19, 2018 8:59 am

Hi Victor. Had a few problems too this year while doing my Coupe and garage. Friends must be thinking I'm in denial due to my irreverent appearance but I'm determined to enjoy what I've got.
Close family and friends know I live by the following:-

"Ageing with attitude!"
"Adventure before dimencia!"
For those who are still enjoying tobacco, sex, alcohol and Rock n Roll:-
"No pleasure is worth giving up------------for two extra years in an old folks home!"

So I wish you the best o' luck in both endeavours, from your "coupe in Shropshire" pal.

Ps, there's always that old chestnut "Nil carborundum illigitimi" which for the youngsters roughly means "Don't let the barsteward grind yer down"

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Post by upstart8s » Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:30 am

Hello Victor, just to add my best wishes for your recovery and to reading further installments of your motoring saga...

1977 Reliant Scimitar GTE SE6a (VHI registered) 3000 automatic/pas UUV***S
1991 Mazda Eunos Roadster (import on classic insurance) 1600 automatic/pas J***XAN
2006 Vauxhall Astra Estate 1800 automatic/pas FM***TLO
1977 SE6a automatic VOH***S
1994 SS1 1600CVH manual B***RWK (#54)

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Post by mermar74 » Mon Aug 20, 2018 2:07 am

Continued from previous installment;

Interior Fit Out – Part 1

The next lot of work will concentrate on fitting out a completely new interior.
The plan is to replace all the trim, carpets and headlining with high quality materials and carry out improvements where required.

I have thought long and hard as to the type of interior and colours I would like for this car, and in the end decided towards a modernised version of the original. I have had local motor trimmers quote this job, and the prices given could easily have been mistaken for their telephone number. I will now carry out as much of this work myself and pay only for the work not within my capability.


Due to the inclusion of roll bar, the governing engineer has stipulated the seats must incorporate headrests to comply with road registration requirements; this has ruled out my plan of retaining the original seats.

A long search for suitable replacements has been unsuccessful, leaving me in a bit of a quandary as what next to do.
The standard Coupe seat configuration is somewhat unusual as the overall width is very narrow, the cushions low, and the unusual placement of the tilt mechanism hinges provides wider than normal access to rear. This wider access is very handy on this car, as it allows good access to the unique luggage shelf (previously rear seat) and the battery.
IMG_2030.JPG (146.27 KiB) Viewed 4690 times

Weighing my options (or lack off), I have decided to retain the original seats for all their benefits, and convert these to high backs with integral headrests.

Work on the seats started by completely dismantling down to the bare frames. This uncovered a few issues with the frames including fatigue cracks, flogged out holes, worn tilt hinge housings and pins, aged cushion diaphragms and broken welds on tilt adjuster threaded nuts; all this needs attending to prior to converting the frames to high back.

Frame repairs;

The frames were bead blasted clean and made ready for repair.
The diaphragm hook holes are badly flogged-out; these have all been welded shut and the welds dressed. New holes will need drilling to suit replacement diaphragms.
The cracks found on the frame tubes have all been vee’d out, welded and dressed.
Two of the four tilt adjuster screw nuts have broken away from the frames; these have been fettled for a good fit and re welded. One of the knurled adjuster screws was also missing; a new replacement has been machined, threaded and knurled on the lathe.

Cushion Diaphragms;

The original seat diaphragms are no longer available. I suspected Triumph TR6 seat diaphragms are a similar size, so took a bit of a gamble and ordered a pair from the UK to try out.
Upon arrival I was pleased to find these are quite similar in most respects, although the hooks are positioned slightly different to the originals requiring drilling new holes in the frames.
IMG_2039.JPG (94 KiB) Viewed 4690 times

Tilt hinge repairs;

The hinge housing bores have all worn oval; these have been made round again by reaming to a larger size. New oversize hinge pins were next machined to suit.

The original hinge pins have a shoulder on one side and a split pin hole on the other. When assembled, the pins are able to float in the holes resulting in sloppy hinges. The new pins have been made to bolt onto upper frames (rather than float), eliminating the slop.
IMG_2041.JPG (93.18 KiB) Viewed 4690 times

The hinges fix to seat frames with two bolts; silly as it is the tubes are round and the hinges are flat resulting in uneven seating and a wobbly attachment between the two parts. This has been rectified by welding flat steel onto the round tubes for satisfactory seating between these parts.

Converting the seats to high back;

I obtained a 1980’s Toyota high back bucket seat to use as a guide for the planned headrests. This seat was stripped down to the bare frame and a template of the headrest area made.
The template was next used to create the framework for the new headrests; the framework has been made from solid steel round rods shaped to suit.
Holes were next drilled into the seat frames to accept the headrest main hoops. With all assembled, the framework was lastly positioned and welded into place.

With this done, the frame assemblies were bead blasted clean, prepared, undercoated and painted.
IMG_2043.JPG (134.21 KiB) Viewed 4690 times

Replacing timbers at bottom of seat squabs;

These timbers are used for nail tacking the vinyl material to bottom of frame. The perished originals were used as templates and new parts cut from ply timber.
IMG_2040.JPG (85.3 KiB) Viewed 4690 times

The timber pieces were next aligned and attached to the seat frames with self-tapping screws.
IMG_2044.JPG (161.89 KiB) Viewed 4690 times

The seat frames were lastly assembled and now await dressing in new upholstery.

Repairs to door trims;

As with the rest of interior, the door trims will be restored and recovered.

These were firstly completely stripped of all upholstery.
The backing boards are mostly GRP; a very good material for this purpose.
The GRP was found to be in good order, although the same cannot be said for the rusty steel panels riveted to lower part of door trims. Each door trim is made up of two GRP boards riveted together; these have been separated, thoroughly cleaned of old foam and glue and made ready.
The rusty steel panels were removed from the boards and used as templates. New replacements were next made from sheet aluminium eliminating future rust issues.
IMG_2120.JPG (135.37 KiB) Viewed 4690 times

The unusual brass buttons used to fix the door trims to the doors are fortunately all present and in good condition; not so the corresponding female plastic bungs as most are damaged and some missing. The correct bungs had to be purchased from the UK as these could not be found in Australia.
IMG_2118.JPG (165.41 KiB) Viewed 4690 times

These bungs fit into holes drilled into the door shells. Some of these holes are too large for the bungs; this required fibre glassing the offending holes shut and re drilling to the correct size.

Door arm rests;

The condition of both door arm rests are poor and will need replacing; these parts originate from a Cortina and are now hard to find. A search for better examples yielded no results, so I next searched breaker yards and luckily found a close matching pair from an older Japanese car. These will now replace the originals after re colouring and some fettling.
IMG_2115.JPG (155.63 KiB) Viewed 4690 times

Dashboard Restoration;

The dashboard substructure is made from a number of GRP components assembled together to form a single unit. Prior to starting work I constructed a stand to safely support the dash on the workbench while repairs are being carried out.

Restoration started by removing the vinyl from the main dash, dash top and glove box lid. The GRP was found to be in good order apart from a few stress cracks that need repair.

The vinyl was next stripped from the safety padding (surrounding the lower dash) exposing the rubber extrusion.
This 50 year old rubber is still in amazingly good condition apart from having lost some suppleness. This was next coated with a rubber conditioner and left it to soak for several days successfully regaining suppleness; this old rubber will now likely survive another 50 years.

The rubber extrusion mounts onto GRP bases riveted to the lower part of dash; the fit between bases and dashboard is awful and riveting has cracked the GRP. The extrusion also extends along the top of dash and mounts to the front edge of dash top.

Work here started by repairing the cracks and sanded smooth. Getting the bases to fit correctly consumed several hours of re shaping and fettling, and the horrid rivets have now been replaced with screws.

The rest of GRP components were cleaned of old glue and sponge, and the GRP cracks repaired by V’ing out and re fibre glassing prior to sanding smooth.

The main dash and dash top carcasses were next installed in the car to check for fit; this next highlighted a poor fit between these two parts. This was rectified by moving the dash top and mounting brackets to obtain best fit overall.

The dash top is fastened to the main dash with two nuts; these are accessed though a hole in the glove box and a hatch on right lower side of dash.
Accessing these nuts is awkward; more so on this car due to the myriad of extra wiring housed under the dash. This was made easier by replacing the nuts with extra long nuts machined from hex aluminium bar; these 4 inch long nuts now provide easy reach without having to push clumps of wires out the way.
IMG_2117.JPG (157.94 KiB) Viewed 4690 times

Having installed a 4 speaker sound system now negates the need for a speaker hole at top of the dash top; a sheet aluminium closing panel has been made and fitted to now delete this hole.

This completes all repairs to dashboard substructure prior to re covering.

To be continued:
Victor Pace
Last edited by mermar74 on Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:01 am, edited 6 times in total.

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David Tew
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Post by David Tew » Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:33 am

Victor, stunning stuff.
Your dedication and commitment is an inspiration to us lesser mortals also rebuilding Coupes. Keep it up as it drives the enthusiasm in us all.
David. :)

- My wife says I don't listen to her ...... or something like that! -
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Bought in 1978 and an RSSOC member since. 😲

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Post by Pepe » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:17 pm

Victor we had french and englisch already so let me add some german:

Alles Gute und Gute Besserung! Halt die Ohren steif...

Very sad to hear your health is currently not good. I wish you all the best! It reminds one that health is al so important. As the others said: Car can wait.
It's funny isn't it:
One sometimes hates the jobs to be done on the car and still one can't wait to get back to it when, a while has past...
Good to hear you are in good hands!

ON the the Door card "bungs":
Can you please post where you got the "bungs" from and what name to search for and where?
Mine are all left , but some are not in nice nick anymore...

Keep it up

1975 SE5a restoration link
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Post by Coupe Racing » Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:19 pm

QRG do them I believe

Blessed are the Cheese makers

Better to be an hour early than 1 minute late

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Post by Joe. » Thu Aug 23, 2018 10:43 pm

Pepe wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:17 pm
ON the the Door card "bungs":
Can you please post where you got the "bungs" from and what name to search for and where?
Mine are all left , but some are not in nice nick anymore...
"Snap Sac" fasteners, available in various depths. Either Bresco or most landrover dealers ... tml#SID=23

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Post by Pepe » Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:31 pm

Hey Victor,

i hope you are alright and well. Are you on the way of getting better?

1975 SE5a restoration link
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Post by mermar74 » Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:05 am

Pepe wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:31 pm
Hey Victor,

i hope you are alright and well. Are you on the way of getting better?
Hi Pepe,

Thanks for your concern.

I have been doing quite well of late although as typical with this horrid desease I have good days and as well bad days. Thankfully I am now more capable and work continues on the Coupe although at a slower rate. I will post another instalment as soon as time permits.


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Post by DARK STAR » Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:31 am

I seem to have dropped off the mailing list for this thread so have had some reading to do to catch up.
I like the idea of adding headrests to the standard seats, I had thought of that but as usual never got round to doing anything.

May I add my best wishes for your health Victor.

Chris Johnson
RSSOC 1979> Rhubarb SE6a V8 1979-1997 Dark Star Coupé 1989> Scimitar France 2010> Vert Soleil GTC 2014-2018
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On the road I don't drive fast, but I don't slow down for corners
In competition I drive very fast, but not always on the track ...

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Post by mermar74 » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:34 pm

Continued from previous instalment;

Interior Fit Out Part 2

Work on the interior fit out continues;

The previous owner fitted a fabric sunroof to this car. I much prefer not having a large hole weakening the roof structure so have since discarded the sunroof and closed the hole. The original roof lining also has a corresponding big hole cut from its centre so is no longer usable.
This will now require a new roof lining along with a full set of listing rods as these are also missing.

Making the listing rods;

The original listing rods screw to small round steel tubes glassed into inside edges of roof skin. During body reconstruction, these puny sized tubes were removed and replaced with fabricated triangular sheet steel sections; this has provided a flat surface for mounting the listing rods and more importantly contributed to increased roof rigidity.
Originally three listing rods are used on the Coupe, but due to clearance issues with the roll bar hoop and the addition of a central mounted roof lamp four equally spaced rods will be required on this car.

Work started by marking the listing rods mounting positions on the body. Holes were next drilled into the triangular steel for accepting these rods.
Welding wire was next bent to replicate the missing rods, and these then used to shape 6mm round steel into the new listing rods. This turned into a more involved job than expected as all four rods differ in shape and length, and the amount of bow tension must be just right with the rods installed onto the roof.
IMG_2147.JPG (185.13 KiB) Viewed 3579 times
The old sun visors and internal rear-view mirror next got my attention.

The 50 year old sun visors originated from a Cortina and are in poor condition. A long search for better examples ended up fruitless leaving me in a quandary as what to do.
As well, the original Wingard rear view mirror is non-dipping, and I much prefer a dipping mirror on this car. A search for period dipping mirrors enlightened me to the ridiculous prices these are now fetching.

This next set me searching breaker yards in the hope of finding suitable modern replacements. Eventually I found an ideally sized dipping mirror in good condition from an early Toyota. This mirror ticked all the right boxes and also features a breakaway pedestal mount system for improved safety.
Much to my joy, the same car also yielded suitable sun visors; these visors are a perfect size for the Coupe, have mirror cut outs and incorporate dense padding for increased passenger safety.
IMG_2152.JPG (135.65 KiB) Viewed 3579 times
With these parts in hand a start was made to make these fit.

The Toyota sun visor mounts are much different than on the Coupe and will require a rework to make fit. This was accomplished by carefully removing the pivot and mounts on all visors, then cutting, machining and welding bits together to achieve the required results.
This all turned out satisfactory in the end as the visors are a good fit on the car and pivot correctly.

Fitting the rear-view mirror also had its challenges;
The Toyota mounting base is wider and longer than on the original mirror and the screw holes are nowhere near close to fitting. I found a solution by making an adaptor plate to suit. With adaptor plate made the mirror fits perfectly into place and the safety breakaway feature is still retained.

The combination of these Japanese parts worked out well in the end as;
The sun visor cut-outs hug closely to the mirror improving the blocking of sunshine,
The larger than standard mirror head improves rearward vision,
The day-night dip function makes a welcome improvement.
IMG_2142.JPG (74.43 KiB) Viewed 3579 times
My focus next turned to shielding inside the cabin.

I decided to install a combination of acoustic and heat shielding for best results. Researching the many acoustic shielding products available, I settled on purchasing Resomat Premium shielding. This has a foil face on the top side and a polymer damping material layer and pressure sensitive self adhesive on the bottom side. It will stick directly to most body surfaces and will conform to shape with the use of a roller.

While fitting this product I found cutting and applying it to flat surfaces straightforward, although curved and shaped surfaces become more involved. I found the best way to achieve good results was to first make cardboard patterns of the area to be covered, and then transfer the pattern onto the shielding. With the shape cut and positioned, a small roller can be used to manipulate it into the required shape.

Using this method, I covered the foot wells, floor pans, tunnel and rear parcel shelves. This turned into a more time consuming job than expected taking several days to complete.
The end results turned out well though and should contribute greatly to a quieter interior.
IMG_2099.JPG (175.51 KiB) Viewed 3579 times
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Mindful of our hot climate, I decided to add heat shielding to the floor and the underside of the roof. For this job I chose a product called Insu-layer; made from closed cell synthetic rubber material with self adhesive on the bottom side. This shielding is available in in 3mm and 6mm thickness sheet form. The 3mm was used to completely cover the underside of the roof and rear pillars, and the 6mm for covering the floor pans.
IMG_2102.JPG (182.59 KiB) Viewed 3579 times
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IMG_2111.JPG (152.63 KiB) Viewed 3579 times
The 6mm will now also serve as the carpet underlay for the floor. This, along with the floor underside shielding (already in place) should provide for lesser exhaust heat soaking into the cabin.

To be continued:
Victor Pace

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Post by efi_sprintgte » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:40 pm

Top work, as always! 8)


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Post by MikeyBikey » Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:13 pm

Yes, great stuff.

Is we sideways yet...

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Post by mark rudder » Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:15 am

Hl Victor.
I've been following your build, words fail me to describe the effort & quality of the work.
Showed an engineer mate & he was amazed. No resent posts, hope all is well. I'm almost a neighbour!
Regards, Mark.

Mark from down under.
Current GTE 6B, Scirocco R. Past Dolomite Sprint, XJS (manual), V12 E-type (manual, convertible, lovely) 350 chev XJ6, TR6, TR4, Sprite, Midget, local Ford V8s, others... There's a pattern here.….

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Post by mermar74 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:50 am

Continued from previous instalment;

Interior Fit-Out Part 3

Work on the interior fit-out continues.

Repairs on the GRP dashboard carcass and all associated parts for dashboard have been carried out, and the lot are now ready for recovering. I made contact with a trusted motor trimmer and decided to entrust him with this work.

Prior to starting work a covering material needs to be chosen; I search through several samples of black vinyl materials and settled on one with a suitable grain and low sheen to my liking. I instructed the upholsterer to replicate the shape of the original covering but for aesthetics sow a highlighting double stitch along the outer perimeter of dashboard face; this should modernise the look of the dashboard somewhat.

The dash top foam padding also needs to be tailor made;
The upholsterer suggested using closed cell foam for best results as this can be glued and sanded into shape for a nicer flat look to top of dash top; open cell foam (as used on original dash tops) results in a ballooned shape to top of dash top.

A full dashboard recover requires several items that need recovering, this includes ; dash top, main dash, outer edge safety padding, glove box lid, vent surrounds, lower dash and lower dash side panels. All these have since been delivered to the motor trimmer and some time later returned all dressed in new covering. I was most pleased to find out an excellent job had been carried out with the dash assembly now looking resplendent in its new covering.
IMG_2133.JPG (114.39 KiB) Viewed 2773 times

With new found enthusiasm I wasted no time assembling the dash and making it ready for installation.
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IMG_2129.JPG (170.29 KiB) Viewed 2773 times
With the gauges, switch gear and glove box installed, the main dash was offered up to the bulkhead and bolted into place. The wiring was next all hooked up (a job made much easier with the windscreen removed) and the side vents and surrounding safety padding installed. The lower dash was lastly assembled with switch gear, radio and heater controls and installed along with side panels.
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IMG_2180.JPG (168.51 KiB) Viewed 2773 times
In my eyes the rebuilt dash now looks very classy. The alterations carried out are much to my liking and the controls are now more suitably placed compared to originals.
This dash now features the addition of a volt gauge, engine oil temp gauge, low oil pressure light, start button, wiper delay, modern AM – FM radio with telephone connectivity, hazard lights, USB charge port and cruise control. As well, the engine computer is accessible through the glove box, as is the collision impact cut out switch for the fuel pump; all in all a great result I think!

I also decided to move the arm rest - console 4 inches further back on the tunnel for more comfortable placement and greater room for the gear lever and handbrake lever. Moving this back provides an opportunity to include a (much lacking) handy cubby tray at the front of console for housing a mobile phone, keys etc.
This job was accomplished by firstly cutting the front off the console and next fabricating a cubby tray from sheet steel. The tray and console were next fixed to the floor and the lot covered in matching dash vinyl. This has all worked out very neat as the cubby tray and console now become a continuation of the dash.
IMG_2177.JPG (182.58 KiB) Viewed 2773 times
Work next moved to the rear of the cabin.
I started firstly by making a new board for the rear parcel shelf. A cardboard pattern was made and this next copied in ply wood. This board will be covered to match the rest of the interior.
IMG_2106.JPG (76.02 KiB) Viewed 2773 times

The GRP fuel filler pipe cover was next tackled; this was repaired and fettled to fit into place and will also be recovered.
IMG_2174.JPG (147.27 KiB) Viewed 2773 times
The rear seat area on this car has been considerably modified and the seat deleted. This area now needs to be trimmed accordingly and will require a backing board for attaching the covering.
Making a tailor fit board to suit this awkward shape will consume a lot of work, so I next decided to completely strip the rear seat to retrieve the GRP frame and find out if this can be utilised for this purpose. To my delight this will make a perfect candidate for this purpose and save me a lot of work.
Only the upper squab area of frame is required as a backing board, so I cut the bottom away from the frame and trimmed the remains to suit. Once installed inside the cabin it became apparent the factory fit between what is left of the seat frame and body is pretty awful and requires GRP work and lots of fettling to make it fit properly. With this eventually rectified, the fit turned out very well.
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IMG_2079.JPG (179.08 KiB) Viewed 2773 times
This GRP seat frame (now backing board) will be trimmed to match the rest of the interior.

The lower part of rear seat area (now parcel shelf) will require a backing board as well;
This was cut out from plywood to suit. The two cubby holes (in the parcel shelf) require lids to suit; these have been cut to size from masonite board.
IMG_2108.JPG (97.7 KiB) Viewed 2773 times
The parcel shelf board and lids will also be trimmed to suit the rest of the interior.
IMG_2109.JPG (150.74 KiB) Viewed 2773 times
The seat diaphragms next attracted my attention.
I purchased TR6 diaphragms from a well known Triumph parts dealer in the UK some time ago and fitted these to the frames. Incredibly, this is what I found 2 months later.
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I next purchased another pair of diaphragms from a respected UK manufacturer of reproduction interiors. I was assured by the salesman these are made by a different manufacturer to the first pair I purchased, and in the 20 years selling these has never had a comeback.
I next fitted these to the frames, and incredibly this is what I found 2 weeks later.
IMG_2161.JPG (95.83 KiB) Viewed 2773 times
By now I had enough of wasting money purchasing inferior parts and decided to do away with diaphragms completely and design and make a better system. After much consideration and fabrication, this is what I come up with.
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IMG_2168.JPG (101.34 KiB) Viewed 2773 times
This type of seat springing system is widely used on modern cars and a far better system than diaphragms. Reflecting back, this is what I should have done in the first place!

To be continued:
Victor Pace

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