Rosy, a restoration project - Investigation
Rear lights
Old lamps

From the start I could see the car was not totally complete and original, the first thing I noticed was that the lights were completely wrong.  The original chromed headlamps had been exchanged for TD types of the painted kind; the bullet side lamps and rear "porkpie" lamps had been replaced with 60's type combined lamp and flasher units and were hideous.  No horn or fog lamp as there was no badge bar or brackets.  The other thing that became apparent was the two front wheels were original 19" ones but the rear were 16" ones.  No tools or spring retaining clips in the toolbox, no air manifold and air filter.  The seats were totally rotten and blocks of wood supported the front seats, the seat-adjusting runners were missing.


The steering wheel was a homemade variety but as it was of plywood construction it had become de-laminated.  The 8-day wind up clock was missing from the instrument panel as well as the reading lamp and 30 mph warning light.  When the previous owner had fitted flashing indicators he had "modified" the switch panel so that had become non-standard and would have to be replaced.

Stripped for assessment

The car was completely stripped down to assess the work required to make it roadworthy again.  Some of the following observations will be quite familiar to those of you that have ever had the "pleasure" of restoring a car completely:

  • Evidence of water in three cylinders, therefore engine seized solid.
  • Cylinder block therefore cracked, but more about this later!
  • Ash frame 90% rotted away
  • Skin over same and most body panels corroded (rotted, to be honest!)
  • Chassis corroded, but not badly enough to weaken it.
  • The trunnion slots were very badly worn.

It looked like the suspension trunnions had been "bodged" and therefore worn out the chassis slots but to be fair as they were apparently repaired in the 60's home made ones were fitted, as spares then were not as available as they are now.
The entire hood "double duck" had rotted and with that the tonneau cover too had disintegrated.  As I mentioned above the ash frame for the body was as good as 90% rotten, the only piece I could save, was the one with the body number stamped on.  Fortunately the scuttle and rear body steel was salvageable so that will be refitted to the body but all of the other panels, including the doors, will need to be re-skinned.

cracked block

A piece of the block broke off

I knew the engine was seized from the first time I tried to turn the engine over, but just how seized I was soon to find out. On removing the cylinder head I could see evidence of water having entered three of the four cylinders. At first glance the fact that there was a 1/4" gap in the cylinder head gasket seemed to be the culprit. However when I used (what I now know to be a dangerous thing to do) the cylinder head studs to try and press down the pistons, a piece of the block broke off!  ( picture left )  This fortunately, although serious, was not as serious a (I hope) problem as it may seem. Closer investigation showed me that the break was along an existing crack, and the fact that the core plug in this location had corrosion around the hole and had indeed dropped out, ( picture below ) proved beyond doubt that the block, although it had been sleeved, was cracked!

Core plug dropped out

The core plug had dropped out

As I had obtained a spare block and several of the major parts to reconstruct another engine with the spares I purchased off the late Ken Williams, I have had another engine in the process of being rebuilt by Tamworth Engines. Pete the proprietor seems to have done me proud in the job he has done considering that the engine had been built out of spares out of various MPJG engines. I have no idea what the engine serial number is and perhaps someone might be able to tell me sometime. Freeing the seized engine is something to do in the future.