January - December 2018

2018 begins with efforts to remove the rear bumper and sidelights so that rubbing down and painting can begin. I have included the sidelight photos for reference during reassembly later on.

A bit of rubbing-down gets the undercoat reasonably smooth after the application of white spirit to remove the overspray of waxoyl (not a friend of paint).

The paint turns out to be very runny, which will not matter too much since most of the runs will be hidden by the bumper. Still, with a couple of very thin coats added to the one shown below, it does not look too bad from a distance ;-0

It'll serve as a warning that I need to extra careful spraying the more exposed panels later on.

I forgot to mention that the underside corners of the rear hatch have been sprayed-up, too, where there had to be some welding done to repair rust holes.


Some effort has been put into rubbing-down the undercoat on the rear wing in readiness for a light undercoat of red.

The paint is applied very thinly and seems to go on reasonably well with some holes at the top. I went back to the shop to get some more and explained about the slightly runny state of the things and the man said 'This time we'll use ICI paint'! Hopefully it will be better for the top coats but it would have been better if they had used the real thing in the first place.

After several layers of paint things are starting to look a bit better at end Jan 2018.


Into Feb 2018 and bits of painting have been done to the doors.

The under-bonnet welding is starting to look a bit better too, around mid-Feb 2018.

Now into mid-March 2018 and the rear sidelights (plus bulbs) and number-plate have been refitted and some fiddling about to replace the most awkward-to-fit front wing bolts has been done, as well as replacing one of the under-bonnet wing bolts which required drilling a new hole into the repaired panel, shown above.


There's been a bit of snow in mid-March 2018 which has coated Deep Blue with a light white covering.

Things are getting a bit further back together with the red 3-door as the photo's hopefully show.

The few months prior to Jul 2018 have seen some general servicing work done to Deep Blue (e.g. new dizzy cap) who has been pressed back into daily action, largely because the 360 (Blue Bess) developed a nasty wobble at certain speeds and when pointing in certain directions, which convinced me that I was about to hit the bank or central reservation whenever the problem arose. This was found to be due to a broken drop link bar ball-joint on the driver's side.

The offending item was eventually removed and replaced anew in June 2018.

Meanwhile, Red Ness has been loaded back onto a truck for a trip to the countryside where the welder resprayed her driver's side rear wing, re-directed the petrol sender wires which previously were in the wrong place, tidied-up some over-spray at the back and firmly fixed the front valance vent covers in place. Note, these had to be glued in because the metal where one side of each bracket bolts onto the body of the car had sadly rusted away too much.

Upon receiving the car back, the paintwork was found to be excellent so efforts were directed towards getting the front of the car ready again. This included sorting out all the little hoses (which were largely blocked with gunk), valves, wipers and connectors of the headlamp washer system - eventually all back in place and working properly. The front bumper has been refitted after some waxoyling, which was done while the car was at the welder.

The final touch to completion of the front end is the attachment of the under-engine panel which I had repaired by riveting on old bits of aluminium reflectors.

Then two front mudflaps were fitted to reasonable effect although they had to be trimmed later to cure a rub on full lock.

Now at the end of July 2018 and work begins on the tyres which requires many trips to the fitter over a fortnight or so to swap the tyres onto different wheels and correct seemingly incurable air leaks. Eventually the car has a consistent set of wheel-styles and the tyres are in reasonable condition.

Attention now turns to the back of the car with the refitting of the rear bumper, some waxoyling under the rear valance and then a mega-clean-up of the interior of the boot which now has a colour-coordinated toolbox to go with it.

Then the headlining is given a clean as are the seat covers and other trim items.

Now in mid-late August 2018 and the plan was to switch from running Deep Blue to using Blue Bess instead but on using the latter car I am driven insane by the inability of the fuel and temperature gauges to work all the time. Their ability to function is becoming more and more intermittent and thus more and more infuriating. Some searching of the loft for a spare binnacle and some hunting of the internet and Haynes manual suggests that the voltage stabiliser (an ITT TCA 700Y saying France on the right of the photograph) at the back of the binnacle (a deliberately easy to replace item) might be at fault. This will be investigated as soon as possible, as will the cause of the speedometer doing its old trick of reading twice the correct speed which has cropped-up again in the hot weather. Just as I get keen on fixing the fuel and temp gauge problem, they both start working reliably, albeit not for very long.

Upon removing the offending instrument binnacle, I was able to clean some oil out from between the rotating wheels of the speedometer and found that two of the wires to the voltage stabiliser were broken. A quick bit of soldering and a refit to the car suggests all will be better from now on.

Indeed, it proved to be better all round from now on so efforts in mid-Sept 2018 were directed to replacing the worn-out dizzy cap and cleaning the plugs on Red Ness ready for the MOT and hopefully her first show.


She passes the MOT with only some fiddling to the rear brakes and the emissions required to get her through so, with only days to go she is taxed and ready for the occasion.

Here she is at the Kempton Steam classic car show on a rainy 23rd Sept 2018. The paintwork polished-up well and the black trim looks good after a dose of dash-shine.


Work has since begun to fix a few of the dashboard lights which do not work - their lack of functionality became apparent with the night-drives I took her on to get the MOT. These include the heater lights and the little bulb for the light switch.

Oct/Nov 2018 and the original Blue Bess has been given a much-needed oil-change and a bit of a clean-up over the following weeks to get her ready for being pressed back into everyday use.

Late Dec 2018 and Red Ness has been given a test run to see how she is coping with the rigors of winter. All seems to be well but the trip draws attention to a few points that will be looked at in the new year.

  • The sound of wind rushing past the passenger side door seal is quite pronounced.
  • The speedometer jitters - we know how to fix that one.
  • Rear offside sidelight is not working.

  • So, On to 2019.