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