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932 Posts
Discussion Starter #41
Thanks for the kind words gentlemen. :cool:

rockpool - The previous company owner was a lost cause by the time the problems came to light.
He was good with cars, but bad with money & couldn't cope when his good intentions encountered problems.
Others are still chasing him, but I decided to move on and make the most of the "lemon" I had to play with.

MPTech - I'm not sure what the final weight will be, but it will be confirmed when the car is on the road.
Despite me adding excess weight every time I make a bracket ;), it should still be significantly lighter than standard.

The good thing about this build is it has removed any fear that a FFR kit might be beyond my limited skills / experience.
I'm an accountant by trade and despite tinkering with motorbikes over the years, I've already learned a lot with this project.

Riptide Motorsport - I'll do my best to keep the updates coming.
I should mention the new version of this kit allows you to have no head rest humps, single LHD/RHD, or twin humps.

master craftsman
5,597 Posts
Any updates?

932 Posts
Discussion Starter #43 (Edited)
Riptide Motorsport - Sorry for the delay in replying, but here is the next batch of updates...

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Relocating rear Cordite framework & Spitfire wheel arches:
Before I could start test fit these things, I needed to move them to my front drive.
This would have been much easier with two people, but there was just me.

So I started here...

Removing the cover didn't take too much effort. ;)

But carrying these the length of the garden was a bit harder (even one at a time)...

Then from the patio, it was into the kitchen...

Through the hallway...

Then out the front door and porch...

Before finishing here until I could get the body shell off...

Avoiding scraping the walls / doors inside was hard work!
I was actually quite glad of the rest when I stopped to take the photos. :rolleyes:

Then it was time to start test fitting...

932 Posts
Discussion Starter #44
Test Fitting - Part 1:
I started by checking just the wheel arches against the newly fitted suspension lowering block.

As expected, the studs extend beyond the line of the bodywork.

Which means I will need to modify the original cover plate to fit.

That shouldn't be too difficult (famous last words :rolleyes:), but it is a job for another day.

Then the arches came off again, so I could slot them into the rear framework before fitting.

The good news is that they go together quite well.
The bad news is that they are now both heavy & awkward to fit.
But after yet more huffing & puffing there were in place.

Also as expected, the front of the hand brake panel was sticking up.

This is because the rear frame is deigned to sit on the chassis, not the arches.
Which means that the "feet" for the frame work need to be shortened.
( Which, in turn, would allow the arches to tilt forward to the right level. )

So out came the angle grinder & off came a small section of frame/feet on both sides.
( I wanted to make sure I had plenty of box section left to work with. )

This will allow the arches to tilt & I will weld them back on when everything else is in the right position.

With the feet removed, the next area to foul was highlighted, the "ribs" on the arches.

No room to get a grinder / hack saw in there without removing every thing again.
So I uses some metal "snips" to cut two slots and bend the metal out of the way for now.
( Sorry about the poor photo. )


932 Posts
Discussion Starter #45
Test Fitting - Part 3:
Then the frame came off, the drill came out & the frame holes were done.

With the frame back on the chassis, the seat belt holes lined up nicely.
( Chassis on left, frame on right, not easy to see with black on black. )

Although on the driver's side, I ended up notching out the hole as it was very thin at the edge.

Then I put some tape on the chassis and marked the holes that need to be drilled in it.

I then fitted the floors and marked up where I need to trim the overhang along the frame edge.

I also marked up where I need to make a notch for the seat belts mounts.

I will mark the holes where the bolts through the frame are going another day.
( As I should have done this when the frame was off. :rolleyes: )

I also removed the sections from the wheel arches I had previously bent out of the way.

Obviously there is a lot of tidying up and re-painting to do before final fitting.

Unfortunately there is no way I can lift the frame, floors & rear arches by myself.
So I attempted to guide the arches into place with the frame and floor already in position.
This was seriously hard work on my own and you can see the "scars" in the paintwork.

But the good news is that my "Scooby Doo" sandwich of chassis, frame, floors & arches seems to work.
And the seat belt holes will be accessible through all the layers.

Then, when I put the body back on to tidy up for the night, it was actually starting to look a bit like a car inside.


932 Posts
Discussion Starter #46 (Edited)
Car Cover vs. The Weather:
My donor car came with a cover that provided the kit's only means of shelter.
It was pretty good at keeping the rain out, but the wind really attacked it.
I fixed the first wind induced tear with some strong tape...

This held for a long time before the wind struck again and made a bigger mess.
So this time I put some new tape on the underside of the cover as before.
Then I used a needle & thread to cross stitch either side of the split.
I did small sections at a time working from the rip edges back to the middle.

Obviously it rained on me while I was trying to do this work.
So I had to wait until the top side had dried out before I could add tape over the top of the stitches.

So far, so good. But, unfortunately, within a month of that repair, the cover looked like this...

When I tried to remove it, it simply came away in strips, is completely brittle & beyond repair.

Thankfully the cover I had used on the rear framework & wheel arches was now available.

But, let's be honest, it looked a complete mess, also the green cover is meant to be protecting our garden furniture!

Due to delays in getting a "fitted" cover delivered, I had to buy a cheap emergency cover just to tidy up a bit.

Also, as this was a regular sight with the old cover...

I decided to knock up a very rough & ready tonneau cover for the middle of the car.

If I get the chance I will get some more wood to run extra lengths "side to side".

This then sits on the car, located around the hump.

I then threw an old dust sheet over the top to avoid any edges scraping the cover.

The "fitted" cover then just sits over the top with no issues.

Until I get the chance to sew the old cover's straps onto the "cheap" cover, I've have to hold it in place.
( Without these straps it would simply blow away given the weather we have been having lately. )


932 Posts
Discussion Starter #47 (Edited)
Weather Watching:
Obviously I've just gone into great detail about my attempts to keep the weather out of the project.
However, the biggest disadvantage of working outside is a sudden change in the weather.

When I was during the test fitting I describe above, this was what my drive looked like.
( And, obviously, it does takes me a bit of time to get everything packed away if it starts to rain. )

The fact the sky went very dark at this point made me very nervous.
( Not sure this photo really does the sky justice. )

Thankfully the rain held off and I lived to build another day. :cool:

Hood Grille Options:
This is a bit of a back dated update that I should have included previously, but forgot.
The original plan for the Cordite kit was for it to have the same "Beer Crate" grille as the Spyders.

The grille I ordered was not delivered with the kit and then became discontinued under the new owners.
They did supply me with their alternative "mesh" grille instead, which is OK, but doesn't look as good.

I think the mesh wires would need to be significantly thicker for this to work (E.g. the style of modern Jags).
I did have a look at Ebay for Jag grilles, but everything big enough to fit were going for big prices to match.

Then I spotted a section of perforated sheet steel that seems a bit of a bargain, so it became an impulse buy.

I know this is probably not to everyone's taste and I think the final colour will make a big difference too.

While I'll worry about the choice of colour another day, at the moment my options would include:
- Leaving it bare metal, but use a clear coat, or similar treatment to prevent rust.
- Paint it black which I think would really emphasis the size & shape of the bonnet opening.
- Paint it blue to match the rest of the car, then the "holes" would appearing black from the engine bay.
- Go for a contrasting colour like white. or yellow

I will not start cutting out the grille shape until the hinge arrangement for the hood are finalised.

Next Steps:
I am currently going through my options for using the Spitfire bulkhead.
I think I have finally found a way to make it all work which would be a big help.

Until next time, take care, Paul. :)

4,741 Posts
Great updates Paul! You certainly have your challenges; between the weather, kit fitment, discountinued / changed parts, and moving MAJOR parts THROUGH the house (I assume your wife wasn't home! btw, I want to see pictures transferring the body through there! :001_tt1:) you are a MAN WITH A MISSION. :blink:

It's going to be a very nice ride when you're done! You're doing it better than designed.
I'm rooting for you to finish up the chassis / body fitment, so you can get to the fun stuff, that really starts making it feel like a car and you can start seeing the end of the tunnel.

Hang in there my friend, it's a very COOL & UNIQUE build and it will be worth it!

Keep us posted, I really enjoy reading your build-progress.

1,390 Posts
The body style has beautiful lines. What a stylish kit. Looks like you're moving along very efficiently with the build. Looking forward to the finished version.

master craftsman
5,597 Posts
I believe that grill "metal" is stainless...........if it is, I say leave it natural.

932 Posts
Discussion Starter #51 (Edited)
MPTech - My wife wasn't at home which is why it took me so long as I had to be extra careful.
She has already done more than her fair share of helping me to carry car parts around.
When the kit first arrived, we did try to bring the body shell through the house, but it wouldn't fit!

2yrproject - Thanks for the kind words.

Riptide Motorsport - I think the grill would look good as plain metal & it would be less work too!

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Here are my next batch of updates....

More Test Fitting & Alterations:
With the rear frame, wheel arches and floors in place I could continue to see how things were fitting.
My plan at this stage was to "chop" the Spitfire bulkhead so that it was the right height for the bodywork.
( See a previous post detailing the differences between the Spitfire & Herald bulkheads.)

There is not much in it, but it needs to be fixed, as the body shell is currently pointing up at the front.
This is the gap between the frame and the door opening in the body shell with the Spitfire bulkhead in place:

And this is what the gap looked like when I first but the body shell over the original frame work:
( Note: I have trimmed off the excess fibreglass from the original moulding process that you can see in this photo. )

Although part of this gap was being caused by a problem I had noticed with the rear framework.
One corner of my, over-engineered, rear seat belt mounting bracket fouls the bodywork. :banghead:

Sorry the photo is a bit blurred, but you get the idea.

There is only a few mm in it before the rest of the standard framework becomes the limiting factor.
Either way, every mm helps, so out came the angle grinder and they were given a little trim...

Passenger side - Before & After:

Driver's side:

I will "cap" the now open ends of the box section frame work another day.
But there was another simple job I could do while I had the angle grinder out...

The second hand Spitfire body shell I bought was not one of the later 1500 models.
Which means it does not have the recess in the bulkhead for my twin line brake master cylinder.
( I will cover my attempts to make a recess for the bulkhead in another post. )

This also meant there was a cross brace on the bulkhead that was in the way of the brake lines.

After a quick trim with the grinder all the brake lines clear nicely.
( It is just the angle of the photo which makes the lower line look closer than it is. )

The back of the master cylinder needs to go back 4 cms from this point to align with the pedal.

932 Posts
Discussion Starter #52 (Edited)
Dreams, Nightmares and a Vision:
I had a major breakthrough in my build plan one morning that I hope will be a HUGE help.
To say I have been worrying about the Spitfire bulkhead "chop" would be an understatement.

Without going over the problems that I've previously covered in too much detail.
Basically I needed to weave the chop horizontally around parts of the bulkhead.
( Under pedal mounting, but over steering column & gearbox cover mountings, etc. )

This was just a selection of the photos & notes I've been making trying to work out a plan.
Note: My old digital camera is really on its last legs now, so apologies for the poor quality photos.

In fact, as I put my head down to sleep, I'd find myself mentally working my way around the bulkhead.
But no sooner had I thought one issue was resolved, another one would pop up.
So this dreaming about my bulkhead was really turning into a nightmare for me.

But then the building revelation finally hit me...

Why am I going to all this effort to make the bulkhead fit the Cordite body shell?
After all, the body shell isn't exactly symmetrical, or square, in the first place. :rolleyes:

I followed another kit builder in the UK who simply "butchered" the bodywork to fit around a Spitfire.
( This was an early prototype for the new kit which has the "humps" as an optional extra.

Clearly he is following a very different path to my build (e.g. retaining the windscreen, etc.).
But the main point is that his Spitfire bulkhead has remained completely intact. :cool:

So my "vision" was to simply avoid chopping the Spitfire bulkhead at all.
Instead, I will add a few cms to the Cordite body shell so it can fit over the top.

As I don't have Photoshop, there was a bit of printing, cutting & sticking required to illustrate my plan.

I think there are a few steps required to make this work:
- Cut the body shell into two halves.
- Then cut a strip from the bottom of the front half of the shell.
( This is because the body curves under at this point & that needs to match the rear section. )
- Then the gaps need to be filled with fibreglass and the whole repair strengthened.
This would also leave the lip for the bonnet to rest on unchanged.

Which looks quite straight forward on paper. :icon_wink:

So what I need to do now is "simply" repair the bulkhead and then fit it.
At this point I will be able to cut the body shell and work out how much of a gap I need.
Based on my test fitting, it should only be a few cms which means the overall impact will be small.
( Well small in terms of the lines of the body shell, but big in terms of making the build easier. )

It seems like a such a KISS approach, I don't know why I didn't think of it before.
Well, apart from the obvious "Can't see the wood for the trees". :rolleyes:

I know this approach will increase the size of the door openings.
But the doors need so much work to be any use at all, that hopefully this is not an issue.
Especially as I plan to leave the curves at the bottom of the door openings as they are.

932 Posts
Discussion Starter #53
Front Bulkhead - Removal & Relocation:
It was a bit of a pain removing the floors from my metal work "sandwich".
But as they currently covered the bulkhead, they had to go so it could be removed.
Once the floors were out of the way I bolted down the bulkhead to double check the gap to the rear frame.

There is a just slither of daylight on the driver's side.

The passenger side had my "wonky" frame rail, but it is where this rail meets the chassis edge of the frame that fouls.

Going back to KISS principles, I want to keep this box section of the bulkhead.
The Spitfire chassis only extends to the mounting points, so the outside edges are not supported.
So when it comes time to re-fit the bulkhead, I will adjust the Cordite framework a few mm to fit.

With the final check out of the way, it was time to remove the bulkhead so I can start my repair work.
I needed my wife's help to initially lift it clear and leave it on the drive.

This left the rear frame looking like this.

At which point I put the body back on and left the floors resting over the top of the hand brake panel for now.
When I put everything on the drive back into place and covered it all up I called on my wife's help again.
We carried the bulkhead through the house and back down to the end of the garden.
The complete reversal of the journey I made a few posts ago, but a lot easier with two people.
( Sorry the light was fading & the photo isn't great. )

Then it was back on with the cover and I could call it a night.

Spitfire Bulkhead Repairs - The Beginning:
First job was to take a series of "before" photos and I will post the "close ups" when the relevant section has been tackled.
But here is the overall look from the front and back.

I wanted to brace the two sections at the back to remove any flexing when moving the bulkhead around.

I couldn't do this while it was still on the chassis as the prop. shaft was in the way.
( Well, I suppose I could have built a "bridge" in the brace, but that seemed a bit OTT. )
Instead, I measured the distance between the two sections while they were bolted down.

Then it was simply a case of removing paint to leave clean metal along the edge.

Then I could clamp a length of box section to one side and weld it into place.

With that side welded, I could clamp the other side and check the gap.
Then it was simply a case of finishing the welding and job done.

It is amazing how big a difference this actually made, the whole thing is now very solid.

Thankfully, I only needed to tack it in place as obviously it will be removed before re-fitting.
I knew the current reel was almost out of welding wire & I have a replacement ready to go.
So I was very happy to see I got the job done with mm to spare.


932 Posts
Discussion Starter #54
Bulkhead Repairs - General:
There were so many areas that needed fixing that I had many repair projects on the go at the same time.
So rather than follow the strict timeline, I will cover the various areas from start to finish.
Hopefully this will be a bit easier to follow, but as before, some photos will hint at work in other areas.

It will come as no surprise to hear I am not trying to build a show car.
I just want to get the car on the road so I can enjoy driving it.
So the battered ex-race car "style" works for me!

Bulkhead Repairs - Windscreen Support "Holes":
Cutting the windscreen off the body shell obviously left a couple of "wounds".

Driver's Side:

Passenger side:

After cleaning up the metal around these area with my grinder, I applied some "Kurust" anti-rust treatment to the insides of the holes.
Notice my high tech way of getting at those hard to reach places...

The other end of this section can be reached from the inside of the bulkhead.
So I will extend the treatment in this area when I turn the bulkhead "upside down".

When the rust treatment was dry I sprayed some etch primer into the holes.

Next up was cutting out a couple of metal repair sections to cap these holes.
Although for some reason I don't seem to have taken any photos of them (oops).

I am sure the wind outside did not help my welding attempts, but both repair panels are in.
There are a number of holes blown through the metal that I need to come back to.

"Twilight" - No, not the teenage vampire/werewolf movies, but the time I was trying to clean up the welds.
My wife took this picture which gives you some idea...

This is what the windscreen support "holes" looked like after my grinding in the dark.

To be honest, that will do, as I will be covering the whole repair area in P40 filler (fibre glass based for better water resistance).
But first I gave the bare metal a quick wash in Kurust.

Then the filler was applied to both sides.

A rough sand down and then etch primer could be sprayed on.

This is what the "holes" now look like after their first coat of black paint.

Driver's Side:

Passenger Side:

I know these repairs look a bit "rough & ready", but they are solid and water tight which is all that matters to me.
This section of the bulkhead will be covered by the fibre glass body shell, so will never see the light of day again.

932 Posts
Discussion Starter #55
Bulkhead Repairs - Heater Section:
I will be fitting a little micro heater to the car which will be pointed at my feet / lap.
So everything associated with the original Spitfire heating system could be removed.
This section already had quite a bit of metal removed when I first fitted the fibre glass body over the top.

So I started with the area looking like this:

A bit of a clean up with the angle grinder gave me this:

I made a cardboard template to cover the hole and found an old section of bodywork to cut out.

I quite like this "recycling" of the Spitfire body shell's "left overs".

The big heater hole actually has 4 "pin" holes around it, which just needed a blob of weld to fill in.
( Not a great photo, sorry. )

By the time I had welded everything in place (& fixed the holes I blew through the metal :rolleyes:) I had this.

A liberal coating of anti-rust treatment.

Plus a liberal coating of filler.

After some gentle sanding and etch primer.

The weather was a bit hit & miss, so my daughters helped me to raise the Circus Tent in the back garden.
I positioned it close to the Summer House as that is where all my tools, parts and power supply are.

If you look closely at the photo you will see the pile of stuff I had to rake off the "floor" / lawn.

This gave me somewhere to work on the bulkhead in relative calm.

Note: The marks in the primer are where I gave the edges of the filler an extra rub down.

This is what the heater section looked like after its first coat of black paint.

Until I have the new heater I will leave the Spitfire "water" pipe holes that were used.
Once I know the route of the new pipes I will add / remove holes as required.

932 Posts
Discussion Starter #56
Bulkhead Repairs - Wiper motor & screen wash holes:
The finished car will only be fitted with a small wind deflector.
Therefore no windscreen, or any of the associated parts are required.

Unlike some states in the USA, in the UK, if you have a windscreen you must fit everything else.
The rules for a wind deflector are simple, no must not be able to look through it when driving.

The holes for the wiring and the wiper mechanism came through the bulkhead on the left as you look at it.
( I put some tape behind the holes to make them easier to see in the photo. )

After welding in two small sections of metal into the holes, they looked like this.

Then I applied my anti-rust treatment.

Before adding some filler .

After a very light sanding and a coat of etch primer it looked like this.

Before finally giving it the first coat of black paint.

Bulk Head Age:
I came across the VIN plate from the second hand body shell I bought the other day.
I looked up the number on a website and it turns out it is a MkIV, not a 1500 as advertised. :rolleyes:
It is also from 1972, which explains the state of it in places, as it is over 40 years old!

Still, as you can see I am simply working through the problems one bit at a time.
It is actually very rewarding as you can see progress being made. :cool:

932 Posts
Discussion Starter #57
Box Section / Floor Pan Repair- Part 1
There was a "gaping" hole in the body shell underneath the rear, driver's side of the bulkhead.

There was a time when I would have got into a complete panic when faced with this mess.
But now I just tackle the problem the best way I can and see how it goes.

I cut out a large section that covered the worse of the rot & applied anti-rust treatment inside.

I think this section of Spitfire sill will be perfect for the job, once I have flattened it out a bit.
At this point I am not sure how far down the repair panel needs to go, so I have included "extra".

Then I cut the panel out & with just some gentle hammer work it was flat (ish).

Then I cleaned up the areas I needed to weld and drilled a few holes in it.

I also cut some more of the floor out to make it easier to make the repair panel fit & cleaned / drilled that too.
( Note: You can see that I sprayed some etch primer inside & will add some waxoil when all the welding is done. )

Then it was time to clamp it all together and start welding.

I did the welding in two stages as I wanted it firmly fixed before hammering the final section into shape.

Eventually I had the whole thing welded up and it is a solid, if a little ugly, repair.
( Sorry the photos are not great. )

I'll pick up from this point in my next round of updates as I have still got to apply filler, sand, prime & paint.

So until next time, take care, Paul.

932 Posts
Discussion Starter #58
Camera Troubles:
I must apologise for the poor quality of some of my recent build photos.
My digital camera is almost 6 years old now and it is really on its last legs.
( Not helped by the abuse it has suffered while I've been working on this project. :rolleyes: )
I will get a replacement shortly which will hopefully stop all the blurred / dark photos.

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Box Section / Floor Pan Repair - Part 2
When the body shell was cut in two, the sides of the rear chassis mounting "box section" had come apart.

So I cleaned the edges up.

Then clamped the two sides together.

Initially, I just welded a length of the join back together to put some basic strength back in.

It was at this point that I welded the big repair panel in (to the right of this join, see previous post).
Finally, I just had to hammer the remaining edges (to the left of the initial join) together & they could be welded too.

Originally there was a "tunnel" through this box section to allow the wiring loom to pass through.
However, I'm pretty sure that it also doubled up as a water trap that caused all the rust damage I've just repaired. :rolleyes:
So as I don't need to route my wiring this way, I wanted to seal the whole section up.

This is the hole as seen looking backwards from inside the bulkhead.

Note: The black section sitting lower in the middle is the inside of the repair panel I welded in the other day.

This is another section of old Spitfire that I cut out to cover the hole clamped into place.

Getting access to this for welding was a bit of a pain, but eventually it was roughly welded in place.

In addition to this patch, I also welded the original floor edges to repair panel below.

Then I covered the whole area in anti-rust treatment, both inside and out.

To be continued...

932 Posts
Discussion Starter #59
Box Section / Floor Pan Repair - Part 3
With all the welding & treatment done, it was time to spread filler liberally all over the edges of the repairs.

After some sanding and etch primer, the outside of the repair panel looked like this.

I'll cover the "inside" of this area in another post when I cover the remaining floor repairs.

Then the first coat of black paint left the outside of the repair looking like this.

As I have said before, I can live with a "rough & ready" finish provided the repairs are strong & water tight.
However, this is still clearly a big improvement on what is looked like previously. :cool:

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Bloody Weather!
So sooner had I put up the Circus Tent (see previous posts) than the wind really picked up.
Initially I had to remove the sides of the tent just to avoid the whole thing taking off.

The wind got worse while I was still waiting for stuff to dry, so I had to drop the side poles down too.

In the end I had to pack the whole thing away again and return to working outside.

Thankfully the wind was nowhere near the strength of a couple of weeks back.
That broke & blew a number of our garden fence panels into next door's garden.
So sorting out that mess was another chore that would get in the way of car building.

However, looking on the bright side, I do have a dry working area that could easily be measured in inches...


932 Posts
Discussion Starter #60
Bulkhead Repairs - Driver's Floor:
Whilst I had repaired a large chunk of the floor on the driver's side, a few rust holes remained.

Thankfully, I didn't have to look too far to find a suitable bit of old Spitfire to recycle...

This photo gives you the basic idea of how I plan to use the section I'd cut out.

But first I needed to cut out the rust & the existing channels from the driver's side floor.
Note: I just left some cardboard behind the hole to make it easier to see in the photo.

I then trimmed and cleaned up the repair panel itself.

After completing the welding on the outside, it looked like this.

Then I just had to weld the cut edges of the floor to the repair panel on the inside.
( It may be ugly, but even my lead foot is not going to find its way through that. )

Then the usual "production line" approach kicked in:
- Anti-rust treatment
- Filler
- Sanding
- Etch primer
- First coat of black paint

Extra blob of filler in bottom right of photo covers the final small hole in the floor that I welded a repair patch to.

41 - 60 of 779 Posts