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907 Posts
Discussion Starter #741
NFL @ Wembley

Managed to get tickets to two of the three games in London this year.

Seahawks vs Raiders

Not sure if these guys were from NFL Films or the BBC, but they were definitely cold!

The guy in front of me was in a black Raider's #24 Lynch shirt.

But the guy a few rows in front of him was in a Seahawk's #24 Lynch shirt. ;)

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Eagles vs. Jaguars

This was a record breaking 85,000+ crowd.

Here is a good example of the mix of jerseys worn by the fans.

Until next time, take care, Paul. :)

907 Posts
Discussion Starter #742 (Edited)
Quick Update
My car passed its annual inspection (MOT) which my car requires to drive on the UK roads.

The following day I managed to find a quiet spot from some nice photos.

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Triumph Swordfish – London Landmarks Video
I’m sure most of you have seen this famous on-board footage taken around the streets of Paris.

Clearly the guy drives like a demented lunatic and I would end up in jail if I tried that over here.

But I did want to try to film a road legal version of this around the central of London.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get there early enough and bad luck with both traffic and traffic lights.

Which meant by the time I had cut most of the stationary bits out, the film was a mess.

In addition, the footage made it look like I was breaking the speed limit, even when I wasn’t. :rolleyes:

In the end, rather than waste the good footage I had, I just abandoned the idea of a high class film.

Instead, I give you a fast-forwarded sightseeing trip around London to the Benny Hill theme tune. ;)

With added apologies for the mis-timed fade at the end, as I thought I had done that properly.

Note: You need the YouTube viewing setting at their highest levels for a decent picture.

Until next time, Happy Thanksgiving, Paul. :)

In post preview mode, neither of the videos seem to work for me. :(

So if they don't work for you either, try typing in the following:
- Getaway in Paris Ferrari 275 GTB
- Triumph Swordfish - London Landmarks

After more testing, if you click the red arrow on the screen, followed by clicking the watch on YouTube it should work.
(Fingers crossed.)

907 Posts
Discussion Starter #743
A Belated Happy New Year!
Despite leaving my house in dry weather, I got caught in drizzle on my first two drives of 2019.

Thankfully, I didn’t get too wet and the rain has held off for my other trips out and about.

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Meeting forum members in real life
In Post #738 above, I met two people from a UK kit car forum I use, who had different cars to mine.

Well, 10 days ago, I finally met one of the people who was the biggest help in getting my car on the road.

From his own detailed build thread to his, literally, hundreds of replies to my own build thread.

He built this Sammio Spyder, based on a Triumph Vitesse, with a 2 litre straight six engine. :cool:

Unfortunately, things kept getting in the way of us meeting before now and he sold his car while I was painting mine.

The new owner is a serious car collector and these are REAL Ferraris, including the SWB250!

We had a great chat over coffee, as it just felt we had known each other for years.

Then I took him for a quick drive in my car despite the fact there was a particularly cold wind blowing.

Here is the photo he took of me when we got back.

He is currently building a tribute to a low-drag Outlaw Porsche 356 Speedster using a Triumph Spitfire.

This will not be a replica, especially with a water-cooled engine in the front, rather than an air cooled one in the back.

But what we have both learnt from our builds is that you don’t need to achieve perfection to enjoy your car.

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Engine Oil – Leaking & Burning
On Monday morning, my car was booked in with Enginuity to finally get the engine sorted out once and for all.

So I’d parked the car in the street the night before, but woke to find the temperature just below 0C/32F.

Which made for a rather chilly drive through heavy rush hour/school run traffic to the garage/shop.

Even though I was cold when I arrived, the garage owner had made the trip in on his motorcycle.

Which allowed us to exchange old biker stories about just how cold it can get on two wheels.

As I knew the car would be gone for a while, I decided now was the time to work on a few small jobs…

End of Part 1…

907 Posts
Discussion Starter #744
Sewing Leather
Regular readers will know that I have done a lot of metal and fibreglass ‘recycling’ during my build.

Well last year I had to dump an old sofa/couch, which was broken up to fit in the back of my other car.

The reason you can see big white cushions, is I’d already cut off and saved these sections of black leather.

I also bought this cheap leather hand sewing kit from Ebay.

The main job for this leather was going to be making headrests for the twin aero humps.

But first, I needed a relatively simple job just to practise working with leather.
(As this was yet another thing I have absolutely no experience of.)

I like the look of the headlight grilles, but they have some sharp edges that tend to catch/rip the car cover.

So I want to make some covers, that would only be used when the car was parked overnight.

I started by cutting out a section of old material and used a rubber band to hold it place.

This allowed me to mark the position of the grille and the 3 clips that hold it in place.

I then used the cloth template to cut out a section of leather.

I needed to buy some elastic to ‘grip’ the headlight grille, so I initially started with some string.

The first round of ‘single’ stitching was done very loosely, to ensure I had room for the string/elastic on the inside.

Which left an odd looking ‘twin track’ row of stitching on the outside.

It only starts to make sense when the first stiches are pulled tight and the second round of stitching added.

The good news is this was my first attempt at sewing leather and I learnt a lot.

The bad news is I made a few mistakes along the way and this cover didn’t really work:
- The twin tracks of stitches were not far enough apart to allow me to pull the elastic thru the gap.
- I didn’t allow enough room for the depth of the grille, so the cover could sit far enough behind it.

Still, that was the whole point of practising and my "Mark 2" version of the headlight cover was much better.

I’d bought some elastic, which made the cover look like a shower cap on the inside when it was pulled tight.

But there is a lot of material there, that should stretch over the headlight grille.

Hopefully, comparing the finished cover to the material I cut out for the other side gives you a better idea.

And when that material was sewn up, I had two covers.

End of Part 2…

907 Posts
Discussion Starter #745
Headrest Designs
If you look closely at the photos of car #602 above, you can see the head rest matches the hump contours like so.

But that seems to highlight the different depths of my body shell lip on either side of the hump.
(Not easy to see clearly in the photo above.)

So I tried a variety of different shapes:

A rough oval (final shape would be a better fit).

I even looked up how the original WWII Spitfire planes did it…

And tried two different sized circles.

Unfortunately, the reality was that any ‘perfect’ shape highlighted the fact the aero hump was not a symmetrical design.
(As there is no need for it to be.)

Eventually I decided a ‘cut down’ version of the hump contour would be the solution.

As this would be a match at the top, but hopefully far enough away from the bottom to disguise the difference there.

The fact that both of these templates are the same depth quickly highlighted the fact the passenger hump is smaller.

So back to the drawing board once again, as I attempting to split the difference:
- I extended the depth of the driver's side.
- I reduced the depth of the passenger side.

Hard to tell from the photo, but the bottom corners of both templates are about the same height from the body shell on either side.

Then, from my various ‘left overs’ piles, I've also cut out both the foam and plywood for the headrests.

Again, based on old photos of #602, I worked out that the headrest was made of two pieces:
- A single 'hump' shaped piece at the front.
- A second 'band' piece added around the edges of the ‘face’ for the depth of the foam.

So I cut out two small pieces of leather just to test how a bottom corner of the headrest might work in practise.

From the inside, the ‘band’ piece looked a bit odd.

Note: You have to sew them together with the inside faces on the outside.

However, this whole thing only works when you pull it inside out.

Note: I will be using black thread for the real covers and the stitches will be pulled tighter.

Once I was happy that I had a decent idea of what I needed to do, it was time to cut out the leather properly.

End of Part 3…

907 Posts
Discussion Starter #746
Leather for Headrests
Unfortunately, I had a slight technical hitch when I started to cut out the leather required for the headrests.

There was no problem with the 'faces'.

But even cutting on the diagonal, I didn’t have big enough pieces of leather to make the 'edge' as a single piece. :sad:

So the edge will now be made up of two pieces:
- The longer section will cover the top curve.
- The shorter section will cover the flat bottom.

I've also made a start on putting the sewing holes in the faces.

But I will make the holes in the other pieces once I have pinned it all together.
(To ensure the stitches line up on both sides.)

Which is why I have 'fat' margins to give me enough space for the pins.
(This excess leather will be trimmed back when the pieces are sewed together.)

I've also ordered a second needle for sewing leather so that I can use a 'saddle' stitch.

Which requires a needle on each end of the thread to sew both sides of the stitch at the same time.

Previously, I have done a single 'running' stitch and then gone around again over the 'gaps' to double stitch.

Other things to do include sorting out the holes in the plywood for the 'fir trees' fixings.

I will also give the plywood some more coats of wood preserve when all the holes are drilled.

But that is where I’ve got to for now, so until next time, take care, Paul. :)

907 Posts
Discussion Starter #747
Headrests – Part 1
Not for the first time, I’m tackling a job that is harder in practice than it appears in theory. :rolleyes:

So I’ll spare you all the mistakes, undoing stitches, re-sewing, etc.

Instead, here is a headrest as seen from the inside after I had sewed the three leather panels together.

When the leather was pulled ‘inside out’ and the foam put back in, I had this.

These are the 'fir trees' that will hold the headrests to the aero humps.

And this was a test piece with the fixing holding together some scrap plywood, fibreglass and leather.

When in position, the dome of the fixing would be covered by the foam and leather of the headrest.

I then drilled four holes in each of the real plywood headrest pieces and sanded all the edges down.

These were taped into position on the aero humps.
( The one on the right was raised slightly after I took the photo. )

Whilst allowed me to mark up the holes for drilling.

Once I had added a few coats of wood preserver, I fitted the 'fir trees' to both headrest panels.

Then I just needed to work out the best way to pull the leather evenly over the back of plywood panels.

End of Part 1…

907 Posts
Discussion Starter #748
Headrests – Part 2
The first problem was the foam acting as a shock absorber when I tried to hammer the ‘tacks’ in.

In the end, I had to hold the leather in place, then squeeze the foam, then hammer, something like this.

Then, when the foam was released, the 'excess' leather went back into position.

There was a lot of trial and error and, thankfully, just one hammer vs. thumb incident. :eek:

Eventually, I finished the driver's side and it looked pretty good on the sunny side.

Not perfect by any means, but for my first attempt at headrest making, I'd call that a solid pass.

Unfortunately, I used too many tacks on the first headrest, so the back looked a real mess. :rolleyes:

So here is the back of the passenger headrest, which was a neater job, but still gives you the general idea.

The tacks were then covered in tape.

Which left me with two headrests ready to go. :cool:

I was running out of daylight when I double checked the marks I had made on the aero humps.

Thankfully, all the ‘fir trees’ lined up, so I just need to drill the holes and the headrests can be fitted.

Despite needing to use the camera flash, I think this photo still gives a good idea of the final look.

Obviously, the aero humps are not aligned with the seats, but that is a different story.

907 Posts
Discussion Starter #749
Gear lever gaiter – Part 1
If I thought the headrests were tricky to make, they were a walk in the park compared to this gaiter. :rolleyes:

I had started by roughly marking up an old cloth, to give me an idea of the material required.

My first problem was how to slip the gaiter over the widest part of the gear lever knob.

This was my MkI design, which still needed some excess material trimmed from the bottom.

After further test fitting, it became clear that I had too much material at the top of the gaiter.

So, whilst it slipped over the widest part of the gear knob with ease, it wouldn't gather tight.

In the photo above, the white cardboard is a template for the fixing plate where the leather needs to attach.

Something like this…

I set up a test piece to work out how the leather could be joined to the aluminium base.

I tried three different sized rivets to sandwich the leather between two strips of alloy.

After a liberal application of some hammers, the underside looked like this.

This was gaiter MkII.
( The string was just there as a guide for sewing and will be replaced by a cable/zip tie. )

I’d also gone back to how I used to make witches' hats for my daughters when they were small.

These would start out as a cone on top, with flaps, that were then joined to the separate brim.

So I needed the equivalent of a leather 'brim' for the bottom of my gaiter.

End of Part 1…

907 Posts
Discussion Starter #750
Gear lever gaiter – Part 1
This ‘brim’ would then fix to the bottom of the alloy plate like so.

Then the cut 'tabs' could be pushed through and join the main cone on the sunny side.

To cut a very long story short, my initial plan was to mark the sewing holes required on the outside like so.

But then sew the tabs from the base to the inside of the main cone.

Unfortunately, this turned out to be beyond the reach of my limited sewing skills.

So the tabs from the base were sewn to the outside of the cone and then trimmed back.

Giving me something that looked like this.

By now, I had the two aluminium base plates prepared.

The larger one goes on top and the smaller one is there to sandwich the leather.

Which would look something like this from the underside.

Then I clamped it all together, so I could work my way around one rivet at a time.

One the base was fixed in place, I could hammer the top layer into shape.

This also helped the outside edges to cover both the leather and lower plate.

You can see the zip tie holding the gaiter in place at the top.
I also added some stitches to close the ‘gap’ that was left between the top and the join.

Hopefully, this will blend in better when I finally get around to adding aluminium panels to the cockpit walls.

The frustrating thing is that with the lessons I learnt from making this, a MkIII version would be much better. :rolleyes:

But I will try to finish off my list of other odd jobs before I think about redoing this one!

907 Posts
Discussion Starter #751
Oil Leaks
I got the call from the Triumph garage/shop to say my engine was back in the car.

So, subject to some final checks and engine set up I would be able to collect it the next day.

The bad news is that my garage was looking like this at the time. :rolleyes:

At least I shouldn't need the oil drip tray any more.

As always, there was a nice collection of cars in Enginuity when I went to collect my car.

But their Instagram account gives you a much better idea of how packed their workshop was.
( The Daimler 250 was particularly nice. :cool: )


Actually, my car made their Instagram page too.
( The Winter sun making it look a bit more 'survivor' than usual. ;) )


Despite the cold, the car ran really smoothly on the short(ish) journey home.

The garage replaced countless oil seals and gaskets and repaired a number of stripped threads.
( Which should mean that everything is now joined together tightly the way it is supposed to be. )

Also, a closer inspection of the carbs revealed this bent needle, complete with mole/vise grip marks. :eek:
( Not a great photo, but hopefully you get the general idea. )

Thankfully, all the roads were clear of snow with the exception on my own driveway.
( Which spends most of the Winter months in the shade. )

I took it very gingerly parking and aimed high up the slope just in case the car started to lose grip.
( As I had a real fear that the car would simply slide gently down the slope into the side of the house! )

Once I have fitted the headrests I will take the car out for a longer drive to make sure everything is OK.

So until next time, take care, Paul. :)


D'Oh! - It looks like the first four posts of today's update have ended up on the previous page.

So you will need to go back a page to see my attempts at sewing leather.

907 Posts
Discussion Starter #752
In my last round of updates, I showed the ‘fir trees’ that are attached to the back of the headrests.

These needed some corresponding holes drilled into the aero humps.

These allow a solid friction fit when the headrests are pushed/gently tapped into place.

So the good news was that the headrests fitted nicely with no problems.

The bad news was I had created some optical illusions by putting a straight edge near a curve.

If you are looking completely square on, the bottom edge looks pretty horizontal.

But as soon as you step further back, or move to one side, the body shell makes the headrests look tilted.
( The difficulty I had pulling the leather tight in one corner of the passenger headrest isn't helping either. )

At some point I really must clean the car, as there is a layer of white 'crud' all over the green paint. :rolleyes:

Thankfully, with so much experience of this car not looking 100% right in places, I know this doesn’t matter.

Which was confirmed when I took the car out for its first decent drive since the engine was fixed.

As while I can see every detailed fault in my build, most people only see the overall picture. :cool:

So that was one job done and it was on to the next one…

907 Posts
Discussion Starter #753
Mirror Plinth – Part 1
The mirror on the passenger side of the car looks nice, but provides no view worth seeing. :rolleyes:

As far back as 2015, I had mocked up this design for a mirror plinth to be made in metal.

As this approach would allow me to reuse the existing mirror holes in the side of the body shell.
( As seen here after I had removed the mirror. )

I marked up some sheet steel for the bottom mounting plate, but please ignore the wonky line.

The extra space to the right of the base gasket will provide space for one of the supporting tubes to be welded.

After cutting this cut, I drilled some holes, tidied up the edges and test fitted it.

Where the obvious problem was the curve of the body shell vs. the flat of the plate.

Regular readers will know I do not have much in the way of metal working tools (or skills!).

So I used my mate's panel hammer and my own lump hammer…

Together with a couple of clamps and a piece of wood…

To put a curve in the base plate like so.

I also used my angle grinder to round off the corners of the base plate.