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67 Mk1 GT6 restoration


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I've had a look through yours Ian. Looking good. I'm starting to enjoy making panels. not only is it a money saver, but sometimes a time saver.
Headlight mount. I was able to make this in a few hours instead of waiting a week or so for new ones. Got the holes all cut now, and installed.
It's a different series of pictures, coming later but here ya go for now.

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You're going to like today's installment.
I stripped the lower seal from the windshield frame so as to assess it's condition as one of my spares has severe rust. Turns out it was rusty. Repairable, sure, but I have a third frame that was less damaged so I opted to repair it instead and leave the my windshield in the frame for safe keeping.
The corners and gutters were the worst.

I sprayed the inside with rust converter and then paint to seal the metal.

I cut the gutter too wide deliberately as bending a 1/8" strip was tough. Once welded in place I trimmed it back and shaped the ends. I got the correct spacing by using a yardstick as a spacer as it was 1/8" thick.


The other corner

One side completed. I thought I had a shot of the entire piece completed, but I guess not.

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I'm really enjoying this thread and can appreciate your skill and artistry in making up all the repair pieces both large and small. A truly great piece of work. I'm sure the wheeling machine comes in very handy too for putting in the curvature.

Some time ago I purchased a small pneumatic planishing hammer which althogh lightweight can put shape in and is great for working on pieces that are too small for the English wheel. This is the same machine that is marketed by Harbor Freight which I notice is only $119; considerably less than I paid over here 🙁


It comes with three lower anvils and works very well. It is based on an air chisel which may be removed and a suitable head inserted for flow forming.


This was what I used to form the number plate recess. It made the job a real pleasure.

I'm rather envious of your Lincoln MIG welder. You are certainly well served in the States with some real quality equipment.

I'm really looking forward to seeing more pictures as the build unfolds.



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I'd love to have a planishing hammer,  but I need an air compressor first.  I'd like to get a larger English wheel too,  and really learn how to use it.  I watch Lazze on you tube videos and am amazed at what he can turn out. Yup, all my work on this car so far has been without air tools.
speaking of Harbor freight,  I went in there 3 times in the past 3 days.  I had an angle grinder from them that lasted 10 years that finally died,  the other three didn't even make it 3 months each,  so I upgraded to a Porter cable this week,  but they have excellent prices on cutoff wheels. I've probably been through 30 of them so far,  possibly a lot more.
The welder I picked up 2nd hand for a great price,  just needed a new fan and the regulator rebuilt.

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I'd love to have a planishing hammer,  but I need an air compressor first.  I'd like to get a larger English wheel too,  and really learn how to use it.  I watch Lazze on you tube videos and am amazed at what he can turn out. Yup, all my work on this car so far has been without air tools.
speaking of Harbor freight,  I went in there 3 times in the past 3 days.  I had an angle grinder from them that lasted 10 years that finally died,  the other three didn't even make it 3 months each,  so I upgraded to a Porter cable this week,  but they have excellent prices on cutoff wheels. I've probably been through 30 of them so far,  possibly a lot more.
The welder I picked up 2nd hand for a great price,  just needed a new fan and the regulator rebuilt.

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I acquired a wrecked bonnet from a friend who is also working on a Mk1. The fenders were mostly good-much better than mine, but the nose was in terrible shape.

At first I thought I would just work out the ripples in my fenders and only borrow a few pieces from my friends bonnet, primarily that of the grill mount.

Here's a before shot, you can see what I mean. It had a spitfire style grill mount.

Backstory: When I was driving my car, the original bonnet was in awful shape. After I bought the car I started seeing stress crack all over it, and after some exploration I discovered it to be cracking bondo in multiple places. I excavated the bondo (1" thick in places) and discovered it would be very tough to repair it properly, additionally the nose had 2 layers of metal instead of the typical single. No way emblems would be going on that as 1/4" separated the two. Some PO tried to fix it by slapping a nose cut from another car right over the bent up one, and hid the shoddy bodywork under all the bondo.
Anyway, I came out of work one day for lunch and found this note on my windshield stating a better bonnet was available. I called the guy and went to look at it. He had a spit he was going to turn into a spit-six, but changed his mind. I bought it for $200. Looked nearly perfect to me (at the time).
It wasn't until my friend gave me his old bonnet that I realized the grille mount was incorrect on mine, so my first intent was to liberate this part from donor bonnet and put mine back to original.

GT6 grille mount, cleaned up and ready to install.

As I got to looking closer at mine, I realized the headlight mounting rings needed some attention, particularly the driver's side. As you can see, among other things, it is out of round.

I thought, well, I'll just pop it out of there and repair it...Yeah, think again.

So I looked online at the usual suppliers and realized it would cost me $70 for 2 rings, if the other side needed replacing, and it could take up to 2 weeks. So I broke out my trusty tools and set about making one, using the better passenger side as a template.

I may have more pics of the process, but what I did was cut a 6 1/2" hole in a piece of plywood  and a 6" hole in a piece of metal and clamped it over the plywood. I then added heat and gently tapped the lip down to form the 1/4" lip around the inside. Once I had it formed and the rest of it flat like I wanted, I shaved the lip down a little further to match the height of the original lip. I marked the holes, drilled them out, and squared up those required with a triangular file. (as you can see, the light holes make for a good holder of scissors, handy when making my paper templates.)

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When I had the headlight ring out, I realized my bonnet had a few more issues than I originally realized.
You can see the thick and flaking rust through the ring here.

I decided to replace the driver's side fender and removed it. Good thing too. The D-plate had completely separated from the wheel-well.

So I broke out the fender from the donor bonnet. I had it hanging in my garage for a few years and I had always wondered if I would even use it.

Problem is, it had a little hole that needed filled. (sorry 'bout the blurry photos)

I separated the fender from the rest of the parts, using a 1/4" drill bit at the spot welds. Turns out this fender had some work done in the past as it was only brazed to the wheel well, in about 8 places only. It came apart very easily, and I got the hole patched up.

Knowing how rust likes to hide in all the joints, I took it completely apart.

Sprayed with weldable primer and future body color. You can see a little bit of weld I added as there was a stress crack. The bonnet cone attaches to the other side of this so I thought a repair and strengthening would be in order.

Fender separated

Wheel well and D-panel. I decided not to tear it down further than this as everything was very solid.

Inside of the fender. Not bad really. The inside arch needs some light de-rusting and reshaping, but overall in good shape, minus the aforementioned hole.

old fender removed. I had sprayed guide-coat over the primer and sanded it to reveal the rippled surface. It would take a lot of work to smooth this out without using bondo, even with my shrinking disk. Also, see how the lower edge, below the latch hole, is slightly curved? It should be straight.

It's an awkward shot, I know. The bonnet is laying on it's side, with the fender removed.

If you look close, you can see a small crack in the leading edge of the center panel.

Repaired fender clamped in place.

And here I have started trimming away the spitfire mount, but wanted to leave part of it for rigidity. Initially I wanted to remove it as intact as I could, as you never know who could use it, but the way it had been welded in it was impossible for me to do so.

I then welded in the whellwell and the light ring.

If you look closely, you can see the nose is turned down slightly. More on that later.

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hi byakko, bonnet repairs are crucial, my car came with a fibre glass bonnet, i was going to save up for a steel one, over here about £1100,
but i got advice from a member who had fitted a new bonnet and said he had so much hassle with it he wished he had just repaired the old one.
i have now got a good steel 2nd hand one but i know its come off a gt6 and will fit, still needs some inner repairs but i`ll get round to that later.
talking of stress cracks, i found some on my rear wheel arches, i cut them out and welded in new material. but to me they are cause by vibration, now wheather in my case the diff was shaking the car to bits or what i dont know, but i think these  body types in general just being bolted to the chasis will suffer from stress cracks.
i suppose now when the cars are finished, the limited use wont matter so much. also of course the steel is 40 years old.
enjoying the build, look forward to the next bit.

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I forgot to mention, all this work i did on the bonnet, I did last summer.

Moving around to the passenger side. I decided the donor bonnet had a better fender for that side too, even though there is a nice sized rust hole right in the arch.

Knowing about rust on these cars, a little rust on the outside means a lot on the inside. Fortunately, I got lucky here. Its not that bad really.

Now comes the real test: Can I make a patch panel and end up with a finished product that will be undetectable?
Well, I'll just give it a shot. I had to tap this out completely by hand, no bead roller or english wheel for this one. Just a hammer & dolly and pliers to bend it.

Not too bad from this angle, eh? I sprayed it with primer to get it a uniform color so I could better see the highs and lows.

Now to actually put it in place...
I've got a little high spot there, so it still needs a little massaging. I just left it tack-welded as I adjusted it it.

Backside of the bonnet cone locator/bonnet strengthener. It had a larger stress crack, easily repaired.

D-panel cleaned up.

test-fit of the whole assembly, held together by self-tapping screws--Which brings me to a bodywork tip. Before I took the fender assemblies apart, knowing I would put them back together, I ran self-tapping sheet metal screws through key locations in the welded seams I would take apart, a minimum of 2 per seam. This would give me exact locations for screwing them back together once everything was repaired and cleaned up. Helps getting the panels back together immensely. You could use an 1/8" drill bit too, but I find self tapping screws are easier, especially because I will be dry-fitting with them anyway.

Fender removed.

backside of the light mount. Lots of rust here.

old and 'new' together

Light mount cleaned up. I opted to use the light mount from the donor bonnet on this side, though I left the original on the other side. Even at that I had to do some de-rusting.
Here's another tip. Vinegar is a excellent and cheap de-rusting agent. The part shown soaked in vinegar for about 2 days, and all I did was use my garden hose with a high pressure sprayer to clean away the dissolved rust. A word of warning, however. If you do not get the vinegar completed removed and neutralized your part will flash-rust very quickly. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in water should do the trick.
A little cleaning by hand beyond this and it will be ready for rust converter,  weldable primer and welding.

Fender test-fit, minus headlight mount.

Now, the headlight ring on this side was in good order, just needed some minor patching and cleanup.

Over-sized bits of metal were easier to work with, and them I timmed to fit.

All together

Just the work on the nose remains, coming in the next installment.

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The next step is replacing this:

with this:

and it became a bigger job than I originally anticipated--but what on these cars doesn't?

As I mentioned earlier, I picked this up for $200. There was a single hole on the driver's side fender, and at the time my little brother was taking an autobody class in high-school. For the cost of a can of primer, $25 at the time, he used it as his project and got it ready for paint. This was back in '96, I think.
He finished it up, and based on his limited knowledge and mine, we both thought it was now truly 'paint ready', and for the next 15 years, I packed it around with me on the car as I moved from place to place and did little else with it, thinking it was ready to go.
Well, digging in to it last year as I did, I noticed the emblem holes were thick with bondo. Well, thicker than a single piece of metal anyway, about 1/16" or so. I want as little filler on my car as possible, so I dug into the bondo to see what the surface was like-sorry bro, I just undid all that hard work!
He didn't mind, in fact he always questioned his work anyway, especially after he had been restoring cars professionally after school.

I started removing the Spitfire grille mount and found the stock GT6 grille mounting tabs tucked in behind.

I got the old grille mount out of the way, and was hoping for good news on the mounting tabs, but they are a little rusty and in rough shape. But the layer of bondo under the nose had me concerned.

Got all the bondo removed, and here you go. Not at all smooth as it should be.

Again, knowing how rust likes to creep in between these panels you know what I'm thinking by now. Yep, off it comes. 1/4" drill bit on all those little spot welds and I soon had it free. My suspicions were confirmed. Look at that layer of rust.

No way was I going to waste my time cleaning it up, after all, it is only a 90 degree bend--shouldn't be too difficult to build a new one. I laid the old one out on some sheet metal and started marking up to cut. I would have to do it in two halves.

The tape is for measuring, aligning, and for a quick straight line for cutting. I used it on the nose as a center line, brought down from the mounting holes for the GT6 emblem as those are centered. It mostly fits, just need to work it a bit.

I did not notice the nose was turned down as it is at first. In fact, I stumbled upon that fact just playing around. I had the grille mount clamped in place, so I grabbed the grille itself and dropped it in place just to see how it looked...and it didn't fit in the middle. I had to work it to get it in  and it it was on a severe bind at that. That's when I realized I had a problem and started taking some measurements and found the center is off by 1"--6" tall at the ends, and 5" in the center.

I tried using a hammer and dolly to raise the nose, but that proved a lesson in futilty, at least for my skill level. I welded thin strips to the nose use heat and vice grips to pull it out, but that also failed. In the end, I borrowed a stud-gun from a friend, and used that and a slide hammer to pull the dents out.
On the underside I had to flatten it out but had no leverage or space to work with on the underside, so I cut a T for relief, clamped a bar behind it, and worked it flat before I welded the T in and smoothed it all out.

I also had to keep forming the mounting tabs to make sure everything fit together at the same time.

See this video for the whole project, beginning to end. I posted it on another thread, but here you go. My apologies, no sound, but you can choose your own soundtrack.


Next, smoothing the dents topside...and that valance needs a little adjusting still.

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After I finished work on the bonnet I decided to move on to the chassis. Door gaps were giving me major fits and I needed a little break,  so off came the tub.

I built a wooden cart to hold the tub above the chassis as my garage is very small

Brake line routing for future reference

initially I was only going to clean up the chassis and make a few repairs,  leaving the suspension and everything on, but as I looked at it I realized stripping it down to nothing would not require much more effort.
The sway bar mounts were bent badly, one literally torn in two,  and the chassis was bent up slightly in both places. I was hoping ic could just straighten it with a little effort and some heat...
Boy was I wrong.... Again.

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I stripped the chassis down

I knew at this point I would end up with the chassis repaired and painted before everything went back together, so I just bit the bullet went all out.
The outriggers were bent, and the mounting holes had stress cracks too (sorry, I neglected to get photos)

Years ago I had started refurbishing parts, and I had upper a-arms,. lower arms, and coil springs already cleaned and painted, ready for re-assembly.

I got the chassis cleaned and ready for media blasting, and I was hoping to have had it blasted and powder coated by the end of October, 2013--
Well, as you well know, things happen and life gets in the way.
And something big did get in the way---or rather, some very, very small got in the way...

I'll leave you on pins and needles for now.

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but. I'm getting about a month ahead of myself....
I used bits from a donor chassis to repair the sway bar mounting points, (some of this may be duplicate from another post, so bear with me if you have already read it!)

and replaced both outriggers with new ones I built out of 16ga steel as the ones on both donor chassis are bent badly.
I made a paper template for the outriggers, and once I had one completed, I simply reversed the bends to make the other.

I made it in two pieces so I could get the width just right, clamping it to the chassis next to the old one where I tack-welded the two together.

my home-made bending brake came in handy for this. Let me tell you, bending 16ga steel in a small brake like this was no easy task. The little bit to get it to 90 degrees took some effort as my brake is not bolted down.

basic shape is good. I have the captive nuts in place for welding too.

And here with the inner box formed and fitted. I almost fully boxed the outrigger, but decided to duplicate the original style.
I need to still cut the through holes.

I built a jig to get the mounting holes in the correct location. This actually did not help me much as it only put the holes in the correct location relative to each other and not the rest of the chassis. If I had to do it again I would extend the jig to include other key points on the chassis, fore and aft of the outriggers.

Then I cut one of the old outriggers off. Look at the dirt, rocks, and rust the at fell out.
There was a thick layer of rust between the chassis and the outrigger, but thankfully the integrity of the chassis was not compromised.

Old and new. Still need to cut the holes.

Clamped up and held tight in the jig.

On to the other side. More dirt and crud.

In order to prevent more dirt from filling up the outrigger, I ran a 1" pipe through it and welded it in place. I left the passenger side blank as there is no need for the hole as the fuel and brake lines only run through this side.

test fitting.

And the final product, ready for sandblasting.

Again, my apologies, I did not get any photos of the chassis repair at the sway bar mounts.

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As for the something that slowed me down?
Let's say it's a little 'who' and not a big 'what', and we are not talking the Dr. Seuss variety either.

She was due on Feb 25 of this year, but decided to come on November 5 of last year.

16 weeks early, she was only 1 pound 5 oz, and she spent 109 days, just shy of 16 weeks, in the NICU, with very few complications.
Currently she is up to 9 pounds 4 oz and doing well.

During this time I was only able to squeeze in (cumulatively) enough time to rebuild one side of my suspension

I had to slice the old trunnion in half in order to free the spring as I needed it. In my previous post I mentioned refurbishing parts years ago. I recall doing 2 springs, but could only locate 1, so I had to do another.
I needed new shocks and a better spring compressor, so this is as far as I got until late Febuary. I also ordered a set of new rotors, even though my old one would probably have worked just fine.

Not that I am complaining any. The weather was cold over the winter anyway, and working on a car in the driveway in the cold is a pain.
Besides, I was making multiple trips to the hospital every day, I practically lived there.

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Thanks for the well wishes. Although, my family is not so 'young'. My oldest is 15.
Funny thing. When he was born my family was bugging me that he would be driving my GT6 before I would be. I had dismantled it just a year or 2 prior having driven it for 2. I live in Idaho, and legally  age 14 1/2 kids can drive. He's not yet (that's another story) but the scary thing is, he could be driving it before me! Now they are bugging me that now Abby is going to be driving it before me! 😀
Ah well....

Here's another interesting tidbit. My baby girl has a counterpart in the UK. Although she is 2 years older, she shares the same name and was also born very premature. Maybe someday I will be able to travel to the UK and they can meet.

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Quoted from byakk0
My baby girl has a counterpart in the UK.

That brings back memories of the old days of British Leyland & Jaguar Rover Triumph dealerships, & BAP/GEON stores and walking in and picking up counterparts.  But nowadays, just about everyone will ship anywhere.  You should call & see; I know Canley Classics, Rarebits, & Rimmer do.

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Quoted from rotoflex

That brings back memories of the old days of British Leyland & Jaguar Rover Triumph dealerships, & BAP/GEON stores and walking in and picking up counterparts.  But nowadays, just about everyone will ship anywhere.  You should call & see; I know Canley Classics, Rarebits, & Rimmer do.

You used to be able to mail order babies over there?  Lol. I don't need two, that's for sure!  As for the GT6, I've ordered plenty of parts, some from Rimmers even.

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If anyone is interested, I have a blog I kept for the duration of the time my baby was in the hospital. See http://babyabigail.wordpress.com

Moving on,
I finally got the chassis taken care of. I took it in for sandblasting and powdercoating. This is the final result:

3 weeks ago I spent all day cleaning and paint the differential, and all night building the chassis back to a roller.

Pressing the new bushings in. I had to stop using the C-clamp once they were in 3/4 of the way as the outer metal started crushing. I tapped them in the rest of the way with a rubber mallet.

My helper attempting to figure out how the shock tower mounts. He gave up helping at 11:30pm and headed to bed.
You can see how little room I have in my garage.

New brake rotors, ball joints, trunnions, tie-rod ends, bearings, bushings and shocks.
A-arms and coils springs are refurbished and painted with por-15. Steering rack has new boots and bushings, also painted with por-15.

Moving to the back end.

Anyway, this is pretty close to where it sits right now.
My garage space is the reason I put the old rusty parts back on. Having the chassis as a roller allows me to store it under the tub, and this way I can move it in and out of the garage and take one side off at a time and rebuild it, and still be able to move the chassis back in and out. I have parts from a spitfire I will use as temporary wheel assemblies but right now the stock GT6 wheels are on as at this point it was 4:00 am and I just wanted to be done for the night and the spitfire parts weren't quite ready to go.


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  • Ben Hutchings changed the title to 67 GT6 Mk1 Restoration - New

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