Why having a car professionally restored costs so much.

The boys are doing a bare metal resto and LHD to RHD conversion on a S1 4.2 roadster owned by a friend of mine.

Today I bled the brakes, installed a battery hold down kit, attached a Moto Lita steering wheel to a new boss and installed the accelerator pedal box and connected it to the firewall linkage.

If all went well this should be less than 2 hours work. That's until poorly manufactured repro parts get into the mix.

I pressure bleed brakes with a syringe. Takes 10 minutes. But try as I might I could not get the front circuit to bleed. I tracked down the problem to the servo. Fluid would not go into the servo. I assumed that the piston was stuck, but no amount of tapping or pressurising it would get it to move. So I removed the new aftermarket servo and went to disassemble it. This is what I found: no hole (see inset).

Fockie servo


I replaced that servo with another one from stock; brakes fully bled 10 minutes later. My time wasted: 2 hours. My interruptions to the Chief Engineer: another hour.

The battery hold down kit came from another supplier. The top frame measures 260mm; about 15mm too long to fit. So I had to cut the frame, remove 15mm per side, MIG it back together, grind and file it smooth, repaint it and then fit it. In case you think that the panel beater has got the body wrong I had to do exactly the same thing with the last one I fitted as well. Having done it all before it only took about an extra hour. On to job number 3.

The boss cost nearly $AU200. For that you'd expect perfection. But no grub screws were provided to attach the horn push. The threaded holes were there but no tap I own fitted the thread; I suspect it was metric. I don't do metric. As I actually had some 3/16" UNC grub screws I just retapped the holes, but mucking about took me an extra half hour.

How hard can fitting the accelerator pedal be? Easy, but when fitted, the lever that connects to the linkage was sticking up at an odd angle and was far too close to the linkage pivot. A measurement on another car showed the arm clearing the firewall by 55mm. On this car it was closer to 100mm. Pedal box removed an disassembled it became clear that the locating bush brazed into the accelerator pedal had been fitted about 15 degrees off kilter. SO I had to cut the bush back with a Dremel to achieve the correct angle, then use a MIG to build up the other side, then grind and file the weld to fit. Another hour and a half wasted in head scratching and fettling a new, repro part.


Fockie pedal


In case you're wondering, all of these parts came from different suppliers; 2 in the UK one in the US and one locally. Today was an irritarting one, but with repro parts it keeps happening. And you are the one paying for all the extra hours to make things fit and work.


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