Here is the first part of the body I have
attacked in anger. Its the rear valance that goes between
the radiator apertures. The chassis fouls this component and
causes it to be bent, also bringing the radiator surrounds
out of true. The problem is that with the current chassis
and engine/gearbox configuration, there is no way round this.
The problem is likely to be more severe with a six speed gearbox
as it is physically longer. This bowing looks nasty to me,
and stresses the rest of the body badly.
I did not follow Naz's advice for this. He recommends glassing
a bent metal bar in to form the panel around the gearbox.
I don't like his solution because this back panel is supposed
to be almost flat. So what I have done is to cut two slits
around where the gearbox the fouls, and bent the flap out.
After glassing it in place, and filling it to make good, this
part fits with almost no bending at all and is tight against
Its not authentic, but as this part is partially hidden by
the rear bumper, I think its a better looking solution, and
more in keeping with the original design.
|I made some spacers up from aluminium today.
Naz recommends using washers to space out the valance to the
radiator surrounds. I didn't like the way this looked so I made
up these from stock.
I used a band saw and file to match the profile I required after
initially making up patterns from cardboard. Its always a good
idea to fabricate things using cardboard or paper before you
start hacking about with bits of metal and fibre glass.
|This shows the interior of the modified valance.
You can see it now clears the gearbox by at least five millimeters
all round. Its tight against the chassis now and I will seal
using tiger seal to bond the valance to the chassis to stop
it flapping around when I am going along.
|This shows the panel in position on the rear
of the car. It matches the type of profile on the rest of the
panel pretty well, and I don't think it looks particularly out
I think its a good idea to install this panel before you start
bonding the back of the car down to the chassis rails. It spreads
the rear to its correct dimensions and certainly aids the fitment
of the engine cover as you don't need to be using quite so many
bits of wood to poke things around.
|This is the end result of the hard work. The
radiator aperture is not nearly as distorted as before. Those
of you on the forum may remember what it looked like before,
these modifications have certainly improved things.
I will need to apply a modicum of heat to the bottom part of
the aperture to reduce the stress imposed on this panel. You
need quite a bit of brute force to bend it out to meet the panel
correctly. My spacers seem to work OK, but I just don't have
enough physical strength to bend it round to mate up with the
valance correctly. Gentle heat with reset the fibre glass into
this new position and mean I don't need to start pumping iron
to marry things up correctly.
|I decided I didnt like the distortion of the
radiator aperture, so I resolved to do something about it. The
problem is caused by the fact the panel is fouled by the chassis,
preventing it from rotating fully into its correct position.
There is no way short of modifying the chassis to get this panel
to fit, so the panel must be modified to suit.
The only way to do this is to move the ears that mount to the
bottom part of the radiator aperture on the body. I cut two
slots either side of the curved section and re-glassed the two
ears further back by about an inch. This allows the radiator
aperture to mount correctly. It takes a fair amount of work
to do this sort of work, and it took far longer than I anticipated
to get it right.
||This image shows the rear bumper fitted against
the rear valance. The bumper had to be modified slightly to
accomodate the gearbox recess. The general gap between the rear
valance and the bumper is now even and matches the line of the
car much better.
Although it looks very close and almost appears to be touching,
there is actually a substantial gap between the bumper and the
valance, the angle of the photograph makes it look much closer
than it really is. Also the rear valance is not bonded to the
chassis as of yet, and this will pull it further still from
the bumper, improving alignment even further.