Once back at Protek, Glen and Chris got the bodyshell up on a ramp so that they could actually inspect it properly. I was obviously keen to find out their thoughts, and I didn't have to wait long… I got a call from Glen the next day. I can't remember the exact words that Glen used, but the sentence definitely contained the words "Stevie Wonder" and "welding". Now whilst I'm a huge fan of Stevie's music, I'm guessing his welding skills might leave rather a lot to be desired! The upshot of this conversation was that they could clean up the existing bodyshell to an acceptable level, which they would be comfortable to put their name to, but really, they would not be entirely happy with the end result, and more to the point, in their minds, neither would I. Or, the other option would be to cut out the bad stuff and replace whatever needed doing with new panels. Now, I know what some of you might be thinking… they're making something out to be much worse than it really was in order to squeeze a little more out of the job.. well, I think you'll agree, looking at the photographs below, this couldn't be further from the truth, even someone as inexperienced as me in welding could see how bad, and in some cases dangerous, the welds were!!
Both Glen and Chris seem very proud of what they do, and fortunately for me, not only have very high standards, but also understand what my expectations are from the end result.
I had made the decision that the car was a "keeper" and I wanted the job done fully rather than making-good what was there, so went for the option to replace any panels where required. Glen and Chris now knew the extent of the work was that needed in order to get the car looking good not only on the surface, but underneath as well, so off they went with cutting out the bits they were dodgy and would need replacing… and this was what I got back as my first photograph of the process.
When I'd picked myself up off the floor, I realised that as much as I'd liked to have done all the work on the car myself, this was far beyond anything that I would have had the expertise (or courage!) to do. I also realised that the end result would be far closer to what I had wanted than if I had continued to do the car myself! Anyhow, photographs continued to come from the guys at periodic intervals showing the work as it was completed.
Some of the replacement panels were pretty far out and needed a lot of work to get them to fit correctly.
The door gaps certainly looked better… if I had a tenner for every time someone used to pull up next to me and tell me that my door was open, when in fact it was just the fit of the door panel, I'd have probably saved enough to pay for the restoration!
It seems that the rear "hump" above the diff is actually superfluous in the TR6 as it was designed to cater for the movement of the diff in previous models (the TR6 diff being fixed of course), so Glen mentioned that he could remove this and make it flat if I wanted. I had in mind that I would be installing an uprated audio system in this car, so this might facilitate the location of the amplifiers in the future, so I asked him to make the modification.
On Glen and Chris' advice, we kept as many of the original panels that we could and repaired them, including the rear deck which both were very much against replacing. The final tally of new panels was:
Left and right floor pans
Left and right rear inner wing panels
Left and right inner and outer sills
Both 'B' posts
BUT… it was absolutely worth it in my opinion!
Chapter 6 to follow...