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The body repairs marathon began with sending the shell to the strippers.

The shell was cut in two (front/back) to make it easy to transport (in a van), so with it back in the garage, I loosely reassembled it back on the chassis to take stock.

From the front;

• Headlamp panel and front valance – scrap

• Bonnet – rust on the leading edge, but repairable

• Windscreen frame - rotten

• Front outer wings – doubtful

• Front inner wings – scrap

• Front bulkhead – lower sides rotten, crash damage to N/S wheel arch, N/S A-Post damaged, Battery Plinth rotten

• Floors & sills (both sides)- rotten

• Doors – frame repairs and reskinning required

• B-Posts, Tonneau Panels, Rear Inner Wings, Wheel arches and Rear Valance – rotten

• Outer Wings and Bootlid – doubtful

Then disaster for the project – I got appendicitis and couldn’t work on the car for several weeks in late October and the bare shell sat there for the winter, slowly turning orange.

Thankfully, the surface rust was exactly that and easily wiped off with proprietary rust removers.

I bit the bullet and bought new inner and outer wings for all four corners, together with all the tonneau panels, rear valance (more on this panel another time) front valance and all the small filler panels. Several thousand pounds later, we have a loft full of TR.

However, this still left me needing a bootlid, a windscreen frame and a headlamp panel. All readily available panels – NOT.

Luckily, I got a replacement rust-free (almost) windscreen frame from the same guy that I got the chassis from – another US import.

Many of you will know about the Triumph Spares Day held each February at the Stoneleigh Showground in Warwickshire. For us it’s an annual pilgrimage – and we get there early. Walking into one of the halls, I saw a stall with 3 or 4 boot lids – once again rust free US imports. I sorted through the stack and chose the best one. “How much?” I enquired – “£200 mate”. “What’s your best price?”…….”£200, if you don’t buy it, the next person will”. So I bought it!

Just a few minutes later as we strolled passed another stall I literally did a double take as under some other stuff was a headlamp panel. It was a 4, not 4A, but that’s just a couple of brackets I don’t need (and easily removed).

Stoneleigh has also provided a hood frame and countless other smaller pieces.

I could now get down to serious business of cutting out the rubbish and building the shell back up.

The boot floor and transmission tunnel was the only bit worth keeping from the rear of the shell.

I wanted to try to keep as much of the original shell as was practical and aimed to repair rather than replace which tested my fabrication and welding skills to the maximum.

Next time, there will be a shell to admire….promise.