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Paul L 6th May 2013 13:50

Mr T - Thanks mate.

While talking to AndyP57 it was clear how many changes his frame had to mine.
( Difference profile behind the dash & a "kink" in the frame for the steering column to pass. )
And there was only a gap of a few cars between our kits being made.

So as you say, all the cars are different in their own way in certain areas.

I am now allowed out to play after finally getting my daughter's new laptop up & running.

I like this little guy you used in your post ... :rant:

There was a lot of that going on as I tried to get all the products to download.

Bloody new technology making me feel very old indeed. :rolleyes:

Hopefully some photos of my own car later on, Paul. :)

AndyP85 6th May 2013 20:37


Originally Posted by Mister Towed (Post 43039)

Now that's what I call a stance! I 'king love it!

Now then Paul. Don't get yourself in too much of a tizzy wondering about how other people have done things. The first rule of Sammio building is 'do it your way'.

By all means borrow ideas from other builders but these aren't production cars or even production kits. Every chassis and body is different and what works for one might fail on another.

For example, the silver Cordite really needs lowering and some decent wheels fitting before you'll be able to see how the front arches are going to look. Those seventies slot mags are too small and too wide to give any clue and they need to go on ebay. I've gone with a 3" lowering block at the back, 95mm cut out of the front springs and standard MGB 14x4.5 wires with 175/70/14 tyres to get the stance I wanted.

I then found that there was an ugly, unequal gap between the arches and tyres with the bonnet resting on top of the engine. Even cutting clearance holes all over the place didn't eliminate the horribleness of the uneven wheelarch gap, which is why I had to add all my scoops and bulges, drop the radiator another inch and move the dynamo to get the front arches to look right over the tyres.

By contrast, Phil J has lowered the two cars he's built roughly the same amount as mine, but only needed a small bulge to clear the front carb, a modest scoop to clear the thermostat housing and a lowered alternator and radiator to get the bonnet low enough to look right. Both his engines were mounted lower than mine to start with (different mountings?) and he's been able to fit 175/80/14's which would foul on the front bulkhead of mine, even though I moved the bulkhead back 20mm and bashed in the front faces with a lump hammer. The result is that his cars look great without needing as much modification as mine did to acheive the same effect. :rant:

So, abandon convention, go out there and, as a famous manufacturer of trendy trainers would say, just do it!

Spot on T! I adore the fact that no two are alike in anyway. I love seeing how people have put their own spin on the building of their motors :icon_biggrin:

AndyP85 6th May 2013 20:45


Originally Posted by Mister Towed (Post 43039)

Now that's what I call a stance! I 'king love it!

Now then Paul. Don't get yourself in too much of a tizzy wondering about how other people have done things. The first rule of Sammio building is 'do it your way'.

By all means borrow ideas from other builders but these aren't production cars or even production kits. Every chassis and body is different and what works for one might fail on another.

For example, the silver Cordite really needs lowering and some decent wheels fitting before you'll be able to see how the front arches are going to look. Those seventies slot mags are too small and too wide to give any clue and they need to go on ebay. I've gone with a 3" lowering block at the back, 95mm cut out of the front springs and standard MGB 14x4.5 wires with 175/70/14 tyres to get the stance I wanted.

I then found that there was an ugly, unequal gap between the arches and tyres with the bonnet resting on top of the engine. Even cutting clearance holes all over the place didn't eliminate the horribleness of the uneven wheelarch gap, which is why I had to add all my scoops and bulges, drop the radiator another inch and move the dynamo to get the front arches to look right over the tyres.

By contrast, Phil J has lowered the two cars he's built roughly the same amount as mine, but only needed a small bulge to clear the front carb, a modest scoop to clear the thermostat housing and a lowered alternator and radiator to get the bonnet low enough to look right. Both his engines were mounted lower than mine to start with (different mountings?) and he's been able to fit 175/80/14's which would foul on the front bulkhead of mine, even though I moved the bulkhead back 20mm and bashed in the front faces with a lump hammer. The result is that his cars look great without needing as much modification as mine did to acheive the same effect. :rant:

So, abandon convention, go out there and, as a famous manufacturer of trendy trainers would say, just do it!

The silver Cordite/Navigator isn't finished by a loooong way and is very soon going to be no longer the demo as it doesn't represent the product the customer will be getting! We want to firmly crack on and build the new demo ready for a future show. The 56 will still be around until it's completion of course then sold to a new loving home! :icon_biggrin:

Paul L 6th May 2013 21:36

Much later than originally planned, but I did final get outside to work on the car.

Engine Re-Start - Take 3:
I'd picked up some new fuel line at Stoneleigh, so cut & fitted a length the right size.

But the engine still wouldn't start, although it make some promising noises this time.
However, by the time the battery had given up the ghost it was still no joy. :icon_sad:

Later on I noticed that a pipe had become disconnected from here...

Where the other end joins the carb. here...

Haven't had a chance to check what it does yet as I had to move on to...

Back to the Future - Part 1
Yes it was time to bite the bullet & remove the frame to see if the Spitfire shell would work.

I removed the petrol tank...

The rear framework...

The electrics put in to try and start the engine...

The front framework...

At this point I was left in the same rolling chassis position I had back in September.
But I want to investigate the option of using some, or all of the Spitfire shell.
So this has to be done and hopefully it will help my build in the long run.

Although by this stage, my "workshop" was in total chaos...

Before I moved the Spitfire shell, I needed to remove the old hand brake mech.

Here is a view of the underside, not easy to see clearly with the shadow...

Then I had to rope my wife in to move the shell as I can't really lift it by myself.
After a bit of huffing & puffing, the shell was finally in place...

Then it was back to manoeuvring everything else by myself.
Thankfully I can get the Cordite body shell on & off single handed...

I knew the Spitfire wheel arches were still going to be in the way...

But before I could start getting the angle grinder out I needed a major tidy up.
Because for a dreadful moment, it clouded over & looked like it might rain.

So I moved all the framework & other stuff into a neat pile...

Which looked a lot neater with the tarpaulin over the top...

Due to the limit on photos per post I'll be back in a minute with more...

Paul L 6th May 2013 21:39

Back to the Future - Part 2
With finally enough space to swing a cat, it was time to cut the wheel arches.
( And this was obviously repeated on both sides. )



However, a bit of further trimming was required as the Cordite rear tapers in.

At this point the "inside" of the Spitfire shell was now getting in the way...

So more cutting was required.



I didn't cut all the metal off in front of the arch in the hope it would clear, but it still fouls.
So some more cutting is still required, but I decided to leave my neighbours in peace.
I'll carry on cutting another day and see where that leaves me.
( If I end up using just the rear wheel arches & floor I still have all I need left in place. )

Just before I packed up, I had a quick check on my brake master cylinder.
I've not completely given up hope on the dual line system, but it would need a "bulge".

( I have got a single line master cylinder as an alternative if required. )

The other thing I noticed as I was packing up was a crack developing in the bulk head.

I had planned to soften the edges of these cuts with "curves", but hadn't got round to it.
It can be repaired, but I need to take a bit more care when moving the shell about.

Eventually everything was packed away and order was resorted to my drive once more...

Shame I didn't get the whole day, but I got quite a bit done in a few hours. :cool:

So until next time, take care, Paul. :)

froggyman 7th May 2013 08:15

Good to see you are making progress.
The small pipe is the vacuum advance and retard pipe. When there is a vacuum in the inlet manifold under throttle it operates the diaphragm in the distributor and advances the ignition. This will not stop the engine starting though.
I understand how you feel with regards to running the engine, however as it has run whilst under your ownership so will run again. I wouldn't waste valuable build time to start it again until you fitting the loom, tank etc. for final fitting. It will run or be a simple fix.

Mister Towed 7th May 2013 08:41

All the trial lifting on and off of panels and mm at a time trimming will come together in the end, Paul.

The pipe between the carb and dizzy is the vacuum advance hose.

Hope I'm not teaching you to suck eggs (and I hope I've got it right!), but as the engine spins up the change in the intake manifold vacuum is used to advance the point at which the distributor fires the spark. This is because, with the crank rotating at high speed, if you ignite the intake charge with the piston at Top Dead Centre (tdc), by the time the flame front travels through the fuel/air mix the piston will already be on its way back down the bore, reducing the pressure that can be generated and losing power. By advancing the spark to a carefully chosen point where the piston is still travelling up the bore, maximum pressure can be generated at tdc for increased power and efficiency (modern cars use a computer to achieve this). Any engine experts out there please feel free to correct me, but with the vacuum advance pipe missing, I think your engine will fail to start because the distributor will default to full advance at idle, firing the spark far too early.

The crack you've got in your bulkhead is due to the square corners rather than mis handling the shell. DC had the same problem with the edges of his cockpit as I recall. If I needed to cut slots in fibreglass or metal I'd use a hole saw to cut the radiused corners first, then join the holes with straight cuts.

And finally, When trial fitting my body shell I lowered the suspension to where I wanted it and fitted the wheels I was going to use first. As the Triumph suspension travels up and down, because it's not a double jointed setup, the wheels scribe an arc as the camber changes.

This results in the wheels sitting very differently in relation to the arches at different points on the suspension travel. Hence the silver Cordite demonstrator's wheels sticking out from under the arches. Lower the suspension and they'll tuck in. :) Unless you lower the suspension first, you're not going to know how the wheels are going to sit until it's too late.

davecymru 7th May 2013 10:22


Originally Posted by Mister Towed (Post 43086)
Unless you lower the suspension first, you're not going to know how the wheels are going to sit until it's too late.

I can testify to being caught out by that one! :( At least you're lucky in that you can do it all on your drive and can stand back and see how it sits. I had the misfortune of doing it all in the garage and it wasn't until i rolled it outside for the first time that i had that :doh: moment.

Paul L 7th May 2013 18:34

FroggyMan, Mister Towed & DaveCymru - Thanks for your replies gents, I'll try to cover the points below…

Engine Re-start - I think I am going to just leave this for now & concentrate on the body work instead.
As you say, it was driveable a while back & nothing fundamental has been changed since then. :pray:
( However, I will add double checking that the vacuum hose is still connected to my check list! )

Fibreglass Split: - My fault I know & I even posted a link that recommended avoiding square edges. :rolleyes:

Driveway: - Unfortunately, my sloping drive makes working out what it straight / level quite hard to do.
So I will try to prop up the chassis into a horizontal position before I finalise the fit & bond the body shell on.

Cordite #007:
I really do appreciate all the encouragement on here to just build my car in whatever way works for me.

The reality is there are only a handful of these kits in existance & Ribble HQ have now abandoned this design.
The new Navigator will have wholesale changes to both the internal framework & the fibre glass body shell too.
If the kit supllier can't make it work as originally supplied, then I shouldn't be too hard on myself when I struggle.

But I am very conscious that I need to make the most of whatever dry weather we get over the next few months.
As there is still a lot of welding, rust treating, painting & fibreglassing to do to get any where near a re-body inspection.
So I will remember SeaNick's post about knowing your limitations & I will look for the path of least resistance.

Which leads me neatly to…

Overall Stance - Without doubt, this is the area that is giving me the biggest head ache at the moment.
As regardless of what I do at the rear of the car, or even with the bonnet, the bulkhead position can't go much lower.
This only occurred to me after I had another look at this photo where I checked the brake master cylinder location…

The "lip" in the body shell for the bonnet is around the right height relative to the horizontal bulk head "shelf".
So if the body goes any lower, then even the standard size clutch master cylinder wouldn't fit under the bonnet.
( Note top of clutch m/c would be higher in this photo if the base was resting flat against the bulk head. )

But this set up leaves the bottom of the Cordite body shell sitting above the lowest part of the Spitfire bulk head.
This will be the situation whether I use the whole Spitfire shell, or just the bulk head & Cordite rear frame.
As using the Spitfire bulkhead removes so many other challenges I am reluctant to return to the original front frame.

Therefore if I lower the rear of the Cordite body shell too much, it will effectively be pivoting around the Spitfire bulkhead.
And I may end up with a body shell that appears to be "sticking up" in the middle & a bonnet that will not sit squarely at all.
So if I can't get the body any lower, I may simply* "extend" the sides of the Cordite body work to cover the low points.

* Obviously I am using the word "simply" in an ironic sense given how much work is required on even the "simple" jobs. :rolleyes:

I will put some more thought into this at the weekend when I hope to spend some more time test fitting the body shell.

The other good thing that came out of Stoneleigh was the fact these cars are already a bit different from the "norm".
So what if I can't get mine to look as good as some of the completed Spyders on the road (or currently being painted :icon_wink:)?
It will still have a large chuck of the original idea going for it and it will definitely stand out compared to most cars on the road.

Cheers, Paul. :)

Paul L 10th May 2013 19:52

Just before I add it to my "car stuff" pile, I want to quickly show one of the things I bought at Stoneleigh…

Bonnet Grille Options:
The original plan for the Cordite was for it to have the same "Beer Crate" grille as the Spyders.

But, as previously mentioned, I don't have one of these, I have the alternative Ribble "mesh" grille instead.
Whilst there is nothing work with this grille, I think it will appear a little "lost" within the huge bonnet hole…

I think the mesh wires would need to be significantly thicker for this to work (E.g. the style of modern Jags).
I did have a look at Ebay for Jag grilles, but everything big enough to fit were going for big prices to match.
I had also seen sections of perforated sheet steel in B&Q with various designs that might have worked too.

But it was quite by chance that I spotted a stall at Stoneleigh selling grilles & other metal bits & pieces.
This was almost half the price of the B&Q equivalent & with bigger holes too, so it became an impulse buy…

I know this is probably not to everyone's taste and I think the final colour will make a big difference too.
While I'll worry about the choice of colour another day, at the moment my options would include:
- Leaving it bare metal, but use a clear coat, or similar treatment to prevent rust.
- Paint it black which I think would really emphasis the size & shape of the bonnet opening.
- Paint it blue to match the rest of the car, then the "holes" would appearing black from the engine bay.
- Go for a contrasting colour like white or yellow

I have no intention to start cutting out the shape for the bonnet until the hinge arrangement are finalised.
But I should have more than enough grille left over for any Mr T style bonnet cut outs if they are needed.

Cheers, Paul. :)

Paul L 11th May 2013 14:55

Weather hasn't been too helpful today, so caught up a bit of other domestic stuff instead.
With a bit of luck I will get a chance to continue test fitting the body shell tomorrow.

But I did get an unexpected delivery today (as I only ordered them on Thursday!)...

I will use one Jerry "can" (although they are clearly plastic) to empty the Spitfire petrol tank into.
As while it is out of the framework, I might as well take the opportunity to paint it.
I am also not sure how long the petrol has actually been in the tank?
It has been there over a year since I got the car, and no idea how long before that.
So when it comes to re-starting the engine again, I'll get some "fresh" petrol in the other can & use that.

Cheers, Paul. :)

Paul L 12th May 2013 15:54

Body Shell Test Fitting - Continued:
Based on the weather forecast I knew I'd only have a short while to do any work before the rain came.
So I spent a while planning & getting everything ready, so I could get the angle grinder going shortly after midday.
( Well it was Sunday morning and I'd like to continue to be on speaking terms with my neighbours. :icon_wink: )

I knew that the Spitfire body shell was fouling the Cordite bodywork & needed more metal to be cut away.
However, it quickly become clear that there was no way of keeping the original door opening section intact.
Which means if I try to use the whole Spitfire shell, then I will need a more comprehensive supporting frame.
However, if I end up just using the rear wheel arches & floors, then cutting this away make no difference.

So I removed the Cordite body work (again) and gave the arches another trim.

Driver Side - Before:


Passenger Side - Before:


This left the rear section of the shell looking like this:

The pair of upright brackets on both wheel arches were given a trim after this photo was taken.

I also shaved a thin strip from the bulk head to see if that would help.



After putting the Cordite body back on, my twin exhaust pipes were now fouling:

They are only pushed in place for now, so I simply removed them.
If push comes to shove, I may need to have some "cuts outs" in the rear body for the pipes.

The good news is that there is nothing to stop the rear section getting nice & low.
This is the rear wheel arch now:

The bad news is that, as expected, the Spitfire bulkhead is too high by comparison.
You can see that the Cordite body work is now pointing upwards from back to front.

I've compared this last photo with the Ribble "Silver" Navigator photo (see previous post).
On that car, the bottom line of the body work sits below the centre of the front wheel.

Before I tried to work out what to do next, I just wanted to check the bonnet location.
With the front brackets still in place, I needed to rest the bonnet on top of them...

Obviously this sent the front end skywards, but you can tell it would settle down roughly in place:

So thankfully, the position of the bulk head would still allow the bonnet to fit.

More Thoughts:
Now while the rain has been lashing down outside, I have been scratching my head a bit.
"Why is the Spitfire bulk head so high compared to the rest of the body work?"

After going back through old threads I think I have a better idea of what is going on.
First of all, here is DaveCymru's Herald's bulkhead before it was cut down...

The reason the bulk head "chop" works for the Spyders is the gap above the master cylinders.
There is plenty of excess metal available on the Herald, that is simply not there on the Spitfire...

This is still one of my favourite photos from the build.
( In those happy days before I'd actually tried to fit the kit! :icon_wink: )

When the original Cordite prototype was being developed there was no Spitfire body, just a rolling chassis.
So a Herald bulkhead was used as the basis of the bulk head within the Cordite body shell.

I've been looking at this "still in development" photo....

The bottom horizontal line of the fibre glass bulkhead sits on the Spitfire chassis.
If you then extended the line of the chassis it would be above the side "lip" for the bottom bonnet edge.

This is a photo from one of my previous test fittings of the Cordite body & the Spitfire shell...

Here, the breeze block is where the Spitfire chassis would sit & a horizontal line can be extended from there.
Now imagine lowering the Cordite body until that bottom bonnet lip was in the same place as the other photo.
At this point the fibre glass horizontal bulk head "shelf" would be much lower than the Spitfire one.

So the good news is that I am not going mad, there is a good reason I'm struggling to line everything up.
The bad news is I am effectively trying to fit a square peg into a round hole!

Not sure I know what I can do from here, but I will go away and think some more.

Until next time, take care, Paul. :)

Mister Towed 12th May 2013 16:15

Isn't there still the option of using the Cordite fibreglass bulkhead and front floorpans?

I know there's an issue with mounting the pedals/master cylinders, but wouldn't that be easier to address than trying to cut and shut the steel bulkhead?

After all, wasn't the point of using parts of the Spitfire body to give you ready made rear arches?

There'd also be the added bonus of eradicating the chance of rust in the front floors.

Good luck :)

Paul L 13th May 2013 06:20

Mr T - You are right, I did get the whole shell for less than the price I was being quoted for just rear aches.

So it is only lost time, rather than money, if they are the only bit I can realistically use.

If I now commit to using the rear frame work, I can safely cut the shell in two.

Although I'd still want to see what using the rear frame & Spitfire bulkhead would look like.

Although, deep down, I do not expect this to work is the way I originally hoped it would.

Then it will be back to the drawing board to make the original frame work fit/work.

But, as always, I will take comfort from all the modifications you have done to your car.

Cheers, Paul. :)

Mister Towed 13th May 2013 15:15

You might want to keep an eye on this thread 'next door' -

It looks like Tribute might just be carrying out the modifications you need on your bulkhead to one of theirs some time soon.

No offence to the Sammio/Ribble creators and/or current owners, but if anyone can get a sectioned Spitfire bulkhead to work I'm sure Tribute can :)

Paul L 13th May 2013 20:26

Mr T - Don't worry, I love the work Chris & Dan are doing "next door". :cool:
What I now realise is the key to their success is building the kit around the donor.
( Which is hopefully where the new Navigator will end up. )

And finally...

I had to go and tighten the straps on the car cover this evening as it was seriously windy outside.

Looks like I've got a hard top conversion under there! :icon_wink:

Cheers, Paul. :)

Paul L 18th May 2013 14:13

Saturday - Part 1:
I know it took me a long time to finally work out the difference between the Spitfire & Cordite bulk heads. :rolleyes:
But the whole point of the exercise was to see if the new Ribble "fast build" approach was a realistic option for me.

This is still a development idea at Ribble HQ & it would simply be too much work for me to follow this approach. :icon_sad:
So I've reached the point of no return & can now safely cut the Spitfire shell into two sections with no regrets.

This meant it was back to the old routine of removing the Cordite body shell & getting out the angle grinder.
But before I cut the shell in two, I just wanted to check something first...

In order to do that, I needed to remove what was left of the bodywork in front of both arches.



This allowed me to rest the rear frame work over the top...

If I can make it work, I will keep the hand brake section attached to the floor / rear wheel arch section.
I think this would make for a more rigid structure than the separate hand brake panel that I already have.
However, I would need to change the cross bracing on the frame to join where the masking tape is...

Hopefully this will allow the section you can see painted in black to sit over the frame work.
This will involve "threading" the rear section of Spitfire through the framework.
As the frame will be above the body at the back, but below the body at the front (if that makes sense).
No doubt I will need to trim underneath the hand brake panel like I did before.

in order for the frame to sit as low as possible I will need to remove some metal from the rear section.
The originally mounting point is effectively double skinned...

So I knocked up a couple of cardboard templates that will show me where to cut...

Then it was the moment of truth, so I propped up both sides of the front bulk head...

As the last thing I wanted to do was cut through the chassis by mistake. :rolleyes:

A couple of cutting discs later and I had a cut from one side to the other...

I needed my wife's help to remove the rear section & relocate it to my "bits" pile...

At this point I left the Spitfire bulk head in place as I still wanted to see if I could use it.
It occurred to me that when the internal frame work was last in place the body sat higher.
The only reason the rear of the Cordite body sits so low now is there is nothing supporting it.
So if the frame is going to raise the rear end up a bit, the bulk head may not seem as high by comparison.

There was only one way to find out and that was to but the rear Cordite frame work back in place.

Which reminds me of another question I need to ask...

As this is a temporary fitting, I didn't use the "rubber rings" that originally sat between the chassis & shell.

I asked AndyP57 about them at Stoneleigh & he said they hadn't used them on the Silver demonstrator.
Can anyone else give me any pros and cons of using these under the Cordite frame work?

With the frame in place, a slight trim was needed to what remained of the passenger side sill.



The good news is the rear frame and the front bulk head do sit together on the chassis.

So the next step was to try and put the Cordite bodywork over the top.

To avoid hitting the limit of photos per post, I'll be back with "Part 2" very shortly, Paul. :)

Paul L 18th May 2013 14:25

Saturday - Part 2:

This is what my "Frankenstein" build option looked like before the body shell went on...

And just before I put the shell back on I removed the remaining two seat belt brackets.
( See my previous posts for the reason why they were not practical to use. )



Then I put the Cordite bodywork back on again to see how it looked.
By this stage I knew it was going to be a long shot for it to work with no problems.
I think the final verdict will be "close, but no cigar". :icon_sad:

There is not much room left between the rear body work & the frame underneath...

But the bulk head is currently preventing the rest of the body from going any lower at the front.

This is the gap between the door cut out in the frame & body work now...

And this is how tight it was when I had both parts of the internal frame work in place...

The slope of my drive make the passenger side seem higher than it is.
But this is what the body shell looked like...

The rear wheel arches are back to a much bigger gap...

Which is more like the stance of the AndyP57's Silver Navigator at Stoneleigh.
Clearly the "slammed" look I had without the frame is not "normal"...

Which leads me nicely to...

Rear Suspension - Lowering Block:
My various "mock ups" have shown that the car will look a lot better with the lowering block fitted.
Mister Towed also pointed out the other day that fitting it would also tuck the tyres in under the arches. :cool:

So I will have another look at my Haynes manual to see what is involved and give that a go.
Unfortunately most build threads seem to cover "before" & "after", but very little on "during".

So any tips on what to expect / avoid / etc. would be most welcome.

Bulk Head Requirements:
And now the fun really begins as I need to work out the best bulk head arrangement for my kit.
I am going to put a lot of thought into this as I need to get it right.
I think I will end up with a hybrid of frame work and sections of Spitfire panels.

Hump & Frame:
Regardless of what happens with the front bulkhead, the hump is still fouling the frame...

As previously mentioned the door cut out mean the body can not be moved one way or the other.
( See photos above for the tight fit front & back. )
So this is another area to thing about as either the frame or the bodywork will need to be changed.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I had to stop work on the car at this point as the sky was getting dark & it felt like rain was coming.
And as I now have two sets of car parts to cover, it is taking me even longer to pack up.

Although typically for the weather at the moment, by time I've written this, the sun is trying to peek through.

I need to do a few domestic chores before I can get out again today & I may have to wait until tomorrow.

So until then, take care, Paul. :)

You know how you often only know there is a hole in your shoe when you step in a puddle?
Well I found the hole in my glove when I grabbed a slice of metal I had just finished grinding.
As the hot metal was "branding" my finger it was clear where the hole was. :icon_evil:

Mister Towed 18th May 2013 15:34

Assuming you've got Spitfire 1500 swing spring rear suspension, you're going to need a stack of three of these together with longer bolts or studs to lower the back end enough.

As that'd tot up to about a hundred quid I'd be tempted to make my own. It will transform the look of the car though. :lock1:

Viatron 18th May 2013 17:37

Paul, been looking at ride height myself when I was at Ribble on Friday. I currently have a 1" lowering block but I think I need to go at least another inch and possibly an inch and a half. The current lowering block is the rimmer part but am going to have some more made up by the machinist who is currently doing my gearbox to bell housing adapter and dry sump pan parts, it will probably not cost much more to have another couple made, he will also be doing me longer diff studs to accomadate the additionl blocks, once I have a firm price I will let you know.

Paul L 18th May 2013 18:28

Mister Towed & Viatron - Thanks chaps & I appreciate the offer Mac. :cool:

But at it turned out, the only thing I did this afternoon was find the right box with this in it...

This is the 1 inch block & matching studs that I bought from Rimmer Bros probably a year ago now.

When AndyP57 didn't fit one to his Cordite demonstrator I thought could get away without it.
( As part of me really didn't want to play with the original Spitfire suspension at all. )

I actually thought the Silver Navigator looked OK, even if it was riding a bit high compared to others.
So hopefully this will improve things a bit more and I think I will be happy with that.
Even though I do accept that a larger block might provide a more racing car stance.

Now looking like I might be able to play outside on Sunday afternoon (weather permitting).

Cheers, Paul. :)

Paul L 19th May 2013 18:19

Most of the day was taken up by a family trip to a Safari Park which was good.
( We had free tickets which had to be used before the end of May. )

But when we finally got home, my wife helped me to flip over the Spitfire rear section.
You will see I started off using axle stands before they collapsed on my sloping drive (again :rolleyes: ).
So I ended up just resting it on a dust sheet on the ground, this was before...

I then spent 2 hours with the angle grinder removing paint, rust & under seal.
My hands are still a bit numb as I am typing this up, but I'm pleased with the results....

Then I applied a liberal coating of Kurust everywhere to treat the metal...

The blue / black areas give you an idea of the section I hope to keep as one piece.
As I will be cutting the floor pans out from both sides before I try to use it.

I am just waiting for the Kurust to dry out, before I put everything away for the night.
With a bit of luck I will be able to put some paint over the top during the week.

I also need to taken my second shower of the day as this was seriously filthy work.

Until next time, take care, Paul. :)

Viatron 19th May 2013 18:23

You certainly pack in the hours Paul! At this rate youll be finished before me :-(

Paul L 21st May 2013 05:31

Viatron - I am pretty sure you will be on the road before me Mac!
As you clearly know what you are doing and have made great progress to date. :cool:

As for the hours, it is clear I need to start racking them up if I want to make some progress.
But it is the weather, rather that the engineering challenges that will be the end of me. :icon_sad:

Got home from work last night & the sky was dark & rain looked imminent.
So I couldn't risk removing the tarpaulin to start painting the underside of the rear arches.
After last years "summer" I really need a run of dry weather to work in. :pray:

I know your frame is still under construction...

But it the plan to fit it directly to the chassis without the "rubber rings" in between?

Cheers, Paul. :)

Mister Towed 21st May 2013 08:40

I wouldn't worry about the rubber washers - NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) isn't exactly a Sammio strong suit.

After all, the real fun with these cars is feeling that you're part of the machine, hearing, feeling and smelling all the components doing their stuff. Totally the opposite of a modern car where you're completely detached from the action, even at 155mph.

Btw, how're you planning to fit your floors? On the Spyder the frame sandwiches the floor between it and the chassis, then you 'glass the inside of the body to the floor to give it strength.

Just a thought...

Paul L 21st May 2013 19:52

Mister Towed - Cheers, I'll happily leave the "rubber rings" off if that is what everyone else does.
As for being part of the driving experience in a Sammio, it sounds like it will be a 4 wheeled motorcycle.

As for the floor, I had already prepared some words covering that in the post below.
But basically the Cordite frame wraps around the chassis in the middle.

This appears to be different to the Spyder frame work & the new Navigator frame.

So the order of parts will be...
Chassis + Frame + Floor + Hand Brake Panel

This is the best photo I have (and it is not great) with the fibre glass floor roughly in place...

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Both my wife & I had tough days at work, so a family trip to the local curry house was in order.
But as the sun was still shining when we go back, I got changed, pulled off the tarpaulin & got out the bitumen paint…

Spitfire Rear Wheel Arch Section:
I just needed to make sure I put a dust sheet underneath, as I've already got black paint on the driveway. :rolleyes:

( Although the Kurust dries black so it is not so easy to see. )


I know it is just the first coat, but it still nice to see something heading in the right direction. :cool:

Although it will be dark by the time I get back out to put the tarpaulin back over the top.

Top Tip:
Whilst a good face mask keeps the paint fumes out, it also keeps the curry & beer fumes in. :rolleyes:

Rear Internal Framework - Planned Modification:
I have also been looking back at the work I did to make the separate hand brake panel fit over the frame.
The panel needed a lot of cutting before it would slot over the box section forming a cross bracing triangle.

This time around I am going to cut that section of the frame out & weld in a new section at a different angle.

Which means it must be time for another one of my dodgy sketches…

( This represents a section of the frame on the passenger side, looking from the front of the car to the back. )

With this mod, the hand brake panel you see above would sit flush against the frame without any cutting.
So hopefully I should be able to keep this hand brake panel attached to the rear floor / arches section.

However, I still need to work out where exactly I can cut the rear section to keep as much intact as possible.

As this forms part of my "treading through" the frame issue:
- The mounting points at the back of the internal frame will need to sit on top of the rear arches section.
- Whereas the frame work will need to be underneath the hand brake section to sit on the chassis.
Although technically, it will need to sit on top of the lowered floor pans which will be sitting on the frame.

So as I was explaining to Mr T above, I need to co-ordinate the frame, floors & rear arches section.

I'll go though some more thoughts on the floors another day.

Cheers, Paul. :)

Paul L 22nd May 2013 05:36

Just a quick follow up to yesterday's post about the chassis/frame/floor/rear arches section...

Lowered Floor Pans:
As previously mentioned, AndyP57 supplied me with a pair of these...

The good news is that these floors could actually be welded to the internal frame at the contact points.
This should add extra strength to the floor, before the body shell is then bonded / fibre glassed into place.

The only down side is the slope profile is the same as the fibre glass ones which was an issue for my seats.
The back of which have a fixed recline built in when they are sitting level, which the slope exaggerates.

Again, I previously posted this dodgy sketch of the issue a while back…

By comparison, I did test fit my seats in the original Spitfire floors as part of my "fast build" mock up…

Obviously the original Spitfire floor is lowered, but horizontal, which seems to be a big help.
So I will have another look at the new floor pans and where they fit within the chassis & frame work.
I'll then finally decide whether to alter the floors, or just bite the bullet & change the seats…

Alternative Seat Options:
Whilst it would be slightly annoying to replace the seats I have already have, it might be the easiest solution.

I have already spend some time looking at alternatives and they fall into two different "styles":
- Traditional classic car type seats with a low, but non reclined, back (similar to what I have now).
- Modern bucket seats with some head support & guide holes built in for a 4 point harness.

Not this particular version, but the same kind of thing...

Clearly the bucket seats would "stick out" higher than both the sides & back of the Cordite bodywork.
Which is why I think they may work as an "obvious" modern addition to my "1950s sports car".
Or they may look terrible & I will be shunned by the Sammio / Ribble community for being a heretic. :icon_wink:

Either way, lots to think about & its funny one decision can have a knock on impact on so many more.

Until next time, take care, Paul. :)

Viatron 22nd May 2013 06:54

Seats are something i have been thinking about lately as well Paul, i have a set of mini bucket seats circa 1970 but also have the original seats that came with my donor, im more of a mind to modify the donor seats for width etc so i can retain the adjustable rear rake.

Mister Towed 22nd May 2013 07:30

Paul, would you put your classic, low back bucket seats in a WRX Imprezza?

Or do you think that, perhaps, they just wouldn't look right somehow... :pray:

Viatron 22nd May 2013 07:37


Mister Towed 22nd May 2013 07:39

Cobra seats should fit, but thoroughly check the dimensions against your cockpit. These from Europa are more upright than most which would compensate for your angled floors.

They also do basic reclining sports car seats btw.

garyh 22nd May 2013 07:50

Can't you just add shims to the back, or weld some blocks in place.

Paul L 22nd May 2013 18:44

Once again a cold dull day brightened up by the time I got home. :cool:
So I put a second coat of paint on the under side of the Spitfire rear arch section.
No photos as they would obviously look just the same as yesterday's photos! :icon_wink:

Viatron, Mr T & GaryH - Thanks for the replies chaps.
I know bucket seats would stick out like a sore thumb.
I also know that the floors could be adjusted to work.
But I already have a very long list of adjustments required.

AndyP57 was describing the new Navigator vs. the old Cordite the other day...


Originally Posted by AndyP57 (Post 43563)
... you should end up working with the kit and not fighting it...

So I guess this has become about picking my battles.
I really would like to reach the re-body inspection stage before the "summer" is gone.
Because, as I've said before, the winter months are not great for bonding & fibre glassing.

However, after what has seemed like forever, I am slowly fixing my build plan.

So until next time, take care, Paul. :)

Paul L 23rd May 2013 18:36

Even though it sunny when I got home, I had to cut the grass & do some pruning.
I managed to take one photo (see below) & before I knew it, it was raining.
Still, makes a change to get wet trying to tidy up after gardening, instead of after working on the car. :rolleyes:

Seats vs. Lowered Floor Pans - More Thoughts:
Before I did anything rash in terms of buying bucket seats I thought I'd better double check the metal floors.
There was little room to spare in the fibre glass versions when I first test fitted a seat a few months ago…

So I dragged one of the metal floor pans & a seat out of the summer house to try the same test again…

Thankfully, the 'cut out' width in the metal floors is the same size (just under 46cm) as the fibre glass one.

Which makes these seats on Ebay (which made me consider buckets in the first place) a tad too wide…

So my next step will be to have another look at the space available to fit the driver's side floor pan.
If I can get the lowered 'cut out' as close to both the front & inside as possible, my current seat might fit OK.
As based on test fitting the passenger side seat, the inside curve of the rear cockpit can get in the way a bit.
If I still need to steal an odd cm or two, I might remove the runners & bolt the seat directly to the floor itself.

Then, if all else fails, I will be left with a simple choice to either alter the floor, or change the seats.
A bit more searching lead me to these seats which seem to be narrow enough to fit & look pretty good too…

I also realised there is yet another area I need to resolve as part of fitting the seats / floor…

Internal Frame vs. Rear Bodywork / Hump:
I've already mentioned the problem I have with the frame pressing against the body work / hump…

There is no simple fix, as both door cut outs in the body fit tight against the internal framework around them.
( So you can't move the body's position without removing the all the door frame work on both sides. )

Which means the Cordite body shell & internal frame work are effectively at an impasse. :icon_sad:

In addition, I was planning to attach a section of plywood in front of the frame to build a rear cockpit panel.
But this would actually create an even bigger gap between the rear bodywork lip & the inside of the cockpit.

So I think I will have to cut off, extend & re-attach the body work at the rear of the cockpit, including the hump.
I know lots of Spyder builders have made similar cuts in their bodywork & rejoined everything successfully. :cool:

If you have been following the changes to the Navigator MkII mould, you will know there are alignment issues.
At this point, following my "pick your battles" approach to getting this car build, I will have some "wonky" bits.
I am certainly not going to attempt the wholesale changes required to make everything line up perfectly.

However, I did like the look of something CharmanTech has done under his hump on his G46…

If I have to remove the "face" of the hump anyway, then this would make it easier to fit plywood underneath.
I am also considering building the rear cockpit panel up by trimming & fitting plywood inside the internal framework.
I would then cover this "Mock Tudor" wall with fibreglass in the usual way to tie in the bodywork & the floor.

Other Odds & Ends
A couple of other things that will be related to the stuff above is the seat belt mounts & the 2nd hump.
I think the 3 point harness will be the most straight forward to fit as each seat just needs two mounting points.
( I will re-use the existing mounting points either side of the hand brake. )

I asked AndyP57 about the spare hump and he confirmed that all the humps made to fit the "driver's side".
Which means if I want to fit it, there will be a shed load of work to do, similar to CarNoob's approach.
So for now, I am going to concentrate on other priorities & come back to this at a later date.

With a bit of luck I will get some decent time on the car over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Cheers, Paul. :)

Viatron 23rd May 2013 21:14

Paul if you wanted to cut the rear face off i have some sheet fibreglass i laid up going spare for the price of postage, it was laid up for our racer before we went carbon composite.
Check with Andy but im pretty sure that phase 2 of the navigator refresh will be moulds for sided humps which may help with your humping issues (fnar fnar), obviously with the rework means the passenger side hump wont be a perfect fit but it will surely fit better than trying to get a drivers side one to fit the passenger side?

Paul L 25th May 2013 21:58

Viatron - Thanks again for another kind offer Mac, but I have a lot of fibre glass stuff in the shed.
( Not that I have ever worked with any of this stuff before, but I will give it a go. )

- - - - - - - - - - - -

In the end, I only had a little time outside on the car today in the early evening....

I started by measuring & marking where I was going to move the bracing on the rear frame.
I also put some more thought into where the seat belt mounting plates would need to go.
I now have a plan for both behind the seat & to the side, but need the seat in place for a final check.

In the mean time I started cutting some the box section needed for the rear frame.

This is the new bracing angle and the cardboard templates I used to check the angles...

In keeping with the rest of the frame work, the two sides are not exactly the same. :icon_wink:

I've also started on some of the box sections I will need for the rear seat belt mounting plate...

( I'll try to put a quick sketch of the basic plan up tomorrow. )

I want to trim the metal floor pans to fit tomorrow, but this will need to be a two step process.
First I need to cut out the cross brace section that will be replaced with the angled sections above.
Then I can get the floors in place even though they will need a further trim around the new sections.
It is just that I want to see where the seats end up compared to the body before I remove the frame to start welding it.

Then I will remove the frame from the chassis & bring it into the rear garden for the welding.
( As I don't want to expose any people passing by to the welding arc light. )

Although as I moved the floor pan around today, I noticed, it needs some more welding.
As daylight was peaking through a selection of small holes in the existing welds...

Use of Heat Gun on Fibreglass Body:
At some point I will go around the Cordite body shell with an electric DIY paint stripping gun.
This follows a debate on Misted Towed's build thread about "voids".

Personally, I think my body has a few issues that hopefully Mr T will have avoided.

This is how one section of my body looked when it was delivered...

But the recent rounds of putting the body on and off have caused more damage...

In both cases, it seems the gel coat has not bonded to the fibreglass behind it.
Especially in the photo above, as there is a big gap between the layers without using any heat.

But that is a problem for another day, as I need to get some sleep now.

Hopefully I've have a bigger update tomorrow, Paul. :)

Paul L 26th May 2013 22:20

Sunday - Part 1
First job of the day was making a pair of cardboard templates for the metal floor pans...

As before, I used the "hole" from the middle to work out where they would fit.
I started on the driver's side, where I wanted the hole as far forward/inside as possible...

But when I went to check the distance to the rear frame work, I came up short...
( With the hole in this position, the back of the floor would be in mid air. )

The edges of the steel floors are not as deep as the original fibre glass ones...

Not quite the start to the day I was hoping for.
After several attempts at repositioning the "hole" it was clear I had a problem.
If the floor edges reached the frame, then the seat would never work.

At this point, I think I had a real break through in my approach.
Mister Towed often suggests I just do it and so I made my choice.
I know where I need the seat, so I will add an extra bracket to the frame work.
This will support the rear of the floor & I will fibre glass over the gap.
That was it, no more indecision, make a choice and move on. :cool:

Unfortunately, my optimism was sorely tested when I switched to the passenger side.
As I test fitted the cardboard template, it was clear that the back would reach the frame???

After a bit of head scratching & a long session with the tape measure the answer was clear.
The passenger side frame work is not square & there is a 4 cm difference on one side.

This is the front frame rail on the driver's side (Spitfire bulk head still in place)...

And this is the passenger side and the gap to the bulk head is clear...

Decision made, cut this floor to fit the frame as it is & hope the seat will work.
But there was no point in finishing the template now as I was about to modify the frame.
So instead the body work came off & I unbolted the rear frame work.
With the frame put to one side, I packed everything away & relocated to the rear garden.
I had to get my wife's help to move the frame through the house to the patio.
I then took it to the back of the garden myself (no danger of hitting anything on the way).

Then it was the moment of truth, my first "real" welding job...

This was the cross brace on the passenger side that I was replacing.
( To allow the hand brake panel from the rear arches to sit better on the frame. )

I simply removed it with my angle grinder...

Then it was time to clamp the piece I had prepared earlier into place...

And this is the finished job after I have given the welds a bit of a clean up...

I did the "hit it with a big hammer" test and it is going no where.

Sad though it may seem, at this point, this was going through my head...

[Voice Over Man] Paul has welded some box section to his frame and now he is feeling EPIC! [/MoneySupermarket]


Next up was the driver's side, before...



At this point my daughters were desperate for me to put up the "Circus Tent" for them to play in.
Well it was a lovely day & I have turned the Summerhouse into a car parts warehouse.
So together we finally worked out the limited instructions and got the thing up...

I don't think my wife had imagined it was going to be as big as it is.
So I'm not sure it will be allowed on the front drive unless it is for a very short time.
( We will be packing it back up tomorrow as the rain is expected on Tuesday. )

That's it for Part 1, I'll be back with Part 2 in a minute.

Cheers, Paul. :)

Paul L 26th May 2013 22:28

Sunday - Part 2

Right, back with the build, next up fitting the driver's side floor pan.
I used my cardboard template to mark up the steel, before cutting it out with my jigsaw...

And then it simply slotted into place...

At which point I wanted to test fit the seat, just to see what I was up against...

As expected, the rear of the seat hits the back of the frame...

Which in turn prevents the bottom of the seat runners from touching the floor...

The reality is that the seat runners will not work anyway, so I removed them...

For now, I've put the bolts back into the base just so I don't lose them...

Which means that the seats will actually sit lower than this when fitted.
The good news is that even at this higher level, they fit OK...

With a nice gap between the back of the seat & the frame...

All I needed to do now was cut a length of box section to fit and weld it in...

This should provide a bit of extra support to the floor (this also passed the hammer test).

Then I trimmed the cardboard template for the passenger side's floor to fit the new frame layout...

Quickly followed by trimming the steel floor to match.
The only problem I had was my jigsaw kept "spitting out" the blades.
So I used my angle grinder for the last bit of cutting required & test fitted it...

I knew fitted a seat on this side would be harder & in order for the back to fit like this...

I have trimmed the inside edge of the driver's floor to match the curve of the frame / chassis.
I will do the same thing to the passenger floor tomorrow.

The front of the seat will need to hang over the lip in the floor...

This means added a few spacers under the front mounting bolts.

I want to weld up the "holes" in both of the steel floors.

This is want the professional welding looks like in one area...

I decided to do some test welding on some of the floor off cuts first...

I didn't tidy up these welds, but I found a good setting to use & this is a solid join.

At which point I noticed I was coming to the end of my welding wire...

( I will go and get another reel first thing in the morning. )

As it had just gone 6pm, it was time to stop the angle grinder noises anyway.
It took me the best part of an hour to put everything away ready for tomorrow...

( If you look closely, you can see the frame tucked out of the way for the night. )

Then it was shower, time with the family & meal with my wife, before finally getting to type this up now.
So it has been a very long day, but a very productive one, so I am a happy boy.

Until next time, take care, Paul. :)

Mister Towed 26th May 2013 23:17

Nice work Paul, keep it up and your car will start coming together before you know it.

Welding isn't so hard after all, is it. :)

Paul L 27th May 2013 07:30

Mister Towed - You have no idea how happy I was when my welding passed the hammer test.
Your "can do" approach to all the new skills you have learnt while building your car really helps me.

Ironically, the fact that the internal framework is "wonky" in places is actually encouraging me as well.
I can stop worrying about perfection, when "near enough" seems to have been the factory standard. :icon_wink:

Finally, I'm really glad that you are pressing on with your painting & I am looking forward to seeing it done.
It is clear to me that your body shell is definitely a much higher quality product compared to mine.
Which means that I will have to take a heat gun to it at some point (although I am not looking forward to that).

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Sunday Supplement:
There is one other thing I want to cover following yesterday's work...

I had seen this photo of the new Navigator MkII body shell under development on Viatron's thread...

I think the deep lip around the rear cockpit looks really good compared to the photos of mine I took yesterday...

This "step" was already cut into the rear cockpit lip when the kit was originally delivered...

So if I end up cutting this section out to fit the body work over the frame I will try to make the lip deeper all around.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Right, I have a few domestic things to take care of before I can work on the car, so I'd better go.

Cheers, Paul. :)

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