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Mister Towed 18th October 2021 17:26

Thanks Paul, yes, I'm afraid I too found the adverts more interesting than the show...

So, progress over the weekend and today revolved around continuing to develop the racing doors.

I reused the alloy former that I made to create the sills to make a front/lower inner section for the passenger door, then glassed it into the door with a gap of three lolly sticks (5mm) all round to ensure it would still open and close without jamming -

Slots added to take the hinges -

I made the door inner quite thin so it would be flexible enough to align properly - it's about three layers of 200gsm mat - and I expected to have to reinforce it later, but now it's glassed in place it's really very rigid. That will only improve when I join the back of it to the rear of the door so I reckon it's strong enough. I'll be doing that this week once I've decided how I want it to look. Although I have an idea in my head as to how it's all going to come together, I am making this up as I go along!

As I've never had much faith in limit straps to stop the doors opening too far and damaging the bodywork, I wanted to fit proper stays. I had to guess what might work and sourced a pair of Peugeot 206 rear door stays brand new for £15.00 on ebay.

I went for the rear ones as they're longer than the fronts and I guessed, correctly as it happens, that would give me more scope to make them fit and work.

They're obviously designed for much heavier doors than I have and the 'ramps' on them were too steep to operate smoothly without jamming, so I trimmed them down with the angle grinder.

They're also about 1cm too long, which is fine as it means that the front stays would be about 2cm too short so the door wouldn't open far enough if I'd bought a pair of those, and I just ground in a new 'stop' so they don't allow the door to over-extend. Hopefully these pictures should explain better than I've just tried to -



Doing its job

And the spring clamp inside the door

Tomorrow I'll be doing the same to the driver's door, then I need to join up the lower and rear sections of the doors where there's still a gap and finish them off by creating inner panels to box the doors in.

More later :)

molleur 18th October 2021 18:48

good work!

Mick O'Malley 19th October 2021 08:19

Nice work, well explained and illustrated :).

Regards, Mick

Mister Towed 19th October 2021 17:14

More progress today despite the very windy weather which kept blowing my fibreglass mat all over the place.

I started by remodelling the aluminium former for the driver's side again so I can make the lower/front inner section for that door -

I'm lucky enough to have a very nice selection of panel beating hammers which I inherited from my late father-in-law, who was a very skilled professional metal fabricator by trade. I can only hope that some of his skills have infused into his tools over the years and rub off on me. With hindsight I should have 'glassed both the underside of the former to make the sill and the top of it to make the door inner at the same time as it would have saved quite a bit of faffing about bending the former one way then t'other, but as I've already said, I am making this up as I go along...

Once the inner had cured I then bonded it into the door. Here's a pic of the necessary bits'n'bobs to do that -

While that was curing I took the time to trial fit the passenger door to see how usable the opening would actually be -

I'm rather pleased with the results so far. As you can see, the opening is plenty big enough and I really like the angle that the door opens to.

Hopefully I should have something a bit more interesting to report back on over the next few days :)

deni 19th October 2021 23:56

That looks great Mr.T. I have to agree, the angle the door opens to looks really good.


Mister Towed 20th October 2021 07:36

Thanks Deni. The look I'm going for is inspired by the 550 Spyder -

Looking pretty similar so far :)

peterux 20th October 2021 11:08

Enjoying your regular updates, keep them coming.
I also like the way you are using OEM parts, just like Lotus :icon_lol:

Mister Towed 20th October 2021 19:00

Thanks Peterux, my mantra with parts like door latches is to keep it simple and stick with what I know.

When I restored our Midget I was impressed with the simplicity and effectiveness of the hinges and latch mechanism, so I figured it's be a good idea to use them on my Speedster. They're cheap too, which is a bonus.

I also want to be able to truthfully say "There is not one single Volkswagen part in this car" should anyone ask if it's a converted Beetle. Of course, I'm not going to add that it's substantially constructed from British Leyland parts...

My task for today was to come up with some sort of inner surface panel for the doors. I'm taking my inspiration from Porsche's 718 and 550 Spyders, and I really rather like the minimalist look that the inside of their doors have -

So, a bit of CAD (Cardboard Aided Design) and I came up with this -

Quick check that it fits both doors, which it does if you flip it -

Then transferred onto a bit of aluminium sheet and cut slightly oversized so it can be trimmed to fit -

As I want the openings to be chamfered inwards, I cut a bit of rubber hose and used it with some plasticine and parcel tape to make a suitable former -

Then a nice thick coat of gelcoat -

I've finished it off with three layers of 300gsm mat, but you'll have to wait to see the result until tomorrow as it's curing in the garage at the moment.

If it looks the part it's just a case of popping out the recess former and taping it back through the hole on the other side of the alloy sheet to make the panel for the other door.

More tomorrow :)

Mister Towed 21st October 2021 19:42

After popping my door panel off the alloy former and tidying it up a bit I'm not happy with the result. It looks 'okay' but my efforts to create a chamfered edge using hose and plasticine resulted in a slightly uneven opening that was a bit bigger than I intended -

Plan B has, therefore, swung into place, which is to create a flat panel with greater thickness around where the opening will be so I can carefully cut it out and shape it how I want it -

Again, that's curing in the garage overnight as the cold snap we had here today has slowed down the hardening process somewhat :(

Mister Towed 21st October 2021 20:09

Okay, just taken a look in the garage and the fibreglass has now fully set.

It doesn't look like much, but I'm a lot happier with the result this time -

It has a nice guide for me to follow to cut out the opening so I'll tackle that in the morning :)

Mister Towed 22nd October 2021 19:33

There, that's much better -

The image possibly still makes it look a bit wonky, which it isn't, and I'm confident it will look right once it's cut to size and properly lined up with the structure of the door.

I've made a mirror image of the inner panel for the other side which will be ready to have its opening cut out tomorrow.

While that was curing I made a start on the next step, which is to create something to make the doors weatherproof. That might seem a bit unnecessary on a completely open car, but it's mainly to stop it filling up with water if it's parked up in the rain with its tonneau cover fitted.

550 Spyder replicas often have a flange that overlaps the door on its inside to take a D section rubber seal -

So, my plan is to recreate that lip around the inside of the door aperture at the front and bottom of the opening. The inside back edges of my doors have the facility to take a seal already, albeit a self-adhesive one rather than one that clips over the lip, so I won't need to continue the lip up the back edges. A picture of what I'm doing might well explain that better.

A big chunk of alloy sheet cut to match the opening -

Then my now 'old faithful' former for the door sills was reused again to overlap the edge -

Tomorrow I'll fibreglass about a 4" band around the join between the flat panel and sticky out panel, which, once cured, will be moved 10mm back and up and 'glassed in place to form a lip the right size to take a slim D section seal.

Hopefully I should have that done tomorrow :)

Paul L 23rd October 2021 10:30


Originally Posted by Mister Towed (Post 107004)
... sticky out panel ...

I love it went you talk technical. :icon_twisted:

Jokes aside, your fabricating skills are letting you build your car the way you want it. :cool:

Good luck, Paul. :)

deni 26th October 2021 12:44

What I really like Mr.T is that you always have a plan B. I'm sure the doors will look great when they are finished.

Mister Towed 27th October 2021 06:54

Thanks for the supportive words guys, they're much appreciated :)

Not much progress this week, I'm afraid, due to family commitments.

I did manage to make the seal 'lip' for each door, though. They just need a bit of sanding and trimming to make them an even thickness and height above the door opening all the way round, then they'll be bonded in place, and they'll need to stand off from the opening about 5mm to allow space for the seal to contact the surface of the door under pressure but without completely crushing it. That will negate the need to have a recess around the doors to take the seal -

To keep it looking neat and 'factory' finished, I'm thinking that I need to find a way of using a seal that clips over the lip rather than a self-adhesive version. As there's quite a wide and deep gap between the back of the doors and the body I think I can make that work...

Hopefully I should have a better update later this week :)

Mister Towed 5th November 2021 16:58

Having spent a week doing other things, I have picked up the baton and restarted work on my Speedster doors.

I just had a couple of hours spare today, so decided to trim the oval hole in the passenger door inner surface panel, cut it to size - just at the top for the moment - fit it along its top edge and work out where the door handle needs to be.

to help me fix the panel in place I recently bought this rather Gucci M4 Rivnut tool -

As you can see, it's rather different to the usual 'pliers' type which require a lot of brute force to operate. This one uses two 13mm open ended spanners to draw the Rivnut up and compress it into place, which gives you a lot of control over exactly how tight it clamps into its hole.

It's the first time I've tried it and I do like it, you just have to be careful to stop when you feel the resistance to turning the nut increase or you'll strip the thread out of the Rivnut and have to drill it out and replace it (don't ask me how I know this...)

Anyway, that allowed me to fix the panel in place along its top edge with M4 countersunk allen bolts, and then find a suitable place for the handle -

I'm pleased with the results so far, I think it's all coming together the way I envisaged it :)

molleur 5th November 2021 17:55

Those Riv Nut tools do come in handy. Good job!

Mister Towed 6th November 2021 08:27

Showing my age...
Whilst idly surfing through chrome fuel filler caps on ebay, I came across this image, and I saw something completely different to my son (20) and my wife (a fair bit younger than me) -

So, what did you see?

I saw a freaky image of someone in a hoody wearing an Edvard Munch 'Scream' mask reflected in the chrome, while my far more tech. savvy son and wife both just saw the latest mobile phone being used as a camera.

I do now feel rather old this morning :(

molleur 6th November 2021 12:54

That's funny! I saw exactly what you had seen.

Mister Towed 17th December 2021 08:09

Progress has been a little slow lately due to family commitments and the like. I have been able to get on with the driver's side door seal 'lip' over the last week or so, though.

I've now set the correct gap for the seal and bonded/glassed the lip in place at the front and along the bottom, and I've temporarily screwed in a strip at the rear of the door aperture, which I'll bond into place in a day or so -

The seal fits snugly against the inner face of the door all round without leaving any gaps for water ingress or making the door too tight to close easily.

The seal looks a little uneven and there appears to be a squared section in the curve that joins the door upright to the lower edge in the photo taken from inside the cabin, but I just hadn't seated it properly all the way around so it does fit better than it looks.

Anyway, Christmas is only a week away so there won't be any more progress today as I have some shopping to do...

Munky 17th December 2021 19:36

Mr T - how weird is this, was just wondering how you were getting on just today!
Great to see you are still ‘plugging’ away.
Looking forward to seeing more progress in 2022!

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