As I mentioned, this car was bought at auction in 2004.
The previous owner had put a lot of effort into the restoration, but took
too many short-cuts. I wasn't the only person to be taken in by the
restoration- one of the well known Classic Car magazines in its auction
report commented favourably, though in fairness they did say that the
restoration "was not quite up to the mark".
I drove the car home on the day of the auction, taking 9
hours to drive from Duxford (near Stansted Airport) to Holyhead. The main
problem was fuel starvation (which I only found out much later) due to a
partially blocked pick-up tube in the fuel tank. Probably just as well,
because the very poor mechanical brakes scared the c**p out of me.
When I got the car home, up it went on the ramp for an
inspection. Even then it looked OK- the sills looked a bit corroded but
didn't seem too bad. Plenty of underseal and chassis paint covered a
multitude, as it subsequently turned out.
I didn't have sufficient covered space to store the car at
that time, so it was left outside for a few months. I can't remember how
long it took, but gradually bubbles and bumps appeared beneath the
paintwork. Using a paint thickness gauge it became apparent that there was
a lot of filler, and multiple coats of paint, over most of the bodywork.
In the worst areas the newly applied underseal and chassis paint was
lifting away- it must have been applied over heavy rust without any
The bottoms of all the doors had been very badly
"repaired" by tacking on repair sheets, lap welded over the
original corroded doors and plastered with filler. Hammering the sills
showed up the full ghastly extent of the bodging which had been done- a
mess of lap welded patch repairs, filler and fibreglass.
So, decision time- to scrap it, or repair?
Since the mechanicals and trim were in very good order,
and at least some of the chrome quite good, I decided to set about a
proper restoration of the bodywork.