Re: VWX 317L - Hilda, Lesley's Imp - New MOT

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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda, Lesley's Imp - New MOT

Post by philgsmith » Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:13 pm

Just thought it was about time we put some pictures of our Imp project on the site. So this is the first as a trial picture load.

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We bought her in Jan 2011. Then previous owner described her as just needing a few bits and pieces and carpet to complete as she'd just been resprayed. When we viewed her we could see that she needed 4 wheel arches and a bonnet as the job had been botched. The water pump bearing sounded knackered (and proved to be) and the battery was dead. However the engine ran well and the seller said a previous owner had done some rebuilding. We decided to buy her and run her for a while, respraying her when the rust came back.

She looks much better in this photo than up close as the rear arches were full of fibreglass. The true condition will be revealed in later photos.

Originally we planned to get her through the MOT by refurbing the brakes, replacing battery, water pump and fitting an ignition upgrade. The local garage confirmed that she needed no welding to pass the MOT. At this point we had no garage and progress was slow over the first 6 months, although we did the brakes, ignition and battery.

Meanwhile Lesley stripped the interior and we made made new door cards, Fiesta XR2 seats were sourced and she recovered all of the seats and door cards in new cream vinyl.
Last edited by philgsmith on Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:47 am, edited 39 times in total.
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by Dave ' Linwood ' Lane » Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:23 pm

Nice car looks like a rare MK 3 basic except its got opening quaterlights
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by philgsmith » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:23 pm

Hi Noddy

It's actually a DL that has been de-chromed. We've bought the Super chrome to replace the removed bits. All the holes were welded up, so a few holes to drill later!

More photos to follow - in process of loading to photobucket etc.
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by Charlotte » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:41 pm

Hope to see Hilda at the national :) good luck with your work
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by philgsmith » Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:37 pm

Thanks Charlotte

When we manage to load the rest of the pictures you'll see that the national is impossible but we are aiming for the Wicked Welsh - and that will be tight as we can only work on weekends in my father in law's garage which is 20 minutes away.

Tried to put more pictures on but trouble with resizing in Photobucket and the forum saying the images are bigger than 800 pixels but Photbucket and forum ahve just frozen in the other Explorer session, so we'll have to start again tomorrow.

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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by lukesoanes » Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:48 am

good to see some pictures :D

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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by philgsmith » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:22 pm

The wheel arches were full of filler and fibreglass, and the body line above both wheel arches is wrong.

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Interior before we stripped it.

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The floor had surface rust with no holes which was great news, so we just rubbed it down, put some rust killer on it and painted it with underseal - in retrospect we should have used something else.

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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by philgsmith » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:39 pm

This is the engine bay as we bought the car, except for the new plug leads, coil and battery and the repainted water pump pulley and support arm

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We didn't do a lot last spring & summer as we didn't have a garage and something always stopped us working on the car, we did refurb a spare set of wheels and stripped and repainted the grill and rear hatch which had been painted black and looked awful. Stripping the hatch revealed a coat of aquarius paint - the colour of Lesley's first Imp bought when a student in 1980. Had it for 9 months, spending 6 months off the road with engine problems - this is where I learnt a lot about working on cars! Ironically sold it because of hot starting problems which we now know is a simple fix! Also, the previous owner had installed twin Strombergs that we thought didn't work!!! If only we'd known..

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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by philgsmith » Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:07 pm

In September Neil Gurner visited to have a look at Hilda as he lives near and kindly donated a good rear transom as ours was dented and rusty.

We went to the Wicked Welsh Weekend which was great with the intention of putting Hilda back on the road asap. Don't quite know what happened but in a fit of madness we decided to do the bodywork as some bubbles were appearing on the bottom of the doors and the paint was starting to feel like sandpaper. A body repairs specialist (acquaintance) has told us this is because the preparation was poor.

We had a look at the bottom of the doors and found holes in the normal places. The filler was 3mm thick in places and we founds lots of surface rust spots that had not been treated - just filled and painted over. We ended up stripping the whole door back to metal. At this stage we decided to do this to the whole of the car as it was becoming clear that she hadn't been prepared properly, and it would be a waste of time just painting the visible rust.

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and after stripping, and cutting out rusted metal.

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The doors are now filled and in white primer.

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The quarter windows were a nightmare getting out (and the window runners) - not looking forward to putting them back in. We've got new quarter windows which Lesley has cleaned up and repainted the black bits

The engine cover looked good until it was stripped, revealing some rust holes on both sides which were cut out and repaired. The cover is now in primer.

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By Christmas we had managed to strip both doors, engine cover, transom. They are all now primered together with the replacement fibreglass bonnet which has been tidied up internally. Don't know quite why but we didn't take photos when we'd finished these.
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by philgsmith » Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:00 pm

Had a really bad December, we decided to take Hilda to dad's garage - 7 miles away to start on the main bodywork after Christmas. Hired a trailer for a Saturday morning only. She obviously didn't want to leave - when we tried to drive her up the drive we couldn't get into gear. Query gearbox knackered. The air was blue and ended up towing her up the steep drive to the trailer.

It gets worse - the MGF was jealous and blew it's head gasket and was sitting rather low on the driver side due to suspension spheres failing! It's a Trophy limited edition, only 500 were made, and with unique spheres and replacements have not been made since Rover went bust. Spent January rebuilding the MGF, by which time it's MOT had expired. Happy days !

£1000 later the MGF is back on the road with new radiator, water pipes, 2 tyres, battery, alternator, water pump, track rod ends, cat converter.... never thought the Imp would be less of a problem. Also in temper karate chopped the plastic window and split it - £50 repair being done tomorrow. Mid life crises are proving expensive!

March saw the restart on the Imp in earnest - engine and gearbox were removed, eventually after much swearing over 2 gearbox mounting bolts that had rounded. Bought the Irwin bolt/nut head remover set - fab, came off in minutes having wasted 2 days trying to use conventional sockets and a big hammer.

Out at last!

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Lesley was bored, so stripped and repainted the starter motor

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We cleaned up the engine bay, just took chassis legs back to metal, no problems here. We are going to stone chip this over the weekend.

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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by philgsmith » Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:22 pm

We decided to strip parts that we thought would be a problem. Passenger front wing had metal from anotherf IMp (aquarius again!) welded into lower wheel arch. Rotten metal behind hadn't been removed.

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This is the rot to the inner wheel arch

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Both rear wheel arches were stripped and this confirmed our suspicions that doing the car now was the best course of action.

Passenger rear wheel arch repair was a botch - inner arch had been fibreglassed and rotten metal not cut away from outer arch, before being repaired. We've kept a souvenir of a lump of filler that is 10mm thick.

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The driver rear wheel arch repair panel was in good condition, but look at the brown inner wing, this is all fibreglass moulded to the outer wing - look at early photo to compare.

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The sill areas behind the doors are poorly repaired and are in a bad way.

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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by Dave ' Linwood ' Lane » Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:31 pm

:shock: :shock: :shock:
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by lukesoanes » Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:43 pm

wow that looks like a lot of work :?

hope it gets sorted without anymore major issues

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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by philgsmith » Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:46 pm

Thought you might be slightly surprised when all was revealed!!! The previous owner had the car since 2008, when it had an MOT and thought it was at the end of an extensive refurb- don't think so!
Not all photos loaded yet. We'll have up to date photos on Monday, showing the front end progress- we're working from front to back now,stripping, rust killing etc.
She's been named Hilda by our girls - hate the name but they named her, so we have to stick with it. They think she's old fashioned and orange. I keep arguing it's red! - Wardance Red!
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by GURNSIMPS » Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:23 am

Hi Phil and Lesley,have you seen this....
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/280868420126? ... 1423.l2649
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by colin rooney » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:24 am

Good luck to you for saving another imp ,but i just can not for the life of me understand why the last owner would bodge the car and spend time and money having it painted when they know its just filler and rust under the filler ,

col
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by Dave ' Linwood ' Lane » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:29 am

Seems strange that whoever did this had access to a welder and could ( sort off ) weld but chose to glue the car together instead :lol:
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by GeoffFarthing » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:58 pm

I do not believe that you should start at the back and work forwards. I surveyed the whole Stiletto particularly looking at the known areas being front suspension "H" brackets, rear suspension cones and bonnet front lip etc.etc. ie. completely survey the job to establish the enormity of jt.
Previous repairs had been over sills behind the doors leaving the rusty bits underneath. The 4 wheel arches required 3 in of inner and outer and 3 front/rear corners needed replacing, 4in of front apron below the hydraulic reservoir, a rear suspension cone and 3 in of the bonnet.
Whilst my CV includes a 5 year Apprenticeship in the Coventry car Industry including 12 months in the body shop, we decided that in retirement then this part of the work would be sub contracted and I do the remainder.
Good body shops are few and far between. With many recommendations, I visted them without success until early this year when a local Mini Centre was suggested. They passed my audit, I supplied 4 outer wheel arches and 3 corners, they made the other parts including the bits in between. The completely rust free body is now down south being painted.
Establish what needs doing and what panels you can buy or make before commiting yourself to a rust free restoration.
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by philgsmith » Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:52 pm

Thanks all for the comments,
Don't worry Geoff, there's method to the madness. We neither have the eqiupment or now how to weld wheelarches etc. Aled will be doing this for us. While we're waiting for him to fit us in, we're stripping the rest of the car back to metal to see what's underneath. No more horror stories though as the fornt wings, scuttle and roof have all been stripped rustproofed, and filler primered to protect them before the real work begins. We'll be spending the next few weeks soring these out. The front sills are original and not in bad condition - a few holes, but they're going to be replaced anyway.We know the front wheelarches need work, but these will be done when Aled has the car. The front wheelarches had very little filler. It seems that previous attention has been spent on the rear quarters. We now only have the remainder of the rear wings to strip so we have a good idea of what's needed.

The previous owner said he bought the car primered and had it resprayed, but you never know what to believe when someone is selling anyway. He thought the fact the the rear wheelarches had glassfibre repairs was good as they wouldn't rust! It's strange that he MOT'd it on 2008 and then didn't use it as it was never taxed. It seem sthat it had sat in his in laws' garage for the past 3 years until we bought it.

On another note, we took the dashboard and heater out today and found an Imp National 30th anniversery plaque behind the heater. This probably means that Hilda was in the Imp Clun in1993, the last year she was on the road. Does anyone remember the car?
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by paulchin » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:46 pm

philgsmith wrote:Bought the Irwin bolt/nut head remover set - fab, came off in minutes having wasted 2 days trying to use conventional sockets and a big hammer.
They're great aren't they - I replaced a pedal box in a little Seat Arosa last year, and these things even removed one of the steering column shear bolts! Well worth the £20 or so for all the time saved! They also work well on exhaust nuts/bolts, where all the rust makes the head just in between two socket sizes!

Glad to see you're doing this properly too - and that the kids are interested! Look forward to your updates.
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by ImpManiac » Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:43 pm

Great work! It is gratifying to see a restoration being done the right way. Have I said that already? :? Sorry.

IM 8)
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp - more photos

Post by philgsmith » Tue May 08, 2012 9:16 pm

The start of the strip down of the front panel, no real problems here - surface rust which had been painted over and a few small holes right at the bottom near the seam.

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Offside wing stripped, wheelarch has lots of holes on inner flange as well as the ones which can be seen in the photo.

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The scuttle is in very good condition but for one small hole on the driver's side. I expected much worse as my '74 Imp had a hole here back in 1980!

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Nearside wing is ok and wheel arch in better condition, with just the inner reveal needing work.The area between the arch and the door is another isssue - mentioned earlier. The good parts were zinc coated and primered for protection.

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Replacement rear transom kindly donated by Gurns has been repaired and primered. Ours was rusty and dented.

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The engine bay has now been stone chipped and is ready for topcoat.

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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp - advice needed

Post by philgsmith » Tue May 08, 2012 9:29 pm

Dashboard removed, stripped down and repainted. We've added the Super glovebox etc. Not easy off the car, it would have been impossible in situ.

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The roof was stripped at the end of April. On Saturday a friend helped us remove the remaining glass and we stripped all the pillars down to the bottom of the glass line.

We were just beginning to feel better about the condition of the car, but were disappointed on Sunday when we stripped the metal surrounding the rear hatch. We managed to clean all the rust back to good metal on the top half of the hatch surround edging but the lower half is full of holes, all along the bottom and 5 inches up either side. We're not sure whether this is structural or not so would welcome some advice and what to do here as we haven't seen any panels available for this. As it's a double skinned area, a proper repair is going to be tricky.

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The car as it is at the moment.

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Still a lot of work in these areas to be tackled.
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by ImpManiac » Wed May 09, 2012 10:49 pm

Great work! :) The car is going to be good and solid, that is for sure. :wink: It's interesting to me to see the process or sequence of work that you are using in your restoration of this car.

Keep up the excellent efforts. And the detailed posts with lots of pictures! :D

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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by colimp66 » Thu May 10, 2012 8:37 am

Hi,
as IM said /\ nice work & you are fairly getting stuck into the restoration.

Regarding the rear window area, my Imp "The Pest" has a similar problem to yours but the whole bottom of the window area is rotten with a few pinholes in the panel below that can be reached from the inside of the car. A very awkward repair indeed & my next job.
I'm fortunate enough to have a panel cut out from a scrap Imp to make things easier which I am in the middle of disecting to use & should be repairing within the next week.
I'll keep you posted.

Good luck
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by philgsmith » Thu May 10, 2012 6:53 pm

ImpManiac wrote:Great work! :) The car is going to be good and solid, that is for sure. :wink: It's interesting to me to see the process or sequence of work that you are using in your restoration of this car.

Keep up the excellent efforts. And the detailed posts with lots of pictures! :D

IM 8)
Our "process" probably looks strange and wouldn't be the way we would do it if we could weld, so until this gets done we're trying to get on with what we can. The car is at my father in law's 20 minutes away so we don't work on it in the week except for when we can bring the parts we've taken off home to refurb, like the dash, radiator, bumpers, heat shield etc. We're cleaning up and repairing everything we take off the car and storing it at home which means the house is filling up with car parts as we don't have a garage!
We've rust treated all the stripped panels and covered the good areas with primer. While I've been stripping the remaining panels, Philip has been repairing/filling the front of the car.Yes - it's me doing the dirty work! I've always been a tomboy! There's something strangely therapeutic about getting rid of the rust.
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by ImpManiac » Thu May 10, 2012 9:12 pm

^^ Well I am full of admiration. :D The work you have done looks great!
philgsmith wrote:We've rust treated all the stripped panels and covered the good areas with primer.
That is what I meant about 'the process.' I shall be copying this aspect of what you are doing. :)

Looking forward to the next instalments. :wink:

EDIT - And I totally agree on the therapeutic effects of rust removal! :P It's brilliant!

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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by DIB69 » Sun May 13, 2012 9:23 pm

Ouch! I see what you. What a fantastic restoration you have undertook, doing everything thoroughly. Car is going to be fantastic when finished.
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by philgsmith » Sun May 13, 2012 9:47 pm

Thanks,
It's a lot of work but it will be worth it in the end. Had a good weeked. The passenger rear wing and the lower half of the driver's side have now been stripped back to bare metal. Only the top of this wing and the door reveals are now left to do. The roof, all pillars, scuttle panel and front of car are almost finished. They've been primered and there are only a few minor marks to deal with.
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp -rear wings stripped

Post by philgsmith » Mon May 21, 2012 10:08 pm

Over the past 2 weekends we've finished stripping the rear wings, leaving just the door reveals to do.

Aled is going to weld in new inner & outer rear arches and rear corner panels on each wing. At the moment we have rust treated and zinc primered the areas that won't be replaced, and started to work on the top of the passenger wing. We won't touch the lower wings until the car returns from being welded. Car was solid around the rear lights apart from one small area on the driver's side - can be seen if you look closely.

We're also going to fit new full length cover sills and the inner rear sills will be repaired.

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We now have our shopping list of panels and have ordered them from Malcolm. We're going to fit a new lower wing panel on the passenger side - the one between the arch and the door. The front wheelarches aren't too bad and can be repaired with new edges. The damper H sections will be boxed in (access cut through the inner wing top).


Took some photos of the new door cards and seats which were recovered last spring, when we thought we would get the car on the road soon. Front seats are XR2, recovered to copy the style of the Imp seats as far as possible. This wasn't easy as we don't have a commercial sewing machine.

New door cards were made using thin plywood which will be coated with yacht varnish - hopefully more hardwearing than the hard board ones, which were disintegrating.

Holes have been cut for the winders etc but the vinyl still needs to be cut through. We've added slight padding, but they are still thin enough to fit the slots in the door etc.

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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by ImpManiac » Tue May 22, 2012 7:02 pm

Lovely work, that. :wink: It will be a really nice, straight Imp when you're done.

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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp - Off to be welded

Post by philgsmith » Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:42 pm

Since last time we've concentrated on working on the rear wings around the lights.

It's been fiddly ensuring that we keep the original shape around the light appertures. Thought it would be good to show a picture of Philip working hard on one of the few hot sunny days we've had in the past few weeks.

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I've been working on tidying the luggage compartment whilst Philip's been working on the back of the car.It's been really difficult to get into the areas along the bottom front panel .This has now been rust treated and stone chipped and looks a lot better.

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I've also stripped the inner rear window surround and found more holes which will need to be welded.

Last weekend we loaded Hilda onto the trailer and took her down to Aled's to be welded. He's going to send us some photos as he's going along, so we'll add them to this thread.

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Hilda in Aled's garage checking the fit of the new panels.

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We're going to spend the next couple of weekends cleaning up the engine. It runs well so we're not planning to strip anything. We're also going to do some final fettling of the bonnet, engine cover and transom.
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by GURNSIMPS » Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:38 am

Good work guys....when Aled has worked his magic this will be a good solid imp,can't wait for more pics.
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by 67cali » Sun Jun 24, 2012 8:27 am

Some great work you are doing there. She'll be beautiful when you're done.
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by philgsmith » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:54 pm

Whilst Hilda has been with Aled being welded we've taken advantage of an empty garage by doing final prep on some of the panels that we have removed and started cleaning up the engine.

We did initial prep of doors, engine cover, transom and new bonnet before Christmas but have now completed the final primer coat and sanding down and are ready for top coat.

The new fibreglass bonnet needed a fair bit of tidying up on the inside.

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The outside was good and we have it prepared ready for top coat

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The insides of the doors have had final prep including a fine coating of stone chip to the bottom edges. The outsides are final primered but need final sanding (pictures later)

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The engine cover is finished, ready for top coat.

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We have a body shop lined up to do the external top coat, but Philip has wanted to paint the insides of some of the panels. We had already stone chipped the inside of the transom and engine cover. So here are are insides of the bonnet and engine cover now painted red..

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Had a lot of problems when final sanding the outside of the transom - managed to sand through the primer, and ended up repainting, and then lifted some of the new paint by touching it before it was fully dry! The air was blue to say the least. It's now been repainted and had final sanding (with a lighter touch this time!!).

Here's the inside painted red..

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I have stripped the petrol tank, while Philip was working on the MGF - sealing the sump to stop an oil leak.

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and painted in satin black

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I've also started cleaning the engine - here's the before pic

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More photos when it's cleaner.

We're due to collect Hilda from Aled's on the weekend. He's had to do a bit more work than originally intended. We planned to replace both rear inner and outer wheel arches, both sills, both rear lower corners and the rear corner of passenger front wing, together with replacing much of the rear hatch surround. He is also boxing in the front damper bracket and cutting inner access panels.

He has had to work on the rear suspension cones, and also some work on some of the rear floor panel - not really sure exactly what at the moment. Aled says he's taken loads of photos, so we'll post some next week.

Looking forward to getting the car back as this will be a turning point - no more destruction, just repair !
Last edited by philgsmith on Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by ImpManiac » Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:21 pm

Wow! :shock: Stunning work! The panels you have painted look really excellent.

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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by imporium » Sat Jul 14, 2012 8:34 am

Hi Phil & Lesley, I reckon you deserve a medal & a pint o Zider at least ! & a few odd foc bits & bobs !.. :wink: :wink: ....Malcolm Van001 Husky003 Imp009
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp - Off to be welded

Post by chris » Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:28 pm

philgsmith wrote:
Hilda in Aled's garage checking the fit of the new panels.

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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by aled » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:21 am

yes it is chris- its still here. :wink:
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Re: VWX 317L - Hilda - Lesley's Imp

Post by GURNSIMPS » Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:59 pm

just jumped at this thread all exited like,waiting patiently for pics of it now its all welded up? :)
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