PART 2  OF THE RESTORATION OF AN OLD RACE CAR.

15th April, Engine fitted in the frame now,I've modified the front alloy mounting plates, cut them down to make them look better plus polish up. 

21st April, fitted Gearshifter/flywheel shield & steering column.

​20th/21st April I started by fitting the Flywheel sheild which is held on by 6 bell housing bolts, then started sorting out the gear shiter, connecting the cable onto it plus drilling it in possitio, bolting it down, it apperes to be getting all it's gears ? (I won't know until I get the engine started) I then started work on the prop-shaft that has to be made up, I have some bit's but not everything. Got to a grinding halt with that for now, Started fitting the steering column instead.

Friday 22nd I went to "Des Shelley Shafts" Prop-Shaft Specialists in Wolverhampton to get this made up and ballanced
 

 

27th April, Engine is now complete, apart form making some new exhaust headers.

​Over 26th/27th/28th April I finished off the steering box and column, then sorting out the Iginition leads/cap etc I fitted the distributor back together, I cleaned up the 4-barrel holley carb, taking out the automatic choke mech and flap and I wont be needing that, fitted the carborator on the manifold with a new gasket, the engine is now complete apart from Roy making some new Stainless steel headers for me. On the Thursday Morning I went over to "Des Shelley" Prop-Shafts in Wolverhampton to collect my (Well modified) short Prop-Shaft which fits like a glove in the back of the gearbox, all I need to do now is get Roy Wilding to machine a flange to go onto my Axle Pinion Gear to be able to connect the shaft up correctly

​1st May. I started fitting the king pins and bushes into the front stub axles, cleaning items up & painting it all up as I go on, Replaced the wheel bearings with new grease, cleaned up and painted the brake calipers, fitted new front brake pads and hoses, the front brakes are off Susuki Motorbikes. Then started connecting up the steering linkage with new bolts, I'm having a problem with the drag link from the steering box to the front, as the bar is passing the exhaust ports and will foul the exhaust headers when made ? I wanted to under sling the drop arm as so to miss the exhaust ports, but I found the steering now works backwards !!!

 

                        Fuel tank cleaned up and fitted

​3rd/4th MAY.  Had to leave the chassis for a while due to Mark (next door) want's to get the body sprayed very soon. First thing to do was to get rid of those horrible pop rivets that are going through the body to hold the steel work inside, So I bought a Fiberglass Kit to bond on the flanges that hold the fiberglass body on.        I've never done this before, it's a bit of a messy job, but I got there in the end after putting on three layers of fiberglass matting per mounting point with four layers going on the rear body hinge. Then after making up the top gap with fiberglass matting where the spare wheel should be I fiberglassed that gap up and blended it in. Then filled in all the holes in the body (where the pop rivets were) Flatting it all down with the D.A. Plus flatting all the moulding seams down.

​6th May. Started work on the Air Scoop Intake which needs to be fixed on the bonnet of the Topolino, Way back in March when I first had the car I dropped the engine in the chassis with the heads on and inlet manafold on plus carborator, I found the centre of the carb and marked the inside of the body, plus drilled a small hole in the fiberglass.

I started this job by bonding two alloy strips of angle in place to give the scoop more of a fixing down on the bonnet. then drilled a hole with a tank cutter in the back of the scoop, this I bonded in a perspex window in the hole.......This is a "Just in case situation" Sometimes Carborators can spit back and catch fire, the driver is the last to know if this happends and often is seen still cranking the engine over till a crew man puts the fire out. So, the next step was to cut out the bonnet the same size hole as the top of the carborator, then by lining up the scoop in the centre of the hole, drill the bonnet and put in the fixings to hold it all on, then using body filler I sealed all the gaps around the bottom of the scoop & rubbed it all down.
 

 

6th May. Air Scoop fitted also fiited a little window in the rear just in case the carb spits back and catches fire ! Getting the body ready for Mark to spray the body.

​9th/10th May. Having dropped the chassis to the floor, then getting all my vehicles out we lifted the fiberglass body onto the chassis, The reason for this is to measure up for making the exhaust headers. But looking how far they will have to stick out the sides to miss the body, they looked a bit ridiculass !

I had Roy Wilding come down to give me some advice on this, plus also having problems with the steering drag link which is in line with the exhaust headers, so I might have to under sling the steering rod as well ? Roy suggested about having the headers coming through the bonnet ? It seams the most logical thing to do here, Roy will make up the Stainless steel headers for me when I've cut out the bonnet and made up some dummy ones out of plastic sink drain pipe and 90 deg bends, this was a very fiddly job to do, which took all day to get right, I must admit it looks like a Nostalga Hot Rod now ! Plus it's cured the steering problem now. Then having run the dummy pipes over to Roy's to start making the real things up.
 
 

 

1​1th May. Started making up the Fire Wall.....This is to seperate the driver from the engine, if there is a fire, the driver is protected. First of all I made a template out of old plywood, the hardest part of it was getting the correct shape to go around the transmission bell housing and around the steering drag link, so, once the template is made, then it was time to cut the 3mm new alloy sheet I had bought to do this job. After poping over the road with it to get the sides folded on their machine with the intension of bonding this bulkhead into the inside of the body.....It fitted like a glove first time, again this took all day to get right

12th May.  Having Pop riveted the firewall to the metal bracing inside the body we got all my vehicles outside again so we could carry the body outside to turn it upside down on some carpet being carfull not to damage the body surface which is a better way to be able to bond the alloy sheet to the fiberglass body on the folded joints useing a Fiberglass kit to do this job, the tip here is to get everything ready first, mainly to get all your fiberglass matting cut into strips the right shape first then mix up the resin with the hardner and mix well....then using a small brush dabbing plenty of resin on the matting.....I put two layers of matting on the body. 

Steve Bonding the Alloy Fire Wall into the inside of the Topolino Fiberglass body.

​13th May.  Having finished my part on the body (For a while ) I then jacked up the chassis back onto it's 3ft high tressle stands (at bench hight) to make it easier to work on. I fitted a new Brake Master Cylinder, new flexi rubber pipes on the front & rear brake calipers, I started laying the new copper brake pipes inside the bottom left hand tube of the chassis, but first I ran a garden hose down the chassis tube then the new brake pipe inside that, this is to stop any possible rubbing through due to viabration from the car and possibly loosing the brakes at anytime ! Having put holes firstly by the Master Cylinder and front Axle to let the copper tubing out, the other idea in doing it this way is safety.....If the worst happed, and a conrod should blow out of the side of the engine, if the brake lines are running down the inside of the chassis (passed the engine sump) it could possibly cut through a brake line and the car has NO BRAKES !!!! So, by putting the brake tubes inside the chassis, should be a lot safer. I also fitted the brake pedal and a new alloy foot pad as well.

14th May. After Borrowing a brake flaring tool I started maing up the new brake pipe and fittings, the dificult one was working around the tight master cylinder next to the gearbox, then worked on the front axle with the brake feed pipe coming out the front of the bottom chassis tubing the feed went into a "T" Then piped across the front of the chassis to connect up with the two front flexi pipes. See photo above.

15TH May. I took the Topolino body to Bidford-On-Avon Vintage show, It was a good talking point. Body is loaded up ready to take to the paintshop on Monday.

​16th May. After cleaning the body down after taking it to Bidford, Needed to do a bit more fiberglass filling and rubbing down, I then took it around on the back of the truck to MAS AUTOCENTRE to be sprayed inside and out. As I leave the body with Mark to paint I went back to the chassis and started making up the rear axle brake pipes with Hank's new brake flaring tool, all i need to do now is to give it a good bleed through to get all the air out the pipes and to get a good brake pedal.

​17th/18th/19th/20th May. Mark primered the Topolino on Tuesday which showed up a lot of pin holes in the fiberglass body, so, after some filling with fine past I  rubbed down of the body until it was all smooth, then washed it all down and let it dry in the sun. Then it was back on the chassis to start bleeding the brakes.......I did get a pedal eventually. On Wednesday I found that I could not get the dip stick tube into the Auto G/Box, so, some modifications needed to be done, I also finished off the fuel line from the fuel tank to the carb, then started working out how to rig up a throttle cable to work the carb, this is prooving to be more dificult than i thought ! I'm still working on this one, i think i'm on Mk 3 design now !!!

Thursday, I sorted out the drivers seat, sticking foam in the base of the seat and upholstering with a blue vinal to finish off, during Friday I fitted in the seat and fixed it to the chassis, then fitted the new 6 point seat belt harness.
 

 

24th May. Body now sprayed with Two-Pack base coat.

2​2nd May. I started the week by sorting the throttle pedal out, using brakets off the pedal I rigged up the throttle cable from the pedal to the carb making sure it has a good return spring as well. Tuesday I started running the wires down the inside tube of the chassis, then fitting the battery in the rear, behind the drivers seat connecting the Starter possitive cable up to the Starter Motor via a cut off switch on the rear of the chassis first, by the end of the day the starter motor turned the engine over which was nice to see.  Wednesday, I started masking the body up for Mark to spray the flames on, the lining and masking took me around 8 hours to do.

​26TH MAY.  After rubbing the paintwork down with light grit paper Mark started spraying the Flames on the body, Starting with the White up front, bleeding into the Yellow then finishing with Red tips on the end of the flames to give it the HOT LOOK. This took some covering over the black paint with around three coats going on remembering to bleed it in on the right place each time. Letting the paint dry we carfully peeled the masking tape off being very carefull not to peel the edge of the flames off. Some paint had found it's way onto the black in places, but very carefull Mark rubbed down the offending parts, Then it had two coats of clear anti scratch laquer which took all night to dry. The Next Morning (Friday 27th) we lifted the body outside for a closer look......I all looks great, better than i ever Imagined it would turn out considering none of us had EVER put flames on a car before. (It's suprising what you can learn off YOUTUBE !)

27TH MAY. Body now sprayed compleate with FLAMES !

The Scoop looks good as well with it's Flames on.

31st May. After talking to the Scrutineer at Shakespeare Raceway yesterday I decided to re- modify the Prop-Shaft protector and to fully enclose it for safety.

I made this out of a CO2 Bottle wich is a good 1/4" thick......Cut it up and welded two good angle brakets eathier side then bolt it down onto the 1/4" plate cross member this took me 2 days to make up and paint, then fitted the seat back in along with the seat harness. 

During 3rd June I made up an alloy shield over the gearbox, this is to protect the driver should the gearbox let go and to stop hot oil getting on the driver when the car is at speed........Hopefully this won't happen !

Photo Below.

​6th June to 10th.  With the engine running I was having a problem with NOT getting the engine to tick over, only at 1500 rpm, without it dyiing ! ?

After buying a rebuild gasket set off Stateside Autoparts, I stripped down the 600 CFM Holley Carborator to give it a good clean, with that done the carb was put back on the engine, the tick over is a lot better now. So, now having got the rev's down on the engine it was time to put the car in gear for the first time.....Nothing !!!!

I had no drive to the rear wheels at all ???? I had plenty of oil in the gearbox ? Then it dawned on me, The convertor was NOT engaged into the oil pump in the gearbox ! Because I'm running a 1/4" thick motor plate between the engine and the g/box it creates more clearance between the flywheel flex plate and the convertor, No problem here, I just push the convertor back into locate the dog tooth of the pump and make 3 spacers with some longer bolts between the flex plate and convertor. Fired the engine again and we now have drive to the wheels plus reverse, I had to do some fine tuning on the gear selector.
So after puting more oil in the gearbox which holds 2- gallon I put the car into drive with the engine running and put my foot on the brake pedal......the engine stalled ! ? I then tried adusting the carb setting again to stop this stalling but NO ? it still stalled ????
In the meantime I fitted the new rev counter and oil pressure gauge to the steering colume so I could see what the engine speed was on tick over, I set it at 1,000rpm but again putting the car in gear, the reves pulled down to 800 whilst driving the wheels around but as soon as I put the rear brakes on it stalled the engine again !!!! I'm not sure what's happing here ? I can't understand why the engine is stalling? Speaking to Roy Wilding, he's told me that a street standarded convertor won't work in a light litle car, that convertor is designed to power a 2 ton car, the stall speed is too low for my application......So it looks like I might have to buy  a new converor....I will have look into this a bit deeper !
 
 
 
 
 

 

10th June. Roy Wilding made the stainless steel headers for me, I made up the engine breathers and plumbed them into the top rail of the chassis which is vented out the back, engine sounds good with 60 lbs of oil pressure but I'm having problems with the engine ticking over whilst the car is in gear with your foot on the brake pedal ?

1​1th June. Knowing I would be getting a problem, I ordered a new Toque Convertor from "Real Steel" down in Middlesex, this was Monday Morning, by Tuesday the Convertor had arrived. I bought  B & M Convertor that stalls at 2,300 rpm, hopefully this will be a lot better and suited to the race car. So, I started removing the Auto gearbox, it felt a sin to do all this as I thought I finished all this work once ! But never mind eh ! With the gearbox removed I checked over the new convertor, the bolts were different, they were a metric thread, so I poped down to Dagar tools to by some new bolts, plus having filled the convertor withe fluid I slid it on the gearbox shaft and it did a double clunk as expected, I then made a flat bar to go across the front of the gearbox bell housing to stop the convertor sliding forward when lifting the gearbox back in place on the back of the engine, By the end of the day I had the car engine fired up and running through the gears, plus NOW I can apply the rear brakes to stop the wheels from turning and the engine does not stall, which is good, I just need to do some carborator tuning now.

​June 14th/15th I started making up the Alloy chassis side plates out of 2mm thick aluminum, This is to protect the driver from anything wanting to come inside the cockpit area.  having first got some carboard templates made first I set about cutting the alloy with tin snip cutters to get the exact shape, then took the panals over the road to AKL to have some swage lines put in to stiffen the pnals up, having got them back the next day I set about drilling the plates on the chassis and tapping the holes out for the 6mm screws to go in, I put 20 of these in today, it's looking nice and shiny now both sides whith it's panaling from the back down to the front axle.

16th June. Got the painted body back on the chassis now......looking good so far.

​16th June Having cleaned up and fitted the wheels on I lowered the chassis down to the floor and go all my vehicles out, we then put the body on the chassis, this is the first time the body has been on the chassis since I had the headers welded up, they must have pulled  a bit when welded up as they are now catching the edge of the slots in the body work, I could not bend the header pipes so I had to widen the gap in the fiberglass body more. After that I got on with fitting the Parachute assembly, having drilled the body with 5 holes to bolt the chute pack on the centre of the spare wheel housing then attaching the main anchor point bolt to the rear axle first then seperating all the shrouds on the chute and packing it in the pack carfully, then made up the cable assembly so that the driver can operate it.

Later, Shack's came in to do the Sign wrighting on the body, I decieded that I wanted all the lettering in CHROME FINISH So that ment having stickers made, Here Shack's is sticking them on in place (Above). 

22nd June. The car is named "SNEAKY BLINDER" I kept the word "Sneaky" from it's previous life when the chassis was called "Sneaky Gloworm" "Sneaky T" & "Sneaky Spider" It's now called "Sneaky Blinder" to carry the history of the chassis on. Sneaky Blinder is a play on words (Peaky Blinders) which is all local to me. My new race Number is WB 50. W.B Stands for Wild Bunch, it's a class that ALL old Nostalgia race cars go into.

Parachute now fitted plus new wheels and new slicks.

23rd June. I bought this caravan chassis off Paddy Grice, the race car only weigh's around half a ton so a light weight trailer is only needed for this car, I had to put on a new tyre and check the brakes and bearings which just needed cleaning up, a new mud gaurd was fitted plus a winch frame was welded on the A bar and a winch bolted on, two legs and a new jocky wheel was fitted as well, to finish it off I bought a new lighting board to go on the back, I still need to replace the old plywood boarding that is on the trailer with alloy checkerd plate later on at some stage. I then tried the car on the trailer with fitted nicely, welded on some fixing hooks on each corner to be able to strap the car dow, this all went very well

25th June.  8am, Finally on our way to Shakespeare County Raceway, Stratford on Avon. The 1953 Chevy Truck pulled the race car with no problems.

25th June. in the pit's at Shaky Raceway, the race car under it's new Gazebo sheltering from the rain !

​25th/26th June. Sneaky Blinder's first race meeting.......It's called the Nostalgia Nationals @ Shakespeare Country Raceway with around 100 other cars booked into the pits space was at a premium. Mick Cheley crewed for me (Which made a nice change !) After getting unloaded off the trailer the Scrutener came around to look over the race car to see if it was all safe to race ? It passed first time with no issues. So with that, we set about doing some final checks to the car, but one of the problems I was still getting was the engine was still stalling below 1500 rpm ? I can set the rev's at 1500 rpm but it's a bit to fast for the convertor as it's starting to lock up then to drive the rear wheels, so when the brake is applied the engine just stalls ! I had done a lot of work on the carb cleaning it all out, but found nothing wrong with it ? I'm wondering if we might have a full race camshaft in the engine that I did not know about, anyhow we decided to join the very long queue in the fire up road which took us around 3 1/2 hours to get to the end !!!! having 2 rain showers whislt we were waiting, by the time we had reached my turn the heaven's opened up and soaked everywhere.......All i wanted to do was run the car up the track steadly just to see if the gearbox worked and the car went in a straight line and stopped ! I did fire the car up for the first time on all 4 wheels, warmed it up a bit then put it into D, The car lurched forward Vilantly !!! I Thought to myself " This car is not drivable ?" I must sort something out with this tick over tomorrow or not run the car anymore ???

​Sunday 26th June. Having drove back home last night and doing some phone calls we got to the track at 9am, James Ford (The chap I bought the Altered off) ha a spare 600 cfm Holley Carborator in his workshop which he bought with him to try on my engine this morning, after a few modifications we fitted this S/H carb on , Then I fired up the engine, to my supprise I got the engine tick over down to 800 rpm without it cutting out ! WOW I was pleased with this outcome, so with this engine now behaving it's self I could possibly stage the car now and get a time whilst still tring it out on a stedy run down the track. So after joining a 2 hour long queue.

 
 
 

 

​After a long wait in the fire up road I got strapped in and then it was my turn, I was just doing an observered run on my own on this one.

Starting the engine okay I warmed it up a bit before dropping it into gear with my foot on the brake pedal, it did not stall !
I then drove the car around to the left lane where I did my last run in that lane over 34 years ago !
Crept the car forward into pre-stage then 4" forward, into stage, the tree ran down to the green and it was GO !
I only gave it about half throttle and just drove it off the start line.......the gearbox went into 2nd gear on it's own.....then 3rd gear, It's going in a straght line.............
1/4 mile later I crossed the finish line in 22 seconds @ 68 MPH.....Applied the brakes to slow it down a bit to make the right hand turn off by the Fire Engine and Amblance, pulled up to the one side and switched off the engine. Mick came up with the Chevy tow truck. Took some photos whilst we were up there. Then towed the car back to the pit bay to check over.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

26th June. My first run down the track netted a very steady 22 second run @ 68 mph.

​After checking the race car over in the pit bay, I looked at my watch and thought we could get another run in before it might rain (As they forcast) We joined the back of the queue again which was a lot shorter by now, within half hour I was getting strapped back in the car ready for my 2nd run down the track, As I left the start line the steering did not feel right ? the car wondered to the centre of the track, luckly I had not gave it a boot full.....I stopped the car in the middle of the track and switched off the engine, the rescue crew came to tow me off out of harms way......After upon closer examination I found a fault in the steering linkage, so we loaded up in the rain and towed everthing back home.

​4th July. After unloading the race car and getting it up the back of the workshop, I jacked up the car and put it on the tall stands, then went over the whole car checking things over, The problem with the steering was the drop arm from the steering box which was at fault. Stripping all the steering box down I took the whole lot over to Roy Wildings workshop for him to make up a new stronger drop arm . The next day I started work on the trailer, after buying some new alloy checker plate I stripped off the old rotten plywood off the base of the trailer, then painting the framework and welding in some new angle iron to support the inside of the runners, cutting up the alloy to suit I drilled and pop riveted the checker plate down, then I made up two ramps to fit on the back of the trailer, then finished painting the rest of the trailer.

​10th July.  Started doing work to the body of the race car, First of all I made up a stick on grill which did not come out as well as I would have liked but will do for now. Then cut some alloy out of my large sheet and made up some surrounds to go around the exhaust headers to stop the body from burning, fixed them down with alloy domed rivets and polished up. Aloso , needed to make up something to put on top of the headers to stop anything being dropped down the pipes whilst not in use, I bougth 8 chrome tow ball caps and some new chain to keep them all together.....they look nice on there.  After checking all the nut's and bolts around the chassis/engine/axle area's I loaded up the race car onto the trailer.

​20th July. After finishing off the trailer I started to load the car up, making a few modifications to make it fit better on the trailer, strapping it all down with ratchet straps to make it all secure and sorting out the tailer board lights. soon after that I loaded up the Chevy truck with tools, jacks plus other stuff I will need.

23rd July. Running the car at Shakespeare Country Raceway.

​23rd July. I took the race car to Shakespeare County Raceway just for one day. After getting and passing the car through Scruteenering again I signed on for the day. After warming the engine up a bit on the axle stands, we towed Sneaky Blinder down to the Start Line area. I went into the left lane again, all I wanted to do was to do another check out run to see if the steering (since the repairs) was behaving itself, I went up the track in 18 sec's @ 71 mph.

After checking the car over and cooling the engine off (Running with no water) The weather was nice and dry for a change and 24 deg c heat we towed the car down for another run.
A jet car ran just in front of me in that left lane, I don't allway trust those jet cars not to leave any ressidue of kerocine down the track, So I went in the right lane (for a change) I hit the throttle on the green light, felt the tyres break traction I back peddled it a bit then nailed in again, then at half track I felt the back of the car going up and down (No Suspention fitted) thinking I had a problem I was coming off the throttle did 17 sec's @ 61 mph.
After getting the car back to the pit bay, I jacked it up to check around the rear axle and rear wheels etc.....I found no problem ?
Then a driver of a dragster came up to me asking how I was getting on.....he said "there's a Bump in that right lane, about 1/8th of a mile up the track" So, it's the track, not the car then !
So with that, we took the car for another run, I went into the right lane again, I did a short burn out, just to clean the tyres off a bit, staged the car and green light and GO.....I hit the throttle flat out this time, I felt the rear tyres start to slip off the st/line, so I back pedaled a bit, then nailed it down again, then I hit the bump.....I fethererd the throttle again for a seccond then nailed it down again crossing the finish line at full throttle with the engine poping and banging !.......I knew it felt faster as the car took longer to stop, I ran
14.2  @ 90 mph.......... I'm getting a bit more confident with the car now, the car seam's to be getting more reliable now apart from tuning the engine up.