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Monday, November 26, 2018

I Dropped a Door - Roundtail Restoration

This is a rather lengthy post. Sometimes, the evening just doesn't go as planned...

There were two major focuses for me on my last visit: Getting the boot lid emblems taken care of and getting the driver's side door "done". As a tertiary objective, I wanted to get the front valance cleaned up and ready for build primer as well.

If you remember from my last post, I had left the door in unsanded build primer after fixing the cracks that came back on the door. Now that the epoxy over those repairs was dry, I blocked the door back out and found a few more low spots that I took care of with a bit more polyester filler.

Last two spots filled.

I set the door aside to cure and moved on to the boot lid. I've been looking forward to doing this for a while. For whatever reason, I have a thing for the old-school car emblems. Individual Triumph lettering, the badge, the cursive writing on the boot lid; it's all great stuff. Even other cars of the era - I just think it's cool. Since Dorothy didn't come with the Spitfire4 or Mk2 emblems on the boot lid (only the Triumph letters) due to cancer damage, it was time to fix her up.

Best shot of the boot lid that I have as I bought Dorothy.

What needs to be back there.

The boot lid that I have is from the black car. The black car is a Mk1 Spitfire. Mk1 is kind of a misnomer, because there really wasn't any such thing. Triumph probably didn't know at the time they first came out with the Spitfire that it would be successful and go through several iterations. Therefore, while there was a second generation, the Mk2 there really wasn't a first generation (Mk1) and it was just a Spitfire4 (the "4" was dropped starting with the Mk3 cars). However, it is common, especially since the cars are nearly identical visually, for people to refer to the first generation cars as Mk1.

All that being said, to me that meant that there were no holes to mount a Mk2 emblem. I needed to correct that. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any precise pictures of a Mk2 boot lid, with hole measurements (found a Mk3 one, but it's different). Instead, I found a few good closeup pics of a Mk2 boot lid and made some comparison measurements. If you want that nitty-gritty, go to the video starting around here.

Another challenge was that my new Spitfire4 emblem only fit in two of the three existing holes. I mention in the video that I think the emblem is made wrong, but I'm not so sure. I think maybe the Mk1 boot lids were "holed" a bit different since there wasn't another badge to fit under the Spitfire4. In any case, I had to drill a new hole for the third spot and decided to drill a new left-most hole, vice right, to match the angle of the emblem according to the picture I had.

About what it should look like.

I used a cardboard template, made some measurements, and got the holes for the Mk2 emblem drilled. Again, I'd refer you to the video if you want more details.

Holes drilled. You can see the extra one on the left (the bottom one is original).

Oooo, ahhhh. Love it! Just wish it was red under there.

I filled the extra hole with a bit of fiberglass filler. I thought about filling it with weld metal, but figured that at worst I could warp the panel and at best, still have some heat damaged paint and a low spot from grinding. I think the fiberglass was a better choice. I wedged in a piece of carboard behind the hole to prevent the filler from just pushing through and got it filled.

First coat filled. It took two to get it completely filled with extra to sand down.

While waiting for that to cure, I blocked out the polyester filler on the door and got it ready for epoxy (along with the front valance). I then jumped back to the boot lid, got the fiberglass filler sanded smooth and got the boot lid in another coat of build primer.

Boot lid ready for build primer.

And done, ready for blocking.

While I let the build primer on the boot lid dry, I switched over to getting the door and front valance in another coat of epoxy. Unfortunately, this is where I made a big mistake. I've made several in my restoration (bad welds notwithstanding), but I think this may be the first where I caused some real damage. Because the front valance is so long, I decided to hang it horizontally from my wooden rack that I built so I could more easily get to all of it. Since I couldn't fit them both on the rack, I decided to hang the door from the ceiling.

I know the paint gun moves a lot of air and pieces move around on my all the time. Even with the front valance mounted horizontally, it moved around, but I got it done. When I moved to the door, it began to slowly spin with the force of the air. Before I put my hand up to stop it, the clothes hanger that I was hanging it by rolled out of the cup hook. It, along with the door, fell about two feet to the concrete floor, neatly folding the rear edge over.

Top view looking down.

Long view.

To say I was upset is an understatement. I didn't know what to do for a few minutes and just kind of stood there, stunned. Fortunately, I didn't crack or tear any of the metal in that area but I did shock the window channel cracks back into existence (I welded them up with more heat this time so hopefully they're fixed now. The other side will probably come back to haunt me, though).

Fortunately, I was able to take a hammer and dolly to the dent and pretty much bang it back out. I had to pay some more attention to the area around the door handle since I removed some filler around there getting back it all checked out.

Face of the door following repairs.

Back side of the door showing the hammer marks that I cleaned up.

With the gross repairs done, I got the door scuffed back up and got it shot again with epoxy primer. Let's not do that again, okay?

Back in epoxy - again.

Closeup around door handle showing filler that was removed.

Following that, I blocked the boot lid back out, starting at 220-grit and moving to 320-grit. Happy with it, I called it done!

Time to put it away pending final prep.

And that, traumatically, was about it. Until next time...cheers!

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