A labour of love

Full rear wing fitting

Full rear wing fitting

After weeks of preparation, fitting, re-fitting and adjustments I’m happy to have finally got the offside rear wing fully welded up at last. It’s such a large panel, which joins onto no less than 6 other panels – all of which I’ve also replaced – so it’s been a real mission to get it all lined up correctly and looking spot on.

Here it is in place for a final test fitting with all the other external panels in position, a last chance to check how it looks before committing to the welding!

When finally happy with the fit I moved onto preparing the interior surfaces to hopefully prevent them from rusting away again any time soon. I’d heard really good things about Jotun paints, which are designed for marine usage, but seem to be quite widely used in classic restorations – hey, if they can stop boats rusting in salt water for years, they should easily stop a bit of rust on car bodywork, right?

I started by applying 2 coats of Jotomastic 87 epoxy mastic as a primer to the inside of the wing panel and to all the internal surfaces that it will be concealing. It went on nicely using a brush to get into all the corners, and then finishing off with a roller to create a smooth finish. It’s a 2-pack paint which goes on pretty thick and certainly creates the inpression that it will last a long time and keep the corrosion at bay.

For the top coat I chose Jotun Hardtop Flexi, a 2-pack polyurethane paint with a durable gloss finish. It’s available in a huge array of colours, so I tried (but completely failed) to colour match it to my intended Bracken paint scheme. I selected the BSC381C colour “Apricot”, which looked close, but out of the can it’s actually a much brighter yellow/orange colour than the slightly more brown hints of Bracken – probably closer to the earlier Bronze Yellow in terms of factory Leyland colours. I really like this colour though, possibly enough to change my decision about taking the car back to its factory shade – will have to think about this a bit more. I’ll try to get a sample of actual Bronze Yellow and see if it does match that, but if not I may just go for Apricot all over anyway – I’m already a long way from factory originality with a lot of things, so won’t lose too much sleep over it.

Apricot, definitely not Bracken

With that all painted all that was left was the mammoth task of welding it all together. After carefully fitting and clamping it all up one last time I started with the lip of the wheel arch.

This was a miserable job. I had planned to use automotive panel glue to bond the wheel arch, to avoid having to plug weld the edge and potentially make a mess that would have to be dressed later. Unfortunately the alignment of a couple of the edges was not quite exact, so I had to resort to welding after all just to pull it all in properly and get a close fit around the arch. This was really annoying after having spent so much time at every stage trying to make sure everything was in the right position, I think potentially the new outer arch panel had somehow ended up a couple of millimetres out of place, which had a knock on effect when trying to match it up to the arch on the wing panel. It wasn’t a disaster, certainly not bad enough to consider taking the arch off again after the ordeal I had fitting it the first time, but it’s frustrating when things don’t fit. And I’ve got some plug welds in the lip of the arch to deal with now. Oh well.

The rest of it was all pretty simple, just time consuming since there are so many edges to weld, and I appear to have failed to take any pictures along the way. Here it is all in place though, a massive relief.

Just need to do all of that again on the other side now – it doesn’t look half as bad so hopefully will only take half as long!

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