Steady progress has been made on our Plymouth Barracuda race car. The body preparation is nearly complete. However, it is time for the dry build. We want to ensure that everything fits before we paint the body. We installed an engine and 4-speed gearbox with new polyurethane mounts. Additionally, we’ve fitted the rear axle and leaf springs. We converted the car from an automatic transmission so we had to ensure that the new clutch linkages lined up and functioned correctly. As well as the clutch mechanism we also had to install the shifter and linkages. The exhaust headers came from Doug’s Headers in the USA. Space is critical as the left header has to clear the steering box and the clutch mechanism.
We’ve welded supports for the seats to the floor and made a cutout in the scuttle for emergency pull cables. Lastly, we’ve fitted the 6-point roll cage. We are adding a harness bar and double door bars for additional safety. You cannot be too safe in a car of this size. Next, we will strip it back down and prepare it for paint.
This Austin Healey 3000 has reached the next point of its restoration. The installation of the engine and gearbox. The chassis on the Austin Healey 3000 will flex under the weight of the engine and gearbox. Because of the flex, you have to install the engine and gearbox before you fit and adjust the outer body panels. Otherwise you will have serious problems.
The original 3 litre engine was rebuilt with a few modifications. First of all the flywheel was lightened and the rotating assembly balanced. Next, we raised the compression ratio to 10:1. We swapped the camshaft for a higher performance alternative and fully ported & gas flowed the cylinder head. Additionally, we fitted stainless steel racing valves and uprated valve springs. Lastly, we have a free flowing tubular exhaust manifold and triple SU carburettors. All of the machining work was carried out at Southern Rebore Services.
Next, this Austin Healey 3000 restoration will move into the bodyshop.
We were asked to carry out a 1967 Mustang power steering conversion. I researched the available products and decided upon the Borgeson power steering conversion kit. Borgeson manufacture a wide range of compact power steering boxes for American vehicles.
The 1967 Mustang was a transition year from the smaller 1″ sector shaft in the steering box to the larger 1-1/8″. The simple method to determine which size you have is the measure the nut that secures the pitman arm to the steering box. If you have the smaller shaft the nut will measure 1-1/8″. And, if you have the larger shaft, the nut will measure 1-5/16″. This car had the larger type so we requested the appropriate kit.
Firstly, we had to remove the left hand exhaust header. This gave us the room remove the existing steering box and fit the new one. Next, we had to disconnect the pitman arm and the steering column. The inner steering column is one-piece, so the only way to get it out is to open up the steering box and remove it along with the worm gear. Once this is apart the steering box and column can both be removed. The new steering box from Borgeson bolts straight in. The new box uses a rag joint and a shorter inner column. To allow for this, the outer steering column has to be cut down shorter. The original pitman arm fits perfectly on the new box so none of your steering geometry has to change.
Next, we bolt the pump to the front of the left hand cylinder head with the supplied fittings. Before fitting the power steering hoses we refitted the header. We found the a 10mm x 1075mm V-belt was the perfect length. Finally, we fill the pump with fluid and go for a test drive. We found the Borgeson kit to be well designed and relatively simple to fit. In addition, the performance from the 67 Mustang power steering conversion was fantastic.
This week we had a gorgeous Series 1 Jaguar E-type in for a front suspension rebuild and service. Although this car is recently restored we found that many of the rubber components were already perishing. Unfortunately we find this to be a problem with all classics. The quality of new rubber components is often terrible. We often see bushes and gaiters crumbling away when they are barely a year old.
When available, we will fit better quality rubber components. In the case of Jaguar E-types, SNG Barratt make a superior ball joint gaiter. It’s about £5 more than the cheaper version but well worth it. In addition to the bushes and gaiters we also fitted an lower engine seal upgrade kit and changed the oil. After this E-type front suspension rebuild, we’re hoping the new components will last a little longer.
This week we were asked to add a bespoke dash rail for a Mini Cooper S roll cage modification. The car is an Appendix K FIA historic race car with an existing weld-in roll cage. However, the existing roll cage did not feature a dash rail and the owner wanted the additional safety.
We keep a range of roll cage tubing in stock but if we don’t have it we can usually get it next day. We cut a piece of tube to length and bent it on our Baileigh Industrial mandrel tube bender. Next, the ends of the tube are carefully notched for a tight fit. Finally, the new tube is welded into place.
If you have any bespoke roll cage requirements, even a simple roll cage modification like this, don’t hesitate to get in touch.