Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

Post pictures and stories about your cars both present and past. Also post up "blogs" on your restoration projects - the more pictures the better! Note: blog-type threads often get few replies, but are often read by many members, and provide interest and motivation to other enthusiasts so don't be disappointed if you don't get many replies.
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JPB
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#361 Post by JPB » Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:57 am

I've applied poly enamels to GRP bodied cars with a roller and as long as you use a foam gloss roller, not the ones with the fluffy finish as used for emulsion, then it does get plenty of paint on in a short time. However you can expect a dry finish that will take much longer than cellulose to flat to a standard where regular wax can usefully be applied but it's definitely worth a go! Just make sure that the air temperature is as high as you can get it during application, this makes a massive difference in how smooth the finish is from the roller. Expect to use about half a dozen roller refills for even a tiny car like the AC.
All of that said; progress is now becoming much easier to see and you're pretty much there, all the more so when you look back at the state the poor thing was in when the job began.

:thumbs:
John, If it's old & badly broken, chances are I've owned it. :|

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Zelandeth
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#362 Post by Zelandeth » Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:12 pm

Unless I'm hallucinating, it looks like we might actually be making progress now.

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Ten points to everyone who suggested that a 1mm nozzle was smaller than ideal for this paint and application. 1.5mm is working far better. It feels like far more of the paint is now actually ending up on the panel now than just floating around in the garage. I had about 250ml left of the original litre...and it felt like it went way further than two refills of the original spray gun would have. There's probably room to open it up a bit more yet to be fair too. 

Will get an additional two litres picked up tomorrow, get the last few bits of car masked up, then have another bash at it. It's behaving far closer to what I was expecting with this spray gun though, and is giving a finish which it's actually worth flatting back for the next coat, rather than a finish that is rougher than the abrasive I'd plan to flat it with. 

Time will tell if it's a false start...but this feels like progress.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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Zelandeth
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#363 Post by Zelandeth » Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:47 am

Today was very much a game of two halves. Also can be read as "discovering the pitfalls you need to watch for when painting."

Given I was going into this with precisely zero experience, not unexpected that days like this would happen.

Picked up the additional paint, got the gun ready, loaded up with an actually carefully measured 5:1 mix and did a quick test panel. All looked good. Regulator settings still seem well off the mark, but the spray looks good so I'm going with the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" approach there. Let's not make myself work. 

Things were actually going well up until about the 80% mark. Though I REALLY need to tidy my garage up. Trying to move around a car covered in wet paint in there is near impossible just now.

At that point something odd happened... suddenly the volume of paint I got out of the gun increased by a factor of about ten it felt like. It was very visible when that happened from the cloud and the change in sound. 

Best guess I have (also pointed to from the visible evidence) is that I'd not done a good enough job of mixing the thinners in and I pulled in a pocket that was very thinners rich. Sadly this resulted in it looking like I'd dumped a bottle of thinners over the roof and offside door.

Am I disgruntled? Not really. It's a learning experience and I'd far rather make these mistakes on a car that's this cosmetically challenged with relatively cheap paint rather than respraying the Xantia or something like that where the final finish is far more critical.

 So I'll definitely need to give some areas another coat, but we're looking close to a point where I'm going to feel I can call it good enough for now on some areas now.

Pictures hopefully speak a thousand words...

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The target here is to get to a state which you'd not immediately think looked scruffy if you saw me driving past...and it feels like we're starting to get there.

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Here's the two shots where there's evidence of my "paint flow anomaly" which I'll need to resolve.

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Nothing a quick rub down to smooth out the resulting runs and a recoat can't sort though. Will have done a decent job of sealing the surface at least. 

I don't think I'm being too forward in saying that I think TPA is looking a heck of a lot better than she did a couple of weeks ago. Just a shame I didn't get this done before the FotU! 

I've not bothered masking the indicator surrounds up front as they're badly perished and will be replaced shortly. Likewise the lock on the engine cover - it's seized beyond all redemption so will be getting changed. 

I'll be getting a small brush out and doing a few details by hand. The edges of the door frames you can't see with the doors closed (I can't be bothered taking the doors off or masking the whole interior off!) for one, and applying some "steel wheel silver" to the engine cover hinges and the air intake grill. Wheels will be getting hammered metallic black (one is already done) as well.

Then next up will be sorting a few items on the snagging list I think. High on that list is to get the dash out to sort some wiring "repairs" I've seen which I don't like. The screw terminal strip which is carrying the full primary circuit current (including battery charge I believe - so theoretically up to 35A) which I really don't like. The ignition switch gets quite warm too, so I'd really like to get some relays fitted to take the strain off it.

...Or I've been spending too much time working on PSA vehicles with their self destructing ignition switch contacts and it's made me paranoid!

That's obviously the ideal time to get the switch for my heater blower fan wired up as the dash will be out and I'll have the soldering iron and heat shrink out.

Feels like I've made more steps forward today than in a while though. 
I continue to be very glad I bought the proper mask for this job.

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Far prefer that blue paint to be in the filters there than in me!
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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Zelandeth
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#364 Post by Zelandeth » Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:56 pm

Definitely feel I'm somewhat getting the feel of this now. Got the spray gun working nicely within a few minutes today, and it behaved perfectly throughout the whole loading of paint.

I think we're pretty much at the stage now where I'm happy to more or less to call the paintwork "good enough for now."

The aim has always been to get the car into a state where it looked like a somewhat scruffy but well loved creaky old classic car rather than something which looked like it had literally just been driven out of a scrap yard. That's a state which we're getting towards now I think.

The bodywork will be seeing professional attention at some point in the future - but it shouldn't be a barrier to the car actually being used in the real world now.

Here's a bit of before & after fun.

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No, it's not fantastic...but it's a means to an end. I want to use the car...and hopefully this should scream "there's no way this is road legal!" slightly less loudly at any passing traffic police having a bad day that might otherwise see me as a target.

The engine cover and doors might want another coat ideally as they're still a bit patchy. Realistically I'll get a better finish on the doors if I lay them flat for the last coat anyway. The rest of it I'm calling done for now - at the very most I might throw one more coat on.

Tomorrow's task will be to pull all the masking tape off and put stuff back together. The interior is still half full of blasting soda too, so an interior clean will also be on the cards. Keeping fingers very much crossed that the paint hasn't found its way in through too many gaps as I'd rather not have to go over everything with the thinners! I did throw a sheet over the seat at least though...so hopefully that will still be black.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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Zelandeth
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#365 Post by Zelandeth » Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:31 am

Today was quite gratifying in that it has seen TPA suddenly starting to look like a car again.

While the finish is still abominable up close, at a glance from a distance she almost looks respectable now!

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She desperately needs a new set of number plates as they're utterly past it. Being relatively early examples of the "modern style" acrylic plates, they've not weathered terribly well and the originally reflective backing has turned transparent with age.

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It's an odd effect I don't think I've seen happen before. Once they're changed though (keeping with the correct pre-2001 typeface of course) and I've cleaned the not inconsiderable amount of overspray from the rear tyres...

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...She should pass muster as looking like she belongs on the road rather than the scrap heap I think it's fair to say.

Once the throttle cable turns up I'll get her out and take some better photos in actual daylight.

Or I get fed up of waiting for the new cable (ordered on August 8th...) to turn up and I re-bodge the already bodged cable back on.

The National Microcar Rally is this weekend. It's 120 miles away, on roads I've never seen. The longest trip I've done in TPA so far is 17 miles on roads I know. I have not completely dismissed the possibility of my throwing caution to the wind and trying to drive her there. Especially as I believe that TWC, the car she donated many spares to the restoration of before I took ownership of her, will be there...and it's always great to get the pair back together whenever possible I think as it's just a great conversation starter and a great story. Just goes to show that sometimes no matter how slim a chance a car has of being brought back to life, there can still be hope. This pair of little blue beasties now buzzing (well, screaming is more accurate...the cooling fan sounds like a supercharger!) about the countryside is testament to that.

The photo below was taken when TWC dropped by here on the way to another event a couple of months ago.

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Another one has recently been bought by another friend, pictured below, will also hopefully become a somewhat regular visitor to the area.

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This car was actually one of a pair that were sold together, the other (I don't have a photo to hand of that one) bought by another friend should bring our numbers to turn up at a few shows when we can coordinate it next year to four...should raise a few eyebrows!

The fun thing I think is that both of that pair look to be cars which their owners actually want to drive and use rather than just lock away in a garage never to be seen again, which sadly is the fate of a lot of survivors of this type of vehicle.

The more miles we get covered the more urban myths about them we can bust hopefully.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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JPB
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#366 Post by JPB » Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:27 am

I reckon this can be counted as a massive win, given how worn the car looked at the start of your (and its) journey to this very presentable state.
Given that I'm often associated with owning vehicles that attract haters and urban myth believers, it gives me enormous satisfaction to see the AC looking so good.
OK, so there are a few areas that may look even better with the application of some surface tissue and minor rectification but unless you need to be the first person to aim for concours standard with one of these, I see nothing bad about the idea of running and enjoying TPA as it currently is, because you've saved the car and with it, an unsung yet significant piece of social history.

Keep up the good work, and here's wishing you well with the Microcar meet. There must be several dozen (several hundred, perhaps?) Bond Bugs (for example) on the road for every surviving car of this type, even if you extend the list of those still usable to include earlier AC Petites your wee blue machine is a special thing and I really do love that it's surviving thanks to the efforts of a massive petrolhead with a leaning toward the unusual end of the old car scene.

:thumbs:
John, If it's old & badly broken, chances are I've owned it. :|

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gazza82
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#367 Post by gazza82 » Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:34 am

Back when I was a small boy these were common sights .. and if I remember none were immaculate, even when relatively new. Whether that was the environment they were kept in or simply because of the fibreglass body they deteriorated quicker not sure, but most had crazing or lumps out of the "bumpers" ..


I'd be proud to achieve this ... as JPB said, you've saved it and for a lot of people they would question your sanity in doing so .. personally I think anyone embarking on restoring a 50-60 year old vehicle of any type with limited spares must have a small screw-loose .. and I include me in that as I plan to restore a 1959 A35 sooner rather than later ...

:thumbs:
"If you're driving on the edge ... you're leaving too much room!"

Retirement Project: '58 Austin A35 2-door with 1330cc Midget engine and many upgrades
Said goodbye: kept '98 Alfa Romeo 156 2.0 TSpark to 210K miles before tin worm struck

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Zelandeth
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#368 Post by Zelandeth » Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:40 am

Quick addendum:

The National Microcar Rally is actually September 5th-8th. I've no idea where I got this weekend from...

This does make TPA making an appearance *slightly* more feasible.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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Zelandeth
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#369 Post by Zelandeth » Sat Aug 24, 2019 11:18 pm

With the paint stripping, sanding, soda blasting and painting that has been going on over the last couple of months, TPA's interior was in a right royal state.

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While I'm not always that fussy about the state of the outside of a car, a grubby interior will drive me spare in no time flat.

I'm honestly embarrassed to have had to display the car at the Festival of the Unexceptional with the interior in this state, but I just didn't have time to deal with it before that event.

We've some time now though, so let's sort it out.

You think rubber floor mats, you think "easy to clean."

Um...no...the ribbed texture does a fantastic job of capturing every bit of grime and even with a brush attachment on the vacuum cleaner it takes ridiculous amounts of scrubbing to get everything out of the grooves.

I've not discounted the idea of carpeting the floor in future. Nothing showy, would just be a dark neutral coloured cord carpet, same as I'll probably line the roof and transmission cover with to cut down on noise. Now I know of several cars in our neck of the woods all of which are in better shape than mine makes me a bit less reticent to make small improvements like that. Especially keeping in mind a possible long trip next year.

Speaking of long trips - I will NOT be able to make it to the National Microcar Rally. The date clashes with a family birthday and I'm very much required at home on the Sunday as a result. Saturday isn't an option as I've a dentist appointment 75 miles in the wrong direction from here. So it would be at least 1600 in the afternoon before I could get there, even being optimistic about travel times...and I wouldn't be able to stay overnight as I'm needed as of Sunday morning here. So just not happening sadly. Definitely an event I'll keep in the calendar though for next year.

After a couple of hours scrubbing the interior was looking a little more presentable.

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Somehow it appeared that the interior surfaces of the doors had been missed when I gave the car the first quick scrub over...much better now.

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The area inside the "door pocket" is another area which might get the carpet treatment in the future - not least to reduce the tendency for me to find up with glass fibres embedded in my knuckles when putting stuff in there. Any reduction in drumming would be a coincidental bonus.

I really wish I had a wet and dry vacuum cleaner as the driver's seat could really do with the attention of one. Though given how warm it's forecast to be over the next week I'm considering just taking it out and hitting it with the pressure washer and leaving it in the sun for a few days to dry.

A couple of the cushions in the van lack removable covers too, so it would be really helpful for cleaning those. Oh, and the velour door cards, the driver's one is a bit grey at knee height.

While I had the cleaning supplies out I took the opportunity to give all the glass a good polish to help get rid of any remaining overspray (it got under the paper in a few locations).

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This windscreen wiper blade does look much more in keeping with the stylistic period of the car.

Given how much the sweat was pouring off me today (the garage is actually one of the coolest places in the house in the summer due to the lack of windows) and we've got a local forecast even worse at 32C tomorrow, I can't honestly see me getting much done. Might see about getting the silver paint out to touch in a couple of details as I can probably retreat to somewhere cool to do that. Engine cover hinges and air intake grill being the main targets there. Would like to get the bulkhead down at foot level cleaned up from where I dripped paint a while ago when I was tidying up the handlebar yoke.

Really looking forward to getting some driving done again...will be interesting to see how much psychological effect knowing the car is less scruffy at a glance will have on me...reckon it will make it feel far less stressful for me as I won't be silently having to remind myself that the car really is roadworthy, irrespective of what it may have looked like. Bit less shy of showing people the interior now it's less of a tip now.

If I don't immediately die of heatstroke when I step out the front door of the house I may see about refitting my throttle cable. I've soldered my bodged end onto it now, so am declaring it good enough to serve until my package of new cable eventually materialises... assuming it ever does. The end is very slightly frayed though, so not 100% certain it will be possible to get it back through the liner...we'll just have to see.

Enjoyed getting to do some interior valet work though, I always enjoy that sort of thing even though it's something which a lot of folk hate doing.
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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Zelandeth
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog...Lada, Citroen, Mercedes, Sinclair & AC Model 70

#370 Post by Zelandeth » Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:05 pm

Today I Managed about half an hour outside before retreating inside due to passing out becoming an increasingly real hazard.

Offside rear wheel was target number one. This had lost a lot of paint while on KPL due to a leaking brake wheel cylinder. Nearside one was painted a couple of months ago

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Painted and back on the car. Sorry, forgot to get a photo at the intermediary stage.

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Next up was the grill covering the engine cooling fan air intake. This was originally bare aluminium, and if I'd realised how easy it was to remove I'd have just taken it off before painting the engine cover...every day's a school day!

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It was a bit tarnished anyway so a quick blast of alloy wheel silver wouldn't have gone amiss anyhow. While I had the silver paint out I used a small brush to touch in the hinges on the engine cover silver too. Small details, but they all add up.

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That photo does a good job of showing how knackered the rear plate is.

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I may switch those hinges out for chromed ones at some point for no reason other than because I can...and so they would match what is on the front.

One thing I cannot seem to find for love nor money is the little metal cap for the number plate light...I know it's in the garage. Somewhere. That is the extent of my knowledge!
My website - aka. My *other* waste of time
Current fleet: 73 AC Model 70. 85 Sinclair C5. 90 Mercedes 208D AutoTrail Navajo. 93 Lada Riva 1.5i Estate. 96 Citroen Xantia Activa.

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