The 1973 Triumph Stag Rebuild
The body is in fine shape with the exception of the rear seat pan and the area around the transmission tunnel/firewall where some animal had attacked it with a lump hammer,
presumably to fit a different gearbox.. Then they cut the crossmember! The Mk1 yellow car arrived and its a sad sight. Nothing in the way of bodywork left, but I did cut out the
area around the transmission tunnel and the gearbox crossmember which will help in those repairs to the Bodywork. Sadly the rear seat pan was almost gone so that repair will be
difficult unless I can get some repair panels. The only other obvious problem is the front passenger floor/bulkhead where there is a hole. From underneath the floors otherwise look fine
but I will not know for sure until I get the sound deadner sheets off.
All chrome was removed from the car and inspected. Its all not awful but I think that once I have painted the car it will not be good enough. I priced re-chroming and its really high nowadays so I will need to be realistic, given the value of the finishied car and the fact that
I am not building a show car here. Front bumper is almost OK but overriders are dull. Rear bumper is just dull and has cracks so just not good enough. I'm really considering some S/S bumpers that area actually probably quite a bit cheaper than rechroming, maybe I can recoup
some of the cost by selling what I have on ebay. Three of the wishbone trims are all acceptable, I'll probably have to source a nice rear left though. The strips on front and back are all dull and some are damaged so reproductions will probably have to be bought. The front scuttle grill is OK
if a little spotty, but at $450 to rechrome I'll make that call later. The final pieces are the hardtop securing plates, which are awful. again I'll make a call later on weather to repro or rechrome these. The rest of the s/s trim, grille etc. is all in good shape so will be fine.
The body was away for stripping this week, very pleased with his work, and very pleased with this body. A few areas that will need work were found but as suspected this is basically a solid car.
There is some rust with holes in the lower front area of the left wing, the front valance will need attention and the rear wing to sill (rocker) has some pitting that will need to be addressed, plus the odd pinhole here and there on top of the sills, otherwise they are solid. So nothing too bad at all!.
There is some evidence of light body repair on the doors and bonnet where some minor dents were filled and 2 holes drilled for a slide hammer. On the hood there was an oilcan dent, popping in and out from a previous repair, I made my first ever attempt at heat shrinking, the result was not fantastic, some wavyness still but its no longer an oilcan, i.e.
if you push it in it springs back. The race now is to prep the bare metal and get a coat of epoxy on it to prevent rusting.
Time to start bodywork, Its been a long time so my bodywork skills will need refreshing. First was the drivers door which had a large crease in it. Leaving it alone was not an option as it would have taken 1/4-3/8 inch of filler, and thats not what I do! The door skin is almost unaccessible from the back especially at the front so I bought a Harbour Freight stud welder and I am very pleased with it so far.
I have never used one before but it was easy, and mostly got the crease out. I still needed to push the panel out some more but with no access from the rear I finally came up with the idea of blocking it to the interior panel and hitting through that, It worked well. The interior panel was not distorted much and whilst the door is not exacly smooth it has reduced the need for filler to the minimum.
I did have some oilcanning once I got it out, obviously the panel was stretched and after a bad experience with gas heat shrinking I decided to try the stud welder to shrink it, that went very well. I got the oilcan out and that is now my preferred shrinking method, not a lot can go wrong! I think that Stud Welder will see a lot more use before this is finished! I will probably come back to this again once my skills are sharpened to do some final adjusting.
No major dramas with the other door and the bootlid, It can be seen that the metal on this car is in fantastic shape.
I had a go at the lip around the transmission tunnel, was quite pleased with the result, no metal tears etc. The lowest right area is rather pushed back, the floor and tunnel in that area are crushed and it will need more work. I will have another go at this area when I can get to the underside. I managed to beat out some of the easier dings and dents and finally got the whole car covered with a coat of epoxy, I did not bother with the valances as
they will need some attention and in some areas the new paint will have to be removed as I do the body repairs but at least its protected and I can take my time. The bonnet, boot and doors are now safely in the attic. Next job will be to get the car up onto the rotissary and get the suspension off so I can attend to the underside and front and rear valances
Finally got the body up on the rotisserie, Jacked it some of the way, lifted the rear manually but I needed the engine hoist to get the front up, but all is well. It rotates amazingly well and is pretty much balanced.. until I fitted the T-Bar then I
struggled a bit. It has wheels but until I connect the two with a bar I dont want to risk moving it on them. I later connected them and it moves OK. Then attended to the tedious job of removing the sound deadening to find that the floor is not too bad at all.
I set to on the crossmember and was able to repair that with the patch from the scrapped car. I wish I had also kept the tunnel metalwork as I will need to replace some there as well.
Next was the sheet metal above the cross-member, quite a complicated piece with a few curves but with a template and a bit of patience I'm satisfied. Continued filling holes,
there were three 4"x2" areas that were showing rust holes so patched them, otherwise the floors are solid enough.. I also cut some access flaps in the floor to get to the crossmembers that were well dented by jacks over the years. More welding practice closing them up. There are so many screw holes in this car, Including 3 big holes where they mounted a 5 speed transmission. My hole filling technique is improving but it still has a way to go before I
attempt anything fully visible. As I only weld once every few years it takes a while to get up to speed again, but they are all filled now, just that hole in the front passenger floor/firewall to complete the floorpan work.
The transmission tunnel on lower left side was pretty badly distorted by the PO's beating for a 5 speed box. The seam around the Tunnel opening is pushed back quite a bit and is folded over. I removed the spot welds to seperate the tunnel from the firewall so that
each piece could be moved forward easier, once both parts are moved to the correct position I can reweld them together. I was able to move them forward to almost the correct position. Its a lot better, but not great. Looks like I will need to patch some metal in here, the area is soft with metal fatigue and will never look nice.
Time for my new Bead roller and shrinker/stretcher tools. After quite a bit of metal bending and welding I at least replaced the bad metal and resored the basic shape. The passenger floor pan was rusted through as it curves up to the firewall. As both ends were rusted I removed a fair chunk along the whole width and welded in a patch.
The new shrinker/stretcher and bead roller made this a lot easier, they are my new favorite tools!. I decided to do an overlap flange on the top, it will not be visible from the wheel well or from the inside (once the carpet is in!)