When we acquired E-type #824, the body shell had already undergone a restoration and was supplied to NFCC in a dark green paint. It was a kept feature for us that #824 had managed to retain its original body shell and had only had its floors replaced during its first restoration.
With the decision already made to restore #824 back to its factory specification, the first step to restoring its body shell was to blast the shell, removing all the dark green paint to expose the raw body in bare metal. We were pleasantly surprised to find the original shell in good shape. After assessing the shell for original features and general condition, we were able to determine areas that required repair and others needing replacement for structural rigidity.
The next step was to fit the shell to our specialised jig to assess the chassis for straightness, standard practice for all our restorations. We soon discovered that chassis #824 was twisted.
The replacement floors which had been previously fitted has caused the chassis to twist so we made the decision to remove and replace the floors whilst the shell was set up on our jig.
Once the chassis had been realigned, we were able to proceed with repairs to any areas requiring attention.
The aim of this restoration was to ensure we saved as much of the original metal as possible. We estimate that we have saved and reused 80% of the original car.
Restoring the body has taken 300 man hours. This stage of the restoration is a labour intensive task and an area that must not be rushed to avoid any errors. Any errors made at this stage can present larger issues later in the rebuild stage.
This image show's how the early door tops are constructed of 2 pieces. Here we can see the seam running the length of the door on the inner face. To our knowledge, the production change per chassis number is not listed, however it is a known feature of the early door construction for roadsters.
The above image shows the type of rain gutter seen in earlier cars that run along the forward face of the door.
Although the exact production date or chassis number is not known, soon after production of the Series 1 E-type commenced, the boot seal aperture of a roadster featured two holes, one on either side. Previous to this, very early E-type's featured just one hole in the centre. We were extremely excited to learn that #824 had been fitted with the excess stock panels, featuring the centre drain hole impression in the boot aperture.
The body shell is mounted onto our purpose made E-type Series 1 jig to align the frame mounts to the bulkhead.
The rear mount points for the jig.
Here the chassis should be touching the steel rail. Instead, the chassis is twisted out by 20mm!
The holes for the rear axle cage should be aligned to our jig but as you can see, there is no chance of getting the rear axle cage to line up here!
The bulkhead should be touching our jig pick up point. Again, more evidence that the twist is 20mm out of line.
And some more evidence...
The new floor is bolted to our jig to ensure the body aligns correctly.
The original bulkhead is then bolted to the front section of the jig and spot welded to the new floor pan.
The original rear section is prepared ready to attach to the new floor pan.
We spot welded new original style sill straightener's into place.
We also made the decision to add full length straightener's which is standard practice for all our restorations. They help to improve the chassis' rigidity.
The sills are now closed up with a new outer sill panel.
We have patched repaired the rear quarter panel to preserve the majority of the original metal. We would usually replace the complete panel, however for this restoration it was important to preserve originality.
As with all our restorations, we pre-fit all the chrome work to ensure a good fit prior to sending away for re-chroming.
We also fit all lights that mount to the body to check clearances prior to painting.
#824 has been inspected by our Body & Paint Team Leader for accuracy and compliance, and is now ready to make the transition through to our paint department. Stay tuned for the next edition where we take a look at the painting of #824!
To read more from the 100 Point E-type, select the edition from the list below: -