Restoration Phase IV – Body Reassembly

The start of the Elan’s decommissioning and 45 year layup began on the day the LH door fell on the ground as it was opened. I had re-installed the bobbin and repaired the damaged door early on, but door hardware was never re-installed. The door needs final adjustments, re-install of the window motor, internal lift mechanism, and door handle.

Body work will ultimately involve strip down, stress crack mitigation, and repaint. During an early repaint, I removed all lettering and badges from the exterior. As they say in the movies, we don’t need no stinking badges. I granted one exception, the iconic nose badge.

Hardware

Early-on in the disassembly, I had sent out chrome parts for refinishing. I dislike shiny bits, particularly when visible from the driver’s position. So I disassembled the doors and sent the door frames out to be black chromed in a matte finish. These are still in great condition. I re-plated the windshield wiper hardware, the taillight bezels, and the trunk latch in this black chrome finish also. They are likewise well preserved, and the rear backlight hardware looks good with the BRG ‘black-out’ backlight paint treatment.

As there was already some chrome pitting at five years on the road, I decided also to re-plate the fuel filler cap, exterior door handles, interior door handles, and trunk hinges in a satin silver chrome. The drivers door handle and the trunk hinges did not take well to this process – they must have been a lesser grade of pot metal, for some holes appeared. The door handle is good enough to use – one would have to look closely to find the defect. But the experience bothers me still, so I have given up on re-plating these pieces.

I bought a new set of trunk hinges many years ago, and have been looking for Austin 1100/1300 exterior door handles, off and on, ever since. In 2016 they appeared on Ebay, NOS parts of Wilmot Breeden manufacture, the long-time supplier of miscellaneous bits to the British automotive industry. I read they have been out of business since 1979, so possibly the emphasis is on the O in NOS.

The doors also need external mirrors. In 2016, I bought a pair of new Vitaloni Sebring Mach 1 mirrors in black plastic, with convex glass, from an Ebay seller in Germany. I chose these because I have always thought they looked far better than the Talbot flag style mirror I installed 48 years ago. I need to decide whether to mount these on the door or close-by on the fender extension past the windscreen. When the where is known, I’ll put them on.

Here’s my new body hardware collection:

ExteriorBodyItems

Front Wheel Arches

I drove the Elan’s last few thousand miles on 165R13 tires. They were too large and caused some breakage of the edges of the front wheel arches. I will need to repair these.

Wheels

The steel wheels will need refinishing. They still look ok, and are in great condition, but some rust is appearing in the usual places. I’ll strip, clean, and repaint them, and have the 3-eared spinners re-chromed.

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