by Callum Tooey
It's been three months since part 3, can you believe it? At a risk of sounding like a broken record, work and family life took over and Nutmeg had the occasional ray of sunshine as I started her every week but work on her had pretty much stalled.
I had a week off work but this was spent anti-fouling our boat (a small cabin cruiser that runs on a marinised BMC 1.5 petrol inboard engine) this was actually the first time we had taken the boat on a long trip (10 miles) and we were apprehensive but fortunately we got there, got the work down, and got back without any issues, but you came here to read about Nutmeg, not the boat!
So back to the car, I had plans to spend a short time at the boat and work on Nutmeg for the rest of the week but unfortunately work took longer than expected so instead I booked another week off, the final week of September and gave family and friends strict instructions not to bother me unless somebody is dying.
After what felt like an age the final week of September came and as promised bright and early Monday morning I was greeting Nutmeg and showing her many shiny bits I intended to fit.
First job was to get the headlights sorted. I had loosely fitted some new halogen units replacing the original sealed beam unit and confirmed these were working, the connectors were different on each headlight so I guessed someone had repaired wiring previously. Unfortunately when I took out the old units I discovered the metal headlamp housing had rusted on one side, as had the retaining rings and the screws holding the assembly in place, these needed replacing
I ordered some new WIPAC 7inch headlamp housings off eBay, thinking ahead I got them in plastic to prevent future rust issues these arrived on Wednesday and after some fettling I got the new units in and the front end back together.
I had hoped that the chrome ring headlight surrounds I had bought specifically for a Victor FB would fit but they did not seem to fit correctly, after asking on my owners group it would appear the grill I am missing is a five part system with a large center piece and 2 separate headlight surrounds either side.
With the headlights now done it was time for the interior, mainly sorting the welding as there was a large hole in the passenger floorpan, my dad arrived to help me and together we put together the welder and an angle grinder and got to work. We used the grinding disks to grind back the area around the hole, we then enlarged it and got a 9inch hole which now needed patching.
I noted that we now needed to cut the 1mm sheet to size to patch over the hole, not having a vice to hand we ignored health and safety and used the curb (Don't try this at home!), amazingly we got the patch cut without incident and using welding magnets to hold the patch in place I decided to try tacking it in place with the MIG welder.
I clamped the earth lead to the car and fed wire to the plate and... Nothing! No sparks, gas was flowing, wire was feeding but no arc at all! I clamped the lead to the plate itself, still nothing, I tried it on the uncut plate outside the car and still no action. It would appear my brand new welder was unable to do the very thing it was designed to do.
We checked instructions, watched a YouTube video to confirm we were using it right, the box was powered and buzzing but no welding was happening. I now had a dilemma, a car with a 9 inch hole in the floor pan and no chance of welding it up! As it was late in the day I returned Nutmeg to the garage with the magnets holding the panel in place.
In desperation I asked on a local group for recommendations on welders "Can you get it to my unit tomorrow?" Came a reply, so the next morning I drove her a short distance to a workshop on the outskirts of town, I explained my predicament and that the car needed to be done for Oh So Retro on the Sunday "Leave it with me, we'll have it welded and give you a ring when it's done".
I took a stroll into the retail park and bought some paint from Poundland, an hour or so later the car was done, I collected her ready to drive back, her fuel gauge was reading low and she seemed to be struggling a bit so I stopped off at Morrisons and treated her to £20 of the good stuff.
As I pulled up at a set of lights waiting for them to change, Nutmeg suddenly died, I laughed at having 'stalled it' and tried to restart her but she simply turned over with no chance of firing. The lights changed and I was stranded, naturally in modern British fashion the vehicles behind helped by sounding their horns at me as the lights changed back to red. I got out and tried to push the car up onto the curbside whilst the impatient drivers gawked at me, only a teen on scooter stopped to help me push the car.
After bumping up the curb I got in and tried her again, she fired straight up and I thought I'd go for it and shot off down the road. I almost made it home before she died again, this time I threw her in neutral and let her momentum bump up the curb at a bus stop. I left her to sit for a while and called the other half to explain the issue, unfortunately although I had recovery I was under a mile from home so I knew there would be no chance of rescue. After a short while I got her restarted and drove her home, the space directly outside my front door was free so I parked her up and let her sit once again.
I was positive that the issue was fuel related and remembering another members recommendation I dived into my bags of spares for the bottle of Seafoam I had purchased, I added a few fl oz to the tank as per instructions and got her started again, I was expecting to see 'white smoke' coming from the exhaust as per the videos I had seen of this product but despite getting her to idle and rev, this didn't happen. I decided to leave her to sit and let it 'work its way through' and treated the floors instead.
Enter the next product recommendation: AquaSteel. Aquasteel is a rust remedy product, Nutmegs floors had lots of surface rust which I imagine had been hidden for years under the carpet, this stuff much like other products in the market it looks like a white cream that coats the rust blue, this coverts the rust into black paintable metal surface. I liberally coated the surfaces with this and left it to dry, it was getting late though so I tried to get her back into the garage but sadly the Seafoam had not seemed to do anything and she stalled in the middle of the road, I could perhaps get her started on full choke but selecting a gear and easing off the clutch simply caused her to stall, with no help available I got my partner to sit behind the wheel and I manhandled Nutmeg back into her garage.
It was now apparent that she would not be ready to attend Sundays show, so angry and upset I made a hasty for sale ad and retired to bed, by the morning I had calmed somewhat but decided to take a day off and took my mind off it. On the Saturday I decided to finish the floors and was amazed to see the result of the rust proofing, a quick over-spray of matt black paint and the floors look 100% better than they ever did. I told myself that replacing the fuel tank and fuel lines was a worthwhile job and with some friends and families reassurances that it would 'be worth it in the end' Nutmegs stay was extended.
I also decided that despite not being able to attend the Oh So Retro show in the car, I was still going to attend, so I sold my car pass to another enthusiast with a small Fiat and attended on Sunday in my daily Citroen C8.
We were approached by two men from the show selling raffle tickets for a 'Win This Car' competition, the car was a 1 Litre Peugeot 205, not British obviously but a nicely restored car done up in classic rally livery, as it was for charity I bought a £5 ticket for each of us and thought no more about it.
That afternoon the organizer was reading out the awards and I begun to feel disheartened that Nutmeg had been unable to attend, perhaps she would have won something? As the awards came to an end it was time for the car raffle, I heard a guy behind me boast "I've bought 30 tickets, it's in the bag lads!" "Ticket number 526" says the organizer. "That's mine!" I shouted back, my other half was in disbelief, I took my ticket to the guy, he confirmed my name and said "You just won a car for a fiver!"
Well.. I guess it wasn't such a bad week after all!
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