Bonnet Strut

 The worst thing about this build as it nears completion, is that I am faced with all the jobs that I have been putting off because I didn't fancy doing them any earlier for one reason or another.

The next item on this list is the boot and bonnet struts. Having had a good look at a factory car that was on the GD stand at Silverstone Classic, I felt somewhat more confident and decided to take on the bonnet strut first. Andy said he could supply a bracket for the boot strut, so I will leave that again for now.

So on to the bonnet strut. I had originally planned to fit gas struts but because I have fitted a stainless header tank for my washer bottle, I don't have the room to do this now.

The standard strut has a bracket at both ends. One of these needs removing as it bolts straight through to the inner wing.

Note bracket removed from one end of top strut

The bracket is removed as the lower mounting is simply bolted onto the inner wing
Positioning of the strut is critical as you need to ensure that you get the maximum amount of opening but without the strut actually fouling. The lower mounting position is fixed first. This is broadly in line with the chassis cross member that supports the header tanks. I drilled a hole and then fitted a Rivnut and bolted the lower mounting loosely in place.

A bolt runs through the strut as is locked in place against the rivnut using a plain nut. A washer is then fitted between the locknut and the strut and a further washer sits between the bolt head and the strut
I put the strut in its closed position and then opened it back up about 10mm to allow some free play. I then put some masking tape on the bonnet and wing and marked the centreline of the upper mounting bracket onto the tape.

Centre line of upper mounting bracket

Centre line transferred to bonnet
Before doing any drilling, and remembering that mantra about "Measure twice, drill once", I used some duct tape to test fit the bracket in place and check the operation. Once satisified this was all ok I drilled the holes to take the rivnuts.

Centre line transferred to underside of bonnet and hole drilled for Rivnut

Rivnuts fitted - they don't sit flat as the bonnet reinforcement is curved

Dome heads finish the job nicely



Another small task that has been dragging on is the fitting of the horn.

I bought a really loud horn at Stoneleigh and given the position of the oil cooler thermostat, the logical position to fit this would be on the front right hand side of the chassis. Most people seem to go for this location even though the standard loom terminates on the near side.

The horn comes with a fixing bolt that is intended to run through some sheet metal then the horn body bolts up tight against it. As I didn't want to mount it on the body, I needed a bracket that could be fixed the the square box section of the radiator mounting frame.

As luck would have it, I had a piece of exhaust mounting bracket which I was able to bend into shape and cut to length.

All fitted, looks neat and sound loud.

Job done!!


As the dash is back out, its important I get all the various bits and bobs in and around this area sorted before doing the dash final fit.

An area that was left really rough for Blyton was the steering wheel/shroud set up. Ive been using an old Vectra steering wheel while the car is still in build and I had planned to just cover over the centre boss with padding for IVA as I have a nice wooden Mota-Lita replica wheel to go on once everything is finished - for some reason you cant have a wooden wheel for IVA - but I'm seriously thinking about buying a leather trimmed wheel for use on track days. If I go with this option I will use this for IVA rather than the scruffy old Vectra one.

Old Vectra Steering Wheel
For Blyton, I had fitted the column shroud in place without trimming in leather and it was a bit of a tight fit so I have opened up the hole for the ignition barrel and the deburred the apertures that have been cut for the wiper/indicators stalks. I also had to cut an opening for the column rake adjuster. It looks like GD have enhanced the shroud lately as some of the earlier builder seem to have had to cut all of the holes out.

Note aperture at rear left for the steering column adjuster stalk
In order to trim the shroud, I taped the joins together and then sprayed all over with contact adhesive. I then lay the leather (starting at the bottom so the join wouldn't show) onto the shroud then slowly wrapped it around. I then trimmed the edges where they met and waited for it all to dry before fitting the stainless facia to see what it would look like

A slight concern I have now is how i actually fit this over the column with it all in situ :( Oh well a problem for another day..

Talking of problems, another one identified at Blyton was with the way I had fitted the dash and steering column there was no room to allow the column to tilt and as a consequence the wheel was sitting much too high and partly blocking the driving view. This will be rectified by putting spacer washers between the steering column and screen support bar. The aperture for the steering column in the dash will also be opened up by cutting a lower bottom edge of the opening before doing the final trim. 


A couple of electrical problems that came to light at Blyton were that the Charge Warning light wasn't illuminating on the dash and when I switched off the ignition the car was still running until I removed the key from the barrel.

I was pretty confident that the wiring was all done right but decided to double check the whole of the front section of the body loom, the connections to the dash loom and the engine loom connections.

The steering column shroud was a pretty tight fit and rubbed a little on the ignition connector block so I removed this and connected directly to the ignition terminals making sure that all the connections were fully insulated. This has given much more space and allowed the loom to route along the actual steering column and back to the dash support bar.

The engine loom was wired correctly with one exception which I am hoping will fix the charge warning light problem. There is a separate section to connect between the alternator and the starter. It appears I have got the the connections at the alternator end the wrong way round.

I'm hoping to get the dash back in the car in the next few days so all will be revealed then.

One other issue I have is that there is a white wire coming from the GD engine loom which is meant to connect to the Coil + terminal but as I'm using an MSD box the coil connects directly to the coil. At the moment this white cable isn't connected and the car seems to run ok. Waiting for an answer from Andy at GD about this.


Another area requiring some final fit attention are the doors.

  • Latches need adjusting to allow a smooth close
  • Escutcheons need fitting around the hinges
  • Courtesy light switches need fitting to the 'A' pillar
  • The tops of the door edges need some minor gel coat repairs
  • Door cards need fitting

Escutcheons & Latches

In order to fit the escutcheons, I had to ensure that both doors would open the same amount. I checked the measure measurement from the edge of the 'B' pillar to the edge of the door. This means that the escutcheons effectively create the door stop so its important they are fitted correctly. To allow me to do this I loosened off the hinges and then marked and fitted them using M4 button heads and nylocs.

I then adjusted the door fit, checking gaps and latch operation before tightening the hinges back up.

Quite pleased with the final result as it really tidies things up and looks like a professional build.

Courtesy Lights

I had previously drilled the mounting holes for the courtesy lights in the dash under trays - I'm having a separate light for each side that will illuminate the footwell - but I hadn't got around to wiring them in. The front section of the GD body loom has a positive feed to both doors and an earth which the door switches can be connected to but there is no feed back to the lights themselves.

This is relatively easy to resolve as you just need to break into the wires going to the switches and run a return back to the light.

Gel Coat Repairs

There are a few other areas needing gel coat repairs which I plan to address in one go (possibly even get GD to do them during the pre-IVA checks)

Door Cards

Need to read up on the best way of fitting these as this is one job that will make a big

Wiper Motor and Spindles

Fitting the wiper motor and spindles was another job I have been putting off for what seems like forever.

I just couldn't get my head around how the whole set up works so left it until now when its a case of it has to be sorted.

Looking at the build notes and a couple of blogs there appeared to be a number of things to consider and get right.

1. Position of the spindle holes and the angle at which they are drilled.

I put some masking tape on the scuttle and marked the positions described on the build notes and drilled a pilot hole. I then held the black plastic spacer onto the scuttle and drilled through, progressively using bigger drills at the same angle as the spacer until I reached maximum width. I then used a sanding drum on the dremel to create the elliptical shape required for the spindle to pass through.

Spindle position is 5mm from screen rubber and 415 from screen support struts

Had an assistant hold the rubber spindle in place whilst I drilled at the correct angle

Finished elliptical hole

2. Fitting the wiper motor to the dash support bar and making electrical connections.

First attempt at fitting the wiper motor to the dash support bar went horribly wrong. There was a massive gap under the base of the motor. Looking on the blogs, it appears that there is something fitted between the motor and the support bar. Reading the build notes confirmed this and a hunt around my box of bits revealed a piece of rubber that looks like a pedal cover. This is used to secure the motor and minimise any vibration. Once in place the motor was a snug fit.

Again, due to the corrupt build CD, I couldn't open the document showing the electrical connections to the wiper motor. I got GD to send this through and connections were straightforward. I just need to check now if the motor 'parks' the correct side for RHD car before final fitting the dash and connecting the actual wiper blades.

3. Installing the bundy tube and connecting to the spindles.

Essentially the wiper mechanism works with the motor turning a length of threaded bar which runs through a carrier (bundy tube). The bundy tube has to be cut where it meets the spindles bodies and the exposed threaded bar then meshes with the gear on the wiper spindle and making it turn.

Checking out a few blogs, the sensible way of fitting the bundy tube is to bend it to the approximate shape of the dash first. Having done this, I measured the distance between the motor and the first spindle and then cut the first piece to length. I then measured the distance between the two spindle and cut the next piece to length. Finally, I cut a piece about four inches long and connected this to the right hand side of the final spindle. The threaded bar is cut leaving a three inch overhang so there are no moving part exposed behind the dash.

All in all a job I had dreaded that ended up being sorted in a morning, albeit with the electrical test still to be completed.

Throttle Return Spring

When I first drove the car out of the garage to put it on the trailer for Blyton, I noticed the throttle cable was sticking and not returning to the idle/rest position.

Time didn't allow for us to fix this before we got there so it was something we would have to do on the Saturday morning before taking it on the track.

The first reason for this became apparent immediately - there was no throttle return spring set up. A temporary fix was put in place using three or four springs I had in the toolbox, connected up wherever and however they would attach. It wasn't perfect but it helped.

Looking at some other cars with iron block set ups, I noticed they all had proper return spring bracketry and fixings. A call to Ken and EDA on the Monday morning sorted this problem and a proper return spring set up was on it's way.

The second problem was that the hole in the bulkhead that the throttle cable passes through wasn't lined up correctly with the top of the accelerator pedal. This was re-drilled trackside.

It wasn't a perfect solution but it got the car drivable.

Once the new kit arrived, it was a simple case of removing the front left carb mounting bolt, and locating the throttle return spring bracket under it and connecting the two springs to the throttle control lever. There were two types of spring in the kit. One for road use and one for track. I tried both but settled on the track use springs which are slightly stronger and allow for a faster return of the pedal.

The next time I ran the car after fitting the bracket, I noticed that fuel was leaking from under the gasket where the carb mounts onto the manifold. A closer inspection revealed that the bolt holding the throttle return spring bracket in place was too short to tighten down correctly so a longer bolt was fitted and all four tightened back up - hopefully this will eradicate the problem.


Driving at Blyton without door mirrors was definitely a challenge and is something that I really don't want to experience again but time didn't allow me to fit them in advance.

I must admit I was more than a little concerned about this aspect of the build given that any error could result in the screen, or at the very least the screen struts, being damaged or written off.

As I have noted elsewhere in this blog, my build CD has been corrupt from day one so I had to get a copy of the installation diagram from GD.

First off, I put masking tape on the screen strut and marked a centre line. I removed the screws holding the strut in place and transferred the measurements from the drawing before drilling a pilot hole. I then opened the hole up to 3.2mm ready to tap at 4mm.

Once the hole was tapped, I fixed the bracket in place to double check the position of the other mounting hole and repeated the process.

The fixing bolts need to be cut down so that they don't protrude through the strut and foul on the screen itself and the screw that goes through the strut under the mirror fixing bracket also needs its head flattening so the bracket fits flush to the strut.

Fixing bolts cut down so they don't foul on screen frame

An Anticlimax

With the deadline of the Blyton track day to work towards, the build had been going at a frantic pace. In order to get the car running certain corners needed cutting which would mean taking parts of the car apart again to make sure it would be fit for IVA.

Having got the car back to the garage, we adjusted the clutch as it was slipping at Blyton and then road-tested the car locally on trade plates before starting the anti-climatic job of dismantling various sections starting with the dash.

In effect I went from having a drivable car to one that looked a mile away from the finished article in a matter of days :(

Needing to get my backside in gear, I developed a final build plan and tried to sort some time in my diary that I could block out to get back on to the build.