Coupe Build From Australia

If you have a long-term project and would like to share/document progress, this is for you.

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Post by mermar74 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:56 pm

Continued from previous installment;

Major Milestone Reached

Testing of engine electronics and EFI has now come to an end. The results are most encouraging and I am now satisfied all components work as intended and together in harmony.

As an aside; I was also relieved to find the coolant temperature to be within normal range since fitting EFI and engine management as the new engine ran disturbingly hot when run with carburetor and points ignition.

A short video of this EFI engine running on test stand can be viewed here;

While running the engine an issue showed up with the charging system as the battery kept going flat. It seems the new 60 amp Lucas alternator does not provide enough charge at low speed to keep up with the higher electrical demands of this engine.
The higher demands are largely due to the 16 inch Spal electric fan consuming almost 25 amps to run. This along the ECU and Bosch electric fuel pump consume more power at low engine speeds than alternator output. Speeding up the alternator by fitting a smaller pulley was tried but made very little difference.

It has become obvious a higher output alternator (especially at low speed) is required. Finding a suitable higher output replacement to fit a Coupe is not straight forward, as limited bonnet clearance will not allow for a larger alternator. I am aware 100 amps Lucas alternators with same body size as the 60 amps are being sold in the UK, but I have no interest in purchasing another poorly made re manufactured Lucas.

Research eventually pointed me towards a Delco Remy alternator rated at 95 amp output; this unit produces 65 amps at idle speed and has the same mounting configuration as the Lucas. I purchased a new unit from the U.S. and had it delivered to my door for less money than the 60 amp Lucas cost me.
Upon arrival I sourced a suitable V belt pulley to replace the original multi ribbed, and after some fettling installed it onto the engine.

This now completes all work on the engine; it can now be removed from the test stand and installed into the chassis for the final time.

Work started by draining the cooling system and disconnecting all fuel plumbing and electrical connections. The engine was next lifted off the stand and carefully lowered into the chassis and mounted.

The hydraulic clutch thrust bearing was next installed onto the gearbox and the complete assembly bolted to back of engine followed by the prop shaft.

The exhaust system was next made ready for installation.
The new stainless headers have already blued from exhaust heat and are now looking a little second hand. I decided to have these ceramic coated for a stain free finish, and more importantly lower radiant heat inside the overcrowded engine compartment. These were sent to a coating specialist for coating inside and out, and upon return looked resplendent in the silver ceramic finish.
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The headers along with the rest of the exhaust system were lastly fitted, completing this part of the work.

This grand build has now reached an exciting and major milestone with the new chassis and mechanical assembly finally married together and complete.
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This journey has now consumed ten long years of work, problem solving, research, planning, designing, fabricating and machining. Accomplishing several challenges along the way required learning new skills, and on occasions already learned skills required extending to new heights. As well, my already generous tool and equipment inventory has somewhat increased since starting this build.

Reflecting back;

My intention at the start of this build was to refine and improve the 1960’s concept without straying too far from the original design. As well, I wanted to incorporate a number of upgrades for increased all round safety and performance.

I quickly learned a number of factory compromises required a redesign for these objectives to be met; I made it a priority to make changes in a sympathetic manner so as remain close to the original concept.
The resulting mechanical specifications are now more akin with high end performance sports Coupes from the period. Adding to this, the little modern technology incorporated into this build will make this old design a little easier to live with.

The logistics of this build are (in my view) impressive considering it was built by one man in a home workshop; in fact every single part of the chassis and mechanical assembly (apart from the steering rack and the EFI lower intake manifold) has been made from scratch or replaced with new. It is unlikely this feat has been duplicated since Reliant built the last Coupe over 45 years ago.

I now consider my objectives met, and the results pleasing.

The chassis now awaits body installation.

To be continued:
Victor Pace
Last edited by mermar74 on Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Archibald Tyre » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:14 am

WOW this is so good.

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Post by DARK STAR » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:26 am

Congratulations Victor, a magnificent achievement.

Chris Johnson
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Post by MikeT » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:06 am

Fanstastic! Great to hear it running :)

1978 Scimitar SE6a - Project thread


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Post by efi_sprintgte » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:19 am

Awesome build


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Post by GTC Ian » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:48 am

If this was my car I wouldnt put a body on it... I would place it on a plinth and just keep looking at it. The attention to detail is breathtaking.The details of this bulid need compiling into a book not just for Scimitar owners, but all classic car enthusiasts

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Post by Dave 6726 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:38 am

Absolutely beautiful!

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Post by Edzed » Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:04 am

Words fail me... this is just absolutely unbelievable. Stunning workmanship! Congratulations Victor. I can't wait to see the body on the chassis and the car complete.

Jeff Craske
Current:1989 LHD 1400 SS1
Gone but not forgotten: CAN 172D - Straight Six Coupe | GBG 540E - V6 Coupe | C999 YCR - 1600 SS1
View my website 'Scimitars e Cimitarra':

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Post by AllingtonGT » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:48 pm

Thanks Victor. Your approach, diligence, commitment and execution are an inspiration. You make us smile :D Very much looking forward to seeing completion.

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Post by Archibald Tyre » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:23 pm

Something tells me that the body will be better than anything that came out of the reliant factory.
I hope he drives the car once its done, many would be too scared to risk spoiling it.

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Post by Nigel Clark » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:11 pm

Like everyone here, I'm truly stunned, amazed, in awe...

The quality and ingenuity of Victor's work is simply so uncompromising. And well done for sticking to the vision and principles of the this very special coupé project. I can't wait for the next progress report.


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Post by 747PETE » Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:30 pm

I keep coming back to this thread for inspiration and a phrase keeps coming to mind..its often used by many but really is spot on here Victor.."Quality without compromise" .Thanks for sharing this!

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Post by mermar74 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:08 am

Continued from previous instalment;

Final Body Preparation

With the chassis now fully assembled and made ready, work will next focus on continuing with the body preparation and paint.

The last lot of work carried out on the body since its return from the repairer entailed re mounting the body onto the chassis for a trial fit all panels, glass, weather seals, and just about all else that attaches to the body. This extra work has been deemed necessary after the major task of gelcoat removal and GRP re skin of outer body surface.
This lengthy exercise highlighted several areas that require fettling for correct fit; these have all been noted and a lengthy rectification list drawn up to be passed onto the repairer.

My attention next turned to making new rain gutters; these are originally made from long aluminium strips formed to the shape of a J, and most crudely attached to the GRP with pop rivets.
IMG_1996.JPG (80.15 KiB) Viewed 2206 times
The gutters on this car are in very poor condition and one side is broken into two pieces.

I made a start on these believing this will be a reasonably straightforward job, but after several attempts and much wasted time I failed to produce satisfactory results.
By now it became apparent making these will not be a simple task and will require a dedicated forming tool and a very soft grade of aluminium.
I next made contact with a few metal shaping works asking for a price to make these, but the quotes given were eye watering expensive.

This now forced me to undertake the complications of designing and making a 1.8 metre long forming tool to create the J shape. This form is made to adapt and work in conjunction with a long bed hydraulic press owned by an acquaintance.
Finding the correct aluminium also posed a problem as full soft aluminium sheet is not commonly stocked by most suppliers. Finding this material locally took much searching, but finally a sheet was sourced although at a premium price.

Armed with these, I started the fabrication by guillotining strips of aluminium from the sheet and experimenting using the forming tool and press. Once mastered I was able to shape a few, although successful forming could only be accomplished on strips cut wider than required. This extra width on both side edges will now need to be trimmed; not a simple task on such fragile formed lengths of aluminium.
I ran out of ideas on how to trim these without damage, so I next visited an engineer friend to ask for advice. It came as a relief when he pointed towards a specialised blade saw amongst his equipment that would be ideal for such a task.
With some careful setting up he was able to successfully slice the excess material off both sides of strips and leave neat edges much to my delight.

With this now done, the next few days were spent fitting, fettling and shaping these new gutters to fit along the body. Small screws have been used to affix these neatly to body, doing away with the unsightly rivets. In the end all turned out well and I now have new gutters.
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As with all else on this build, making these parts has consumed far more work, complications and expense than first anticipated.
I have made a few extra gutters if anyone is interested in purchasing.

The body fit out has now been completed, and the body again dismantled, lifted off the chassis and re fitted to the cart. Arrangements were made with the body repairer to carry on with the rest of bodywork, and the body again delivered to his premises.
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Several weeks have since past, and work on the body has well progressed.
The work being carried out by my long time acquaintance is of the highest order, and he has left no stone unturned to produce the best results. It takes a most determined mindset and a great deal of laborious work to achieve a flawless GRP finish, and the results of his work clearly speak for themselves.
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As a side note, my thoughts on bodywork;
I am not afraid to tackle most auto restoration jobs regardless of challenges, but I strictly draw the line at undertaking GRP bodywork especially when filing and sanding fibreglass for weeks on end is involved. I hold those who willingly undertake such unpleasant and filthy work in high esteem, and praise their perseverance.
There are certainly not many repairers around here interested in taking on such work, and I am most fortunate my car is in good hands.

With the bodywork now well advanced, the time has come to settle on the paint colour. None of the original Coupe factory colours are to my liking, so this opened my choice to any colour on the planet.

Body colour can become a big decision in a car build, and I have deliberated for years on which colour to choose. Early on in the build I set a few basic criteria’s for the colour, these included;

Only straight colours; no metallics or fancy paints,
Preferably a light colour due to Australian hot climate,
Colour must be from era when this car was first made.

After much deliberation and change of mind I finally settled on a colour; this will be revealed at a later stage after the body has been painted.

To be continued:
Victor Pace

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Post by DARK STAR » Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:25 am

Original gutters are rather makeshift.
I reseated mine with Sikaflex but the door frame tends to touch the rivets.
Rivets in fibreglass, sometimes I wonder if Reliant knew what they were doing :roll:

Body looks good ...

Chris Johnson
RSSOC 1979> Dark Star Coupé 1989> Scimitar France 2010> Vert Soleil GTC 2014>
Scimitar France Website No1 on Google, updated nearly every day

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Post by td99 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:38 pm

Victor, your dedication to perfection is awesome,as are your talents! Wonderful thread.

Trevor - 1800Ti daily driver
1800Ti DET project, RAV4

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