Final Stages

This section covers the work from the headlights through to the hanging the doors,
and includes the first drive!


Section A : Nosecone and Headlight Completion
Section B : Dashboard Work
Section C : Re-testing the Electrics
Section D : Clock & Stereo
Section E : Seats & Steering Wheel
Section F : Braking System
Section G : Driving the Car
Section H : Radiator Fan
Section I : Bonnet & Doors

A. - Nosecone & Headlight Panel


Nosecone & Panel

With as much done on the loom and electrics in the car and under the bonnet I moved my attention to finally installing the nosecone and the headlight panel.

The first job here was to repair the captive M6 threads under the front edge of the headlight panel. The bad Reliant design meant that the backing plates on 3 of the fasteners had pulled out of the panel, the rivets holding them in relied solely on them expanding enough to grip in the fibreglass, several of which did not do this well enough.

In exacting a repair I learnt that the length of the rivets was crucial to the holding power they could exert. Too long and they would not allow the plate to be pulled onto the fibreglass – too short and they did not expand sufficiently enough to grip the panel.

I ended up making my own special length rivets by cutting down some longer ones. This was achieved by knocking out the steel pin from the body of the rivet, then cutting down the body and re-installing the pin back into the body. With these new rivets I managed to reattach all the plates to the headlight panel.

Before fitting the panel and the nosecone I needed to cut some small oblong holes in the nosecone to pass the wiring connectors for the auxiliary lights through and this was more easily done now. With these holes cut out I could carry on.

With some new stainless steel M6 wing nuts and the threads on the plates died M6 to clean up them up it was time to install the panel.

This was quite time consuming and fiddly job to do. The panel fit was good except where the nosecone met the wings on either side of the car, All was going well until I manually raised the headlights to see if they needed to be better aligned with the holes in the headlight panel. The LH light bracket pushed up under the headlight panel popping out one of the captive plates! – I was not a happy bunny!

It all had to come off again and the offending plate re-riveted to the panel and it went back a lot quicker as my arms knew how to bend this time round! I’d also relieved the area under the panel were the bracket had fowled it.

With the panels back on and the headlights re-aligned to give a good clearance all round I tightened up the fasteners and had a big grin - It was looking like a car again!

Indicators and the new auxiliary and fog light units could now go into the nosecone. I’d installed some captive M5 nuts to hold the indicators in place (using some M5 x 40 Button Heads, in stainless of course).

The light units were fitted and their looms passed through the new holes in the nosecone, I used some very large outside diameter washers inside the nosecone/radiator panel to spread the load exerted from the fixing bolts for the units – and this time there was no earth cable wrapped around the bolts!!

As you can see from the photos the lights are a nice fit under the bumper.

Front End coming together




One final job was to fit the stainless steel mesh panel that stops leaves, stones and small dogs from getting stuck in the radiator, 3 M5 button heads held this in place after I’d managed to get it through the hole in the nosecone that is.

They are available From Queensberry Road Garages (Kettering).



B. - Dashboard Work


Repairing & Cleaning the Dash

With the electrics completed as far as possible I needed to try the dashboard in. First I cleaned the dashboard inside and out using Armourall.  Whilst cleaning it up I noticed a lot of the vinyl around the edges had become detached from the fibreglass. Using some contact adhesive all the loose edges were stuck back down again.


Steering Column

Before trying to actually install the dashboard assembly into the car I thought the steering column would be better fitted at this stage, without the dash in the way I could see what I was doing and had more access to install the column. The first job with the steering components saw the flexible joint near the rack go on followed by the lower column itself fed back in from inside the car. The white plastic ball was popped into the rubber grommet and the end of the shaft slid into the flexible joint. I fitted the two bolts, securing them with new tab washers to prevent them from becoming loose.

Now the upper section complete with its universal joint, ignition switch and brackets went in, I’d sprayed the two U-clamps matt black and removed the control stalk from the wheel end.

I knew at some point I would head-butt the end of the shaft so I wrapped a rag on the bare end!!

The components fitted back in a treat, I ensured the two pips on the grommets aligned with the holes in the crosstube brackets and tightened up all the fasteners.


Thinking Ahead!

It was exciting waiting to get the dashboard back in but I sat back, had a good look at the bulkhead and tried to run through what else needed doing before the panel went back in and what would be difficult to do if I’d forgotten to do them now. The main one of these was the heater pipes.

I rescued the pipes from their bag on the parts shelf, during the strip down I’d labelled the pipes with what their job was, and I’m glad I did this. Trying to figure out which part went where was tricky enough, I kept referring to the photographs I’d taken during the disassembly of the car. These proved invaluable.


Heater Control Cables Along with the pipes the two control cables were attached to the control arms and their outer sheaths clipped to the body of the heater matrix. To get the best possible movement on the cables I used some of the Teflon control cable lubricant I had used on the throttle, clutch and speedo cables. When it actually came to sorting which cable went where (they are different lengths) I’m pleased to say I’d labelled them with the electrical tie-wraps used on the loom.


Bonnet Release Cable Another small item more easily done now was the bonnet release cable, one of those upside down, under the dashboard jobs. Although probably not adjusted properly at least the cable was through the middle of the nipple. The final adjustment could be done when the bonnet went on.


Fitting The Dash

At last it was time to fit the dash! Well nearly, the four tapped holes in the ‘A’ posts looked like they needed to be re-tapped. So using an M5 tap I ran then threads through, this seemed to easy to do so I tested one of the holes with an M5 setscrew. Just as I had expected, when the fasteners bottomed out the threads gave way. So out came the M6 tapping drill and the M6 tap. All four holes were enlarged to this new size.

Now the dashboard could go in and it fitted the first time of trying. Although the four holes on the dashboard lined up with the ‘A’ post holes it was a bit of a fiddly to get them started, but they went in eventually.

Dashboard well on the way to completion

View from the left hand side

This was another of those “One small part for the car… One giant leap for the project…” moments!


Speedo Unit & Cowl

With the main section of the dash installed the rest of the parts could now go on. This began in earnest with the fitting of the speedo unit.

"Ford" style instruments fitted to earlier SS1's

"Rover" style fitted to later cars - how 80's!

A week before I’d carefully removed the plastic cover for the unit to do two small jobs:

  • Clean the dust and muck out from the inside of the unit.

  • Paint the very faded needles a nice shade of fluorescent orange

Fitting the unit was straight forward once I had rerouted the speedo cable “inside” of the clutch cable as the cable needs to be pulled into the car some way to be able to clipped it to the back of the speedometer drive.

The speedo/instrument unit cover went on after a clean with Armourall. This was another fiddly job under the dashboard. What should have been a two minute job ended up taking an hour or so. A bad design here causes the frustration, next time the dash is out I’ll slot the top of it so the cover can be slide into place and the nuts just nipped up instead of having to try and reach to get nuts started at arms length.

Speedo unit in with cowl

Centre Console

The switches in the centre console are not the best fitting in the world, they wobble around and become unclipped. To rectify this I fitted two ‘T’ shaped lengths of plastic section above and below the switches (see photos below). These strips were a snug fit and made all the switches act as one by preventing them from moving up and down. With these in place there was no need for anything between the switches.

New T-strip to hold switches in place (2 needed)

Close up of the strips in place

Wider view from top of assembly

Fitting the centre console would block the gaping hole in the dashboard. The heater control cables were fitted into the arms and their outers clipped to the body of the control unit, I had forgotten to sketch which hole they had come out of but by inspecting the arms I could see which holes were worn. With the cables attached the console became more difficult to work with.

All the electrical leads were attached to their respective switches and dashlight units etc.. The stereo leads and speaker leads (which had been fitted with Ripaults connectors in readiness) were checked to see if they would be accessible through the radio aperture.

The actual console just sits on the centre tunnel and the top part lips under the dash, no fasteners hold it in. The side panels screw to the console then to the dash itself holding the assembly in place.

Using some Black-Headed self-tapping screws, saved from the Orion, I fitted the side panels. The left one was very easy but the right hand side needed a bit more effort to line up and screw in place. It was amazing how good the whole dashboard area looked when the two panels were finally in place.

Centre Console in place with new clock & stereo (see next section)

Indicator Stalk

Nice and simple task this one, the indicator stalk/wiper controls are held in place with one screw that clamps the assembly to the steering column. The cables for the ignition switch, light switch and wipers could now be plugged in.



C. - Re-Testing the Electrics



With all the electrical connectors plugged back in I temporarily fitted the light switch and then tested all the electrics again. 100% success this time – I was worried that all the pulling and pushing to tape up the loom and putting all the connectors back on may had dislodged some of the wiring.



D. - Clock & Stereo


Clock The old clock in the SS1 has long seen better days. It was broken and the green glass had fell out.

I sourced this one direct from the manufacturers in Hong Kong. It cost me $10 and it was delivered in around 7 days!

Although a bit smaller than original it works fine and looks ok in the dash now I've made an adaptor plate, please read on for details about this.... 

New clock for the SS1 from LEO in Hong Kong

The original hole in the dashboard is  approximately 110mm x 40mm  and the new clock needed a hole of 71mm x 33mm so some sort of adapter plate was required. I used some 3mm aluminium and made my own mounting plate as you can see from these photos, to be in keeping with the car I sprayed it satin black and used double sided tape to fix it into position on the dashboard. 

Here is a drawing of the adaptor plate needed...

Drawing of the new plate to mount the LEO clock

Masking tape on the aluminium enabling the shape to be drawn on

And here it is part way through manufacture, waiting to be painted satin black.....

New plate prior to spraying

The wiring is similar to the old wiring the the exception that the light dims itself at night.

The clock shows hours/minutes and self dims when it gets dark and therefore has only 3 wires (permanent +12v, switched +12v & Earth).  I cut off the old plug on the Reliant (Smith's) clock mid way along the wires and then, having slipped on some heat shrink tubing, soldered them to the new clock's leads. The loom connections are:

Function Reliant Loom  Smiths Plug     New Clock  
Earth Black Black Black
Sidelights 'On' Red/White Red Not Used
+12v Permanent Purple Purple Red
+12v From Ignition Switch 1st Position White/Pink Green Orange

New clock lead (on the right) soldered to the old clock plug

New clock being tested

Now, back to how to order a clock from LEO. This bit was a 'leap of faith'. After a couple of e:Mails to and fro David Lau, the manager at LEO wanted me to send US$10 to him via airmail, mmm I thought is this the last I'll see of my £5.60? – Nope, 10 days later the jiffy bag with the clock in it arrived! In fact he had got the money before a letter posted the same day got from Nottingham to Southampton! Here is the address for LEO :

David Lau
Unit C, 12th Floor, Joint Venture Factory Building,
76 Hung To Road, Kwun Tong,
Hong Kong

Please e:Mail/Phone me if you need any more information

They have a web site :

The finished installation


One hole was left in the centre console, the one for the radio cassette player and it was crying out for a unit to be fitted – “Uncle Ian” to the rescue! My best mate had a almost brand new stereo cassette that he’d taken out of a Honda, replacing it with a CD player, a reasonable price was agreed on and the unit was mine.

Two simple jobs needed doing before fitting the stereo unit, the first was to make up an adaptor lead that would go between the Ripaults connectors I’d left behind the dash for the stereo’s power, speaker wires etc. and the ISO connector that was on the Pioneer stereo. A phone call to a local car audio supplier located an ISO plug with 5 inches of bare end leads on it, perfect for me to attach the male half of the Ripaults connector to. The lead cost £6.

The adaptor lead after the addition of the three Ripaults connectors

Second of the small jobs was to fit the metal support cage for the unit. A test fit showed that the hole needed a tidy up, whoever fitted the original stereo was not that tidy with the edges so I filed these level and at the same time moved the hole slightly to the right. another test fitting proved that the hole was now lined up and the right size so size so I turned out the clips to secure it in place.

The wiring connectors in the dash and the rough hole before tidying

The time had come to fit the stereo into the dash. I plugged in the adaptor leads and aerial lead and slid the unit in. Before letting it click fully into the mount I fitted the two speakers into the far ends of the dashboard (luckily the previous had fitted 60W Kenwood speakers) and tested the unit.

With this work completed I could test the functionality, it all worked fine.

New clock and stereo in place  :O)


Steering Shroud

Although my original steering column shroud was cracked I decided to fit it  and look for another at a later. After a clean and buff up with Armourall I fitted the top and bottom sections.

When fitting my Mountney steering wheel (another “Uncle Ian” special) I may need to make some adjustments to the shroud. So I didn’t bother making it too good a fit at this stage.



Interior Lights Nice, quick simple job here was to install the interior lights using the sketch I had made to aid with the connections. The switches on the door posts worked the lights a treat.

Sketch of the wiring positions




E. - Seats & Steering


Cleaning Up The Seats

Apart from the lower ‘A’ post trim panels fitting the seats was the last part of the interior left to do.

Some work was needed to bring them up to the condition where they could be fitted into the car. I needed to spray the sides of the runners, tilting brackets and the adjuster grab handle in satin black and when this was done the seats looked a lot tidier. I also cleaned the vinyl on the seats with Armourall, leaving the velour to be cleaned just before I started to use the car. The rear flaps on both the seat had come detached from the lower squab so these were carefully glued back in place with contact adhesive.

The driver's seat ready to go in 

Seat Fasteners & Fitting Them

I noticed whilst cleaning the drivers seat that the bolts holding the main frame to the runners had stripped its threads – This was why the seat rocked about. The holes were drilled through at 7mm and fitted with new setscrews and nylocs to cure the problem.

During the strip down part of the project I had struggled to remove the front bolts of the seats. The seats would not move back far enough on the runners to allow clear access to the socket screws and the Allen key could only be turned about 1/6th of a turn each time so it took an age to remove them.

I decided when rebuilding the car that I would not install captive nuts in the seat rails on the chassis but instead use some new, longer capscrews with Form ‘A’ washers and nylocs to hold the seats in place. I used M8 x 40 and M8 x 45 capscrews, the inboard ones needed to be longer as the original captive nuts were still on the seat rails. The holes in the rails were drilled out to 10mm to accept the bolts.

To install the seats I slipped the 8 new fasteners into the rails and then offered the seats into the car. All of the bolts slipped through the holes with no messing, the rails sitting down on some new nylon spacers turned up to suit the holes in the fibreglass. Both seats did rock slightly and with some extra washers/larger spacers this was eliminated and the seats sat in the car vertically. Not forgetting that as the seats were installed the electrical connectors for the seatbelt lights were plugged together.

With the seats in the seatbelts could be bolted to the seat rails using the top-hat spacers that allow them to rotate freely.

The seats after refitting


Seat Tears

The seats had two small tears in the fabric. With a needle and grey thread I managed to sew them up and hopefully them won’t open up again. I was quite pleased with the results, the seats looked a lot better.


Steering Wheel The original steering wheel that Reliant had fitted, (direct from a Metro by the looks of it), was going a bit of a grey/green colour and looked awful when fitted into my nice re-vamped interior.

Ian came up trumps when he offered a long-term loan of a classic 3-spoke Mountney wheel. He supplied the wheel with a boss that fitted the splines on the column but it threw the wheel some 55/60mm away from the indicator stalks and too close to the driver. The solution was to find another boss.

Being in "budget control" mode at the time I went to a local scrap yard to buy another Metro wheel with the idea of stripping out the boss to make an adaptor boss from. But I spotted on the window sill of the cabin at the yard a Nova boss which looked like the right spline and would lend itself easier to being machine into a boss that would accept an adaptor ring. I paid a £5 for it.

Click on the image for a larger version
Steering Boss and Adaptor Plate

The Nova steering boss before machining

Back home after a bit of careful measuring and head scratching I draughted out the machining that needed doing to the boss and the adaptor ring. Both the machining of the boss and the creation of the adaptor ring was done my some good friends with a lathe in exchange for some biscuits, for which I very grateful.

New parts ready for fitting

A trip to Arkwell Fasteners secured 6 M5 button heads to hold the wheel to the ring and 4 M8 button heads to hold the ring to the boss, both in stainless. I'd wanted to use 6 M6's to hold the ring to the boss but the Nova boss had two cast holes in the main section and using a pattern of 6 holes would have brought them too close to the original holes.

I drilled tapped out the 4 M8 threads in the boss and test assembled the wheel - It all work first time and when fitted to the car was just right - Not bad for under a tenner!

The wheel, boss and ring were polished up using T-Cut which brought them up to a good shine quite easily, the parts were then re-assembled and the finished result was excellent as you can see from these photos.

boss and plate fitted to the Mountney wheel

TA steering wheel centre cap cap was then made up from a suitably sized plastic cap sprayed with plastics primier and several coats of satin black paint.


Steering Shroud

The original wheel as well as looking iffy had been rubbing on the steering column shroud quite badly. Something I took into account when designing the new boss. When fitted the new assembly it still fouled the shroud slightly but by so little that with the shroud repositioned backwards slightly and the top of the shroud fitted properly to the instrument cluster it cleared nicely. Extra screws were fitted to secure the shroud in place and double sided tape negated the need to use a screw directly behind the boss on the RH side of the wheel.

It took a couple of hours of fitting, filing, refitting etc to achieve a pleasing result but it was worth it in the end.

The only thing now preventing a test run up and down our drive (we are lucky enough to have a 60M drive with a turn round at each end) was a small matter of the braking system.

General view of the interior, showing the completed steering wheel & shroud


F. - Braking System


Final Brake work

At this time there were no pipes between the master cylinder and the rest of the system and the reservoir was filthy inside.

Although I had not intended to rebuild the master cylinder I decided that with the amount of muck in the reservoir that I really should strip and clean the cylinder and reservoir etc.

To clean the parts first the assembly had to come off the car, something that proved harder to do than it looked and I cursed not loosening the nuts holding the cylinder to the servo before reassembling that parts around it. Anyway with the nuts off, the cylinder just pulled away from the servo and I could start to strip the parts down.

I ordered an overhaul kit form Queensberry Road Garages (Kettering) and this arrived very quickly which meant I could get on with the refurbishment and with no prior experience of stripping and cleaning master cylinders I turned to my friends on the Yahoo Group – And the method below follows their helpful guidance. I also made sure that paper and pencil were on hand to sketch all the parts as they came off.

The Master Cylinder Repair Kit Components

First thing to do was unscrew the reservoir off the top of the cylinder, the screws benefited from a dose of penetrating oil to help them come out. The next step was to prise out the two rubber sealing rings from the body of the casting. With this done I carefully prised off the end cap of the assembly using an old, very blunt, wood chisel which gave me the maximum area to prevent damage to the cap. It came off with ease.

The reservoir and its screws


Removing the circlip allowed the first piston to be removed from the bore, it pulled out with the spring and was duly sketched in detail. The location of the seals is very important. The second piston in the bottom of the bore proved to be a bit more taxing on the old noggin. In the top of the rearmost reservoir hole was a small pin which if I relieved the pressure of the cylinder pushing on it with a short length of wooden dowel could be pulled out with some needle nosed pliers!  - Tricky eh? – With the pin removed the second piston slide out from the bore and was added to the sketch. Both pistons were then stripped of their seals, clips, springs and very thin washers.

The main parts of the assembly, just after I'd dismantled them

The seals, clips and washers all come in the Lockheed kit of bits, good job really as one spring clip broke whilst removing it.

The internal components of the master cylinder

The internal components of the Master Cylinder, along the bottom are the new repair kit parts

Refurbishing the Master Cylinder

To clean the parts The Yahoo guys (thanks lads) said to wash all the parts in hot soapy water and dry them off. With brake fluid being hydroscopic (soaks up water) this meant the parts cleaned up easily and well. The reservoir coming up particularly well. The bore of the cylinder was “honed” out using some ‘Scotchbrite’.  There are several small holes in the body of the casting and these were cleaned out using a 0.7mm and 1.5mm drill, just by hand. Also there are three small holes in each of the pistons which needed cleaning out as well.

Close up of the holes in the top of the casting, the third holes is
for the second piston's retaining pin

With the exception of the reservoir all the parts were then washed through with Methylated Spirit and coated with new brake fluid ready for re-assembly. The seals, washers and clips were assembled back onto the pistons and the sealing rings for the reservoir pushed into the top of the casting. The piston assembles had small amount of brake grease smeared onto the rubbers before sliding the pistons back into the cylinder bore, not forgetting to drop the small pin back in and installing the circlip. After the clip went in the end cap was fitted to the assembly and the reservoir fitted and held in place with its screws.

Now the whole refurbished assembly could go back onto the servo, which was easy to do. I made up the two remaining brake pipes from the master cylinder to the connection blocks positioned on the chassis and prepared to bleed the brakes.

The cap on the reservoir was also stripped and cleaned as the contacts were dirty and were not completing the circuit.

The reservoir cap parts

Bleeding the Brakes

Ian lent me his Gunson’s Eezi-Bleed hydraulic brake and clutch bleeding system which made the initial filling and bleeding the system very quick and simple. We started by filling the reservoir up and then the Gunson’s reservoir with new brake fluid. The feed from the Eezi-Bleed was screwed onto the brake reservoir and the pressure pipe attached to the front RH wheel running it at around 20 psi.

Starting with the rear RH wheel cylinder (the farthest from the master cylinder) I cracked open the nipple and after a few seconds the fluid started to flow out of the short clear pipe I’d attached to the nipple and into a jam jar. It’s then I noticed that a couple of the joints in the system were leaking and Ian reported the same from the front. So after a session of tightening up the offending joints and cleaning up the spilt fluid it was time to carry on with the bleeding. Again we started with the RH rear, followed by the LH rear, these cleared out the air in the pipes pretty quickly.

The front callipers (starting with the LH side) were easy to do even though they had three nipples on each one. We did the whole system again and after this had a pedal that felt “ok” for now. I’ll be re-bleeding the system later on after the car has been ran up and down the drive (the vibration from that and the engine running will have hopefully found some more air to bleed out).

Completed job....

Side view this time....

Thanks to Ian for helping out with the brakes and with them done I was very close to being able to test run the car. 


G. - Driving the Car


Oil Changes & Levels

This was the last thing to do before taking the car out of the garage for a test drive up and down the drive….Honest!

The engine oil and filter were swapped out, I chose GTX for this, pretty safe bet here. The car takes around 3.5L so one “can” was sufficient.

The Gearbox took about a litre of oil to top that up, so it must have been about ½ full. I used a long hosepipe with a 90 degree end on it to squirt the oil into the ‘box, Halfords gear oil has a handy nozzle on the end which was ‘gaffer’ taped into the hose pipe, a bit Heath Robinson, but it worked a treat!

The differential was done in the same manner, taking the full litre as I’d completely drained it during the project.

We could now DRIVE THE CAR – For the first time in 3 years!

Driving the car !

YES! - At long last....after nearly 3 years work it was time to see if the car would move under it's own steam.

Well she did, and boy was I pleased. So was my lad who had got really excited with the prospect of the short trip down the drive and back.

No dramas, no real noises creaks or other major problems. The exhaust manifold leaked a bit where it met the downpipe, but nothing some GunGum wouldn’t sort out.

So I quit while I was ahead and popped her back in the garage in readiness for the next stages of finishing the doors and fitting the bonnet.

Another view of the interior  :O)



H. - Radiator Fan


Fitting the Fan

Nice simple job here. The fan I removed from the Orion was physically the same mounting as the Reliant one and seemed to shift more air when I tested it so this is the one I used. When installing the fan the mounting tube needed to be rotated slightly on its mounting bolts to ensure the tips of the blade were as far away from the anti-roll bar as possible.

 The electrics were a bit more complicated.  The Reliant loom had lost its plug for the fan and I’d extended the wires so I rescued one of the power window plugs off the Orion loom, as they are exactly the same as the ones used on the Reliant fan. I then made up a short adaptor loom using a yellow power window socket from the Orion loom and the original blue Ford fan plug. All the connections were soldered and had heat-shrink tubing over the joints too

 The finished fan installation looked quite tidy:

Testing the Fan

The electrics for the fan had been tested back when I'd completed the electrics but now I could run the car up to temperature and see if the fan actually cut in, which it did!


I. - Bonnet & Doors


Fitting the Bonnet

This was the easier part of these two areas to complete.

The only ‘spanner in the works’ that prevented it from being a simple job was the fact that when I brought the bonnet out of hibernation one of the M8 hinge studs had sheared off at some point at so this had to be sorted out before the refitting could occur.

To repair the stud I used a M8 x 25mm setscrew and turned a 5mm x 10mm long plain diameter at the end I’d cut the hexagon head off. Next a 5mm hole was very carefully drilled into the mounting plate in the bonnet. I used some M6 nuts on the shank of the drill to stop it from going right through the bonnet!

The new stud was carefully welded to the plate, allowing it to cool between welding small sections of the thread.

With the stud welded to the plate it was apparent that the mounting plate was moving as well. So after cleaning away a section of the fibreglass and then drilling some small holes through it fibreglass resin was poured over the plate. It was worked into the holes then smoothed off. When the resin had gone off the plate was once again secure in the bonnet.

Finally the threads on the studs were cleaned up using a die nut and coated with copper grease. The underside of the bonnet was degreased and washed as well.

Refitting the bonnet was a relatively straight forward job. The refurbished hinges were lubricated and then loosely bolted to the front armature. The backs of the hinges that mate with the front armature were coated with copper grease to allow them to slide round easily whilst trying to align the bonnet.

After a rub down and a couple of coats of paint the thin tie-rod that runs between the hinges was next to go on which meant the bonnet could at last go on.

The bonnet was rested on an old blanket to keep it off the paintwork whilst it was lifted on to the hinges. The hinges were then pulled away from the front of the car along their slotted holes to ensure the bonnet did not catch the headlight panel when it was first lowered down to check the fit. At this point I remembered to fit the earth strap.

When it was lowered it showed that the bonnet needed to be moved forward only slightly. To achieve this a tapered piece of timber was used to wedge the hinges against the front armature tube allowing the bolts to be slackened off. The wood was then pulled out slightly to allow the bonnet to move forward in a controlled manner. Then bolts were then nipped up. This was repeated for the other side and once complete the bonnet fit was better. Next we raised the front RH corner of the bonnet as it was dropping too much and pulling the whole unit over to the right-hand side of the car. With this done the bonnet fit was really good – for an SS1!

All that remained now was to finally tweak the positions of the bonnet catches, both needed raising slightly. With done the bonnet buffer were installed at a height that allowed the bonnet to just drop into the catches and not let it rattle.

The bonnet now closes and opens very easily, all that was needed to complete the job was to fit the repainted bonnet stay. It was installed together with a new clip to hold it in the stowed position on the front armature.

Refurbishing The Doors These next sections cover refurbishing the doors, which was the last major part of work to complete.....

Refurbishing the hinges

The hinges were well worn and needed to be either replaced or refurbished. I opted to refurbish them and sell (on eBay) the pair of new hinges that had come with the car.

My contacts promised to help refurbish the pins and the hinges at a very reasonable rate. So after I’d punched the hinges with dots for ease of pairing up later I knocked out the old pins and removed the hold-open springs. Two of the studs needed replacing with new ones. These are 5/16” UNF threads and a trip to my Dad’s secured two new setscrews, which we duly welded into the hinges after the old ones had been removed with the aid of a big hammer! Whilst I was there I raided his box of new UNF fasteners for the nuts and spring washers I’d need later on – Thanks Dad!

Faircharm Restorations of Leicester blasted and painted the hinges for me (cheers Shane) they look loads better. After painting the hinges were drilled and reamed out to take some new 8mm Silver Steel pins. They have fitted ‘e’ clips and packing washer fitted to the ends of the pins to allow them to be removed without disturbing the hinges, not that I’m planning to remove the doors again!

The hinges were also fitted with anti-slip pads:

Here are the finished hinges:

And the RH ones installed on the 'A' Post:

Overhauling the doors

This part of the project was the last major section to tackle and something I thought may be difficult to do, but it actually turned out to be quite easy.....

The panel in the doors where the hinges are bolted through is a sandwich of fibreglass/metal/fibreglass and as Reliant penny-pinched on these sort of areas the mild steel plates had succumb to water ingress and had rusted badly.

The doors still felt quite solid but one in particular felt very “crunchy” when examining inside the door. With this I decide to replace the plates.

Luckily as fibreglass does not stick that well to metal it was easier than I thought it would be to remove the inner layer of fibreglass and then the metal plates, or what was left of them!

Before attempting to remove the plates the quarter lights were taken off the car, disassembled and the metal parts sent off to be refurbished by Faircharm Restorations. This included the brand new LH frame I’d bought off the internet a couple of years ago. Reliant’s black paint is not that good and I wanted to prolong the life of the new frame (see later for more details on quarter lights).

To remove the top layer of fibreglass and the plates from the inside of the door I used the trusty old Black & Decker Wizard fitted with a cutting tool as shown below to chain drill around the edges and along the centre of the top layer of fibreglass. The tool made short work of the job.  Using a cold chisel and an old wood chisel my Dad and I removed the fibreglass and the steel plates.

Chain drilling the fibreglass.....

The old plates removed ready for cleaning up the door....

Here is the “good one”, the other door’s was completely non-existent.....

After a clean up and a hoover out the doors were ready for card templates to be created so I could have two new stainless steel plates guillotined and punched to shape.


I have the shape of the templates copied onto A3 now so if you want a copy please e:Mail me 

Fitting the Plates, here are the stainless plates ready to go in:

After some grinding to one edges the new stainless plates were fitted into the doors.  As the inside panel of the doors has returned edges the plates have to be tilted and slipped into place. 

Before mixing the fibreglass the holes for the hinges and the electric cables were sealed with masking tape.  To ensure the plates were pulled against the hinge outer-panel when the fibreglass had been applied 2 G-cramps per door, 2 lengths of timber and 2 lengths of steel angle were prepared in readiness to clamp up the work area.

Three layers of glass cloth per door were cut 25-50mm (1-2”) oversize using the cardboard templates as a guide, this extra overlap formed the return edges on the inner and outer panels.

With the resin mixed with the catalyst and some shortened cheap paint brushes Dad and I set about installing the glass cloth.  First a layer of resin was applied to the stainless plate allowing it to flow round its sides and into the hinge holes so it filled some of the gaps between the stainless plate and the outer hinge panel.  With the resin applied the first layer of fibreglass was laid into place, resin was then applied and dabbed to force it to permeate into the glass cloth.  When soaked with the resin a metal ribbed roller was used to squash the layer down.

The above was repeated for 2 further layers of cloth, with the final rolling ensuring that the edges and corners were properly seated.

To prevent movement and possible cracking when the hinges are installed the steel/timber lengths were placed inside the door and 2 G-cramps used to clamp the area up, as you can see here.

Dad helping out with the doors.....

My Dad who help was invaulable when it came to reparing the hinge plates - Thanks Dad!

By the time we had cleaned off the roller and tidied up the resin was starting to cure nicely.  After being left for a week the doors were ready to have the excess fibreglass trimmed off.  The hinges and the cable holes were drilled out.  I used a hole saw and a rasp tool to achieve this.

Whilst working on the doors I noticed that the rear window channels were very rusty so I removed these and after taking out the silent channel, which had shrunk and needed replacing anyway, I cleaned up and re-sprayed the channels.  

New silent channel was ordered from Woolies and fitted.

The silent channels were left long and riveted in place:

The repainted channels were then bolted back into the doors remembering to fit the packing washer at the top positions.

Hanging the Doors

With the new pins in the hinges and them bolted to the ‘A’ posts I set about hanging the doors with the help of my Dad.

The first job was to remove the windows whilst the doors were off the car, this was for two reasons. Primarily so I could drill out the rivets holding the outer weather-strip to the door , but also so the glass did not keep banging on the door as we were testing the fit of the doors over and over again!

Mark round the two bolts holding the rear slider in place (the M6 ones at the door end) using a felt tip, this will aid the lining up when the windows go back in.

When fitting the doors we found it easier to remove the catches from the 'B' posts, this allowed the doors to be swung about with out having to keep lifting the handle up.

The doors were quite easy to hang with two people, one lifting the door the other slipping on the nuts and washers. I used some 5/16" UNF Nylocs and where the threads were long enough two M8 Form A washers to stop them 'dishing'.

The initial fit was pleasing and with some adjusting of the hinges on the 'A' posts and packing the door themselves off the hinges a good fit was found. Not concours standard, but they never will be. The most important thing was that was was absolutely no up and down movement in the hinges! - Well done the guys at the machine shop!

With the doors swinging nicely the time came to pop the catches back on. This was fairly easy too. The only thing that stopped them for going straight on was the fact that they needed to move out towards the door. Some trail and error with initially washers then aluminium plates saw the locks move out around 3.2mm. The doors now close and lock with mo mechanical clunking, just the clicking of the locks - Success!

Here are the doors back on the car......

Door Mirrors  The door mirrors were fitted once the doors had been hung back on the car. This was an easy job, just two fixings for each mirror. One of the fasteners is an M6 stud, the on the other I used an M6 x 30 Stainless Button Head.

With the mirrors on I connected up the electrics for them. The cables will need clipping out of the way of the windows once the frames have all been installed

'A' Post Cover Trims

The trims for the ‘A’ posts were cleaned up and the edges that fitted behind the door rubbers were ground down so the rubbers were not opened up too much.

The panels were then screwed into place...

Doors Cards and Weather Strips Replacement With the windows out the outer weather-strips could be removed from the car. New ones were sourced from Woolies as the originals had gone brittle.

Tip here: Punch out the centres of the old rivets first, then when drilling the aluminium body of the rivet the steel centre pin does not force the drill off line into the softer fibreglass. I used a stem off another rivet to do this.

Long aluminium rivets were used to affix the seals to the door panel after shaping the lock end and cutting them to length

The doors cards were cleaned up and the old weather strips removed as these were brittle and had come adrift from the panels in a few places.

They are the same as used on the outer seals but this time I held them in place with bugle headed plaster board rivets. These will not rust (hence the reason they work so well under plaster) and have a very sharp point for starting them off without the need to pilot drill the hole. They hold very well into the hard foam of the door cards. Here are the screws:

The holes that I'd drilled in the weather strips (avoiding the old rivet holes in the foam) were then counter sunk, which created a tidy finish to the strips when screwed to the door cards:

Replacing the windows The windows were one of those 30 minutes for the first side, 5 minutes for the second jobs!

First I fitted the polythene sheeting that protects the winder mechanism from any water getting inside the door from outside, these were taped to the bottom of the windows.

The actual installation is pretty straight forward, pull the window winder mechanism up through the top of the door, slide the window roller channels onto the roller and then lower the whole assembly back into the door - right!

But what stops the roller/winder assembly sliding back out of the window channels? - Nothing! - To over come this I used two long tie wraps to hold the ends of the 'scissor arms' together which stops the arm from opening up too far and this makes it far easier to install the window/winder into the door. Once in it's an easy job to align up the holes and pop in the five bolts.

Arrows show where to put the tie wraps....(photo is the window coming out here)

Quarter Lights The quarter lights on an SS1 are prone to rusting badly. My car was no exception! The right one looks like it has been replaced at some point in the cars life, the left on was completely knackered..... 

I'd bought a brand new one off ebay for £35 (£120 from the dealers!) so this was the replacement for the left hand side, but as with the right hand one, it too went to Faircharm Restorations to be blasted and painted properly.

Here is the new Reliant one with its auto-self-peeling paint work.... 

And here it is back from Faircharm Restorations, you'll notice that the glass is now the proper tinted version to match the door and other quarter light window - Thanks Bill for this! 

I made up some new aluminium lower angle brackets in readiness for the windows to go back in. New fasteners were used all round too.

To aid the refitting of the frames I drilled a hole in the flat area it sits on and using a junior hacksaw and file opened this up into a slot. This allowed the frame to be slide down the glass and made it a lot easier to fit, you can see the before and after pictures of the slot here:

I also fitted some small foam pads to raise the frame slightly off the door to allow any water that gets onto the bottom of the cross channel to not sit and rust the frames away again.

Installing the quarter lights was quite straight forward. A test fitting showed the windows would run up and down and not foul anything. The rear channel found its own position as the bolts has been left fairly slack. 

Here is the new quarterlight adjustment bracket:

The quarterlight frames were a good fit, the left one did need some packing to ensure it cleared the 'A' post. Here is the RH door after the frame had been fitted and adjusted:

All that remained now was to fit the door cards and trim......

Completing the doors At last! - The doors near completion, and therefore the car! Only one more push for all the finishing touches, but first here's the doors having their final bits fitted....

As the left hand card was curved I fitted 3 tapped pads behind the door panel, taking care not to drill the glass! The door cards were first fitted to ensure the holes were inline and then 3 holes were drilled through the cards and into the fibreglass.

Here is one of the tapped pads:

The cards were removed and the tapped pad held in place to drill the 4.5mm holes for the rivets. With these done I then held the pads inside the door, put in an M6 setscrew to hold them in place, then riveted each one to the panel. Placing them behind the panel ensures the cards can be pulled up.

The holes in the door panels were painted round with a fluorescent orange paint so I could see them more clearly whilst lining up the panel clips.

The holes in the door were then covered up with fabric (gaffer) tape and polythene sheeting.

Fitting the actual door cards was a bit time consuming, the left one wasn't too bad but the right hand side needed to be test fitted a couple of times as I had to remove quite a thickness of foam from the back of the card to allow it to sit back on the door far enough for the lock escutcheon plate and winder winder handle to fit. After a while though both cards were on and the doors were looking more complete.

Adding the plastic trims and the fabric insert card went without any hitch, the plastic parts having been cleaned with Armourall beforehand. The door pull handles were bought new from a Ford dealer (see supplier page for details) as the original ones were broken around the edges.

Here are a few images of the door liners:

The trim cappings on the door weather-strips are the only items left to fit, I have to source two new ones as they were missing on the car.

To finish this section here are some images of the completed interior, and one of me lookign smug!....

This brings the majority of the work to a finish.

The next section covers the finishing touches to the car, prior to the MOT!