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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

This thread will cover the restoration of a Mk1 Vauxhall Cavalier 2.0 GLS Coupe, which is essentially a UK rebadged Opel Manta B.

Apologies if anyone was following the last thread on this subject that I had created, but I decided to delete it and start again as when content from another thread was added it just felt all muddled and lacking structure/natural order to me.

When I received the car on November the 6th 2017 it is fair to say it was a mess and perhaps even beyond (sensible, rational) saving.

However, I have an emotional attachment to these cars (this will be my third Coupe, plus a Saloon), so I just had to try to save it from the crusher.

The purchase price was negotiated down from £1,300 to just £300 and delivery from the South Coast by a dedicated classic car courier was only another £165, so it hardly owes me too much.

Over this weekend I will endeavor to bring you all of the progress so far, from initial delivery photos up to today.

Stay tuned.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Photos of the car just after it was unloaded from the trailer:





















And a few more a little bit later after it had be settled into its new home for the next few months:

























As you can clearly see this was going to be a long term project lol

On the plus side though, next April it will be 40 years old and therefore tax and MOT exempt...
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
The first job was to free off the seized engine and to get it running again.

The seller reported a 'valve problem' was the reason and sure enough an exhaust valve was seized (rusted) in the down/open position.



So off with its head!:



The offending valve can be seen in these photos:











After rebuilding the head (valves reground, new oil seals etc it was all put back together and a few bits were repainted on the way:







The only two things now (hopefully) stopping it from starting were:
1) No spark
2) No fuel

The ignition system was a mess with two dizzys installed - go figure lol





I managed to get that all sorted out and we now had some nice sparks to help us.

After completely stripping the dual choke carburettor down and replacing a couple of fuel lines we set up a temporary fuel supply from a plastic petrol can and a length of small bore Steel tubing.

The result = no start!

It turns out that a previous attempt at getting it running had resulted in somebody installing the dizzy 180 degrees out. After figuring that out she ran for the first time in approx 18-19 years!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The engine bay after a lot of tidying up, some new coolant hoses, painting the rad etc:



A bit better than before...
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Next, and for a change, I decided t tidy up the Steel wheels with their chrome trim rings:

Before (typical of all):







After some work:







Then for another quick mini project I set about refurbishing the cars external badges - sorry no before photos here, except the ones you can see at the start of the thread when they were fitted to the car:





All completed:



Unfortunately the '2000' badge had some pitting that I didn't know how to get rid of, so rather than fill it and paint it a different colour I decided to leave it as it was a nod to where the car had come from.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Next mini project was to get all of the electrical systems up and running - naturally this included:

- all lights and indicators
- the alternator/charging circuit
- heater fan
- brake reservoir low level warning
- checking the auto inhibitor switch
- oil pressure warning circuit

etc etc













 

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Discussion Starter #7
Three small fill in jobs followed:

1) Remove the center console t replace the auto selector bulb and fix the holder which had broken.

2) Generally clean up the console and shifter parts

3) Glue the rear quarter light hinges back to the glass - a very poor design on these cars.











 

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Discussion Starter #8
After finding out the alternator had a diode pack that was history I located a refurbed one for a very low price and set about painting that up, along with the mounting brackets.







I decided to go with a Black and Silver colour scheme for the alternator, I think it turned out quite nice.





And with it all fitted back up - and thankfully it charges the battery!

 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Nest task - sort out the brakes!

All four corner were pretty much seized solid - it was as much as me and my Son could do to push the car the 25 yards into the garage on the first night. Well the car had been standing for 18-19 years.

The work done:

- Free off all four corners
- Free off all of the manual adjusters on the rear shoes
- Replace both rear wheel cylinders
- Refit all rear brake components, painting the drums, backing plates etc on the way
- Overhaul both front calipers (pistons were seized solid).
- Drill out the (sheared off) bleed screws from each of the front calipers
- Repaint the calipers and install new slider components etc
- fit new front pads
- Make a complete new set of new brake pipes myself.
- Fit the new pipes
- Bleed all brakes







Oh year and wire brush and repaint the rear axle and associated components...

Note the 'straight through' exhaust rear silencer in one of the photos lol





 

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Discussion Starter #11
Next mini project = NS and OS front suspension check, overhaul, paint etc

New Ball joints were fitted where needed.

Unbelievably all of the bolts came out like they had been fitted last week - incredible - certainly not MGR ones then lol











You get the idea!









Now with everything back together again - shiny!





Now I am just waiting for my friend to skim my brake discs at work and all of the braking and suspension work will be complete.

You are now up to date with where I am on this car / project.

More to come in the next few weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
How body is holding?
There is plenty of holes to be dealing with lol

There is one 'suspect' jacking point and two places on the main chassis rails that will need some attention (probably plates adding).

Otherwise structurally its actually not too bad, it just looks really rough...

There are holes in both sides of the boot floor where water from the corners of the rear screen has entered.

Also holes in both front footwells, where they meet the bulkhead and inner wings.

Both doors are rotted out at the bottom, but probably savable?! I do have a pair of Manta doors that are in better shape, but I really want to try to save the originals if I can - but that's just me.

As you can see from the early photos the NSR arch is toast and this has affected the sill area in front of that wheel pretty badly.

So in summary my plate fabrication and MIG welding skills are going to be tested to the limit.

After all of that is done we can think about the refinishing and a home respray...
 

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Great posts. Looks like you're making good progress. I guess the bodywork will be the most challenging element.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Great posts. Looks like you're making good progress. I guess the bodywork will be the most challenging element.
Thanks mate, yes the bodywork is going to be a real test.

I chose to break the project into three main parts, with the bodywork being the last part.

By splitting the project up, my thinking was that the end of one part was always in sight. That means that I would probably not get overawed by the scale of the project in its totality.

I think that this has proven to be correct. We shall see lol
 

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Think you're right but I would factor in costs- meaning that should it end up being a forlorn effort it wouldn't turn out to be so expensive- god willing it doesn't though
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Think you're right but I would factor in costs- meaning that should it end up being a forlorn effort it wouldn't turn out to be so expensive- god willing it doesn't though
Many apologies, but I’m not sure what you mean.
 

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I think he means: Money in will be greater than the value out.

A few years ago. I bought an absolute wreck of an Aprilia RS50 dirt cheap. I spent a whole heap of money on it. What I spent was more than the bike was worth.

In order to get my 'value for money'. I kept and rode it for 3 years. Then I sold it for more than it was worth.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
If this project was all about money, then I never would have started in the first place.

As I said above, I have an emotional attachment to these cars, so it is a labour of love for me.

According to Haggert Insurance, my car will have the following values (as of today):

Condition 4 (Fair) - £2400
Condition 3 (Good) - £3500
Condition 2 (Excellent) - £4800
Condition 1 (Concours) - £6000

Reading the associated descriptions on their website, my car will probably be a high 3, but not as good as a 2.

So on a good day it might be worth £4000 once finished - although after all that work I won’t be selling!

One thing is for sure though, it will be a rare sight if it can be dragged back to the road. Currently there are only 6 of these cars on our roads, with a further 5 on SORN (including mine).
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Just a small amount of work tonight. I thought that I would do a tiny bit of detailing in a different colour to try to break up all the Black under the bonnet.

So i painted the dipstick, oil filler cap and the rad cap in Silver. I think that it has lifted things a little under there.

 
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