Viva GT - resto thread - recap and restart

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Viva GT - resto thread - recap and restart

Postby jpsmit » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:41 am

So, I figured I had better get a thread up here, partly for advice, which I will need lots of, and partly to keep me moving forward as my goal for this year is to pull my thumb out and get on with finishing it.

To recap - about two years ago a Viva Gt showed up on Kijiji (local classified) after a few weeks, I replied, found out I knew the seller. He (the seller) had in turn bought it from another who had had the body work done, assembled parts, stripped cars and then, his life crashed and after some time, he sold the car as an abandoned project.

I bought the car and, embarrassingly it has mostly sat ever since. As rare as these are in the UK, they are even rarer here. I have seen one on Kijiji in Calgary for sale, have stripped the last of one which was then crushed and have recently purchased the parts of another (excluding engine) - these may be the last ones in North America.

This is the car as I bought it.

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The engine was seized, long story but basically the good "pickled" engine was left when the PO picked it up leaving the spare seized one. I had to have it bored 30 thou over and it is ready to go together. So, without further ado, here goes:
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Re: Viva GT - resto thread - recap and restart

Postby jpsmit » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:43 am

Catch up from another forum:

so, it is January 2014 and it is time to resurect this thread. sadly, not a lot of major stuff has happened, so, time to get cracking on. (watching your projects is a huge inspiration) The three tasks that I have done, 1. is to get the engine ready to be rebuilt. it has been bored out 30 thou, and skimmed etc etc. SWMBO left for two weeks to a course in Atlanta today which means I can move the block inside tomorrow to paint it and install freeze plugs etc in the warm (Tuesday is to be one of the coldest days in years)

2. Is I have been slowly scraping undercoating. More on that later but, it is the most boring job in the world, so, every time I think about doing it, I find something else to do. Last week, I decided to get on with it and as I was scraping, it occured to me that I have a perfectly good job and could therefore pay my underemployed son to do it - he agreed, though he has another job to finish first. and 3. accumulating stuff, the pistons, the bearings, a few manuals and a parts car - yes, I found another. it is currently under snow but come spring I will be stripping it - especially for the wire harness which I have been unable to source elsewhere. Oh and a bunch of original brochures.

Anyways, The Midget is in storage for the winter leaving space to work. The garage is small (though not as small as many here) and there is an apartment above so noises and smells is a bit of an issue. That said, my goal is to do a bit of work every single day. we will see.

so, without further ado, a few photos:

Image

this is the car as currently parked. as mentioned, I have been scraping undercoat - the problem is that I have found three or four holes. The good news is that I have a friend who is a welder and he is coming to exchange beer for welding, likely in two weeks. So, after some grunting and pushing, and with some help from my daughter, (hence no swearing) this happened:

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and

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Astute readers will not that this is an SL subframe and not a GT. I have the GT mostly ready to be reassembled and will do something with this one.

Here is the reason I took it off (well that and the previously mentioned swap)

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Lousy picture but I think you can see the holes. I is actually worse than I thought. Here is my rant. The previous owner spent big bucks on the body and paint of this car. But, the body shop never scraped the bottom and therefore never found and fixed these holes. (Actually, there is some evidence that they did find the other holes but "forgot" to repair) And, to make it worse, in the engine compartment you can see where they painted over the undercoat (and mud) and I in turn stripped off. My hunch is that the PO had the body shop do the car inbetween jobs. While they weren't as careful as they could have been, most of what has been done has been done to a high standard, but, there are gaps, the kind of gaps you might get if there were weeks or months before you got back to the project. A good friend of mine is adamant. if you are going to pay a shop, suck it up and have them prioritize the job and do it all at once. I agree. I also must say I even more appreciate the value of knowing and trusting a good body guy!

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Here is the block ready to go, and, does anyone know what the numbers mean?

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Finally, a picture of my daughter's project(s) This is part of what hopefully will be a Honda CT90 one day (one is actually a CT90 and the other a CT200, 1968 and 1966 respectively we reckon) She came a year or so ago and told me that while she loves studying history at University, she wanted something real and hands on to restore. So, she found these - and is slowly coming around to doing them.

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More to come in the hpes that this will keep me going and keep me focussed. Cheers all!
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Re: Viva GT - resto thread - recap and restart

Postby jpsmit » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:45 am

And to last week:

Well today was momentus - not too many pictures I am afraid, but the welding got done. An old friend from High School Days & I had reconnected over the past couple of years, we never totally lost touch but, are being more intentional about staying connected. (Started out cruising in his Beetle and later his GTI - ah, memories.) Anyways, he is a welder and I had holes. So, he came; rewire plug to match MIG welder, grind, grind, weld, weld, grind, grind, prime - and now the rest of the undercoat goes (hopefully courtesy of my underemployed son who suddenly seems to have work)and as soon as the weather gets just a little nicer, truck bed liner as undercoat. This the reason also why I didn't worry too too much about the finish of the welds as they will be well covered anyways. Interestingly, my friend works welding specialty trucks for the mining industry, so, always new metal - and always thicker steel - crawling under a Vauxhall was a bit of a new adventure. All in all a great afternoon. Oh, and the momentus nature of the day was the mental block that was relieved by this welding - it, and the undercoat has essentially stymied me for two years, on this side of it, I don't know why. doh!

New Plug

Image

My friend Ed getting down to it

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Shiny!

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Primed

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as always, comments welcomed
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Re: Viva GT - resto thread - recap and restart

Postby droopsnoot » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:34 am

jpsmit wrote:Here is my rant. The previous owner spent big bucks on the body and paint of this car. But, the body shop never scraped the bottom and therefore never found and fixed these holes. (Actually, there is some evidence that they did find the other holes but "forgot" to repair)


That winds me up too. I once read a lovely restoration story, chap had loads of work done, full respray, engine rebuild, took it for the first MOT test which it failed on cracks in the chassis members. For an amateur restorer to get as far as a paint finish without checking underneath is down to lack of experience or just a mistake, forgiveable really, for a professional bodyshop to do it (which I think my story was) is just sloppy.

Alarm bells were ringing in my head when you said the PO had all the paintwork done, then a bit later said you were stripping underseal. At first I thought you must be stripping the new underseal for some reason, then it became clear.

Still, looks like you got it sorted, which is the main thing.
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Re: Viva GT - resto thread - recap and restart

Postby pbottomley » Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:35 pm

Pays to get it back to bare metal and fix it all at the start, before the shiny paint goes on..... Ive been there costs more but at leats you know its all good.
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Re: Viva GT - resto thread - recap and restart

Postby Colin » Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:53 am

Good luck with it, JP! :D

It would be fantastic to see a fully restored Canadian spec Viva GT. Would it be unique I wonder? Are there any really good original or properly restored GTs in existance in Canada? I've seen one or two pictures of unrestored slightly worse for wear examples - although with massive potential - but no really good Canadian GTs, despite the fact that probably more were sold in Canada than in the UK... I wonder how many are hiding undiscovered in sheds, barns and garages in Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Scandinavia.

Your GT looks like it's going to be fantastic! :goodluck:
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Re: Viva GT - resto thread - recap and restart

Postby jpsmit » Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:55 pm

Thanks Colin, I am aware of only one other car in the country that could be a runner - about the time I got mine, there was one for sale in Calgary - but that's all I ever knew (or know) about the project. This spring I am stripping some parts off a GT that is past saving, but those are all I know of. That said, you are right, they do have a habit of appearing. Last fall two or three HB's popped up for sale out of the blue.

I doubt though that more were sold here than the UK - I understand they only came to Canada for one year of the three.
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Re: Viva GT - resto thread - recap and restart

Postby jpsmit » Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:50 am

Not much of an update as I have mostly been cleaning and sorting - and selling off a few bits and bobs, but, I know this crowd like shiny things. I keep forgetting my proper before pics. Anyways, you may recall the engine was seized before I got it. More precisely, there were two engines, one good one - stripped and "pickled" and another spare, seized. Guess which one they left and which they brought with them? So, thirty thou overbore later and new pistons courtesy of ebay and we are good to go. Then I found out that swapping the new pistons to the existing gudgeon pins was really not a DIY job, so, off to the engine shop we went and, an hour later we were good to go. So, without further ado:

before:

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and now:

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Oh, and, the distributer, two actually, went off to be rebuilt and re-curved this week - I am excited about this and, realized today that the pistons came from the UK, this week I sold parts to the UK and Austria, I am getting advice from New Zealand and Louisiana and points south and of course the shop and the car are in Toronto - got to love the Interweb!

Hope to start building this weekend
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Re: Viva GT - resto thread - recap and restart

Postby jpsmit » Sun Mar 09, 2014 4:00 am

So, very little to report - above freezing today though! Have managed to get the rear axle off and the springs off, still trying to get the short pieces of the 4 link suspension off - though the floor is wet under the car due to the ice in the driveway redirecting the melting water into the garage instead of down the driveway.

Not worth a picture of an axle next to the car - but, in a previous post I mentioned the distributor being rebuilt. It is in the mail on the way here but, in the meantime, here is what I learned.

1. In addition to the clean and rebuild, Jeff Schlemmer (Advance Distributor) re-curves the distributor for today's gas - as opposed to 60's gas which was apparently better (and leaded) He also says it is much better now as it was throwing all the advance at the low end (whatever that means.)

2. He has worked on many many distributors, and this ones housing is unique. The guts on the other hand are common to basically every Delco distributor of the era.

So, without further ado - at least two pictures:

Image

Image
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Re: Viva GT - resto thread - recap and restart

Postby Paul Dawson » Sun Mar 09, 2014 9:44 am

Shiny is good. That's a cracking workshop you've got there. Keep up the photos, it's always good to see what others are doing.
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