Not exactly a restoration, well at least I hope not, maybe a few tweaks here and there, but it was suggested that I start this thread to cover what work is done on my just acquired Sprint.
Let's throw in some details on what history I do know about the car according to the paperwork. HHC 857N is a Dolomite Sprint sold to Mr Harry Alfred Barber of Roselands Close Eastbourne on the 1st July 1975 by G.F. Swan Ltd of Cowbeech, Sussex. There is now quite some gap to say the least until the next bit of information that I am aware of, when on the 6th August 2009 Roger Gledhill purchased the vehicle from Percival Motor Company of Ulcombe, Maidstone for the sum of £3995 as a restoration project. In the intervening 34 years between these two events, stuff happened, no idea what though other than a bit of information from xvivalve that it was owned at one time by G Miller, and the number plates do say 'Graham's Sprint' to add weight to that suggestion! A few other details for those interested, commision number VA10270, engine Number VA10388HE and body number 117873WB; all corresponding to the original Triumph 'passport'.
Saturday was collection day, and the 90 mile trip back from the dealer was a risk, so I took backup in the shape of a friend and towing bar. Now I made two mistakes on the way back, first was that I stopped off at the Dartford crossing services for a quick assessment and team chat (or p155 stop!) and got stuck in a huge queue at the A13 roundabout on departure. This is of course when I noticed that the tickover was far too high at about 1400, just what you need in a traffic jam in an unknown 40 year old car. Finally back on the M25 and the next thing noticed is the vibration, and rattling of the steering column at anything over roughly 50mph, still, it sort of smoothed out a bit when going faster. Over the radio my mate in the backup car asks if I know I'm doing 70mph, glance down at the gently fluttering speedo needle hovering at around 60mph and I realise that the speedo is under reading by at least 10mph, I slow down as my mind tries to recall any speed cameras passed and if I smiled for the constabulary.
What about the second mistake I hear you ask? Now as I'm nearly home, I'm feeling all confident and stop off for a coffee. Duly refreshed I get back into the car and it barely turned over. Seems the battery isn't all that, which is odd considering there had been a previous stop, and I had been turning it off and on in the traffic jam every now and again, and it had turned over fine. Battery tops had not all been put back on properly at some stage, suspecting that there had been an attempt to revive the thing, and maybe the underbonnet heat had dried out a cell. The voltage gauge showed a normal charging voltage so I don't think it was overcharging and boiled it dry. By this time the backup car had left and my mates mobile was going to voicemail, a quick Google then found me a Kwik Fit just at the top of the road. Not feeling confident I walk in and ask for a battery for a '75 Sprint, and though they unsurprisingly didn't have it listed they found a battery that was almost a match, a little taller, but that was fine. Stunned at the helpfulness of the staff, their knowledge, even nipping down the road to give me a jump start, I had to check on the way out that it did actually say Kwik Fit over the door. That's the first invoice added to the cars paperwork collection then!
So, things observed back at home during a thorough inspection on Sunday:
The steering column adjuster doesn't make the steering stay put, I think that's supposed to be a fibre washer of some sort.
There are a number of hoses that look none too clever
Passenger footwell carpet is damp, with moisture below, and a bit of surface rust.
Carb mounts look like they are ready to leak if not doing so right now.
There are oil leaks from both the engine and the rear axle, though the diff seal has apparently been replaced relatively recently.
That rear wheel arch doesn't look to clever, which is a shame as there is a bill from the Morris Minor Centre/KA Motors Ltd for £288 to repair and respray this section in June this year, I suspect there is an untreated rusty section behind that.
Not sure why that rear door sticks out a little.
Brake fluid is at the 'danger' level, suggests a leak or most likely that the pads and shoes are worn down.
Speedo is going to need to be recalibrated, or I'll use an old Origin B2 as a speedo tucked away.
There is a fair amount of axle tramp if not careful to slip the clutch when pulling away, suspect mounting bushes have gone soft.
Webasto sunroof doesn't seem to want to open more than 100mm.
Indicator flash rate is lethargic at best, but when indicating left and braking at the same time they don't even bother to attempt to flash.
Wipers look new, but miss a big chunk right in the driver's field of view.
Doesn't appear to have any antifreeze, and that's not a good thing with a Sprint engine.
Idle is lumpy, and too fast.
Choke fast idle is far too high.
The engine oil leak adds an intoxicating aroma to the vehicle when the engine warms up, all it needs is a little Hai Karate splashed around, and some Old Holborn in the ashtrays to really hit that 1970s aromatic sweet spot! My primary concerns at this stage are to change all of the cooling system hoses, sort out the front vibration (not likely to be the brakes, doesn't go away under braking), and give the car a good service and tune. Longer term, not sure yet, in saying that the one thing that put me off this car before I realised that there are not really enough Sprints out there to be too choosey, is the lack of overdrive. It was noticeable just how much it was needed for relaxing cruising just bringing the car home. Undecided what to do about that though, retrofitting is not a simple or cheap task but as the box whines a fair bit in 3rd, if it comes to having the box reconditioned then I might as well go for adding overdrive.
Still, even with that long list I'm not complaining, that is one extremely handsome looking car!