The Triumph Dolomite Club - Discussion Forum

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 Post subject: Another Aussie Sprint
PostPosted:Sat Apr 03, 2021 5:41 pm 
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Location:Australia
Hi all

Introducing my Sprint S400-CCX. One of the 600 or so imported to Australia for one single model year, available in any colour as long as it was Mimosa Yellow. I've seen an estimate that perhaps 200 survive in one form or another, a contributing factor possibly being that rust is not really an issue in this climate.

Sold new in Geelong, Victoria on 7 Novemebr 1975, Build # VA15546DLO (that 'O' was to cause me official problems when I aquired it!). According to the BL "Passport to Service" the car was serviced regularly at the original dealer garage until the end of 1983. I bought the car in Tasmania in December 2019, where it appeared to have migrated in the late 1990s. The vehicle came with a large folder of receipts, invoices and notes, plus about 100 issues of "Dolly Mixture" put together by the person who took it to Tasmania. He was by then the third owner (I am the fifth). Owner Three spent a large amount of money repairing it and preparing it for hill climbing. At some point in the 90s it has been in an accident and had a passenger side chassis straightening and mudguard/bonnet respray. Mr. Three modified the car with a race cam (of unspecified grade), 2x45mm Webers, electronic ignition, Koni suspension pack, stainless single pipe exhaust, fat little 60 profile tyres, strategically placed fire extinguishers, electric water pump and fan with an electronic monitoring control unit and annoying keyfob operated lockout. Apart form that the car is orginal through out and the exterior is great (apart from some minor stone chips and a small bonnet dent (more on that later) and the interior trim is in excellent condition except for two cracks in the dash pad caused by many summers of heating and of course the curse of the scruffy peeling yellowed woodwork laquer. An after market oil guage was somewhat crudely screwed under the dash along with a small LED that flashes from time to time when on the move but I have no idea why it is there or what it is supposedly reporting .

I bought the car unseen on Gumtree, being itching to remove a large quantity of money form my bank. I probably paid over the odds for it, but the only other one for sale was a ground up restoration and the price for that was in the mid to high silly range.

So I flew over to Tasmania from South Australia, the journey from Hell. But..then I saw it. Polished shiny, looking immaculate in the sellers front yard and I knew it was right. Then we started it ( a procedure akin to flight checking a small aircraft waiting for various systems to report back and show a green "Go" LED. Oh man, it was rattly!! The rattle was, I was sure, the timing chain. Sucking in a deep breath and saying a mantra "but damn it looks great!" to myself and having reached the point of no return and no other choice, , I set off on the long drive to the north of the state and the ferry terminal to Melbourne. Waiting in line at the ferry though, I was surrounded by the Bentley Club doing a 100th (?) anniversary run and spent a few hours dribbling on some priceless 1920s Bentleys. The even longer 400km drive from Melbourne to my home town was scary. The car bucked and kicked and rattled and bounced on the most travelled tourist road in the State of Victoria and also quite possibly the worst road in the state as well.

Back home, I found one of the very very few mechanics in this town that even knows what an older car engine looks like and ordered a timing kit from Rimmers (8 days form order to delivery. That is just awesome!) and after a couple of months of fitting my car in between others that actually make the workshop money, I got it back. The mechanic was not impressed, called the engine agricultural and more suited to a tractor and added it was a noisy begger by design anyway, but at least the timing chain/gears and guide were done. Compression is stable varying between 150 and 158 across all four pots. The cam makes it lumpy as hell though.

Next job was replacing the fat little 60 profiles with original spec Yokohamas. The ride immediatly improved but still was not great. Advised the steering rack had endplay as well as worn tie rod ends, ball joints and the wheel bearings needed replacing. I gave Rimmers some money and they sent me stuff, including the rack and a full front end polybush set. Duly fitted except..some of the Polybushes didn't fit. Oh. Turns out, an Australian company can supply the kits and they specify two kinds..one marked "With Koni" I should have checked a domestic supplier first. Lesson learned. In fitting the rack, the garage people had to jack the engine. A pity they did not pop the bonnet first as there is now a small but noticeable dent where the thermostat housing pushed itself into it. Unhappy.

Registering the car in South Australia involved an inspection as the car had come from another jurisdiction. The testing station yobbo was not happy with the car. First, wrong steering wheel (I had the correct Sprint wheel on order so he let that pass relcuctantly). Then came the might VIN hunt. I pointed out the commission plate and he said that was irrelevant if the same number was not stamped on the body. Which, it isn't. I actually do not know how they got away with not stamping it on the firewall, since it is a legal requirement and has been since Noah. Nevertheless, it did not exist. Not only that, all my paperwork for the car listed the Comm. Number as VA15546DLO, but the plate only had VA15546DL. The man said it was a mismatch and I would have to renew the vehicle identification legally by removing any reference to DLO. Extra cost there. Money paid, they gave me a new legal Registration plate and papers amended to delete the forbidden "O" and I was good to go.

So, on the agenda for the next month is replacing the wretched to use "button clutch" arrangement for a standard unit and overhauling the working bits, as son as I can identify which master/slave unit combo in attached. BL seemed to use parts from whatever supplier was not on strike on the day of the build. The brakes need fluching. The car had sat in a shed for 5 years with no service, so I suspect the mushiness of the pedal is due to sad fluid. I have not yet identified the front discs but they are not standard, I think.

The diff whines like my co-workers ( nothing I can do about that. No one locally does diffs) and the rear end thumps and crashes annoyingly despite a mechanical report that says the shocks and bushes are just fine). The exhaust bangs on the underside constantly and no amount of fiddling at the local exhaust place seems to cure that. The Sprint was simply not designed to have a single pipe system...

After that, it's cosmetic stuff. Interior trim is in excellent condition. The woodwork is sun faded and damaged and the dashpad cracked, which I suspect will be the expensive bit. Having a dashpad vacuum formed as per original is a scarily expensive operation, I have been told.

A Note on the common cracked interior rear view mirror mounting base. I shaped a 1.5mm aluminium plate to match the bottom of the mount, filled the inner space with epoxy, clamping the crack tight until the epoxy set then glued the aluminium plate to the base. Drilled out the mounting holes, filled and sanded the join between the original base and the shimmed aluminium and painted satin black and screwed it back to the roof. No problem and unnoticable.

A long long post, I know, take heart., One more Dollie survives. If you made it this far, thanks. :)


Attachments:
Sprint02.jpg
Sprint02.jpg [282.58KiB |Viewed 278 times ]
Sprint01.jpg
Sprint01.jpg [310.77KiB |Viewed 278 times ]

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PostPosted:Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:23 pm 
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Hi nice wright up of your car,how bad is the dash ? you can cut the crack open a bit and fill the gap with resin and then recover with in vinyl or
leather theres a guy on Ebay selling leather covers for the dash

Dave


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 Post subject: Hello and...
PostPosted:Sat Apr 03, 2021 9:09 pm 
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Welcome to the forum.

There is another Sprint owner in South Australia, who uses the user name Straylight.
He has two Sprints and had an epic thread of sorting the first on here.


Ian

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PostPosted:Sun Apr 04, 2021 2:37 pm 
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Joined:Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:29 pm
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Location:Australia
Quote:
Hi nice wright up of your car,how bad is the dash ? you can cut the crack open a bit and fill the gap with resin and then recover with in vinyl or
leather theres a guy on Ebay selling leather covers for the dash

Dave
Two lines of cracking from the corners of the speaker cover to the cabin side edge. The vinyl around the speaker grille is hard. The grille itself I had to replace with a new one from Ireland of all places as mine was heat twisted. Even so the new speaker cover does not sit flat due to warping of the surrounding vinyl. I'm treating it with Magiuers vinyl restorer liquid to soften it. That seems to be making slow progress but it is working after repeated applications.

If I can locate the eBay reference, I'll consider filling and covering as you suggest. Thanks for the input :)

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75 Sprint
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PostPosted:Sun Apr 04, 2021 7:06 pm 
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Well I could supply an undamaged crash pad, I have 2 or 3 here and wouldn't want a huge amount for one. The British weather means we have water damage (which can sometimes rust the metal framework) but don't get sun cracking :lol:

Dunno what the shipping would be like though! It's not especially heavy, but it's a bit big!

Steve

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'73 2 door Toledo with Vauxhall Carlton 2.0 8v engine (The Carledo)
'78 Sprint Auto with Vauxhall Omega 2.2 16v engine (The Dolomega)
'72 Triumph 1500FWD in Slate Grey

Maverick Triumph, Servicing, Repairs, Electrical, Recomissioning, MOT prep, Trackerjack brake fitting service.
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PostPosted:Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:00 am 
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Quote:
Well I could supply an undamaged crash pad, I have 2 or 3 here and wouldn't want a huge amount for one. The British weather means we have water damage (which can sometimes rust the metal framework) but don't get sun cracking :lol:

Dunno what the shipping would be like though! It's not especially heavy, but it's a bit big!

Steve
I'm interested!

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 Post subject: DLO or DL ?
PostPosted:Wed Apr 07, 2021 12:26 am 
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Interesting point as my ex Australian Sprint has the DLO suffix on the commission plate attached to the car at the factory, but the plain aluminium plate attached by the 'Australian Motor Vehicle Certification Board' nearby on the nearside inner wing just states DL. That also states 6/76 which I assume is when it was in Aussie and complied for the road. It also states it was manufactured to comply with three stated Australian standards which I have always assumed relate to the device to capture fuel vapour / overflow fuel and return it to the tank. That is the only difference I found from 'standard' Sprints.

The full chassis / commission number is stamped on the top of the nearside suspension turret, parallel to the wing, between the outermost two nuts on the shock mount. I imagine that this could easily become 'lost' if the car has ever been repainted.

My car came across to NZ in 1996 and as it was a new import now also has a modern 19 digit VIN plate. Fortunately the original two plates remain in place just for the authenticity, but of course are legally irrelevant in NZ.

Geoff

PS: Steve, I have the same problem with a hardened and cracked dash / crashpad so if you do find out what it would cost all up to this part of the world, could you please let me know. Thanks


Attachments:
body stamped no.JPG
body stamped no.JPG [95.58KiB |Viewed 129 times ]
AMVCB plate.JPG
AMVCB plate.JPG [157.26KiB |Viewed 129 times ]
BL commission plate.JPG
BL commission plate.JPG [162.13KiB |Viewed 129 times ]
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PostPosted:Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:34 am 
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https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SUGRU-BLACK- ... SwdpRf4yCG

Any of you guys tried this stuff on your dash pads? I don't know if it's available over there, but its damn good stuff 8) And for the price it's worth a try.

Tony.

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PostPosted:Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:03 pm 
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re compliance plates and body numbers: curiouser and curiouser. Cursory interwebz research tells me compliance plates were not mandatory prior to 1989, but were fitted anyway as a convenient proof for registering authorities that the vehicle met certain legal standards. Apparantly prior to 1989 it was not a requirement for the plate to remain on the vehicle after the first registration. Probably, mine just got lost at some point. When it is light, I am going to rummage on the firewall for the rivet holes where one may have been attached. As far as the body number stamping, yeah, it could be right there under the repaint as that side of the vehicle had been damaged and repaired decades ago, or that inner guard was replaced with a new blank panel.

Dash reforming (the expensive way) - video on this site shows how it's done for anyone interested. https://www.dashboarddoctor.com.au/resk ... estoration

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I once had a life. Now I have a Triumph.
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75 Sprint
01 Ford Fairlane AU-II


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PostPosted:Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:20 am 
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Location:Sydney, Australia.
Another Sprint saved, lovely job mate!

UK do interiors survive beautifully, I'm sure one of the lads could fix you up there..

Re: Vinyl pad / dashboard doctor you mentioned, several local classic car folk use him so that's where I sent mine..Fast turnaround and the pattern was close, plus fair pricing too, one mob quoted me double!


Image

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'75 Dolomite Sprint (Mimosa Yellow) - currently restoring back to life


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