READER RESTO: Pop 100E
Restored Popular is a two-tone stunner.
Tim Borrett hadn’t been looking to buy a restorable 100E, but this 1961 Deluxe came along at the right time. “A Sidevalve club member was selling it in 2016,” Tim recalls. “He’d bought it off someone who’d got it from the original owner. The car sat in a garage unused between 1973 and 2014. The seller had done most of the work required underneath and primered the body. He described it as ‘just needing paint to finish.’”
He was largely correct, but Tim previously worked as a car bodywork and paint man. “Everyone has different ways of seeing things,” admits Tim, “I’m a perfectionist concerning bodywork; I look closely at all panel gaps, joins, welds and alignment. Plus the car had rust pitting through the primer and I couldn’t allow myself to paint over that. I had to strip it back to bare metal.”
The 100E is Tim’s first restoration and was completed in a tiny garage. “I had to run an extension lead over from my house; I did virtually everything on the body with a drill attachment and a sander. I started on the nearside front wing doing one panel at time — stripping paint, removing all the rust, then
primering. I don’t really trust liquid paint strippers; the only way to get the metal clean is to acid dip the entire body. But the floor had already been repaired and undersealed, all the wiring and interior was in place — I didn’t want to pull all that out and then redo it. I needed all the rust off, so I wirebrushed the panels back to bare metal, I also used a small sandblaster.”
Both front wings had previous fibreglassed repairs, which Tim cut out and replaced with metal. “I bought repair panels for the lower rear corners and spent quite a while making them fit correctly. There were a couple of small holes to plate over, too. After doing the same to the bonnet, which had rust pits top and bottom, I stripped and primered the doors. They were solid, but it took a day to get through the original paint down to the factory primer. I had to replace the both outer sills — the inner ones were excellent — then spent two days per side getting a perfect sill-to-wing gap.”
Put the boot in
The rear wings needed similar treatment to blend them into the rear of the outer sills and Tim found more metalwork magic was required on the rearmost corners. “They always rot on the rear panel, so I welded in new metal at the boot floor edges and the area below the back bumper. Most were flat panels, but I shaped a few pieces by hand. It’s all about thinking what you’re doing and how to do it. I finished off some areas with filler to smooth it over — filler gets a bad reputation, but provided the metal underneath is welded and solid you can use it to finish off a repair.”
Once each panel was in primer Tim’s attention turned to the bodyshell. “I stripped out the glass and the interior. The A-posts were solid and so were the gutters. I made one mistake when I started digging out the lead used to join the rear panel to the base of the rear window — I’m more used to modern cars and there’s no lead in them! I’d found more lead joining the taillight bezels to the rear wings.
“I put on the two-pack primer with a handgun and small compressor, the only difficulty was the lack of space in my garage, which meant doing the roof in two halves. I carefully feathered the join so it didn’t leave a line down the middle.” Finally, the bodywork was ready for paint. “It took about a year to reach that stage because I was only working on Bank Holidays and every second Sunday. But that was 9 am until 6 pm.”
“I USED A BUFFER WHEEL TO GET THE GRILLE SHINY. IT TOOK A DAY BUT WAS IMMENSELY SATISFYING”
Good friend, Sean lent Tim his spray booth and the pair painted the 100E in three coats of blue and cream.
“I don’t know what the paint colours are,” admits Tim, “they were 99 per cent matched to the original shades.” A month later Tim flatted down and polished all the paint.
“I bought new bumpers since they were £247 each versus £250 to rechrome the originals, but most of the rest of the trim I polished by hand. It took a day to get the grille shiny using a buffer wheel, I did the same on the headlight bezels — it was immensely satisfying. As was removing a crease from the dashboard trim through carefully hammering it out with a screwdriver.”
Tim gets many favourable comments about his headlining. “I painted that with four cans of upholstery paint from The Range, I masked up the whole car then lay down inside. I came out looking like a snowman but it looks great.” The rest of the upholstery merely required a thorough clean.
After finally getting the Pop registered (see ‘Number Games’, right) all seemed well. Until Tim realised the car was smoking. “I’d put on a new head gasket and serviced the engine, but despite only having 21,000 miles on it, after standing all those years I think the rings had gone. Two weeks ago my long-suffering partner, Gemma drove me on a 500-mile round trip to Cornwall to get a rebuilt engine from another club member. At least it only took an hour to get the old one out…”
Now Mary Lou, as Gemma has named the Pop after the song from the same year as the car, is ready for many more years of driving.
“It’s a fair weather car,” says Tim, “just for going to shows, it won’t go out in any fast, busy traffic. I’ve put too much time and effort in to risk any damage. I doubt I’d restore another one but I’m happy to keep working on this one for as long as we’re allowed to keep driving them.” Thanks to: Tim’s partner, Gemma Fuller for her help and encouragement, Gary Wood for the loan of the workshop and Sean Heneke for his painting help, Glenn Woolway for assistance installing the engine and brakes, Andy Main for helping with the paperwork and the very friendly bunch at the Kent Branch of the Ford Sidevalve Owner’s Club for all their advice and encouragement.
The original headlining was refreshed using upholstery paint, and came up a treat.