RUN BY Greg Macleman OWNED SINCE June 2017 PREVIOUS REPORT August 2018
You know you’re getting deep into a project when the sum total of the parts that just arrived comfortably eclipses what you paid for the car – by some margin. That’s the position I was in post-le Mans, with a growing pile of shiny components gradually taking over the floor space in the master bedroom, and an understanding wife beginning to exhibit the signs of a woman on the edge. Something had to give, so as soon as the October issue had been sent to the printer, Martin Port and I took a day off to see how much progress we could make.
The biggest outlay went on a set of Cv-jointed driveshafts and lightweight alloy hubs from upgrade specialist Classic Driving Developments, which should solve the long-standing problem of spline lock with the original components. Beautifully machined and incredibly smooth in operation, they essentially replace 1960s engineering with technology found on the latest modern vehicles. Paired with the new driveshafts was the replacement differential that had been expertly refurbished by Bill Hardy at Hardy Engineering, along with fully adjustable shock absorbers from Gaz. Chris Witor provided the front 205/400lb progressive springs and uprated 575lb rears, plus trailing-arm shackles from a pre-facelift 2000 that I hoped would correct the comical – and probably slightly dangerous – negative camber.
Despite our early start, a good three hours was spent trying to free the diff from the quill shaft, with the topmost of four bolts proving impossible to access. In desperation I called guru Witor, who quickly diagnosed the problem – we had jacked the car on the subframe, which was pinned against the floor, preventing the diff from dropping.
Diff now free, it was time to tackle the old driveshafts, which came out without protest. Once removed from the car it was plain to see that the passenger-side UJS were completely shot – the worst either of us had seen, and I suspect the cause of the violent rumble above 50mph. With about an inch of play, it was incredible it hadn’t completely let go. Sobering stuff.
The rebuilt diff was then offered into position and mated well with the quill shaft, and we took the opportunity to replace the old rubber mountings with Superpro polyurethane versions. Each trailing arm connects to the subframe via two brackets, which in my post-’74 facelift car produce excess camber when paired with lowering springs. The outside shackles were replaced with earlier units, and the inside with 1.5º camber-correction brackets from Witor, which raise the inside anchor point of each trailing arm to bring the wheels into a normal alignment. With the trailing arms dropped, swapping the springs was simply a case of lifting out the old and seating the new. Removing the dampers, held in place by a nut at either end, was almost as easy.
Totally exhausted, we decided to leave the front end of the car for another day and dropped it back onto its wheels, which were now much more upright and correctlooking. An unwanted side effect of straightening the wheels was the close proximity of wheelarch to tyre – touching in the case of the passenger side. Patience now wearing thin, we took an angle grinder to the arch to create enough clearance for the drive home.
On the road, the car is transformed, and while the rattly exhaust is still unbearable, the severe vibration at motorway speeds has been completely cured. The only minor issue was a slight shimmy from the back end while on the sliproad entering the M25; further investigation is required.
‘On the road the car is transformed, and while the rattly exhaust is still unbearable, the severe vibration has been cured’
Δ Martin Port
Δ Classic Driving Development: www. classicdrivingdevelopment.co.uk Δ Gaz Shocks: www.gazshocks.com Δ Hardy Engineering: www.hardyengineering.co.uk
Getting out the old diff took longer than it should have, but the refurbished one fitted nicely with its new poly mountings
…fully adjustable shock absorbers? Check
Hard work on the hottest day of the year
New driveshafts are a real work of art
New coil springs front and rear? Check…