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One of the most daunting, ambitious projects underway is the nut-and-bolt restoration of a magnificent Gurney-Nutting bodied Phantom II Continental. Here is our initial inspection report:
Having transported the car to our workshops we have inspected it on our ramp. The car has clearly not moved under its own power for a long time (last tax disc: 1992)
The engine is seized (did not turn on the starting handle) so we cannot fire it up. We therefore cannot test any of the mechanical parts, and in turn must assume everything requires refurbishment. There is severe corrosion to the cylinder head and blocks, such that they will need replacing. All the chassis and running gear is very dirty and rusty, so we have been unable to inspect thoroughly.
All underbonnet tools are present and correct, a few are missing from the interior tool tray, but by and large the car is very complete and original.
The all-aluminium panelwork is showing signs of corrosion throughout – in fact on most panels. In addition there are cracks on the front doors, the corners of the windows and on the door apertures, both where they meet the roof and the rear wheel arches. All this indicates that the ash frame structure is moving – most likely caused by dry joints or rot. Clearly all the aluminium skins will need to be removed.
One obvious issue with the original design of the car relates to the rear side windows. These currently consist of a fixed pane and a moving pane. There is a large gap between the two, which will need addressing in order to optimize the planned air conditioning system.
Whilst it is clearly impossible to carry out a proper inspection of the ash frame at this stage, our woodworker has crawled over the car and feels that partial replacement of parts of the frame etc. is the most likely requirement. We have reflected this in our Estimate.
The majority of this will not be retained, however a number of questions arise as to the choice of finishes and specification. These are being forwarded as part of a separate list of questions.
Having won the job, we methodically stripped the car. Happily, Paul W, our chief mechanic has worked extensively on 3 of these cars before, and his in-depth knowledge is proving invaluable.
In order to win the work, we provided a full schedule of projected works, including key milestones, over a 2-year period. We are on track, having refurbished the ash frame (which turned out to be in good condition overall), taken the decision to fabricate new rear wings - they were VERY poor, and restore the fronts. The chassis is refurbished and being built up, and both axles are nearing completion in their rebuilds.
Designing an air conditioning system that will work properly is a bit of a challenge, but our friend Phil at Claytons is proving invaluable.
This is a truly magnificent automobile, and we are determined to demonstrate that the owner was right to put his faith in us.