It all began so naively, back in February. I set about giving the TVR a quick going-over to prepare it for the year's coming road trips, the first of which was scheduled to be an Easter trip to Fontainebleau. There were a fair few jobs I wanted to tackle, but with two months in which to get them done, there shouldn't be any major issues, should there? Famous last words...
With about half the work done, Kermit in a most disassembled state and most of its interior at the trimmers, the world changed. Lockdown began. As I wasn't able to return to my workshop until the restrictions were eased, it was three months before I saw the car again and was able to resume work. It was also three months before I could collect the various pieces of the interior from the trimmers, and began to reinstall them.
More time passed and the urgency of the rebuild was lost as I was forced to cancel the remaining Pub2Pub Adventures trips of 2020, which meant that strictly, I didn't need the car back on the road for another eight months. With the pressure off, a few other jobs were added to the to-do list, and every week or two I'd dedicate a day to the project, gradually getting everything back together again. And then, earlier this month, I found that the piles of parts on the shelves next to the car had been reduced to zero, and it was time to see whether it all worked. Luckily for me, it did.
So, what took me so long? Well the list of jobs which I assembled was almost as long as 2020 has felt, but here are some of the highlights:
Firstly, the chassis was due a good check-over and clean up, which was duly done as soon as the car was up on axle stands, with a liberal application of POR15 being undertaken to keep corrosion at bay - as it had done during the Pub2Pub Expedition, salt flats and all.
Ever since its trip across the world, the TVR has had a leaky power steering hose, which has contributed much to the layer of grime covering the motor. So, a full new set of hoses was installed, and the power steering pump itself was also changed, to silence the grumbling bearing which the old one was suffering from.
Speaking of grumbling bearings, the belt tensioner was suffering from a similar affliction and so was also swapped out, and a full set of ACT silicone hoses installed, along with a new thermostat, and otter switch to control the cooling fans.
The brakes came in for a lot of attention, with new discs and pads all round, a new master cylinder being fitted and most importantly, a coat of gold paint for the brake callipers. Because everyone loves a gold brake calliper, right?
New engine mounts were shoehorned into place to replace the originals, which had collapsed on the rough tracks of the Pub2Pub Expedition, and all the rear anti-roll bar bushes and brackets were also replaced for similar reasons.
Regarding the fuel system, a new fuel pump and filter were fitted, and all the hoses checked over. And on the subject of fluids - they were all changed - coolant, brake fluid, gearbox oil, differential oil, power steering fluid, etc, and lots of general servicing was undertaken.
Moving on to the interior, which had taken a battering during the drive to Patagonia, the leather on the seats and centre console was repaired and re-dyed, and a full new carpet set was fitted. The cracked wood veneer dash was replaced with a turned steel item, and the carpet on the door cards was replaced with quilted leather. A new rear window was installed to replace the cracked original, and a new stereo fitted as the old one had packed up - the goal being to bring the interior up to an as-new standard, while keeping the world-weary traveller vibe in evidence on the car's exterior.
I think that pretty much covers it!
So, it's been a long old road, but Kermit is finally back on the road and seems to be driving better than ever. We're now looking forward to getting out on the road in 2021, when hopefully normal service will be resumed regarding our Euro-road trips. Feel free to come along if you fancy it...