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Author Topic: HF Turbo Trackday Car  (Read 3606 times)
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Senior Member
Posts: 113

« on: 07 March, 2009, 09:30:07 PM »

Just in case you did not catch this in VL! - here it is again:-

Project 1000

When nearing retirement I decided that in addition to my classic Lancia I would quite like to prepare a cheap but safe track day car as a little fun project. After some thought I decided that a Lancia Delta Turbo would fit the bill. My preliminary budget to get a standard car onto the track fitted with all sensible safety devices, was about £1300-£1500. However starting to work a bit harder on the internet persuaded me (rashly?) that it could perhaps be done for £1000 – Project 1000 was born!

 A few weeks searching via the usual online suspects of eBay, Exchange and Mart and Autotrader eventually turned up with what sounded like the car I was looking for – a 1990 Turbo i.e. that was going to be sold for spares. A phone call revealed that the car had been cared for by Keith at Auto Integrale and was in fact being part exchanged the next day. A quick trip up to Aldermaston showed why the car was going to become a non runner when the MOT ran out– the welding needed around the rear wheel arches and rear suspension turrets was uneconomic (no worries I was going to learn to weld!). The rest of the car looked O.K. – very straight body with no damage, no serious rust showing elsewhere, all systems working well, oil and intercooler radiators recently replaced and Integrale seats fitted (so racing bucket seat could come off the budget).

A deal was done and a couple of days later the strip down commenced in my garage to see just what I had got. Stripping out the rear seats and all rear trim and attacking the tin worm with scrapper and chisel showed that the rust round the wheel arches really was like an iceberg – i.e. 90% invisible to the eye! Oh dear! The rest of the usual Delta rust spots were investigated with some trepidation but turned out to be O.K. Finally the plastic sill covers were removed – I really did have heart in mouth by now – but apart from where the sills met each rear inner arch they were perfect. Mechanical problems seemed to be limited to worn rear anti-roll bar to body and soft rear trailing arm bushes plus a window riser frame that had basically rusted to nothing. Electrically just the indicator switch was not fully functional – not bad for a 15 year old car that has extensive electrical and instrumentation goodies heaped upon it.
So after instigating internet searches for the defective parts plus other items that would be installed (see costs below) the first job to be tackled was the serious rust around the rear end. Removing the rear wheels and setting to with the trusty Dremel fitted with carbon reinforced cutting wheels (I find an angle grinder too large and aggressive for most  car applications) revealed the extreme complexity of the wheel arch/rear suspension turret/rear door slam plate structure. Important to get this rewelded correctly as it constitutes the main area of strength for the suspension and rear of the car. I quickly realised that taking a short welding course and tackling this complex and difficult to access area could result in a bodged job and an unsafe car. Time to call in the experts!

A couple of members of my local classic car club run a mobile welding business and a deal was done which would see me cutting back to sound metal and  providing  repair sections for the complex inner wing/rear door slam plate/sill areas. They would make up what ever other small filler sections where needed around the arch/suspension turrets/ boot floor joints, do the welding and leave me to fettle and repaint. Ebay came up with the answer for the repair sections as I found a chap in Derbyshire who was stripping Prisma Executive(?) models of which he seemed to have cornered to UK market as they were fitted with leather sports interiors -apparently that’s why quite a few Integrales now feature black leather interiors with a sort of micro vent hole effect. He was only to willing to cut out the parts I wanted from a photograph suitably marked up to show the cut lines. I was still a little worried that I would loose some of the chassis’ original strength so I purchased a new OMP rear strut brace (eBay again) but got my welding lads to add strong triangulating braces rather than rely on what looked to me to be a somewhat puny bolt-in arrangement. This process all worked extremely smoothly and resulted in a pretty professional job but only a small allowance for welding had been included in the budget - £350 off target already!

So how could I get back onto budget with such an enormous hole blown in it? Well I decided that selling some of the parts being stripped out (you guessed – eBay) and seeing if I could find a good second hand roll cage or get a discount on a new one would be my next step. Whilst looking into this in the evenings the days were taken up with continuing the build. The minor rust areas were treated and the strip out of unwanted parts continued. I kept a weight log of all the items removed and items going in – I wanted to at least keep down to the standard weight with the safely equipment installed. To give decent access to the engine I decided to do away with the bonnet hinges and use bonnet pins instead. So off with the hinges and liffffft, no, make that heaaaave the bonnet off. Whew! Clearly not a workable solution. So weight saving item 1 – remove the inner bonnet skin and bracing. Out with the Dremel again. The job was finished off by super gluing windscreen washer piping slit lengthways around the exposed edges - 8 kilos saved. Weight saving item 2 – remove carpets and insulation -this saved an incredible 14kg. Eventually the finished car weighed 40 kilos less than standard increasing the theoretical power to weight ratio from 138hp per tonne to 143.

The minor mechanical and electrical problems were fixed by replacing with second hand items. The rear suspension bushes needed a little more finesse though. The anti-roll bar bushes are similar to universal saddle type available from most speed shops. A new set cost £20 from Fiat but I found a set of uprated Superflex ones in the correct size from Rally Design in Kent for half that. The chassis to rear trailing arm bushes presented more of a problem as unlike on the Integrale the bushes are not replaceable being of the bonded metalastic type. A new set of arms was expensive and it was quite clear from various metal to metal contact marks that the bushes are very soft even for a road car. The bushes are of the cotton reel design and after hacking them out I measured up to see what I needed. A quick call to the helpful guys at Rally Design resulted in them identifying uprated Superflex ones of similar dimensions (for the Watts linkage on a Rover Vitesse!). I cut each of these new cotton reels into two top hats to install them. I now have uprated bushes plus new high tensile bolts, spacer tubes, nuts and washers (Namrick in Brighton are excellent for all such fixings) for an absolute fraction (£18) of standard replacements from Fiat (£110).

After weeks of trying I had to give up on the second hand roll cage idea but  pestered suppliers for a OMP 6 point bolt in cage below the £400 that the  well known importer was looking for. Eventually I did a deal with a small race preparation set up about 5 miles down the road in Sussex and  avoided the £35 delivery charge as well. By the time I had sold the included door bars to a guy who was going  racing the price of my roll cage worked out at £300! Needless to say a secondhand cage came up on eBay a couple of weeks later and went for about £175! The next item to come under tough budget scrutiny was a fire extinguisher. Why did the race accessory shops want £70 when I could go into Lidl and buy one for a fiver? Yes it’s OK I know Gerald Ratner had the answer - but it got me thinking. An internet trawl of fire officer reports on car extinguishers revealed that size was of secondary importance to a reliable well made piece of kit. I selected a 1 kilogramme unit from the well known company of Kidde complete with pressure gauge which retails at £27.50 but my local B&Q had in their sale at half that price. I had already checked that Kidde did a proper metal quick release car mount rather that the horrible standard plastic one and a telephone call to their customer support department resulted in one being put in the post immediately and for free! – what service.

Those in the know confirmed that an Integrale roll cage would fit in a Turbo. It does - but not very easily! Firstly the Turbo sunroof must come out (more weight saving and high up too – good stuff). This is a real time consuming and patience sapping job. The steel sunroof itself sits in a steel cassette welded to the inner shell at many, many point – these required not only the Dremel but its flexible remote drive as access is anything but easy. I had decided to try  to reuse the original sunroof outer panel as I feel the alternative of pop riveting in a sheet of aluminium looks a bit Heath Robinson. This needed some careful thought as to where to make the necessary cuts. The outer panel was refitted to the roof by fibre glassing  three longitudinal aluminium strips to the panel (suitable shaped to clear the panel return edges left on for the original rubber seal to mate against). The front ends of these strips were secured behind the screenrail and the rear ends fibre glassed to the roof. Much fun(?) was had constructing a small spinney of adjustable supporting wooden props (central heating straight joint compression fittings make great little micro jacks that can be used for all sorts of applications) to get the curvature of roof and sunroof panel to realign. After reinserting the rubber seal the sealing operation was completed by interior fibre glassing plus several applications of superglue ‘poured’ round the rubber seal strip. If the headlining is carefully removed and the section around the sunroof cut away the remaining rear half can be turned through 180 degrees and refitted to the front half of the cabin with self-tappers and double sided tape to cover over the work done on the sunroof.

 Installing the cage itself is relatively straightforward, although in my case it was installing the second cage as the original arrived with a manufacturing fault that left one of the rear struts dangling in mid air about 150mm shy of it’s correct location (caused me to miss the intended first outing at the LMC Goodwood track day that year). Now this is where I found out why roll cages are advertised as fitting Integrales as opposed to Deltas. If the front legs are located hard up against the dashboard as intended the rear legs were about 40mm short of their intended landings on the rear wheel arches. The reason is (I believe) that the rear wheel arches on Integrales are about 40mm larger than on the standard shell - if you look at the inner wheel arch/ door slam plates you can see the different profile. So two choices; either fabricate spacers to fit onto the rear legs or site the cage 40mm rearwards. As the front and intermediate legs still locate on well strengthened areas I chose the second. Only problem I later found was the necessity to chop the fronts off the front door pulls to avoid the cage front legs. Drilling for the mounting bolts and fixing the strengthening plates plus painting followed. It seemed sensible to fit roll bar padding in line with RAC recommendations on location, but pricing it up at £13.50 a metre totalled £55. More online investigation showed that air conditioning insulation has good flame retardant properties and is fairly dense (unlike domestic pipe equivalent which fails both tests). I found a local supplier who sold me 2 metres of 35mm and 2 metres of 43mm for the princely sum of £12.50! These sizes do in fact fit quite well over the 40mm and 50mm cage tubes. A bit of nifty work with a craft knife plus a few cables ties and the job was done.

So the project was going pretty well and bonnet pins, master cut-out switch plus cable were now fitted. The fire extinguisher was installed on the cross member behind the front seats and the master switch just below the windscreen on the passenger side – means long battery cable runs but there is no room on the drivers side. The standard battery clamp was thrown out and a proper diagonally braced one made up from a piece of thin strip steel, two 400mm lengths of 6mm threaded rod, nuts, washers and wing nuts. Last two items to obtain were full harness seat belts and some better tyres as the originals looked a bit passed it for a race circuit. The budget was still not balanced by any means despite raising £90 from selling unwanted parts, but I struck lucky as the RAC changed the regulations for belts on lesser rallies – for the next season these would need to be of all 3inch webbing construction rather than a mix of 2/3 inch. So eBay was full of rallyists selling off perfectly good belts really cheaply. I managed to obtain exactly what I wanted – a couple of good condition clip in four point mounting Willans belts for £30!!! Two sets of eyebolts were purchased from Demon Tweeks with the second set going in the Appia so that the belts can be swapped between the two cars; thus the Project 1000 budget was only charged £25 for this item. Now, no allowance had been made for replacing tyres and in fact the budget only contained a small £50 contingency. In rides eBay to the rescue once more as I spy a set of 4 virtually brand new (still had the colour bands in the tread pattern on the rears) Toyos on a set of Turbo alloys. Unbelievably I was the only bidder and get the lot for £50! The Delta budget was only charged £30 for the tyres as the wheels will go into another pot (more on that later).

As the car was now getting near to being ready to go out on the track I decided that a final detailed check of suspension, braking, fuel and steering systems should be undertaken. All systems proved to be in excellent shape; the only replacement parts needed were a couple of pieces of fuel pipe, rear brake pipelines plus one calliper bleed nipple (a fluid change was carried out at the same time). All fuel pipes and various wires that had previously just been kept in place under the carpets were all clipped safely out of the way and extra clips and cable ties were added in the engine bay as necessary. A full service and cam belt change (which I have not charged to the build project) were then carried out and off to Goodwood we went!

So is it possible to get a reasonable quick, safe track car onto the circuit for £1000? Well if you look at the costs you will see that in my case it is not - BUT the registration number that came with the car has been valued professionally by two companies and would clear about £150 so once that is factored in –I’M THERE!!!!!!!!

The car has now done a total of about 70 laps of Goodwood, the first outing at the LMC event last year revealed a fuel feed problem which turned out to be caused by somebody using windscreen washer grade pipe  in the tank under/over pressure release line. As a precaution I also replaced the fuel pump (Fiat wanted over £100 but the pump also fits Landrovers so £25 via eBay!). I’m having great fun with the car but I now want to go a little quicker and have set a £500 budget for that – watch this space.

Brian Mills


Purchase car                                                  - £  195
Welding to rear of car inc. materials                    - £  470
Roll cage padding etc                                       - £  320
Extinguisher/master cut-out switch etc               - £    40
Bonnet pins/harnesses etc                                - £    45
Tyres                                                           -  £    30
Rear Suspension bushes etc                              - £    30
Mechanical/electrical repair items                       - £    70
Miscellaneous                                                 - £    55
Sub total                                                       - £ 1255
Less items sold                                               - (£  90)

Final cost*                                                     - £1165
* includes reg. plate with a net value of £150 - So if anyone wants G BINGO it’s available (G31 NGO) 

« Last Edit: 07 March, 2009, 09:32:40 PM by sllim1946 » Logged

1961 Appia Berlina S3
1973 Fulvia Coupe 1.3S
2015 Fiat 500 Sport
2018 Volvo V40 T3 R-Design
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« Reply #1 on: 09 March, 2009, 10:11:47 AM »

Brian, looking forward to seeing your project 1000 again on Saturday and see what further mods you have made since last year's track day  (hopefully a little less windy and warmer than last year, but then it is Goodwood in March!), also the go quicker requirements/improvements.


1973 Fulvia S2 1.3
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« Reply #2 on: 09 March, 2009, 12:25:39 PM »

Good story ! Good old e-bay - you here some horror stories but like you I have found it very good, both for the mundane and the hard to get.

1969 Fanalone, Mazda RX-8, Fiat Multipla
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