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Author Topic: A Beta Spyder - Just a small project to keep me amused.....  (Read 17354 times)
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peteracs
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« on: 16 September, 2010, 09:07:53 AM »

Hi All

I thought it may be useful to document the adventure I have had with the purchase and renovation of a Series 2 pre Facelift Spyder I bought earlier this year. Hopefully it will be of use to some and amusement to others maybe.....

First a bit of history which will hopefully set the scene for the purchase in the first place.

Many moons ago (1979/80) when I was the tender age of 23/24 in my second job as a technical sales engineer in a very small electronics company, I was given one of the directors hand me downs, a lovely bright red Beta HPE 2000 complete with the mustard colour seats - wife liked the car, not the interior (must have been designed by a man she mutters) . Now to be given a car like that when you are just starting out was pretty special and memorable. Probably the most memorable thing was the 'switch' on the accelerator where if you gradually pressed to accelerate things started to happen and then there was this point where the accelerator suddenly became very stiff and required a fair amount of pressure to hit the second choke and then what seemed like all hell broke loose. Great fun! The other thing about the HPE was how practical a car it was (we actually slept in the back with the seats down one time, quite comfy).

So you may ask, why have I gone for a Spyder, not the HPE? Well there was one memorable day, mid summer, gloriously warm when the HPE went in for a service and the loan car was an old beat up Spyder. Now this was real fun, open top and loads of go (as it appeared then). We had a good run around that evening in the car as the HPE was not ready for collection until the next day and the memory has stuck with me since.

After that I moved onto more sober cars and have always had to have more practical cars eg estates for work, dogs etc ever since. Also as I used to drive a fair amount of miles each year with work, I soon learnt that automatics were preferable in terms of tiredness and relaxed driving compared to manuals. The other issues with having an older car was that budgets were always allocated to moving on up the housing ladder/redecoration/extensions and until recently I did not have a garage to store any older car in either.

Now fast forward to the beginning of this year and a combination of things meant that I could satisfy my ever growing ache for an old car. I now have suitable dry garage space, my father in law left us some money on passing away, some of which my wife wanted me to spend on something for myself, the current house is pretty well sorted and work is relatively quiet and I have time to spend on a project other than work.

I enlisted the help of a neighbour who spends his time buying/selling/playing around with old sports cars and bits thereof and we started looking on Ebay and other online places for a suitable Spyder. The idea was to buy something which needed some work and a repaint, but not a complete shed. Surprisingly around the beginning of the year several opportunities presented themselves, but for one reason or another we could not visit them to see if they were suitable (experience teaches you that pictures lie or at the very least conceal the truth, never the other way it appears). We finally saw one on Ebay which was a white 1600 and had the right sort of 'feeling'. It was advertised as a runner, but garaged for 10 years, run out of the garage every so often to check it was ok. The car was for sale by the son of the owner who had owned it for many years, although not the original owner from new. The mileage was down as 24000 which I still am not convinced by, but cannot prove either way. We visited it and noted the bad news with the floor pan, cracked windscreen, needed replacement lights (silvering gone) and some sill work, but that was sort of expected. It was complete and pretty original which was important. So I duly bid and won it against mainly traders for the princely sum of 913. I hired a trailer and collected the end of March 2010. So far so good and exciting times were to come, should have it road worthy by summer (or so I thought)!!

I will try to hunt out pictures of the original HPE and scan them, also I lost the original pictures of the car as purchased, but have asked if the seller can let me have any, so will post when/if I get them.

Next installment to follow, need to get on with some money earning stuff now...

Peter
 
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Beta Spyder S2 pre F/L 1600
Saab 9-3 1.9Tid Cabrio
peteracs
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« Reply #1 on: 17 September, 2010, 08:42:07 AM »

Failed miserably on the HPE photo front, all the photos from that era have decayed and are of no use... No news on the sellers photos yet.

My original thoughts on how to restore the car was to send away to a specialist bodywork/painter and have all that side handled professionally, to organise the trimming with another specialist and I would handle the mechanical & electrical stuff which I felt quite happy to cope with.

So with the car all safely tucked away in my garage, I decided to ask a friend of my neighbour, who has been in the restoration business, specifically the bodywork and painting side for a number of years (John), to have a look at the car. He had recently teamed up with a young guy (Tom) who was a bit of a genius on the 'forming anything out a sheet of metal' group. I have to confess I have no idea how these people can take a sheet of metal, realtively simple tools and form the complex shapes such as bottom of sills etc, my limit is definitely drilling holes and polishing as far as bodywork is concerned.

After looking at the car for a while his question was, do I want it to be tidied up for now so I can get on a use it or have a more serious restore which would obviously cost more and take more time? Being somewhat niave I said that a tidy up was my idea, but could he have a look at the front wings as they did not appear to fit too well. We agreed a price based on an hourly rate and that I would strip off as much as possible to reduce his time spent on it. At this time it was generally felt a cost of 2.5-3k was likely. All was good with the world and I set too enthusiastically stripping off anything which was not painted. Also I removed the broken windscreen which was  trial in itself (is there an easy way?).

The car was then collected during May and they commenced work on it. It was not long before I received a call saying that after hitting the internal floor with a cleaning wheel that the job was likely to be somewhat longer than originally anticipated. I knew about the drivers side footwell, but the pasenger side was also bad and that the rear passenger areas which we knew about were also much worse. Below are some photos of the internal horrors unveiled. (hope this works ok as first time I have tried to upload photos!)

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Beta Spyder S2 pre F/L 1600
Saab 9-3 1.9Tid Cabrio
peteracs
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« Reply #2 on: 17 September, 2010, 08:52:47 AM »

Photos of passenger compartment horrors revealed


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Beta Spyder S2 pre F/L 1600
Saab 9-3 1.9Tid Cabrio
peteracs
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« Reply #3 on: 17 September, 2010, 08:54:01 AM »

The rest!


* Copy of IMGP0374.JPG (35.05 KB, 512x384 - viewed 378 times.)

* Copy of IMGP0375.JPG (40.59 KB, 512x384 - viewed 369 times.)

* Copy of IMGP0376.JPG (37.81 KB, 512x384 - viewed 369 times.)
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Beta Spyder S2 pre F/L 1600
Saab 9-3 1.9Tid Cabrio
peteracs
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« Reply #4 on: 17 September, 2010, 09:02:35 AM »

Two more of the internal part of the sills


* Copy of IMGP0402.JPG (46.11 KB, 512x384 - viewed 367 times.)

* Copy of IMGP0435.JPG (39.9 KB, 512x384 - viewed 382 times.)
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fay66
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« Reply #5 on: 17 September, 2010, 09:46:28 AM »

Sorry to put a damper on things, but IMHO if your not doing all the work yourself, I'd cut my losses and go and find another, the best you can afford Shocked
No doubt others might disagree, but that one looks like having the potential to be a bottomless money pit, and who knows what other horrors might be waiting.

Brian
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Own 1966 Fulvia 2C Berlina since 1997, back on road 11-1999.Known as "Fay"
2006 Renault Megane 1 5 Dci Sports Tourer
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peteracs
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« Reply #6 on: 17 September, 2010, 11:05:50 AM »

Hi

On that I maybe would have to agree in hindsight, but I am playing catchup with the writeup, the bodywork started back in June and I had the car back all finished at the beginning of September. Enough to say it has been an interesting experience. I do think though even with a 'done' car of this age, it is often difficult to know exactly what has been done and what is lurking round the corner. I would have been seriously upset had I paid a premium for a car which appeared ok and then 12 months later needed to go through a refurb/repaint. My aim is to keep the car, so realising that it was going to cost more than it was worth was something I was fully aware of fortunately, and is in my mind one of the pitfalls that anyone new to buying old cars has to/will learn one way or another.

My idea on the writeup was to document what I had done and thereby allow others to see what can be involved, not to recommend as everone will have their own ideas, but I found other documents on the web when I was looking to start and found it very useful.

Peter
 
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Beta Spyder S2 pre F/L 1600
Saab 9-3 1.9Tid Cabrio
peteracs
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« Reply #7 on: 17 September, 2010, 03:05:52 PM »

So having reached this point with the interior, John and Tom pressed on with the front end, specifically the wings which were to be removed. It was at this point where a major decision had to be made as the wings had hidden a whole load of previous bodge work which was almost impossible to see. The inner wings were pretty bad with a repair to one of the suspension turrets being simply two pieces of metal 'stuck' on top of each other, ie very little support on one side for the suspension mount and if the car had been used would pobably have resulted in the strut coming through the bonnet at worst. The other most amusing thing was the weights of the wings. One was approx twice the weight of the other - great stuff filler....

So the decision was made to not simply 'tidy up', but to spend some real time on sorting out properly the parts which required it. This would mean the whole project would take a significantly longer time to complete, more money as ever and hopefully be a better car at the end.

A few snaps to illustrate what was hidden below!



* Copy of IMGP0434.JPG (43.61 KB, 512x384 - viewed 392 times.)

* Copy of IMGP0441.JPG (46.93 KB, 512x384 - viewed 382 times.)

* Copy of lancia 2 043.jpg (42.16 KB, 512x384 - viewed 370 times.)

* Copy of lancia 2 057.jpg (44.96 KB, 512x384 - viewed 363 times.)
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peteracs
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« Reply #8 on: 17 September, 2010, 03:54:05 PM »

Whilst John & Tom were beavering away I had been on the lookout for a donor car for the bits which I knew I needed and for the bits I did not know I needed yet, but sure as eggs are eggs, I would need some extra parts. The main problem I found with this approach was that I had bought a Series 2 pre Facelift car, the interior of which I much prefer to the later cars, and pretty much all of the cheap cars I saw available for breaking at the time were the later facelift versions. This meant that I was going to have to use the interior I had as the facelft is completely different. The main items I was after however were the front headlight clusters, some oddments of wiring, rear light clusters and a decent windscreen. I figured that they alone were going to cost the best part of 200, so when a car came along for not that much more than that, I bought it. The parts were duly removed (fortunately the parts car had severe rust around the screen, so the windscreen came out complete with the sealing gunk without any real forcing). I had assumed that the windscreen was the same for all Series 2 cars which luckily was correct! The car also had a half reasonable exhaust and as mine was pretty shot thought it might come in useful as a starter before I splash out on a full stainless version. As it happened Stuart Read on the forum offered one for a good price which after I agreed to buy it he kindly dropped off at my place. So I now have a decent one to use which should last a few seasons + usable spare.

Back to the bodywork. After some clearing out in the boot and sills another batch of holes appeared and the ones which we sort of knew about in the outer/upper door sills which needed attention, see pics below.

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peteracs
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« Reply #9 on: 17 September, 2010, 03:55:22 PM »

Photos



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* Copy of Picture 030.jpg (48.24 KB, 512x384 - viewed 337 times.)
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peteracs
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« Reply #10 on: 19 September, 2010, 10:18:55 AM »

We had decided at the start not to delve too deep into the external sections of the rear end of the car which appeared solid, albeit with some evidence of previous repair, so a straight forward paint was all that was decided upon. The final parts to clean up were the doors, bonnet, front valance, around the windscreen and rear over bar. The windscreen channel was in good condition and the over bar had some rust, but not too serious. The front valance required some work, though pretty solid and the bonnet had had previous repairs/filling done  on the front edge and in the absence of a suitable replacement it was decided to patch up as best as possible, as trying to weld extra  metal onto the bonnet could result in it distorting and hence being unusable (having no knowledge of welding, I had to bow to those who should know). The bonnet on the spares car was also poor and was the later 2000 version with the raised centre section, so not useful as a replacement.

The original idea with the doors was to leave the stainless trim in place and tidy up around it. With the work to be done having expanded, I felt it was pointless going through the other work and not removing the trim and sorting out the issues below, as it transpired this was the best course of action as the pictures show, the corrosion beneath the trim was much more significant than you would have imagined from just looking at it in its original state. The rest of the doors were in good condition thanksfully.

So we now had a starting point for putting it back together.



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peteracs
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« Reply #11 on: 19 September, 2010, 10:48:25 AM »

As I have quite a few photos of most of the work done, I will post each section of the car repaired with a before/during/after where possible to show how the repair was effected. I guess for some/most this may be tedious, but for anyone hoping to do any similar work you may find it useful. As a non welder myself I find it amazing what can be achieved with a piece of metal, welder and grinder.

Firstly, one of the decisions which I had to make was the replacement wings. We tried to source some new metal wings 'off the shelf' without success and did not want to use 'used' ones. John came up with Smith & Deakin Plastics of Worcester who had fibreglass ones available as a stock part. He had previous experience with the company and was confident they would be of a high quality both in shape and in mannufacture. As the budget was already exploding and the only obvious alternative was to have a pair custom made, I plumbed for the fibreglass ones. If I had wanted to keep the car truly original, then not a decision I would have taken, but at the end of the day it is for just me to run around in, so a reasonable compromise I felt.

At the same time as this, an edict from the wife was ringing in my ears, that if the car was 'tat' she was not going near it. So I truned my time to sorting out the trimming of the seats. The seats in the Pre F/L are of what my neighbour calls 'a funky design'. I have to agree in that altough they do not hug you like the later seats, they do have a period style to them which is different to most more modern seats. The original meterial in the card was vinyl throughout and the covering on the drivers side had definitely seen better days. Given that the car was mainly to be garaged when not being used and it was to be used mainly during the summer, vinyl was not looking too attractive as a replacement material and I started asking one or two companies the cost of replacing the covering with leather. I wanted to keep the colours pretty much as they were which was the tanny coloured seats with mixture of the tan and dark brown on the door cards, A & B posts etc. I felt this went well with the brown of the dash/instrument cluster/steering wheel.

After I had a couple of rough quotes, a chance conversation with one of my friends in the village brought up a contact he knew in Melton who although he works for a large trimmer, also takes on private work in the evenings. When I found out he also had 40+ years as a trimmer, had his own company for 20+ years and his pricing was very attractive for the seats/leather purchase, I sent the seats off to be done as a starter, with the intention of having the rest of the cards etc done if the seats came out ok. Never having had any seats trimmed before and hearing the odd horror story from various people I spoke to about it, I felt it was a step into the dark with only a gut feel that it would be ok.......
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Beta Spyder S2 pre F/L 1600
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« Reply #12 on: 20 September, 2010, 08:08:07 AM »

Here are a few photos of the front drivers footwell repair, before/during/after



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* Copy of IMGP0404.JPG (41.79 KB, 512x384 - viewed 368 times.)

* Copy of Picture 101.jpg (42.36 KB, 512x384 - viewed 349 times.)
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peteracs
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« Reply #13 on: 20 September, 2010, 08:14:14 AM »

And the passenger side ......



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Saab 9-3 1.9Tid Cabrio
DavidLaver
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« Reply #14 on: 20 September, 2010, 10:20:28 AM »


In 101 and 103 there's a diamond pattern on the surface.  What's that?

David
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David Laver, Lewisham.
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