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Vauxhall Cavalier


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Bough this in June last year 






950 hours later -






If anyone's interested, I can stick up a build thread?

Edited by sleag40
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Okay, here goes, a few pics from when I got the car home.














Registered 4th January 1977, only covered 48k miles.  Owned by an old boy from new, and laid up in 2006 when he stopped driving. His grandson re commissioned it in late 2014 when the old boy passed away,  and subsequently it came into my ownership in June 2015.

Edited by sleag40
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Many thumbs up were aimed in my direction from all sorts of persons, not used to that! Felt VERY strange getting into a Polo after driving the Cavalier, it was like I'd forgotten how to drive at first!



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Had a good look underneath at the first opportunity  - rear inner sill ends had lost their underseal and corroded, they were still very solid though, so a good clean up and re-seal should be fine.







The bottoms of the rear quarters were sound, just a bit of surface rust here and there.






Bit of an oil leak from the gearbox output seal! Floor pans and chassis rails were sound too. There were a couple of spots where the underseal had been damaged, and it was a little rusty, but generally it was pretty fine under there.





Edited by sleag40
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This had settled in to its new home now - at the time sharing the space with a Nova SR.




After 300 odd miles, the first problem made itself known - binding driver's side front brake. A strip and clean didn't cure it, so a rebuild kit was sought.




Gratuitous calliper shot^^^^

Edited by sleag40
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It was missing the trim piece that goes between the headlights and the bumper




The wheel trim rings (as well as some paint) were missing too. After joining the owners club, parts became a little easier to find - first up, a new old stock drivers door! A very lucky find, as the one on the car was rotten along the bottom . It was the door shell that was rotten, not the outer skin, and it would have been very difficult to repair nicely.




It was dirty, but not rusty - there were a couple of small dents though. It had been hanging around for a long time!


An unused nosecone trim piece, it was distorted a little from storage, but we have the technology!




Proper wheel trim rings, used but pretty straight, will be rechromed at some point.




Drivers side headlight, to replace the rusty one it came with.




Actual hard work still to do!



Edited by sleag40
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I threw all the bits except the door on, and enjoyed the rest of the Summer in a 1970s time warp. 




Looking smarter with wheel trims fitted ^^^






Face now complete ^^^






I'd done a thousand miles in this now, and enjoyed every one of them! MOT had a few weeks left to run, then the fettling was to begin. Both rear wheel arches needed repairing, and the outer sills needed some love too. ( I'd not found any other issues at this point)  An action plan was being formulated to get stuck into it as soon as the MOT ran out.

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Almost all the junk was removed from my unit so work could commence on this.




MOT expired on September 12th. I'd done about 1600 miles in it since it was purchased, and apart from one of the callipers binding for a short while, it had been faultless. I was gonna miss it while it was out of action!




It was blissfully unaware of what was about to happen to it^^^

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I made a start on revealing the areas needing attention with the sparkly stick - the drivers side rear arch trim came off first.







Not too bad - I knew the outer arch skin needed repairing so no surprises here!

Edited by sleag40
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Passenger side rear arch trim off next - I knew this side was worse!


Rear - not bad


Middle - not as bad as the drivers side


Front - saved the best till last! Repairs needed to the inner arch/wheel tub as well as the outer lip. Nothing shocking though, some car pox must be expected after nearly 40 years. I've seen much worse on far younger cars!


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The sill covers came off next. Passenger side was spot on throughout its length, and only crusty at the wheelarch lip end.


The drivers side was not as good - the rearward six inches had rotted. It looks worse than it is though, and would be a straightforward job to repair. Everything forward of this grotty bit was sound.





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The front arches had no rot at all, just a little surface rust. The drivers side wing would be replaced with a good used one, as it was rotten at the top of its rearward top edge.


The side trims were also removed, giving it an L spec look.



Surprisingly, no trim clips broke during their removal!

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Removed some more trim, the rain gutter trims were a swine to do - wasn't looking forward to re-fitting them.


The boot/rear panel trims and the badges were really easy though. Again, all the trim clips remained intact! Starting to look a bit naked around the rump now.


The rear bumper was a five minute job - all bolts undid nicely!


The front bumper went similarly well, until the last bolt to come out lost its threads! Fortunately it was one of the front chassis rail ones, so it was easy enough to grind the head off the offending item.


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A bit more stripping down was done.



That front end is such a complicated arrangement - must be a nightmare to repair if damaged!

Door furniture was removed next - I wish all cars were as easy to strip down as this!


Back seats out - I was surprised that there was no bulkhead between the back seats and the fuel tank!


I was quite enjoying this part of the process, just needed to start bagging and tagging the pile of parts that had accumulated before I forgot whats what!

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There was a little grot in the bottom right of the drivers footwell that warranted investigation.


You can see evidence of when the accident damaged front chassis leg was replaced after it's crash in the early 80's. The grey primer highlights the area.


Overall, it looked pretty decent down there - would  be even better once I've removed all the carpet underlay dust, glue and fibres!



I found this wafer wrapper under the rear carpets - made in Belgium (as was the car) - perhaps one of the assembly line workers had a snack on company time?


After vacuuming the foot wells, I cleaned most of the dirt and dust out of the boot.



It didn't look like any work is required in here.

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After the wing came off, it was possible to re fit it in a better position so that the panel gaps were better.


Quite pleased about this, as I thought the wing was a pattern part due to the bad panel gaps. It was actually a genuine wing that was just fitted in the wrong position!

My key refurb kit arrived from Germany at this time - two replacement key grips - bought as my main key was getting a bit worn and sloppy.





Comes as two pieces that slot together using the original key blade.


Not all good news though, after removing the driver's side wing, another area needing attention was revealed.


Again, it was a pretty easy fix to do though, so I wasn't worried about it!

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Spent some time labeling and bagging parts, then removed the rear window  - thankfully there wasn't a speck of rust on the frame, just some black goop.


Door glass, regulators and remaining chrome trim now removed. Just the locks and exterior handles to do before the doors come off.


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Started to clean back the inner wings.


The spare room was beginning to fill up with parts that needed to be kept clean/out of harm's way - living on your own is a good idea for this!


Many hours of paint/body sealant removal to go.......




Definitely the most horrid part of the job as a whole - hopefully, one day, I'll be able to forget all about it!


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Now the dash was out, it would be a little easier to remove the windscreen. 


The screen took 5 minutes to remove, but getting rid of all the sealant took a great deal longer!



Just a couple of small patches of surface rust - almost perfect!

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The rust that had crept up the seam sealer in the footwells was investigated.  The passenger side should be fine after cleaning up and re sealing


I ground straight through it on the drivers side, leaving a small hole. Another easy fix though!


Wasn't t a lot left to remove in here now.


Cleaned all the screen sealant off the glass before calling it a day, one less job to do before reassembly.



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