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Sunday, 21 April 2013 20:24

Ernie McWhinney - Sunbeam Rebuild

Written by  Ernie McWhinney
Restoration of a 'Basket Case'
Photography by Richard Abey.

Text by Ernie McWhinney.

Ernie McWhinney.  Car number 146 .  Sunbeam

I took the car on about 10 or so years ago. It was a basket case destined for the crusher.
I was able to weld against brass, and  I started by building up the A pillar to something that resembled the original, even though it was a difficult shape to do . 
The floor was pretty much  non-existent. Originally it was  made up of 1.6 mm steel . That had to be rebuilt and fitted.
I could not get a four speed gearbox to fit .  A new box would have cost about $4000. The car was not worth that expense. So I chased around and found a standard block Volvo V230F plus gearbox with electric overdrive for $85.00. It was a four cylinder unit, 2316 cc.
As for other work - the car got new shock absorbers and a sway bar; an electronic fuel injection system - turn key start.  I also fiddled around with the suspension. When I was finished, I got the car registered for road use.
It weighed the same as it did when new in 1959.  Right to the kilo. To say I was surprised would be something of an understatement! 
All the work was done at home in my single-car garage.
Since the rebuild the car has competed at East Sale and Morewell. It was at Myrniong last year. This year it was a full second quicker.
Meanwhile his TR4 remains in the garage, and has not rolled a wheel in the past 18 months!
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