The 2004/05 Diaries,

September 2004

Collection Day! Or C-Day as it’s known on RHOCaR, arrived at last and I enlisted the help of a willing volunteer (thankfully). We arrived around 10:30am on a bright Wednesday morn....and that’s when I first saw her [ Photo ] all shiny and new and eager.

Richard was very insistent that we check everything off as carefully as we could; he was about most of the time to help and they have this big board of pictures to help you identify the unidentifiable. Trouble is the display board is up the stairs inside the showroom…at least you get a good cardio-vascular workout! We eventually had everything checked and loaded and set off around 2pm.

Back home for 4pm and unloaded by 5. Here she is in her new home [ Photo ] with my son already trying her out for size! Patience, we have a long road ahead of us yet.

October 2004

Moving to the new house as I took delivery of the kit meant September was lost to removal men, unpacking and the general upheaval that follows a house move. Plus I had made a deal, I buy the Kit-Car but would lay the slate floor in the kitchen first [ photo], that took a loooong time [ photo].

So I didn’t start till mid-October. I’d put together a build plan and tried to stick to that as much possible, so the first thing was the rear axle [ Photo ]. HEAVY, very heavy. I took a lot of pictures of this part of the build to demonstrate the refurbishment was thorough. I invested in new calipers [ Photo ] and sent the diff off to be professionally stripped down and refurbished [ Photo ].

Also in October I painted stub axles, cycle wing mounts etc, and did some cosmetic work to the engine [ Photo ].

November 2004

November has seen progress of the drive-train and braking system. The rear axle has been reassembled and mounted in the car [ Photo ], Prop shaft and handbrake cable [ Photo ] are in and the pedal box [ Photo ] and brake pipes [ Photo] finished.

It was during November I started making designs for the revised handbrake location and started working on various layouts and positions, I eventually came up with a cardboard template of the bracket and cable fulcrum/amplifier. Just need to get my hands on some 2 – 3mm SS plate and a MIG welder.

December 2004

It was my birthday and it was Christmas, so between going to New York, eating and drinking too much and shouting Happy New Year…. Not a lot got done on the car.

January 2005

A new year and a new burst of activity. I had managed to source a new handbrake; a chromed triumph straight handbrake lever which would be perfect. I had decided that the lever would now be housed inside the tunnel near to the gear selector. A contact had managed to source some 3mm SS plate and so armed with cardboard template and a hacksaw I set to. Eventually producing a bracket, fulcrum/amplifier and a lever [ Photo ]. Honestly the seven-shaped fulcrum/amplifier was the only shape that worked properly, spooky eh?! On to welding it in place, after some useful tips from the guys on RHOCaR I borrowed a MIG and hey-presto I have a welded and mounted handbrake [ Photo ].

Next up was filling the brake system and doing some tests, and I’m happy to say that everything works properly, just need to do a little work on the handbrake cable so I can adjust it in the future.

Onto the plumbing, or at least some of it. Radiator and associated pipe work [ Photo ], can’t connect to the expansion bottle till the firewall/scuttle is in place. Reverse flushed the engine cooling system and radiator, the first time my baby had seen daylight in 4 months [ Photo ]

Temporary fitment of the side panels to facilitate positioning of the scuttle occurred about the same time, and after a couple of attempts I got it fitted [ Photo ] now I could design and fabricate a remote fire-wall I’d seen a couple of other Super-duper builders fabricate. At least then I can get on with finishing the plumbing and move onto the wiring and petrol system.

February 2005

So the month started on a high, with the remote firewall modeled and fabricated, just needed to be properly fitted, brake reservoir mounted etc. So its now fully fitted and brake reservoir in place, ECU and coil fitted and the expansion bottle too. It did take a bit of head scratching, but they're on [ Photo ]. Next up was positioning the washer bottle (I'd decided under the battery tray was a good place) so that's in, battery tray too, hole cut out for the washer bottle filler cap etc [ Photo].

With the water system pipe work finished it actually is starting to look like an engine bay [ Photo ]. Next I wanted to get the fuel system in so temporarily fitting the tank and laid the fuel line. The filter RH have supplied is fine for the engine's petrol pipes, but the fuel lines are a bit too small, so a little imaginative thinking was called for and there is now a complete fuel line into and return from the engine (and its only the 8th) [ Photo ].

During the coarse of laying the fuel line I got a bit side tracked and started laying the loom as well, so my next task was to crack on with that. In December I had laid the loom out on the kitchen floor and tested and labelled every circuit so I knew which bits were for what (I have to say that was a great help, I'd recommend anyone building one of these to do the same). I fitted convoluted ducting to the loom and loose cable tied it at a few strategic places. There is no relay fixings referenced in the video, nor did I like the thought of the 6 in-line engine bay fuses just "placed somewhere" so I ordered a 8 way fuse box and 4 way relay box from Auto Electric Supplies, came the next morning I've made a ledge over the top of the ECU to hold both and to act as an ECU cover [ Photo ], and started the wiring in earnest.

March 2005

Well February saw a lot of activity, but it seems little to show for it as most of the work revolved around the wiring loom. Still that's in and most of it has been tested in some form. March means Engine Test according to my build plan, and that's exactly what's going to happen

Having finished mounting the battery [ photo ] I moved on to other items that needed to be finished before the engine test. Power Steering Fluid needs to run through the pump, even though there is no power rack. RH haven't supplied anything to accommodate this, even though this is meant to be a “complete” kit and its been on sale for 18 months. Their “solution” was to get a 1 litre bottle of fluid and some how attach the pipes to that so it can act as a reservoir.... ooooo such a technologically sound fix. Obviously I didn't follow that advice and ordered a proper Rover part (cost less then £20). I've fitted it behind the radiator and piped up accordingly [ photo ]. Engine oil's in, a few litres of petrol and wire up the lambda sensor, and the engine test is scheduled for the second weekend.

OK...so I admit it, I'd piped up the petrol lines the wrong way wrong, d'oh!! But a couple of minutes later and she burst into life, wahooo!! She lives! [ photo ]

That was a significant achievement to actually have her started :) Trouble was tho I'd cut a few corners to get there and now I would need to go back and fix them. So it was back to re-piping the steering fluid reservoir, fine tuning the front flexible brake pipes...and then it occurred to me to inventory all the outstanding work. So that's what I did, I prioritised each and identified the dependencies for each job I had left. I then set a timescale to them and that gave me a new build plan, which now has a target completion of the end of August. So the rest of this month and the rest of the build will be based totally on that plan.

There's a lot of work to do with the panels and I'd only temporarily fitted them for reference before putting them back in storage. So now it was time to refit the side panels and scuttle, that would allow me to fit the nose cone infill panels, the nose cone itself and the bonnet. I then tackled the cycle wing brackets and have now fitted the cycle wings. Its actually beginning to look like a car [ photo ].

April 2005

I was really quite pleased with progress in March, even if I did have a couple of set backs. So April has arrived and started with a bit of tidying up of the work from March. Its time for the part of the build I've been putting off for as long as possible; The rear panel!

First thing was to make sure the tank breather and filler pipes would bend out of the way ok I've decided not to route the breather pipe out of the back of the boot as per RHSC advice, but instead will modify the filler neck to connect it to that [ photo ].

Once Happy with the pipes I made a ply panel to strengthen the rear of the car and give the back panel something the key to. Then I painted the roll bar with a few final coats of black [ photo ].

So the rear panel was a pain! Took a few goes at getting it shaped and in its final place but I got there! On to positioning the headlights and front indicators. I'd got some carbon look indicator brackets, similar to those on a Caterham, and they look the business [photo]. Unfortunately the Hood's headlight bracket is further back than on a Caterham, so the indicator position will fail the SVA visibility test D'OH!! I shall have to think of something else for the test.

She is looking a lot more like a finished car now [ photo ], but she's still got a long way to go! Next up was finishing off the boot area with a panel to separate it form the cockpit; this I made out of very thin Ally sheet [ photo ] once the cockpit is finished all of that patch work panelling will be hidden beneath a carpet (good job too!)

May 2005

May has seen a dramatic change to her appearance. At the beginning I mounted the rear wheel arches and fitted the rear lights [ photo ]. Next I moved onto the boot area cover. This is a 5 piece carbon fibre affair with two pieces covering the top of the crescents, another two to cover the sides up to the boot lid and a final piece along the back edge of the boot lid. The boot lid itself is made of 5 pieces of stainless steel that needs fitting together. The supplied plastic hinges aren't really up to the job, so I have decided to fit some top mounted long hinges (Triumph-esq). At this point I indulged in a bit of a set photo shoot, well she does look almost finished [ photo ].

That was all the main panel work done ! Major result. The only things left are the exhaust cover and the windscreen. But they can wait. It was now time for the inner panels. I'd noted that some guys had just created small infill's around the areas that let the outside inside, whilst others had gone for full inner panels. After a LOT of debating I decided to go the full inner panel route. So she was stripped down back to the chassis, and the inner panels constructed from thin Ali sheets, glued and riveted to the outside of the chassis members (I wanted to see the tubing inside the car). [ photo ].

It was about this time that I discovered the rpvc pipe RH had supplied for the remote brake reservoir was NOT compatible with hydraulic liquid!! So I would have to fabricate an alternative. A mix of 12mm OD copper pipe and flexible brake pipe [ photo].

Whilst I had the outer panels off I fitted the side repeaters and ran the wiring, and drilled the holes for the headlight cables etc. The scuttle needed a LOT of work by now and most of that was to spill into June. Such as Heaters, Wiper unit, extra fuses and relays and of course the instrument panel.

June 2005

June has been a bit slow I have to admit. Too much sun to spend all the time in the garage ! But There has been some progress. Headlights are on and cable sheath and cables are all in [ photo ]. New fuse and relay board made [ photo ] this will run the dipped, main beam, fog lights and Heater circuits. All tested and seem to work.

Side panels have been refitted and most internal seams and joints sealed. So I DID have to move the front flexi-brake pipes. After a couple of tests it was fairly obvious Mr SVA-man would not like them where they were. So I had to fabricate a bracket and mount them behind the front wishbone, now they don't look like they're pulling, but I did have to cut a slot in the side panel [ photo ].

Rear panel refitted and crescents too. I was supposed to be fitting the various components into the scuttle... Didn’t get done! That’s now pushed into July I have also realised that the build is going to have to be slowed. Couple of reason, the budgets getting rather stretched, but more importantly some of the work I did earlier has had to be re-done due to ..... well lets just say the workmanship is now a LOT better. My plan is now to take my time and really focus on small details as I go, much better to have a car that I'm really pleased with and ready for next spring, than one that I know will need to be revisited after SVA at the end of the summer ready for winter.

July 2005

July has started on a bad footing…the handbrake I was so please with, well… “it came orf in me ‘and!” Still I’m pleased to say it wasn’t my engineering OR welding (surprisingly) but an oversight, so a new outer bracket should do the trick.

Rear wheel arches are back on in their final fit state and sealed, the stone guards are pop-riveted on (that was slo-ow work) [ photo ]. All rear lights are cabled up, just need to do the number plate light – but that’ll wait till I figure out how to fix the number plate on.

I decided to have a test of the speedo, fabricated a sender bracket and fixed the magnets to the tops of the prop-shaft bolts [ photo ] the test was reasonably successful, but I think I need to re-check the calibration. The fuel sender needs some modification to work with the Smith’s gauge, so I’ll need to figure out the resistance difference between the two

One task I was unsure about turned out to be not too bad. Fitting the spare wheel threaded rods. I made up 2 steel plates with holes drilled to match the rear panel, one on either side of the panel with nuts tightened up sandwiching it all together, rods then cut to the appropriate size and the wheel seems to fit alright [ photo ].

July has ended on a high. A significant milestone has been reached; all mechanical work has been finished I recon I could have the car ready for SVA in the next 6 weeks if I really push, BUT I have already committed to the slower build plan of SVA in March ready for a 06 plate. So I shall stick to that. If I get it done earlier then I shall go over every SVA test item and double check the car. I accept that I probably wont get it through first time, but the shorter the fail list is the better.

Now onto August

August 2005

So what am I faced with? Well some electrics, minor outer trim items, exhaust pipe, all the interior trim and dash board .... Oh yeah, all the scuttle fitted components; wiper assembly, screen washer, heaters and windscreen. So it was going to be the scuttle items first. There are a few things that are dependent upon each other and I just knew I'd miss something, so I wrote out a detailed build plan for August. As I've painted the roll bar black I'd already decided that the windscreen frame would also have to be black. I also knew I wasn't going to fabricate it in quite the way RH have recommended, I wanted to use bolts to hold it to the pillar, not quarter inch screws [ photo ].

Having got the screen assembled and painted up it was onto the wiper motor assembly. I followed RH video instructions precisely as possible, and the result? Rubbish! The pinions drop back through the scuttle top, so the wiper arms would chafe the scuttle. I'll have to fabricate a pair of shoulders to go over the pinions and give the wiper arms something to key to. Heaters went in next, followed by the windscreen washer jet.

Reworked the brackets and it’s a lot better! Onto fitting the windscreen...ARGH, now I know why some of the other super spec builders went to SVA without the screen. WHAT a pig of a job to get that on. Still it IS on now [ photo ]. Exhaust silencer cover was another August job [ photo ], and again not as simple as stated on the vids... that is definitely a recurring theme! Final job in August was to carpet the boot [ photo ].

September 2005

September was a month of preparation mainly, with some actual work, but not a lot to show. In preparation for what? Well the interior needed to be started sometime and that time was fast approaching! Most of the work was all the behind the scenes stuff that HAD to be done, otherwise the final outcome would be, well pants!

I needed to trim back some of the dashboard in the passenger area and to modify the instrument area. I've never liked the look of the 'specs instrument cluster, nor the angle they are to be mounted at. No disrespect to the other builders who have gone with RH on this, but I just don't like it. So it was always going to be replacement clocks, and I've settled for Smith's. The pre-assembled scuttle and dash needed some remodeling, the crease that runs across the passenger side diagonally had to be straightened to run top to bottom in a vertical line [ photo ]. Then the cluster arrangement I was going for had to be cut out of the existing dash and a new replacement panel fixed in [ photo ].

Once that was done it was onto covering the dash in foam, making a suitable tunnel top and covering that in foam, as well as the sill covers. The steering cowl had to be cut and fitted, bit nerve racking as there was no room for error, but I think it looks ok [ photo ].

Once happy I enlisted the help of mum to work on the leather upholstery, not that she has any leather working experience, but she's been using a sewing machine a lot longer than I have :) By the end of the month I had tested a number of options [ photo ] for how the thing was to be upholstered and carried out a few tests to make sure the paper patterns I'd produced would actually work [ photo ]. On the very last day I had actually covered the dash in leather [ photo ], but the rest would have to wait for October.

October 2005

October has been a month of cockpit interior. There are a number of items still outstanding, like wiper arms and blades, sealing around windscreen to scuttle and boot cover and lid. But I wanted the interior fitted as much as possible. I Had already design the look and now it was a job of putting it into practice, September had prepared most of the hard work, so it was a case of leather upholstery skills needed!

Picking up from September there was the tunnel, sills and the dash lower edges to attend to. I took a while on these items as I wanted to make sure the finish was as good as I could get. I think I succeeded [ photo ] here's the sills [ photo ] and the tunnel [ photo ].

November would see the seats going in for their final fix and some of the other items finishing off. Instrument cluster has been designed and I'm in the process of getting it fabricated, then I'll need to order the instruments themselves, but that may be well after Christmas now.

That's all there is here, you'll have to check out the next years diary...

copyright Ian Grant © 2005-2010 all rights reserved


Super Spec Robin Hood Robin Hood Super Spec Robin Hood Kit car Robin Hood Sports Car Lotus Super Seven Lotus Super 7 Super Seven Inspired Sports Car Super 7 Inspired Sports Car Seven Replica Kit Car 7 Replica Kit Car Super 7 Replica Lotus Inspired Super Seven Look a Like Lotus Kit Car Lotus Inspired Lotus Replica Kit Car Kit Car Builder Kit Cars Kit Building a Car Build Your Own Building a Sports Car How to build a Lotus Super Seven Replica How to Build a Robin Hood Super Spec