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From Fire to Fire Up and Beyond - Elite #1359

Written by John Norris.

Originally published in Club Elite Newsletter issue 31 (December 2011)

[John Norris bought #1359 from Eric Jeffries last year.  The car had suffered an engine fire that would have dissuaded most would be buyers from taking it on.  Not John.  Here’s a summary of the months John spent restoring #1359. - Club Elite Newsletter Editor]

The sanding, stripping, painting, sanding and buffing are substantially complete now. I went ahead and painted it black with the Krypton Green stripe against your good advice. If it turns out to be impractical or anything else bad, I will just repaint it some other color. But for now, it is really sharp.

1359-2I have put a light gray pigment in my epoxy resin, and have painted the engine compartment, wheel wells, and the entire underside of the car with it. That has given the car a fresh, clean new look to it, and has well covered the fire and smoke blackened portions. It will look quite nice when you check out the engine. That stuff does not act like paint, though. It will run and drip badly until it starts to "honey up". At that time, you can still brush out the runs, but you don't have much time.

I am going to clean up the suspension and paint all that tomorrow. Then I will be ready to take it off the rotisserie sometime this week. I had hoped to have it on the road by Christmas, but British Wiring will not have my wiring harness ready for 2-3 more weeks. That sets my schedule back a bit.

1359-3Here are the latest photos, I'll send more as I go along.

I installed a set of Webers yesterday and fooled around half a day trying to get an electric fuel pump to work. I took it back and got a different brand which worked fine, including correct fuel pressure.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get one of the banjos to seal. I took it out and looked at it and found that it was bent. I've never seen that before.  Have any of you [CNE readers and Elite owners]?

In any case I was ready for a test start, so I filled the carburetor bowls and hit the starter. Fire extinguisher in hand, of course. The engine fired right away, and ran smooth as could be. I didn't hear any expensive sounding noises. I only ran it for about ten seconds, but that was enough to tell there were no major issues.

Today I installed the radiator and hoses, so tomorrow I will fill it with water to see how many leaks there are. Then it's just wait for the new fuel lines to come in, and we're ready for a test drive.

I'll keep you advised.

Latest word on progress on 1359 is that it runs and drives, but cylinder three doesn't want to wake up yet. I'll find out why tomorrow.

Here's a pic of the engine compartment. It's beginning to look like a car again. I need to get in and tidy up the cables and hoses so it looks presentable.

I put in the seats and door panels, but I haven't installed the carpet yet. I'll wait until the mechanical work is all done, then it's time for the carpet and the rest of the cosmetic work. The carpet is the only job I won't do, I'll farm that out. Everything else I can do right here in my shop.1359-1

Old 1359 is roadworthy again. I've been doing some jetting on the Webers, and it runs like a top. Only exception is the idle. I've played with the idle for hours, but I can't get that last bit of uneveness out of it. I suspect that the butterflies on the rear carb are not equalized, and so I can't sync the carbs perfectly. I'll pull it off and see what I can do. If that's the problem, I'll pull the front one as well. 

When I first got it running, the differential nose seal and the engine rear seal were leaking badly. I poured a little of NAPA's finest stop-leak in both of them, and the differential has just about dried up completely, and the engine leak is much improved.

I put on one of those plastic clutch hoses, and it popped, leaving me clutchless. I replaced it with a flexible brake hose, so I don't expect a repeat failure there.

Most of what I have left to do are cosmetic issues. The only big issue left is to install the carpet and the rest of the interior. That is one job I'll be happy to farm out.

It's an unusual sight here in the Oklahoma wilderness. Most vehicles around here are big old picking-up trucks, 4WD and diesel duallies. Here I go out amongst them, with their running boards going past me at eye level, pulling horse trailers that would fit a half-dozen Elites. Sure instills a sense of careful driving in me.

Thanks again for the help and advice.

John Norris, Oklahoma, USA

Copyright © 2011 John Norris  All rights reserved.

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