Detailing project started

Posted on 2015-10-19 in The Blue Car

The detailing project I mentioned previously has been planned, budgeted and costed.

This car is now 24 years old (if it's a '91, I'm not 100% sure) and it's really started to show it during the last few years. If you compare photos of when I got it in 2009 vs now, it's clear how much the paint has deteriorated. Of course, things like the trip to Namibia hasn't done it any favours, but that's part of owning the car in my book.

This detailing project isn't just about looks however. There is just as much an emphasis on proofing the car against another 20 years of use and ownership. Seals, fixtures, trim and then some two or three nice-to-haves as well. So in that spirit I've started working out my budget to see where I can get things done and what should/could wait until later.

The main items to be addressed are:

  • Total body strip, treatment of dents and dings, prep and finally respray
  • Complete chassis prime, rustproof and respray
  • Windshield replacement
  • Various fixture replacements and additions, including front sidelights/indicators and front mudguards
  • Wiring and bulb holder replacements for front sidelights/indicators

Items currently on the longer term plan are:

  • Front lip
  • New wheels
  • Clear reflectors
  • Replacement rear light clusters
  • New exhaust with a 4-2-1 branch

Items on the very long term list are:

  • Flyin’ Miata’s little big brake kit
  • Air Conditioning rebuild/refit to new standards
  • A new idle control valve

I've made some progress on the strip of the body. The first item was to get the roof removed. It's only about 4 years old now and doesn't need replacing yet, so I only need to remove the frame. For easy access I removed the two seats as well, and found the first problem area of rust - one of the mounting points of the passenger seat. Apart from that, the exposed interior of the body just needs to be cleaned properly for the most part.

The seat mount had cracked and rusted. Probably only surface by the looks of it. The roof and gutter belt-line removed. The gutters are super clean and solid, no structural rust issues so far.

Unfortunately, the plastic rear cover plate between the rear lights that holds the license plate cracked during the removal process. It was extremely brittle, which I thought was due to sun and age, but as it turns out this is simply the quality of plastic the OEM part come in. This adds an additional cost to proceedings, and also extra time to import since this is an Eunos rear cover and not UK/EU spec. Hopefully nothing else breaks.

Once all this is done, I need to remove all the light fixtures, wings, bumpers and door trim.

Other posts in The Blue Car

The toughest part by far to strip is the interior. Especially if you intend to put it back together again.

After I got the dashboard out I could inspect the interior thoroughly. I needn’t have worried. But there is a lot of cleaning up to do.

I didn’t think that after six years of ownership the history of this car would still throw up a few surprises.