Our Cars : Project Tomcat Turbo

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Update: 3 April 2010

When R8s rust, they really rust
When R8s rust, they really rust

To reshell or not to reshell, that’s the question.

And it’s a question that’s preoccupying us increasingly these days. It seems that the more we delve into this car, the more corrosion we’re finding. The corroded front subframe (above) has been a bit of a body blow for us, and has us considering what the rescue plan for this car is. But as a good, rust free shell shouldn’t be hard for us to find, it’s a plan of action we’re finding hard to avoid. After all, this is a rare turbo – one of the first – and we’re desperately keen to see it live on.

And we know its original owner, Kevin Harris, was also keen to see it not fall into the hands of boy racers. Currently, we’re hoping he didn’t regret this decision, as we know how depressing a half-dismantled car car look!

The good news is that the running gear, ancillaries and interior are pretty much spot on (this has been a cherished car), and that’s three things we don’t have to worry about. But here’s a summary of the car as it stands now:

  • The general bodywork is okay aside from multiple blisters and break-outs, but as you can see from the images, many of the fittings and structural areas of the car are rusted beyond repair. The left-hand side of the car in particular, is exceptionally corroded, even in the interior.
  • It seemed like everything we removed from the car involved breaking corroded fixtures and fittings.
  • Cooling system is shot from the inside out, and needs rebuilding – or replacing – entirely.
  • Rear suspension and fuel tank corroded badly.
  • Steering rack, arms and joints all substandard, corroded or just worn out.

If that sounds like a recipe for disaster, don’t worry – the car will be getting these faults rectified at the moment. We’re just hoping we don’t find too much else that’s succumbed to tinworm. Good news is that there’s no shortage of parts, and the most expensive and difficult to source parts of this one (radiator aside!) are in good order.

We’ll keep you posted.

 

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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