Despite some trials and tribulations along the way, RallySport Magazine's classic Mk2 Escort is starting to near completion.
As you will have read in Part 3 of our rebuild story, we covered the car in vinyl wrap and it came up a treat. However, the poor work done on the bodywork prior to that meant that the wrap was starting to lift in places.
Without the confidence that a repair job would last, and with the likelihood of it becoming worse when the car faced the rigours of dirt, dust, mud and water, we made the decision to remove the wrap and have the car painted.
Armed with hair dryers and heat guns, we were expecting some trouble getting the sticky wrap off the car, but to our surprise, within 15 minutes we again had a clean skin, with no sticky residue left.
With that, the car was loaded onto the trailer and delivered to a mate who is a real 'old school' panel beater and spray painter.
Ready for paint, our Mk 2's rebirth continues.
Working on the car after hours, he expected it to take about a month, and he was true to his word.
Repairs required to the body were more extensive than we had expected, but once the car was ready for paint, it was straight and looked the goods.
Again moving the car, he took it to a spray painter's booth where he spent a sunny Saturday morning with the spray gun.
The car had traditionally been painted "rally yellow", and we again went down this path.
Applying the new paint, with the project getting closer to completion.
Bert reckoned the shell would take three coats of paint, as yellow is notorious for requiring extra coats, but even he was surprised when it took a full five coats!
With the painting completed, we were eager to get the car home to start bolting bumper bars, mud flaps and other essentials back on to it.
That done, and the car now mobile again (!!), it was into the forest for a brief drive to bed everything in prior to our planned first event, the Nissan Nightmoves Rally in June.
However, yet again we hit a stumbling block that we hadn't expected.
Five coats of 'rally yellow' had our Mk2 Escort looking a treat.
After 15km of driving, the car was stuck in third gear and we ground to a halt.
The car was still drivable, but a closer inspection quickly revealed a big pool of oil forming on the road underneath.
To our shock and horror, the gearbox had actually split in two pieces.
Vibrations, age, fatigue .... who knows, but we were stranded and it was back to the workshop for yet another rebuild 'rebuild'.
With only a couple of weeks before the Nightmoves, our entry was withdrawn and we again had to reset our goals.
There was light at the end of the tunnel though, and chief mechanic Steve Roman set about rebuilding the gearbox ready for our 'new' debut event, the Yarra Valley Stages in September.
At this stage those plans are still on track. We have a few bits and pieces to do before then, but we're confident that this time we really will get to hear those magic numbers .... 5, 4, 3, 2,1, GO!
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