So a bit of works been going on in the background since she arrived. It was surprisingly light work to roll her into her temporary cave.
First things first, we needed to check her as she stands.
A quick test patch of cutting, wet sanding and buffing showed that the ”matte” black paint work was as cheap as I feared. The paint is actually black underneath, but Stripping the top layer off and trying to restore the original base pearl black is going to be firefighting to say the least. Step one was a wash followed up with wet 1200grit sand.
It’s safe to say that the paint is somewhat unrecoverable or at least what the insurance companies would call an ”uneconomical repair”.
This process was repeated over a period of 9 hours. Sanding, polishing and repeating. I didn’t want to go to the extent of measuring the paint depth, naturally it would be difficult to ascertain where good stopped and bad ended. But if cutting the bad paint down to produce wrap-ready was possible, it could offer a lot of options further down the track.
This process was repeated. For 8. Long. Hours. Wet Sand with 800 grit, delicately to avoid destroying the original paint, Dry, Cut (actually used the cheapest Turtle Wax cutting compound I could find for this)Although, you can see the difference between the old and new paint in the panel where the shine dulls off. The ‘new’ paint is extremely thin, and didn’t stand up at all to any polishing or wet sanding and virtually washed away with mild efforts. All in all, a good excuse for a complete colour change, which is no bad thing, but more on that soon.
The first job to get it back to it’s iconic Supra-esque looks, the massive wing, borrowed from a 747 parked up at the nearest airport. Whether it will stay, I’m unsure, but for now it feels good to have this beaten supra looking somewhat more iconic.
Note the boot full of intercooler piping and plastic hosing.
It’s starting to look more at home already, but that 90’s TV style areal that you can see in the bottom of the photo has to go! But that’s the least of our worries yet…
Time to get messy.
The head had already been partially stripped. rocker covers removed. This is the point where I’d usually be keen to highlight the the importance of noting, taping, containing each bolt and pipe; but the more I look the more it becomes apparent that this will be a full ground-up rebuild.
The unidentified tapping that the seller spoke of is almost without doubt, a bottom end bearing. That’s New bolts, new Gaskets, new components new everything! The head and block will stay, perhaps. But not much else.
You can see the manifold/turbo and associated piping setup above, the key to the Supra’s Power. On pulling the turbos, they were in surprisingly good condition. It’s anyone’s guess just how many kms the heart has, against the measly 97,000kms on the clock. Nothing strikes me as particularly aged at this point. In the air she goes, and an hour of unbolting brackets, piping and mountings.
The turbos were particularly ground in, which suggests a bit of use. All that heat cycling tightens things up nicely and the angle around the turbo and manifolds is far from generous. Time to try out the crane for size. I should have waited until the car was in the workshop but that was two weeks away and I’m not known for patience! The crane hits my ceiling, lifting up the tiles – it’s going to be tight, but as you do, we’ll take a deep breath, go slow and hopefully not make a mess!
Some double angle spanner work and use of a few long reach sockets and breaker bar and the Turbo assembly lifts out. Shaft play (hehe) is minimal so these can be sold on. The more that can be salvaged from the car as it stands, effectively, the more the budget! If we can get the outlay of the car down to $2k, I will be chuffed.
Radiator, Air con radiator and compressor are out. Call me insane – but I’m not planning to refit the air conditioning and will fit a shorter serpentine belt. Less weight, less engine draw, every little counts.
Next to the front section of the exhaust, a vision of the weight savings is starting to come together.
I won’t guide you through step by step of the engine removal, but after a day of unbolting the prop, gearbox mounting, engine mounts, air conditioning piping, front silencer, exhaust at the down section, manifolds/turbos as above, radiators, disconnecting the heater matrix at the bulkhead, the wiring loom, coolant piping and any other engine accessory that was connected to the vehicle, the engine was ready to lift. As a one man job, with a lift it wasn’t bad until the crane could lift no higher due to the subby garage.
When you can’t go up, you go down! Car jacked up, axle stands shortened, and the car just met the front crash bar. A bit of brute deadlifting and the engine was over the bar, and my ego as big as Arnie’s.
A weighty thing it is, the car stretching an extra inch into the air in a similar way that I do after a day at the desk. Time to line up the engine to a stand, and get ready for heart surgery. A Biopsy, to find out just what killed this beauty which would usually be renowned for it’s durability.
A few bolts later and she’s secure. The 5 speed N/A box clunks convincingly and she appears to be in good mechanical condition which means another $1000 in the kitty potentially. These gearboxes are a common addition to older Holden Toranas, Toyota Soarer V8’s and in the case of people not chasing big power – N/A and mild TT Supras. That would potentially drag the cost of the car down to around the $2500 mark. Not bad.
The end to a couple of long, long days, but the sense of achievement is always great when you hit a milestone!
The next few days will involve a strip down, inspection and assessment as to what the damage is, what will be replaced, what will be rebuilt and how things will turn out!
The hard work is just beginning. Those words fill me with as much fear as they do excitement! Bring it on.