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  • Writer's pictureKingsley James

Frog Eye Sprite

This happy little chap had been sitting in the home garage for quite some time gathering dust and awaiting a miracle with no real prospects of ever being finished. Fortunately for this little sprite, a friend of a previous owner was desperate for the car to be returned to them and a deal was struck for the purchase and repairs. The new owner had a friend in the bodywork and paint trade so my job was for the metalwork only. Not exactly a small task on this one.

The majority of work was to the rear of the car so removing the rear axle was the first job.

Rear bulk head and suspension brackets were toast. Luckily there is still a large amount of panels and spare parts available for this car

After removing the shock absorbers, leaf springs and brackets the extent of how bad they were was clearly visible.

Further back the boot floor wasn't in particularly good shape either and would have to be replaced. The only saving grace is that as bad as the flat panels were, the chassis rails running under the car and over the axle tunnel were all still very strong and didn't need any work.

The boot floor does actually look solid for the most part but for a good coating of surface rust. The problem is the corrosion all around the outside edge which makes it pointless to try a repair job when a full panel is available.

Rear wings removed show nothing but more rust. The inner wing is orange but it is only surface rust so it can be left in place. The inner wheel arch and rear quarter however will need to be replaced.

The underside skin of the axle tunnel was one panel I couldn't seem to find so I ended up making my own from 18 guage steel.

New boot floor and axle tunnels welded in place. The center section was solid enough to leave in place.

The new rear bulkhead panel was drilled in order to plug weld in to the new suspension towers.

Rear bulk head now welded in place with new shock brackets and leads springs in place. The edges of the bulkhead have been left for when the new sill will be welded to it.

New inner wheel arches fitted and the inner wing is cleaned up at this stage and chemically rust treated.

Outer wings were about as bad as they can get without having to throw them away.

Both wings had new front and rear quarters as well as the wheel arch sections. These were welded in very slowly to insure minimal warping and therefore less filler in the end.

On to the floor panel. The footwell was rotten and the center had been repaired at some point in the past. Best plan is to just replace the lot as well as the inner and outer sills.

Floors and sills all done it's starting to look like a safe car again at this point.

A last minute job was to replace the passenger side front wheel arch having done the driver side at an earlier date.

This is one of the few panels on this car I'd made my self as I wanted to finish the job and didn't want to wait a week for delivery. It came out quite nicely.

The last job was to weld the inner and outer boot together. This ment chopping the bottom off the outer skin as it to was rotten. Surprise surprise !

My work hear is done. The new metal is given a quick coat of red oxide primer for a bit of protection from the elements but this will probably be sanded off in the bodywork stage.

Moments before going on the back of the truck to its new home to hopefully continue its miracle.

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