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Rear bumper and valance



Here is the first part of the body I have attacked in anger. Its the rear valance that goes between the radiator apertures. The chassis fouls this component and causes it to be bent, also bringing the radiator surrounds out of true. The problem is that with the current chassis and engine/gearbox configuration, there is no way round this. The problem is likely to be more severe with a six speed gearbox as it is physically longer. This bowing looks nasty to me, and stresses the rest of the body badly.

I did not follow Naz's advice for this. He recommends glassing a bent metal bar in to form the panel around the gearbox. I don't like his solution because this back panel is supposed to be almost flat. So what I have done is to cut two slits around where the gearbox the fouls, and bent the flap out. After glassing it in place, and filling it to make good, this part fits with almost no bending at all and is tight against the chassis.

Its not authentic, but as this part is partially hidden by the rear bumper, I think its a better looking solution, and more in keeping with the original design.



I made some spacers up from aluminium today. Naz recommends using washers to space out the valance to the radiator surrounds. I didn't like the way this looked so I made up these from stock.

I used a band saw and file to match the profile I required after initially making up patterns from cardboard. Its always a good idea to fabricate things using cardboard or paper before you start hacking about with bits of metal and fibre glass.


This shows the interior of the modified valance. You can see it now clears the gearbox by at least five millimeters all round. Its tight against the chassis now and I will seal using tiger seal to bond the valance to the chassis to stop it flapping around when I am going along.



This shows the panel in position on the rear of the car. It matches the type of profile on the rest of the panel pretty well, and I don't think it looks particularly out of place.

I think its a good idea to install this panel before you start bonding the back of the car down to the chassis rails. It spreads the rear to its correct dimensions and certainly aids the fitment of the engine cover as you don't need to be using quite so many bits of wood to poke things around.


This is the end result of the hard work. The radiator aperture is not nearly as distorted as before. Those of you on the forum may remember what it looked like before, these modifications have certainly improved things.

I will need to apply a modicum of heat to the bottom part of the aperture to reduce the stress imposed on this panel. You need quite a bit of brute force to bend it out to meet the panel correctly. My spacers seem to work OK, but I just don't have enough physical strength to bend it round to mate up with the valance correctly. Gentle heat with reset the fibre glass into this new position and mean I don't need to start pumping iron to marry things up correctly.


I decided I didnt like the distortion of the radiator aperture, so I resolved to do something about it. The problem is caused by the fact the panel is fouled by the chassis, preventing it from rotating fully into its correct position. There is no way short of modifying the chassis to get this panel to fit, so the panel must be modified to suit.

The only way to do this is to move the ears that mount to the bottom part of the radiator aperture on the body. I cut two slots either side of the curved section and re-glassed the two ears further back by about an inch. This allows the radiator aperture to mount correctly. It takes a fair amount of work to do this sort of work, and it took far longer than I anticipated to get it right.
This image shows the rear bumper fitted against the rear valance. The bumper had to be modified slightly to accomodate the gearbox recess. The general gap between the rear valance and the bumper is now even and matches the line of the car much better.

Although it looks very close and almost appears to be touching, there is actually a substantial gap between the bumper and the valance, the angle of the photograph makes it look much closer than it really is. Also the rear valance is not bonded to the chassis as of yet, and this will pull it further still from the bumper, improving alignment even further.