The TVR V8S, one of my favourite TVR's of all time. Not very many of these cars were made, as they were overshadowed by the birth of the Griffith in the early nineties. This particular car, is the one that was on the cover of the Steve Heath S Series manual when it was first released. The owner of the car drove it for a little while, but took a job abroad, so I was asked to do a restoration while he was away. The story starts with the vehicle being stripped down to just the body and chassis, as the car was to be repainted. I haven't included the photo's of the strip down, as it's probably not that interesting.
We start with the body shell being painted a gorgeous shade of Lexus blue metallic, which against the dark grey carpet, light grey leather, and a grey chassis, will look stunning. In these pictures you can see the body after it came out of the spray booth, the colour in the daylight is really nice, and compliments the shape of the body beautifully. In my opinion, darker colours suit this model much better than lighter ones.
Once it was painted, the car was transported back to the workshop, the next job being to separate the body from the chassis. I left the paint to cure for some time, as I was concerned about marking the finish, as the shell was to be lifted with straps around the body. The video below shows the chassis being rolled out from under the body, after it had been lifted off with ceiling mounted electric winches. Even hired a super model for the video!!
Below shows the extent of the corrosion on the chassis. Both outriggers were rusted through, and the two rear body securing plates were badly rusted. The tubes behind both front wheels were also rusted through, so all the outer parts on both sides of the chassis, will need to be replaced with new metal. The first part of the process is to fit the jigs, which will ensure that the new tubes are located in exactly the same place as the old ones. The jigs are reversible, so both sides will be the same and identical to the original chassis.
The jigs were fitted at the front and rear of the chassis, and the rusty metal cut away. The new tubes were cut and fashioned to fit exactly in the same place as the old ones. Everything was lightly tacked together before being finished welded and dressed. The series of photo's shows the chassis welded to completion. Then I made alloy blanking pieces to protect the threads when the chassis is painted.
Once all the welding was finished, the chassis along with all the other suspension parts were shot blasted, zinc primed and finished in a polyester top coat. The grey colour is a high gloss finish, which looks very impressive in real life, and will compliment the body colour nicely. Normally chassis are black, so it made a pleasant change to do one in a different colour.
This photo shows the rocker covers freshly painted. They will receive new TVR badges in the centre part of the casting, to finish them off. Below is a picture and a video of the valve guide modification. On these older engines, no valve guide seals were fitted which can lead to smokey exhausts and excessive oil consumption. The usual process to upgrade the heads, involves removing the guides, machining them to accept the seal and refitting them back into the head. The problem with this, is removing and installing a guide into a soft alloy head isn't without risk, and once refitted the seats need to be recut which in turn means the valve will need to be re-shimmed. Being able to do this process with the guides in the head, saves a considerable amount of work and cost. It is a quick process once the head has accurately been set at an angle of 10º and the special cutter installed.
This photo shows the engine before it was stripped down. Again I didn't put any pictures of it being taken apart, as it's not very interesting really. However, the engine is in much better condition than I was expecting. The bores are in very good condition, as are the cylinder heads. The block was dressed and prepared, ready for assembly as seen below. All the alloy components were vapour blasted, and the steel parts shot blasted and stove enamelled. All the fasteners will be stainless, and the fuel rail and throttle linkages will be bright nickel plated. The rocker covers were shot blasted, primed and then painted in the body colour. However, the valve guides, although are in extremely good condition don't have any valve seals. Some of the older engines were made this way, and a rubber disc was placed on top of the inlet valve guides which don't really work very well. So these guides will be machined to accept the later seal which is a much better solution. I have a specially made tool that allows this process to be done in situ, which saves a great deal of work and expense. I'll show this in later pictures when the engine is assembled.
On the right. The fuel rail and all the throttle linkages, along with the fittings that go in the lower plenum casting have been bright nickel plated. Nickel plating isn't quite a shinny as chrome, but it covers better and in my opinion looks more professional. Below is the block ready for assembly, and the crankshaft installed with new Clevlite 77 bearing shells. These bearings are the choice in top fuel engines, so perfect for this engine.
The gearbox has been cleaned and all the corrosion removed from the castings. The gearbox was then painted with POR15 and gloss black engine enamel to give a permanent hard finish. The gearbox is mechanically sound internally, but the gear selector will be attended to, to remove wear in the mechanism. The bell housing has been vapour blasted and looks like new. Also, a new release bearing has been fitted to the clutch fork.
The pictures above, show the pistons and conrods fitted to the block, along with the conrods and main bearing caps. The next job is to build the cylinder heads, with the new valve seal upgrade. All the valves have been ground to the valve seats in the cylinder head, this will ensure a gas tight seal is created. On the right is the cylinder head that has been fitted to the block with new ARP Hi Tensile studs.
Below, both heads can be seen fitted to the block, with ARP stainless exhaust and inlet bolts.. The rocker covers have been assembled with new TVR badges, and painted in the stunning blue colour to match the body shell. When the nickel plated parts, and vapoured castings are fitted, it will look absolutely superb.
These days there are a lot of cheap Chinese cam followers on the market for this engine, but they are poor quality and not fit for this project. I managed to source the proper OE followers which are beautifully made. The next job is to fit the camshaft retaining plate, and then the adjustable vernier cam gear. The valve timing can then be set up correctly, and then the inlet components can be fitted.