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Here we have a lovely example the the classic V8S which came in for some mild performance upgrades and some cosmetic enhancement along with a few wiring issues. the engine was to be stripped down to the block, ARP hi tensile studs fitted along with competition head gaskets and a complete top end rebuild. The alloy components were be vapour blasted and the rest stove enamelled. However, with a lot of these projects, one thing lead to another and before long the owner wanted a complete nut and bolt rebuild. The photo’s show the story of the restoration and enhancement process, ending up with probably the best V8S there is.

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Here are two shots of the engine bay now that the bonnet has been removed. The engine doesn’t run very smoothly and has a poor idle, but it’s all there and will benefit from the usual makeover and meticulous rebuild.

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On the left the engine being stripped ready for engine removal. On the right the engine being removed from the chassis. The chassis is in very poor condition and a decision was taken to shot blast and paint it along with all the suspension and hubs.  The engine will be acid cleaned and all the parts cleaned and repainted.

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Here is the chassis minus the engine and all the suspension components removed.  It’s not in the best condition but thankfully none of the metal is corroded to badly, so it should shot blast successfully before being painted satin black.

Some of the engine components fresh from the platers. These parts have been nickel plated which in many ways is better than chrome as the plating gets into all the corners which makes for a much better job. The wheel bolts have been chromed along with a few other parts.

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One very pretty alloy radiator which has been made specially. This should help with the engine cooling considerably and of course looks the part as well. Also shown is the inlet manifold which has been vapour blasted and the fuel rail nickel plated.


Here is the engine pretty much stripped down to just the crankshaft and pistons. The engine is to have an uprated camshaft, new followers and a camshaft retaining plate which is a modification I am doing to all the RV8 engines that I build. The plate stops any lateral movement from the camshaft that can happen on unmodified engines. It also stops excessive wear on the cam lobes, followers and the timing chain assembly. The engine will also have a vernier cam gear set to allow for precision setting up of the new performance camshaft. The block will be dressed and acid cleaned before reassembly begins.

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The engine has now been cleaned and is ready for the new cam retaining plate modification. The rear main bearing cap has been removed to allow for a new rear oil seal to be fitted and resealed to make for an oil tight engine. Although the seal wasn’t leaking prior to removal, for the small cost involved it is good practice to renew it as these engines are prone to seal failure.

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The left hand picture shows the new rear main oil seal installed and the bearing cap re-sealed. The other picture shows the new camshaft bearing retaining plate fitted to the new sports cam.

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Here you can see the valve guides that have been machined to accept new valve stem seals. On these older engines they often have guides that don’t have modern valve seals fitted. It is a fairly inexpensive modification to retro fit these seals. Also the ports/seats have been cut at four angles to improve the flow and some mild porting in the head. All adds to an improved performance.

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Both of the cylinder heads are re-assembled and ready for fitting. On the right you can see ARP Hi-Tensile head studs installed in the block which allows the head bolts to be tightened to a greater torque which along with competition head gaskets, makes the engine virtually bomb proof. A must if you intend to use the vehicle on a track.

The cylinder heads have been fitted to the block and torqued up. You can also see ARP stainless inlet manifold and exhaust bolts along with a new vernier camshaft sprocket. This is used to accurately set up the camshaft timing as it is infinitely adjustable. 

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The engine being set up with the timing disc and a clock gauge acting on the inlet valve rocker. The idea is to set the No1 piston to 112 degrees after top dead centre, the inlet valve at maximum lift and adjust the vernier gear so all is accurately aligned. It can be a little tricky to set up, but has to be correct or the engine won’t run properly.

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All the valve lifters are installed along with the pushrods and rocker assemblies. As the valve seats have been reworked and modified, the clearances needed for correct valve geometry have changed slightly. It is necessary for shims to be added under the rocker shaft pedestals to restore the correct settings. It’s a bit like setting the valve clearances on a conventional engine, but a bit more fiddly. 

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All the valve lifters are installed along with the pushrods and rocker assemblies. As the valve seats have been reworked and modified, the clearances needed for correct valve geometry have changed slightly. It is necessary for shims to be added under the rocker shaft pedestals to restore the correct settings. It’s a bit like setting the valve clearances on a conventional engine, but a bit more fiddly. 

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The body shell being lifted from the chassis with the aid of two electric winches which are mounted in the roof of the workshop. It makes for what can be a tricky job pretty effortless and without any risk of damage. Although the body is fibreglass, it is still a considerable weight if you were to lift it off manually. Once clear, the chassis is simply rolled out of the way.

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The chassis has now been stripped of all components, de-greased.  and  a considerable coating of Waxoil removed. The chassis has been repaired at some point with new out riggers. There’s no paint  on the new metal at all, just Waxoil applied on the areas you can see from the underneath.  It’s just as well the customer chose to have the chassis refinished as corrosion would soon have taken its toll. The chassis is to be shot blasted and finished in a satin black, should look stunning.

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What a transformation, the chassis has been shot blasted to remove all the old powder coating and any corrosion. Then the whole structure was phosphated, zinc primed and polyester top coated in satin black. A first class job, the chassis looks better than new.

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This shot shows the new alloy radiator installed along with the new stainless cooling fan mounting bars. The originals were very rusty and damaged. I made up two new ones, screw cut the threads at each end on the lathe and made some new mounting blocks from HE30 alloy. The owner wants to put two cooling fans on instead of the single one usually found on these cars, much like the set up on a Griffith. This will greatly help with any cooling issues even if stationary in traffic.

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On the left is the gearbox assembled with the bell housing and a new upgraded release bearing assembly. The unit has been painted and is now ready to be fitted. On the right the engine mated to the gearbox and being lowered into the chassis. Great care was taken to avoid scratching the newly painted chassis.

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The engine and gearbox finally fitted to the chassis and bolted up tight. Also you can see the stainless cooling pipes connected to the radiator and the new stainless swirl tank just in front of the engine. The next job is to fit the fuel lines and brake pipes.

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The owner popped over to give me a hand fitting the new braided brake hoses and have look at the progress of the project so far. On the right is the body shell stripped of all the components and prepared ready for painting.

The shell sprayed in a satin black two pack acrylic paint which should be durable and cope with the heat under the bonnet. There are new heat shields to be fitted and a modification to the cold air pipes. Two alloy flanges are to be made that will fit to the shell and allow new air pipes to be fitted neatly to them instead of securing them to the shell with sealant.

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These are alloy flanges that will be fitted to the body shell where the fresh air pipe enters. The original set up is unsightly and in true TVR fashion stuck in with copious quantities of sealant. These units will be fitted to the body allowing a more attractive pipe to be used and run neatly along the chassis rails to the front of the bonnet.

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The front suspension has been fitted to the chassis with new poly bushes installed in both upper and lower arms. New wheel bearings have also been fitted both sides along with poly bushes for the anti roll bar. New brake discs and pads are all that is required to complete the assembly.

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Here the two rear arms have been fitted with new poly bushes and the differential installed along with the prop shaft. All the spring/shock assemblies have been refurbished which really add to the job and the two pipes you can see are the fuel pipes.

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A set of new TVR rocker cover badges have been fitted to the rocker covers and a lovely alloy oil cap finishes them off beautifully.

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The rear brake discs and calipers have been fitted along with the driveshafts. This shot shows the stainless braided brake pipes fitted to the suspension arms, expensive but will give a very positive brake pedal feel and instant braking. This is the perfect set up for any track day session. Just a few more little jobs to do and the body will be reunited with the chassis.

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The picture on the left shows the new heat shields fitted to the body shell, and on the right the chassis finished just waiting for the body to be reunited with it.

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A very dramatic shot of the body shell being lowered on to the chassis. A tricky operation at the best of times but all went well and without any damage or scratches.

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Mission accomplished, the body finally fitted to the chassis. A very satisfying part of any build as the project nears completion. The next task is to sort out the wiring looms and fit the remaining components before it stands on it’s wheels once more.

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The headers and the Y piece have been shot blasted and ceramic coated in a “Cerra-chrome” finish. Really adds to the look of the engine and is designed to lower the heat emitted from the system when the engine is running. It is a permanent finish which is the best finish for an exhaust but isn’t cheap to do.

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Here are the new twin Kenlowe fan units which are fitted to the stainless mounting bars with stainless pins I made. The pins allow the fans to be mounted closely to the radiator matrix for maximum cooling. The coolant in this vehicle is “Evans Waterless Coolant” which is a racing product that has much higher heat transfer than a normal water/antifreeze mix. It should help keep the temperature of the engine in control, eliminating any overheating problems as so often experienced on this model. A series of tests will be done with this new product to evaluate the pros (or cons) and the results will be available on the site shortly.

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On the left the bonnet fitted with the new stainless hinges, and the right shows the new tank cradle cover which is now a stainless item instead of the factory aluminium one.

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The cold air pipe bezel fitted to the body and on the right the new pipe installed. It will run around the chassis before attaching to the scoop in the front of the bonnet.

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The left picture shows the new magnetic bonnet stay which I made instead of the rather nasty little plastic clip that was originally fitted, a much more classy act. The right hand shot shows the new alloy roof struts which are similar to the ones fitted to the Griffith along with a new fire extinguisher.

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Here is a panel I made which has a fan override switch, fan indicator light and the alarm light. The wire is direct to the battery to allow a trickle charger to be connected. The other picture is a carbon fibre badge that is engraved “V8S”. A nice touch to the finished off the engine.

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The project is almost finished, the new air filter assembly has been installed, just a replacement brake servo to be fitted as the original servo unfortunately wouldn’t hold a vacuum and gave an erratic idle. The headlight rims are still to be fitted once the lights have been adjusted at the MOT centre.

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The finished car, looking stunning in the sunshine. A huge transformation from how it was at the start of the project, it now looks absolutely beautiful with that unforgettable TVR V8 sound track through the sports exhaust.

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