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Aiberdonian

Triumph Gloria - a sympathetic restoration

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The engine is a 4 cylinder 10.8 HP (1232 cc) overhead inlet, side exhaust Coventry Climax made under licence by Triumph and during the late 1980's would overheat and boil after about 8 miles.
It was either rubbish around the exhaust ports in the block or a blocked radiator so radiator was removed followed by the engine which was partially dismantled short block status.
Over the years I had read in the club magazine about the amount of rust and debris that had been found in similar engines along with aluminium corrosion - the water inlet confirmed this when removed, the rear port was completely blocked and the top flange broke off in the process
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The cylinder head and studs were removed as were the sump and its studs before all the core plugs were knocked out.
The amount of rust and rubbish was horrendous which explained the overheating problem, the block was probed and poked with a variety of screwdrivers chisels and lengths of bar and power washed until all the areas around the cylinders and exhaust ports were clear.
The radiator had always had a greasy film around the filler which I think was due to pumping water pump grease into the pump bearings to stop it leaking so much but what to use to try cleaning it. I was wary of using some of the chemical cleaners on an 80 year old brass cored radiator and after some research found that a lot of people in the US used their equivalent of Fairy Liquid to clean out oil contaminated radiators on old trucks. An old zinc bath, my submersible pump and warm water with plenty Fairy Liquid was connected to the radiator and I reverse flushed it several times and then left it overnight full of the mixture and then flushed it a few times next day. There was no restriction to flow and the greasy film had disappeared so it was back to the engine,
I don't think the engine had done more than 1,000 miles since being bored and having new bearings in 1963 and after checking the bores and a couple of the big ends didn't think it was necessary to strip it down any further. A couple of the cylinder head stud threads in the block were a bit suspect so I retapped as far as I could and sourced some new studs, fitted new exhaust valve guides, ground in the valves, treated it to a new timing chain, selected the best cam follower housings and followers from spares that had been removed from a scrap 6 cylinder engine from a 2 door Gloria Coupe that my father had broken for spares in the 1950's (wish we still had that one) and fitted a set of new brass core plugs.
The engine was re-assembled with new water inlet and new water pump 
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The clutch had some surface rust on the flywheel and pressure plate and was easily cleaned up with emery cloth before being bolted back on and the engine was installed with new rubber engine mounts - the old ones were past their best

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The carburettors were then fitted - there is a small side draught and a larger down draught working on the same principle as the progressive twin choke weber where the small one opens to half throttle and then opens the large one until they are both fully open as this is a Gloria Vitesse engine.

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New oil, plugs, plug wires, points, condenser filled with water and some petrol in the tank it fired up and ran with good oil pressure, it did require a bit of tweaking of the jets to get it running reasonably well and that is how it ran last year but the more miles it did the smokier the exhaust became until it was becoming really bad when hot. The last thing I needed was some tree-hugging do-gooder phoning the police complaining about an old car belching out smoke - I had already a run in with Police Scotland about carrying a shotgun on the roadside a couple of years ago. I also had water leaking up the cylinder head studs and when tightening them a little further felt a couple of them let go in the block
This year I took the engine out again thinking that the piston rings were rusted and allowing oil up the bores but when all stripped down they were in perfect condition and discovered that the inlet valve guides were badly worn. They had felt quite good last year and I think they had been gummed up with oily carbon that hadn't come off when I power washed it but as it ran more the new oil had slowly washed it away - 4 new inlet guides duly sourced and fitted.
The cylinder head studs were a different story as the threads in the block were stripped on two of them and another three were suspect. A club member had repaired his by making some 1/2" UNF OD inserts and tapping them 3/8" BSF for the studs but he had the benefit of access to a milling machine and I don't so I needed a different solution. By chance I had some Jaguar 3.8 waisted cylinder head studs with 7/16" UNF threads and 3/8" dia waist section.
I made a steel block with 3 different ID sized inserts that I could clamp on to the block face - a 3/8" one to line it up using original stud, second one for 7/16" tapping drill and a third one to line up the 7/16" UNF tap as the hole was threaded. The Jaguar studs were cut and a 3/8" BSF thread cut on the waisted section

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The engine was assembled once again with a thread sealant applied to the cylinder head studs this time to stop any water coming up the studs.
Another change I made was to fit a single downdraught Zenith carb as the throttle spindles on the SU's are very worn and I couldn't get the engine to run properly, it is now a lot more driveable with just a slight hesitation on take off but isn't a problem on the road.

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I may try to refurbish the SU's at some point to return it to Vitesse specification.
 
 

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The finished article

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It looks alright outside a new barn conversion where the local builder allowed me to use the concrete drive to make final adjustments to the engine and brakes before taking it out on the road.
What started as a mechanical makeover turned into something a lot bigger and I wish I could have kept more of its originality (I have all the interior trim in a box for the next custodian) but it still has all the dings, dents, scratched and chipped paintwork that it collected over the last 83 years and the chrome is showing its age. On the other hand I can take it out on the road and go to rallies and galas without worrying about people touching it or kids with sticky fingers making a mess on it.
In August 2019 I entered the Garioch Vehicle Restoration Society rally where it attracted quite a lot of attention although 'his lordship' sitting in the back seat may have been part of the reason

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Sam isn't in to car rallies, ' I'm bored, can we go home now?'

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I'm hoping that we do get to some rallies this year as the car is less than 20 miles from where it was first registered in 1937 and when we got the car it had yellow bulbs in the headlights and fog lights, a GB plate on the back and a transfer of French road signs on the windscreen so someone had taken it to France at some point. I'm sure that someone in the area has old photographs hiding in the loft as you wouldn't take a car like this to France without taking photographs.
That's it then and I hope you have enjoyed my ramblings.
 

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 She's a beauty. I agree with not bringing up to concourse condition. Do that and you get afraid to bring it out of the garage.  Thanks for the write up. :thumbs:

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Very nice. :bow:  Another one lives again.   I sometimes wish I still had my first car to play with, a 1942 Austin 8 with soft top. Tourer ?    Could tell a few story's with that one.

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I've got a log splitter, gave up on the axe a while ago.
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What I need is a mill so I can make some useful pieces of timber instead of firewood,

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