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Ascona 4 Door 16V

Retro Power

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I guess some of you have seen a bit of our work by now, but it's been a while since we covered a project in detail on here. We are working on a 4 door Ascona at the moment, which may not seem the obvious choice to share (we are also building 2 Ascona 400 reps and a 400+ bhp Manta 400!) but actually the fact it might be seen as the 'underdog' is why i want to do this thread :-)

OK, so the starting point..... The car has been owned by the same chap since it was only a couple of years old. I think it was 1995 when the car was put away into his garage, and left there gathering dust! He later moved house, but a relative bought the house and the car remained in the garage until the day it came to us earlier this year, which was also the first time the owner had seen the car since moving house!!

I would describe the car as about average condition. It's not been helped by the fact there was a lot of mud under the arches when it was put into storage, but it could certainly be a lot worse. Here is the car as it arrived:






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I've posted pics of my 2.0 SR Berlina 4 door on here before so I won't bore you again, but a nice Sapphire Blue 4 door is a beautiful thing. Be great if it stayed the same colour but it's down to the punter. Interestingly my paintwork was exactly the same on the roof when I purchased too!

So what's the brief? We know it will have 16 valves, but colour, trim, spec etc? Do tell!

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The brief is to recreate the car as something that is more akin to a 'modern' driving experience in terms of power and refinement of control, but without loosing that lovely direct feel that makes these so great to drive. Inside, totally custom, but again in-keeping with the 'feel' of the original, and much the same outside.

I suppose best summed up as making it the way it would have been made originally if they had access to the technology that has become mainstream in the meantime! Which is really what we are all about :-)

As with most of our projects it's about interpreting what the owner really wants and guiding them in the right direction.

The plan so far is C20XE on throttle bodies and aftermarket managment. electric power steering in combination with quick rack. Omega gearbox with quick shift and hydraulic clutch. totally redesigned heater system allowing very minimal engine bay. There will be a full interior retrim, but the details of this are yet to be pinned down, as are the exact cosmetic changes externally, but it will all be subtle and classy.

Right, enough chit-chat, lets get this baby torn apart!







PS: those of you with a keen eye will have noticed the presence of blue sky and sun! Yes, these photos were taken a couple of months ago ;-)

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So, from here we had a lengthy session of heating/burning and scraping the underseal, sound deadening and seam sealer off before attacking the shell with the blaster and finally moving into into the booth for a coat of zinc phosphate primer to protect it while we carry out all the metalwork.










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Yep, though I don't know a "change date", certainly earlier (I'd guess pre 1980) cars, both manta and ascona, seem much better rot-wise.

they all rot very well, but later ones go everywhere, while earlier cars seem to confine the rot to a series of particular areas.

The 4 door in this thread is pretty much a textbook example of "standard" 1970's manta/ascona b rot, apart from the inner rear arches, which had bad surface rust which had pinholed through on this car. I've only seen arch rot by the seatbelt mounts, and lips, and front and rear seams previously

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  • 4 weeks later...

Getting serious now... inner wings off....


and new ones in, along with headlamp surround panels.


so that is almost it for metalwork! (ok, i've skipped past a lot, but i think you get the idea!) the valance will be replaced, but at this stage we hadn't got hold of a replacement.

This is how it looks:





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With all the seams sealed we then move the shell into the booth, mask up and paint the underside. We are using a special mixture of products which we've perfected over the past couple of years. It's Polyurethane-based, so mega-tough, tintable using normal solvent-based tinters, pearls and metallics, thick enough to offer high stone-chip protection, but smooth enough to give a nice shiny finish.



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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

So, with the underside done, we'll fast forward a little.

Next job was filler and block sanding on the outside of the 'shell, followed by an all-over coat of Reface (spray filler) and another block sanding session before back in the booth for 2K high-build primer inside and out.




The inside is then sanded and the car goes back in to get the inside painted:






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