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D438FHA One year on.......


Moonmonkey
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Well today marks the 1 year anniversary of buying D438FHA, a 1987 Monaco Blue GT/E Exclusive. To be honest I'm not as far on with this project as I wanted to be, but thought it's about time I started a thread. I've been working away a lot, had Covid, and the return of my TVR after a 2 year rebuild have all delayed work on the Manta, but I enjoy reading other project threads so thought I would have a go at one.

I've had 7 Mantas in the 80's and 90's, all Manta B's and a variety of a Cavalier Coupe, a SR, a Berlinetta, GT/E's, a Monaco Blue 87 Exclusive and a 2.4CIH Rally Car that I campaigned for 10 - 15 years. I first saw D438FHA for sale in the December edition of Classic Car, when flying back from a half term holiday, I was in between jobs, and thought I could get it running before re-starting work in January. 

I'm the 3rd owner, the second one bought the car when it was 2 years old, and had kept it until 2021 (32 years). The car has only covered 25,170 miles and is in very good condition particularly underneath. It has been stored for over 20 years, and somebody has covered everything with spray on underseal and waxoyl. This has kept the steel in good condition but everything needs cleaning with white spirit and a kitchen scourer (more of this later). 

While the car is original and in good condition, 110bhp doesn't cut it in the 21st Century, so I have decided to modify it and make it a bit of a road going version of my 2 best previous Mantas, the Exclusive and the 2.4CIH Rally Car.

Therefore the specification I have decided on is:

2.4 CIH - New Pistons, Rods, Camshaft, Vernier, Throttle Bodies, Clutch etc

Fast road springs (450lb front & 250/180lb rear), Bilsteins, Polyurethane bushes etc

280mm Discs Wilwood 4 pot calipers, rear disc conversion (Dave Mantasrme)

Gripper plate type LSD

Speedline Marmora SL 17X7.5 with 215/40x17 tyres

I'll start posting the work to date, any tips and advice welcome.

Thanks

Moonmonkey

 

My original Exclusive

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Road Rallying a Cavalier Coupe 

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2.4CIH Rally Car

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The new Exclusive

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So the work started off with a bit of a general clean under the bonnet

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I then acquired a 2.4 CIH Frontera engine (thanks Lewis P)

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Then time to drop the front suspension off. You can see how everything is just coated with underseal.

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Edited by Moonmonkey
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Front wishbones removed. On both sides the top wishbone bolt was seized into the crush tube of the bushes, requiring careful cutting through with a reciprocating saw. Bought new bolts from Tim at TJ Motorsport, who gets them from Edelschmeide so no customs hassle. Expensive bolts!

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To clean off the underseal and debris I used a combination of a knotted wire brush on the grinder (evil), and a kitchen scourer with white spirit (time consuming). Under the underseal the original paint was like new, although chipped so a full repaint was needed.

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Stub axles, and hubs cleaned.

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Cross member and outriggers cleaned ready for paint

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I took some of the underseal off the swan necks for re-assurance. Either the originals are in great condition or they've been replaced.

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Edited by Moonmonkey
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For reassembly I have bought all new bushes - polyurethane - Superpro, form TJ, and  ball joints and inner and outer track rod ends for the steering rack. I always use Autodoc for general parts, as they are pretty cheap but they also usually have a good range, so you can choose the brand you want. For example you can get Lemforder ball joints rather than whatever the local motor factors have if your willing to pay for them.

Front 450lb/inch springs from online-autosport

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I have decided to save all of the original parts in case I want to put the car back to standard in the future, so I bought some pattern parts brake shields to modify for the big discs and Wilwood callipers rather than cutting the originals

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280mm front discs (I'm sure they are standard Sierra Cosworth), and extended studs as I'm using a 5mm spacer to bring the off set right for the new rims. As the Wilwood callipers are American they come with a 1/8NPT thread for the brake pipe. The kit from TJ comes with an adapter to 10mm, so if you get a custom pipe made you can disconnect the brake line on the 10mm nut and leave the adapter in the calliper, so you don't risk damaging the thread in the alloy calliper body. BRT Motorsport are great for custom pressure hoses for brake lines.

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With callipers and Bilsteins fitted. I had to scrape all the paint of the hub face as the paint was to thick for the wheel to sit true!

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Finally with the wheels fitted. I spent a lot of time looking for wheels. 17 inch rims seem the best as it really difficult to get good tyres for 15 inch rims these days. I went for the Speedline Marmoras in Graphite in the end. They are 17x7.5J with a 35mm offset. Therefore if you use a 5mm spacer the offset comes back to the standard  30mm, so no issues with scrub radius. I'm running 215/40x17 Michelin Pilot Sports.

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Full droop

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Under load

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Edited by Moonmonkey
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