Ownership Verified: My Brooklands Green sports saloon...



We're back motherfucker.

With mere trifling details left to sort...

Paint looks amazing, that's a lot of fresh green. I just watched an episode of Roadkill and their list was shorter than yours. :p
Paint looks amazing, that's a lot of fresh green. I just watched an episode of Roadkill and their list was shorter than yours. :p
Aye, the car is really at it's bare minimum for functionality.

No door handles, nothing is lined up, no rubber seals fitted, a single windscreen wiper, fuel pump activated by joining two wires under the dash, most of the interior missing or held in with a fraction of the amount of bolts/clips it should be, my sole functional headlight died enroute. It's an experience...

It does drive well though. Pulls decently, tracks straight, stops as it should, etc.
Pro tip*, £12 unbranded fuel pumps from eBay aren't reliable and could well die after 40 miles of use.

Re-plumbed the mechanical pump and it worked fine.


It was running an electric pump because we'd had issues with fuel overfilling the float bowl and thought it was over pressurised. It seems it was actually more likely the needle/seat on the float bowl itself.

*Not very pro, really common sense.
It's just redundancy, like Clarkson explained in the old TG British Leyland video. Having an alternative to something you know will break. :p

Glad it's going again, I like the bumperless racing look.


Another 2 miles driven, another breakdown.

Fuel started pissing out the top of the float bowl. Again. This now the "new" carb running the original top/float/needle/seat, so the same problem with different parts. Quickly pulled it apart at the side of the road, held the float up shut and started the car. While running off the contents of the float bowl no additional fuel was making it past the needle. So that was working.

Reassembled and it was fine. Presumably some crud got stuck in the needle/seat and jammed it open. I've ordered a new needle and seat anyways.

Done roughly 100 miles in the lean green oil dropping machine since it's been back.


Photos don't really do the new colour justice, it seems to desaturate in pictures.

Anyways I fitted the door rubbers and got the doors hung more or less in the right places so they all open and close properly. A bit of further tweaking will be required to tidy up panel gaps and swage lines.

These door rubbers are a nightmare to install.


They run in a metal channel in the door and can be slowly fed along the top and forward edges, the trailing edge and bottom then needs to be pressed in with a blunt screwdriver a couple of mm at a time. Halfway through the first door I'd already torn the edge of my thumbnail off and the blood wasn't even a good lubricant.
Reproduction ones aren't shaped to the door and a reputedly even worse to fit, hence my reusing the originals.

I also fitted the rest of the door handles.



The rear ones go on without too much of a fuss but the front's require you to have tiny hands that bend backwards to get to the linkages. Would have been fine with the window winding mech out, but I wasn't pulling that out...

Briefly flirted with the idea of replacing the door membranes and then couldn't be arsed and just taped the old ones back in.


Now thoroughly bored with mess with doors I replaced the rocker cover gasket, set the valve clearances, replaced the engine bay fuel line with a single length of hose and replaced the oil cap with a less leak prone example.


Note my highly professional Coke bottle breather catch tub. Originally the rocker cover vented to the carb, but the new carb lacks the required fitting. Presumably on 1275 A Series engines it vented into the air box or something.

I then drove it to Linlithgow to meet some fellow old car nuts, about 40 miles each way. When I set off it was pinging like fuck under throttle so I pulled over and retarded the timing. Then it bogged like fuck under throttle so I advanced it. After that it ran alright.
There is now timing mark on this crank pulley, I think fwd cars had another set up for timing. So it's a case of just setting it by ear and test drives. The book figures are fairly redundant with modern fuels anyway.

At one point the dash did fall off going over a bump. Apparently I either only put it in with one bolt out of four or I used two out of four and one came loose.


Then I rolled around in the gutter a bit replacing fuel pipe clips. That was fun.


Then some mates popped over and we got the front bumper fitted.


Rear bumper still AWOL as I need to acquire suitably long bolts.

Glad to see my efforts at making it hold oil are proving fruitful...

Was to be away on holiday to England in this on Sunday. lol nope.

View: https://youtu.be/bmckuq23RVI

Oil full of bronze. Massive crank float. Gone done ate a thrust washer.

Shimmed thrust washers was always going to be a gamble, but we figured we'd get a few thousand miles out of it. Nope, 300.

My theory is that the shims got hot enough to warp, forcing the thrust washer into constant contact with the crank face causing massively fast wear. New theory is making custom solid bronze alloy thrust washers on a recently acquired CNC machine.

Way back when we first realised nowhere sold oversized thrust washers big enough for my needs I went around some machine shops, but unless I was ordering 5,000 of them it wasn't worth their time. At least this was spotted quickly and the crank/block will hopefully be undamaged.

Also the paint never went hard. So it's joined the Acclaim on the "needs another respray" list...

Most of the oil leak was coming from the head, retorqued that and the problem was solved. Still got a bit of seepage around the sump, but given that has to come off to sort the bottom end again... Y'know. Whatever.

Got the rear bumper on too. That was fun* on my own.

So I won't be seeing you and the Doloshite at the festival on the 30th? Or is it going my trailer? :p
So I won't be seeing you and the Doloshite at the festival on the 30th? Or is it going my trailer? :p
I'm going on holiday down there this coming week anyway. Will be taking another vehicle, not sure what though.
This remains busted. A mate of mine has been upgrading his CNC machine to make bespoke thrust washers for it.

In the meantime I had a shot at sanding/polishing the paint shrink back out of it.



I am very much a noob at this, having never sanded paint I intended to keep or wielded a machine polisher before, but hopefully it'll turn out fairly presentable.

I also re-silvered the front grilles with a silver Sharpie...



Not a bad result for £2.70 and 30mins.


I do miss driving it, even if other motorists seem intent on driving me off the road or simply driving into it (my neighbour reversed into it not even an hour ago...). I am quite glad I wasn't in a massive rush to get it back together for driving down to England though, I was really struggling for time...

Moving house meant this thing had to move. I had several options:

1 - Drive it as is, with no real idea how much thrust washer is left. Only about 30 miles, but risk of ruining the crank/block if the washer is gone and there is steel on steel wear.
2 - Drop the sump at the side of the road and replace the thrust washers, then drive it.
3 - Trailer it.


Enlisted my mate and his very nice Volvo to aid me in my endeavour and hired a trailer. We met at a park and ride in Stirling to start the adventure at 9am. This was extra fun as my girlfriend fell down the stairs at midnight the night before and tore all the tendons in her left foot, so I was awake until 4am and we had an appointment at the minor injuries unit at 2pm. This would be fine, the Dolly would just drive onto the trailer and it'd be sorted.

Obviously it wouldn't start. An hour of fucking about along with a trip to the hardware shop to get sandpaper to clean the points saw it running and on the trailer.


Deposited back at the house we were running late so my mate kindly gave us a lift to the minor injuries unit, complete with car trailer. I took Girlfriend_70s for an appointment when they did an X ray and confirmed she hadn't broken anything, then he gave us a lift to the Acclaim and we drove back. I did buy him dinner as thanks.


Since then the Dolly has been sat in the garage under some old bedsheets. The plan is to have it on the road for summer but I want to have the 740 and Acclaim sorted out first as I've let issues pile up on the basis of "I'll have a garage/driveway soon" and the Dolly can now sit as long as required undercover between bouts of work.

Actually getting it in the garage was fun. When I moved in there was racking along one side:


Ideal for storage but the gap between the edge of the shelf and the steps inside the garage to the door into the house was precisely 1cm wider than the Dolly. So I took them down:


Clearly not something the builders had intended to occur:


Cut the boards in half with the help of my mate with the Volvo:


And reassembled at half width:


With the new design there are more shelves with the bottom ones being taller than the top ones, as more likely to store bulky items. I actually measured them specifically to be tall enough to accommodate my welder! There are still a couple of boards left over that I hope to turn into a waist height work area to the right of the shelves, above the lawn mower.


This is the first time I've had undercover car storage in 5 years, and 8 years since it was actually at the address I lived at with power/water!
A thing has been acquired.

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Engine and gearbox, £80 + £100 shipping.

Extracted from this rather unfortunate vehicle:

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Parked probably over 18 years ago after failing an MOT on rust, owner was going to "get around to it one day". It nearly snapped in half driving on to the trailer...

Engine was gunky. Suspect it might have had a few leaks...

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Lots of cleaning saw it less unpleasant to be around:

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A strip down commenced:

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Stock pistons, no signs of any fore/aft movement and good bores.

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Main and big end bearings, standard size, look to have been replaced at some point. Essentially no wear:

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Thrust washers:

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The phrase "just in time" springs to mind. The dead one is actually oversize:
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Whether it was like that from the factory, as by the time this car was built in 1981 the tooling would have been knackered, I don't know. Even with the ruined thrust washer it was barely in spec...

View: https://youtu.be/boRfrh1nuZc
The sump was full of sludge and the oil pickup clogged.

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View: https://youtu.be/RsB_i7J8Tww
The only thing that is a bit odd is that the cam is fucked!

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Looks like corrosion pitting to me. Maybe simply for sitting for so many years...

I have a spare cam in a Triumph Spitfire engine I've kept for just such an occasion. So that'll be getting swapped in. Then I can drop this engine in and use the car over summer while putting some effort into re-building the engine that's already in the car...

So, replacement engine had been pulled apart and the cam was fubar.

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Problem solved. New followers were purchased as well. Pushrods and rockers were reused but everything needed hella cleaning. Seems that oil that's been sat for two decades goes a bit sludgy.

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Bottom end went back together exactly as I found it albeit with new thrust washers. New cam chain, tensioner and sprockets.

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New water pump vs old...

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Largely together.

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I borrowed an engine crane and with the help of some mates the old engine was pulled.

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Manifolds given a quick spruce up and swapped over.

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And new engine dropped in with new mounts.

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The only issue was the front lifting point/alternator bracket snapped and bent...

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Not a great design and I think lifting the engine multiple times had fatigued the metal. Luckily it slowly twisted rather than suddenly letting go and I had a couple spare...

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I then spent several unsuccessful days trying to get it to fire up.

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It'd cough and splutter but just wouldn't run. Swapped carbs and dizzy and checked the ignition timing a million times before resigning myself to the fact I must have buggered up the cam timing.

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Hard to tell as everything has been moved from how it was, but I think I was 2/3rds of a tooth out. The cam sprocket has 4 holes but they aren't at 90°, they're offset. This means if you rotate the sprocket 90° you change the position by 1/2 a tooth and if you flip it 180° you change it by 1/3 a tooth (or something like that). I didn't have a degree wheel or anything so was setting it using the rocker positioning as per the workshop manual, as it's a symmetrical cam and you can get away with it.

Anyway. That worked!

View: https://youtu.be/gP_FN5uj5zU

View: https://youtu.be/HH7MXR34upw

View: https://youtu.be/RdPWIv6BBzE
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The first drive went as well as you'd expect in that it took an hour to go 1.5 miles and broke down repeatedly. The first failure to proceed being immediately after leaving the driveway.

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The following day some friends popped over in their Toledo to assist.

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The dizzy wasn't properly secure due to a dodgy clamp, so that was fixed. The carb had a wobbly needle so I made a Frankenstein's carb from various examples I had kicking about. This saw the car running and driving. so I took it for a run out of about 40 miles.

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Short arse Toledo vs the long bottom Dolomite (5 more inches!)

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It still needs properly tuning as it was very much a case of twiddling the mix adjust until "that sounds decent". I think there is crap in the carb as well as sometimes it'll run great and sometimes it splutters and will do 60mph flat out like it's blocking up.

The frankencarb was pulled apart and dunked in an ultra-sonic cleaner and reassembled. Fuelling problems all sorted and the car ran really well and would start instantly (once the mechanical fuel pump had brought go-juice up to the carb).

I was planning to attend Festival of the Unexceptional, which the car had failed to make last year due to the engine being fucked.

So the car was given a quick polish and I started refitting all the stainless trims etc.


Interior was given a clean with the wet vac, door card hardware was all reinstalled and the dashboard/parcel shell refitted properly.



A mini amp and a pair of stereo speakers were wired up to sit on the front parcel shelf under the dash to provide modern ICE. Sadly somebody has already cut holes in the door cards for speakers, so I need to find un-fucked ones.


I also wired in a 12v socket, for charging phones etc. Fuses are hidden behind the stock radio.


Drained and refilled the gearbox.


Then the coolant system was flushed out.


Naturally the bonnet release cable then snapped (ideal on a car with a reverse hinged bonnet with no easy access to the latch...), so I replaced it with some electrical wire poking through the vents on the top of the bonnet

I took it for a quick spin around the block post coolant swap in the evening and it seemed fine. Then I had two days at works where I was out 12-14hrs so it never moved. The following morning was spent loading it full of stuff for the 340 mile, 6hr drive to Peterborough.


Things went well, the car was running nicely and happily sitting at 70mph on the motorway. We were running a bit late and were meeting people for a convoy down at Hamilton service station. About 5 miles away from the meeting point I noticed the temp gauge had risen to the 2/3rds mark.

This isn't normal. The Dolly has always ran pretty cool, it usually sits around 1/3rd on the gauge and never really goes past the 1/2 mark.

I backed off a bit came down to a 50mph cruise speed but the temp wasn't dropping. Not wanting to stop at the side of the motorway with the girlfriend in the car I pushed on and we arrived at the services with the gauge reading max.

Also, upon pulling into the services I heard something "clunk" off the bottom of the car and saw something roll off towards the lorry park in the rear view mirror.

Parked up the, now boiling over car, and went to investigate. Imagine my surprise when I found the crank pulley nut lying on the ground...


This was reattached with some Loctite to prevent further escapes.

This was a bigger issue though.


Frothing out of the rad when revved, pulling the oil dipstick caused the revs to drop so much the car nearly stalled. That'll be head gasket failure then...

No signs of coolant/oil mixing, but compression was definitely escaping.

The car was limped home with the thermostat removed with further overheating issues and we swapped to the Volvo for the trip.

My best guess is that there was an airlock in the coolant system somewhere and that caused the overheating and subsequent gasket blowing. I confess to not paying much heed to the temp gauge as the car never really runs hot... The head gasket that's installed is a generic cheap one as decent quality Payen ones were out of stock everywhere when I built the engine so they're not the most resilient.

I left the car sitting for a while once we returned as I'd lost mojo but over the last two days I retorqued the cylinder head and it no longer seems to be pressurising the coolant. I need to reinstall the thermostat and put some miles on it to verify there is nothing amiss. Worst case a head gasket is a 2hr job.
The unthinkable has occurred. I completed an actual real trip in the car.

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Roughly 350 miles all in all. Quite a lot of hard driving as well given a 60bhp car with a boot full of toolboxes meeting 12% grades requires a lot of full throttle and ALL THE RPM. The front left brake did go a bit on fire at one point descending a steep bit but other than that and an exhaust blow at the centre silencer it all went quite well.