Paint and Polish – Sienna Comes Together

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Alan multi-tasking by re wiring the lighting back to the loom and then replacing the SU carb return spring so a steady idle is achievedI visualised exactly the shade of red required to make the Sienna offer the promise of performance without actually being able to deliver; packing a mere 850cc. After reviewing the colour charts at suppliers Mountspace Chichester (01243 789191) the decision was made and 3 litres of their finest was made up and once collected I headed home to compare against the car, certain in my choice. The next day I would return with can in hand to ask (well grovel really) could they make it darker; please. Not being much larger than a Mini the paint costs were within budget and compared to other restorations we have endured positively reasonable but I still managed to dent the credit card to the tune of £200.00. That did include two litres of primer, tape, thinners, tack cloths and flatting paper as well as 3 litres of colour which rapidly became four as my indecision on shade required a remix. Top tip is to take the colour charts into the day light when selecting your hue as the red I chose became orange once mixed; my fault. ‘Spraying Bob’ applied heavy primer coats for me to flat down with 50 sheets of 1500 grit plus one bar of the wife’s Dove soap and a weeks’ worth of patience. Applying the primers coat is less weather dependant than the colour but with some extra light, heat and extraction Bob got the finish right at the first attempt. After allowing 48 hours drying time the next two days were more flatting and hand polishing, we have a mop machine but I can’t be trusted with it; the results speak for themselves.

Fitting Up

As the original bumpers were made of 70’s scaffold pole, prior to paint Alan got all creative with Allegro units and steel tubingMy long suffering pal Alan is always keen to ‘crack on’ once we begin reapplying the bright work that makes such a transformation to any restoration, we call them the glory jobs; Although the first would test my patience somewhat. Two years ago we decided to replace the roof, side windows and windscreen with a full ‘open to the elements’ experience, this included a splendid set of Brooklands Aeroscreens plus some post war car designs. This had to be done carefully as our future plan is to restore its tatty soft top and original screen; refitting in the autumn thus extending the classic season a couple of months for our little roadster. Stealing the idea from the XK120 roadster which enjoyed soft trimming on the tops of the doors we decided to carry that theme around the car which had the added attraction of tidying up the area were the folding roof once frequented. This required a large board of marine ply, cut to shape then a trip to Falcon Fabrics near Chichester (01243 839850) where I acquired enough foam and black leatherette material for the task ahead. Not your normal venue for the average restoration enthusiast maybe but they display a variety of classic car material, from E Type to commercial and yards of choice for the pillows or curtains in your VW camper van. With the board and material just under £100 was spent, mostly on the wood from the local DIY outlet and luckily I purchased a large sheet because my first attempt ended in failure. Meanwhile the vintage screens were bolted into place with an extendable rear view mirror, in period but a copy from an online auction site, this would look great but offer little in the way of backward vision. Previously the joint between the dash and screen panel was finished with some ‘gaffer’ tape, not acceptable after this much effort but the internet saved the day again. Seals + Direct Hampshire (01425 617722) offer every size and shape of trim the average classic car saviour could need and purchased 2 metres of ‘T’ trim in black rubber for £21.42 delivered.

Let There Be Lighting

With some clearer bracketry the battery is secured into the minute boot space which should also accommodate a small tool kitAlan does enjoy getting his hands on the wiring especially when he can wrap and hide all traces of his visit whilst replacing the original ‘trailer board’ style lamps with individual round Land Rover types. The battery has transferred to a small boot area where Alan constructed a clever securing platform with alloy brackets and a set of universal battery clamps; plumbed in everything worked first time of asking. It’s a shame the same couldn’t be said for refitting the doors, why is it whenever the openings that worked perfectly well on removal will not do so when refitted? Half a day spent adjusting locks fitting shims and testing all the time desperate not to chip the fresh paint. Meanwhile my tasks included designing the mounts for the tops of the doors, matching the rear section with padded leatherette this required more marine ply and alloy plate all shaped to fit.

Padded leather covers the area the roof once frequented and we found out the mystery petrol cap was originally fitted to a TR5aFinally, I managed to obtain a copy of Don Pither’s brilliant book on Reliant Sports Cars which includes the well-known Sabre and Scimitar models plus several pages on the Sienna. Reliant’s involvement in the project is detailed and acknowledged as both good and bad but the images from 1976 don’t include any of their celebrity customers such as Princess Anne or Noel Edmonds alongside our little red roadster; both preferring the V6 Essex engine of the Scimitar. Next time; MOT and on the road, or at least that was the plan. Like all the best plans it went very ‘Pete Tong’ as the Reliant motor got hotter and hotter but just couldn’t cool down and I find the bargain of the century to solve the problem.  

Aero screens and mirror in place looking almost professional with the ‘T’ seal offering a joint free combination of panel and dash Enlarging the footwell meant we could gap the pedals so my size tens didn’t stamp on the brake and gas at the same time; it’s a safety feature Marine ply fitted into the original window channel then a foamleatherette covered alloy plate shaped to fit. Grant Ford for

Doors done but Lily dog isn’t impressed The lights front and rear work perfectly, the side, indicators and stop units are of Land Rover origin and with headlights cost less the £100