My V reg Nightfire Vitesse Fastback!

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Nuts4my827
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My V reg Nightfire Vitesse Fastback!

Post by Nuts4my827 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:52 pm

So, back a few months ago, I bought a Nightfire Vitesse Fastback.
And so the Nightfiremare starts...
I have known this car for several years, and the previous owner was always spending money on the mechanicals.
It even came with a sealed box with a gearbox in it that he had bought for the car.!
He was selling the car as the clutch slave selector linkage had snapped. Easy repair, you can buy upgraded parts.
Quick inspection, in the semi dark showed a small bit on the OSR sill needed doing. Not bad, or so I thought.
When it was jacked up at the front, to do the gearbox, I noticed the rear anti roll bar was hanging down. Broken bracket I thought. How wrong I was.
The entire anti roill bar mounting had rotted out! This it later turned out was caused by poor factory manufacture. The sealing gasket between the rear bumper iron and the body hadnt sealed, so every drop of water down the back ran round the tailgate and into the chassis! Due to the welding process in manufacture, it was literally only the anto roll bar mount that rusted out.

The OSR sill had been repaired in the past, and the patch had been RIVETED on!
When I cut off the sill, the intermeadeate panel had rotted away the entire length of the vehicle to a height of 1 inch.
The inner panel that is a vertical drop from the floor pan had previously rotted away for around 18 inches from the back, and past the trailing arm mount, and past the rear jacking point. This, had (NOT Recently!!) been repaired with FIBEGLASS and FILLER!!!!!

So, I had a quick look around the vehicle, cut out some rot, and got to work.

New rear Anti roll bar mounts measured up, inserts made, captive nuts welded up, primed, welded in, and a cover panel fabricated and welded on.
Inner and intermediate sill panels refabricated, welded, primed, welds ground down and re primed.
rot cut out of various parts of the drop panel for its length, and new parts welded in.
The front of the sill behind the wing had a palm sized hole in it that was letting ion loads of water, so this was cleaned up prior to welding. In the process, I found that the panel in the wheel arch behind the liner was also rusty, and when I cleaned off the underseal with my needler gun, several large holes appeared. (I NEARLY jacked it in here and contemplated actually scrapping it despite all the work already done)
Again, rot cut out to good metal, repair fabricated, and welded in. (That took 4 hours in total).

Today I welded on the outer sill panel!

Oh,and where he parked in on his damp, fettid, leaking garage, he had to back it up against the wall to shut the door. The rear bumloer was so badly scratched, with 2 holes, and a massive crack.

>Was< is the operative word.

In true forum style: POIDH (Pix Or It Didn’t Happen).



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And the gearbox:

The box it came in is/was factory sealed.
The labels are 2.0 Vitesse with Torsen Diff.
INSIDE is a NON Turbo box!!!
Someone, probably at the factory, bought themselves a cheap N/A gearbox deliberately and fraudulently, or someone made a mistake on teh production line!
Either way, I dont have the ONE thing thing that drew me to purchasing the car in the first place!


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Moral.
Nothing is what it first seems: ALWAYS check closed boxes, and investigate rot further.
Moral 2.
Nothing is irrepaairable if you have the skills, time, and VERY understanding wife! (Or, no wife/partner!!)
Phil B
95 827 Stirling: Nightfire Saloon.
96 Coupé 827 Manual White Gold.
97 Coupé 820 Vitesse Gunmetal.
99 820 Vitesse Nightfire Fastback. SERIOUS amount of welding done. Lived in a fettid garage for years.
EX 1994 Saloon Rover 827 SLi White Gold- RIP.

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scoobyh123
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Re: My V reg Nightfire Vitesse Fastback!

Post by scoobyh123 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:30 am

Blimey Phil - that's a serious amount of welding! Cracking job though!

Does this mean the "Murder Van" is history?

As for the Tor-sen box, if you can find a late 825 manual and swap the diff into that new box you have, you'll get the Tor-Sen diff you want. I think some of the other later ZR/S/T models also had Tor-Sen diffs when they had PG1 boxes, worth keeping your eyes peeled.
Cheers,
Dave


'94 827 Sterling saloon
'88 Volvo 760 V6 Estate
All auto :D
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'95 827 Coupé LPG gone but not forgotten!

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Re: My V reg Nightfire Vitesse Fastback!

Post by austinpowers » Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:07 pm

Wow, that's some dedication and skills there!!

When i first read that it came with a gearbox in a sealed box the cynic in me thought it wouldn't the correct box :(
1989 Rover Sterling in Atlantic blue 35k miles. - Sold
2017 "special" edition in white
1990 Rover Vitesse manual
1990 Rover Sterling

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Re: My V reg Nightfire Vitesse Fastback!

Post by CHR15E » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:35 pm

The joys of old cars!
Chris
19 Vauxhall Astra 1.6T SRi Nav Estate
08 Vauxhall Astra 2.0T Design Twintop
02 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4.7 V8 HO

Previously owned 57 800s 2000-2012

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Fastback
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Re: My V reg Nightfire Vitesse Fastback!

Post by Fastback » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:47 pm

It takes people with mettle to replace that much metal! At least I'm glad you're getting to use the sills you got from me, it would be an easy part of the job compared to other things. I suppose what is starting to happen now is that only 'hardcore' enthusiasts are now taking on or paying for this type of work. I, for one, am very happy there are a few of us left and realise that the value of the vehicle is not just monetary.

Keep up the good work.
Mark
'96 820 Vitesse Lux Fastback, rolling resto
'99 825 Sterling Fastback, up and running :D
'96 825 SLi Fastback, just waiting. :|
Previous:- 'J' 820Si Fastback, part Tickford
MG Maestro 2.0i (I loved that car, I did)

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Nuts4my827
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Re: My V reg Nightfire Vitesse Fastback!

Post by Nuts4my827 » Tue Oct 02, 2018 12:23 pm

Update time. Been doing a load more.

Sill done and on. Spot welded on the bottom, and ground off too. Slightly rippled on the seam weld. (Not happy with it. MIGHT give it a skin of filler)
Both rear Anti Roll bar mounts done, etched, primd, and ready for underseal.

Have some pictures :)


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Phil B
95 827 Stirling: Nightfire Saloon.
96 Coupé 827 Manual White Gold.
97 Coupé 820 Vitesse Gunmetal.
99 820 Vitesse Nightfire Fastback. SERIOUS amount of welding done. Lived in a fettid garage for years.
EX 1994 Saloon Rover 827 SLi White Gold- RIP.

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Re: My V reg Nightfire Vitesse Fastback!

Post by Manalishi » Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:27 pm

The sill looks great! (The rest too.) not sure what you mean with putting filler on the sill but I wouldnt bother, better to put a few layers of thicker body spray on the seam to ”hide” it.

Oh welding. That reminds me of my car... :?
Henrik
Rover 820 Vitesse Coupe 180bhp -93 (Italy)
Rover 827 Vitesse manual (non cat) -89 (Spain)
Lexus GS450h -13
Honda Accord 2.4 Executive -04
Austin Seven Special -36
Austin Seven Ruby -36
Gone:
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Re: My V reg Nightfire Vitesse Fastback!

Post by scoobyh123 » Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:39 pm

Cracking work there Phil!Should last at least another 20 years or more now! :wink: :D
Cheers,
Dave


'94 827 Sterling saloon
'88 Volvo 760 V6 Estate
All auto :D
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'95 827 Coupé LPG gone but not forgotten!

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Nuts4my827
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Re: My V reg Nightfire Vitesse Fastback!

Post by Nuts4my827 » Wed Apr 01, 2020 11:05 am

Update time!!!

I am still around, just very busy with life stuff. Finally (Due to Covid 19) got time to do more to the V reg

The drivers side was REALLY bad. Literally the whole bottom 2 inches of sill replaced. All 3 panels, with the complete outer.

Passenger side didn’t look so bad, was just a small patch........

Or so I thought....

This is the inspiration that keeps me going: Nightfire V Reg Fastback Vitesse.
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Initial cut back where the rot was revealed the same sorry state of affairs: Inner middle panel rotted, and the inside lower drop panel where in joins the rear suspension mounting rotten too. Although not as bad, and not fibreglass and filler like the other side!!

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I made a cut to just past the B pillar to ascertain how bad it was, and what to cut off. Luckily the front part was siolid, with no signs of rot where the panels meet, so opted for a tidy repair panel as opposed to a full cut off and panel fit as the very front requires you to remove the front wing.

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This is the size of the repair I made after the precise cut off.
Once this was in place, I could make the template for the bottom of the rear wheel arch. That needs to be fitted, treated and sealed prior to sill fitment:
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Once this was on, and in place, onto the inner drop panel:
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You can see here where I cut off the middle inner panel. The drop panel was teated. This is taken from the trial fitment.
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Welded on.

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Ground off. Primed, and waiting for seam sealer.

Onwards and upwards. Then it was the middle panel:
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Welded on

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More welds

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Yet more
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At each stage, when grinding back, I wanted to minimize mess, as I was doing this inside, not outside. My brother gave me a handy tip:
The tube that goes into a Henry Hoover hose is the same size as the hole in a 4 pint milk bottle.
Cut the bottom off, wrap in gaffer tape for sight, and you have an awesome “Spark Catcher”
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Fit to an axle stand, and position as you go.
I do like a clean work area 


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Seam Sealer applied. I did do all the other panels 


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The wonders of Cleco Pins

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The point of no return!!!

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Alternate stitching to reduce heat warp…

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First pass with the grinder, before I attach the bottom edge.

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I did this sill leaving a 1 to 2mm gap between the edge set line on the body, and the new sill so the weld would fill better. Previously it had been almost flush on the other side, and my Coupe. This and the use of a copper weld through primer, as opposed to Aluminium based gave a MUCH better weld.
Phil B
95 827 Stirling: Nightfire Saloon.
96 Coupé 827 Manual White Gold.
97 Coupé 820 Vitesse Gunmetal.
99 820 Vitesse Nightfire Fastback. SERIOUS amount of welding done. Lived in a fettid garage for years.
EX 1994 Saloon Rover 827 SLi White Gold- RIP.

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scoobyh123
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Re: My V reg Nightfire Vitesse Fastback!

Post by scoobyh123 » Wed Apr 01, 2020 11:17 am

Excellent work there Phil! Good to hear you're all ok and finally getting some time to get on with the Vitesse! :wink: :D
Cheers,
Dave


'94 827 Sterling saloon
'88 Volvo 760 V6 Estate
All auto :D
Image
'95 827 Coupé LPG gone but not forgotten!

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Fastback
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Re: My V reg Nightfire Vitesse Fastback!

Post by Fastback » Tue Jul 14, 2020 6:51 pm

There was quite some corrosion going on. Do you know why it is so bad, lived by the sea or something? Surely not all as a result of that poor build you mentioned?

Excellent work and dedication (it's what you need, oh yeeeaahhhh!).
Last edited by Fastback on Sat Aug 08, 2020 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mark
'96 820 Vitesse Lux Fastback, rolling resto
'99 825 Sterling Fastback, up and running :D
'96 825 SLi Fastback, just waiting. :|
Previous:- 'J' 820Si Fastback, part Tickford
MG Maestro 2.0i (I loved that car, I did)

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Nuts4my827
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Re: My V reg Nightfire Vitesse Fastback!

Post by Nuts4my827 » Sat Aug 08, 2020 11:26 am

Pretty sure it was primarily down to shocking build quality. The chassis leak created a huge amount of moisture in the body that settled in the sills. Plus the car was badly looked after...
Phil B
95 827 Stirling: Nightfire Saloon.
96 Coupé 827 Manual White Gold.
97 Coupé 820 Vitesse Gunmetal.
99 820 Vitesse Nightfire Fastback. SERIOUS amount of welding done. Lived in a fettid garage for years.
EX 1994 Saloon Rover 827 SLi White Gold- RIP.

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