Well, what with all the excitement of taking the 411 to pieces, it’s been a little while since I mentioned how the 410 repairs are coming along. As you will have noticed in the photo of the 411, it has no wings. That’s because they were the first things removed, before I started my removal of everything else, and they are now permanently attached to the 410. The photo of the 410 here is it as it was a week ago, and shows the application of body filler in progress. Since my last report, Andrew‘s top man Steve (who has done virtually all the work on the car) has remade the complete near side inner wing (it was the near side which took the impact), fitted the new wings, cut out and repaired some earlier repair sections on those panels, started the reshaping of the grille from 411-shape to 410-shape, and countless other tasks that are all equally crucial to the project (like making sure the windscreen still fits, doing the door fit, bonnet fit, reconnecting the radiator and making sure the engine still runs, etc, etc).
Fitting the wings was apparently not as straightforward as you might imagine. Clearly these were hand built vehicles, so the panels were fitted to that car specifically. I also understand that the 410 and 411 were built by different factories – the 410 shells were built by Park Royal Vehicles in Acton, but the 411s were built in-house in Filton. This also might explain the completely different construction of the inner wing and wheel arches between the two cars.
While Andrew’s been busy overseeing his end, I’ve tracked down smaller parts like the side trims, headlight and indicators, and I even managed to find a brand new old-stock front bumper. This was extremely lucky, as the bumper was damaged beyond repair in the crash, and none of the usual sources seemed to have a bumper in any condition available. I was just beginning to worry about what to do when one magically appeared on Ebay from a very helpful chap in Essex who had bought it from Bristol Cars for a 408 he was hoping to restore many years ago. Somehow he had parted with the 408 a long time ago but, luckily for me, kept the bumper. The only difference from the 410 bumper is that the 408’s has three small holes across the front for a number plate, which is mounted under the bumper on the 410. However, seeing as my own bumper had always had two holes across the front anyway (I don’t know why – a badge bar possibly, or was it a 409 bumper? I’ll never know.), I didn’t see that as a problem.
Anyway, that’s where we are now. Hopefully there will be no major problems to come. Andrew is confident that it will be finished by the end of the month, so it shouldn’t be very long before I’m back on the road. In the meantime, the 411’s remains have made their final trip to the scrapyard. As much as humanly possible was saved, and I still have a large pile of 411 parts for sale, including a complete exhaust in stainless steel, a gearbox, a windscreen, and the dash switches and instruments. Do get in touch if you need anything.