Diary – January 2017

January 7, 2017

Received a great call last week, Marshall Restoration called and they have an opening for my car.  The owner, Tim Testerman, and I discussed the project and I’ve decided on doing a complete frame-off restoration with all new or rebuilt mechanicals.

January 7th – Heading to Marshall Restoration
January 14, 2017
The bonnet off and the deconstruction begins.  The team is getting ready for removing the body from the frame.  It is an exciting time, but I’m nervous about the condition of the frame which often is an achilles on these cars. I’m hoping that many years of garage storage or under cover storage will mean the frame is in decent condition.
Bonnet, radiator, windshield and hatch glass removed


Of the 395 TVR Taimars, less than half of them were destined to the USA.  I had heard that during the build process a number of cars had graffiti or other writings.  The picture below proves that it was not just “folk lore.”


This was a left-hand drive car, so the Brits knew this car  was destined to the USA.

January 21, 2016

Body removed from the frame and the deconstruction continues.  The original rubber bumpers on this car were badly weathered and the metal hardware underneath the rubber had completely disintegrated.
Now, we can really  examine the frame and see how badly it is rusted.  As I mentioned earlier, this has often been a weak point for TVRs and I was very anxious to see the condition of my frame.  I was fortunate to find that my frame was in petty decent shape.  The area of in the picture below was one of the two worst areas on the frame with some pitting and only cosmetic damage.  Before the restoration was started, I had prepared myself that  a full frame replacement might be necessary and I found a company in England that had purchased the original M-series jigs to remanufacture the frame to original specifications.  If you are restoring an M-series or early car and need a frame, check these guys out – http://tvrclassics.weebly.com/chassis.html
Some pitting of the frame, but no structural damage.

One of the features of the M-series cars was the mounting of the spare tire under the hood instead of behind the seats.  In early TVRs, the spare tire was very difficult to reach and, if you did need it, you would have to wiggle the tire out of the area behind the seats and then pull the tire through the opening between the two seats.  Finally, rolling the tire out through one of the two doors.

The Ford Essex 3.0 liter engine was a tight fit in the tubular frame of the TVR.  Thankfully, the engine is  a 60 degree V-6 which fits with the headers just clearing the frame.


Unfortunately, with every project you have setbacks and the following is one of mine.   I found the following engine on eBay and everything looked great with it.  It was a NOS (New Old Stock) Ford Essex 3.0 liter crated in a Florida warehouse.  I thought this was going to be a great platform to build an engine of significantly more horsepower than the stock 138 bhp.  When the engine arrived, I immediately noticed something that concerned me.  The valve covers were significantly taller than the same engine in my car.

Fortunately, before I had invested more in performance parts for the engine, I started communicating with Martin of Car Clinic in England.  Martin has been extremely helpful and I would highly recommend his company.  Martin is an absolute Ford Essex genius and has built some of the highest horsepower and most reliable Essex engines. He explained that the Ford Essex 3.0 engines were built in two different plants, the original plant in England produced these engines from 1966 to 1988 and then they were produced in South Africa from 1982 to 2000.  According to Martin, when the plant produced the engines in South Africa, they made some changes to the head design, rocker arms and shafts.  In addition, they added another set of oil passages in the block.  As a result, many of the aftermarket components are built specifically to work with the U.K. engine.  and will not work with the South African engine.  I purchased a 394 pound paperweight.


Since the recommendations from Martin, I’ve decided to scrap the new engine (not literally) and rebuild the original Ford Essex 3.0 from my TVR.  I’m in the process of ordering the performance parts I need from Martin to get the engine up to approximately 250bhp.  If you have one of the Essex-powered TVRs, I would highly recommend getting in touch with Martin if you plan to make any modifications to the engine.  Check them out at www.essexengines.com or you can email Martin at power@v6engines.com.  There are fancier websites around, but you will not find any better customer service and knowledge of these engine.

A few weeks ago, I did make one more eBay purchase for the engine and before I made this decision, I consulted with Martin of Car Clinic.  It is a set of four -42mm Weber carburetors (I will use three of them) from a vintage Maserati which will be rebuilt and installed on a 3 x 2 aluminum intake from Martin at Car Clinic.


Once the engine parts make it back to the USA, Mad Engineering in Warrenton, Virginia will build and blueprint the engine before it is dyno tested at their facility.

Here’s a look at the Mad Engineering dyno.  The engine on the dynamometer is a 5.0 liter Ford that posted 423 bhp and 418 foot pound of torque.