Part 3

With the mechanicals in working condition, I started looking at the body and interior of this Holden and decided at a little tidy up was in order.I took the rear seat to an upholsterer I knew for a restitch and replace the top piece of the seat that the sun burns. The rest of the interior just needed a good scrub and wash, then a heavy coat of baby oil to soften the vinyl, the mats were beyond repair plus what was there looked like it came off the kitchen floor.

Many phone calls and trips to any firm that handles rubber products, I was unable to purchase the correct Holden floor mat or repo mat, so in the end I went for a marine grade rubber mat.

The door trim was in reasonable condition except for the backing boards with were water damaged and dent out of shape. From the same firm where I purchased a floor mat, I brought the backing board and decided to retrim the doors myself.

With all the interior repaired or replaced the rest of the old Holden looked even more of a sorry state, but I still wanted to leave the body alone.

Unfortunately this was not to be, the head light surrounds were pretty badly rusted to the point I couldn’t adjust the headlights after I removed them to replace to globes, so it was decided to repair the front sections of the guards, more so by my brother saying that when I take the car into Regency Park to have it I.D. to expect them to give the girl the once over, so by repairing the front guards I would have a better chance of having my Holden passed. I must mention my younger brother is a panel beater.

 So be it, out with the spanners and sockets, off came the guards, strip all chrome, badges and lights, then on the bench with a can of paint stripper all paint off to bare metal, well you guessed right there was more rust at the bottom of the guards that needed attention, with the guards down to bare metal I ordered the panel parts so I had a temp plate to do my cuts to the guards, I was able to get one headlight panel in Adelaide the other three panels had to come from Victoria.

Once all panels arrived I started cutting the rusted parts off the guards and rewelded them back on, while I was waiting for these panels to arrive I did some other cuts and repairs to other parts of the car that looked like they needed some tender loving care, like the front of the sills the part that is hidden by the guards and the front of the floor, the small hole on the Y frame that attached to the fire wall, this panel is not available for love of money, so I made up this section and mig welded into place. I used a heavier gauge of steel plate for this section for strength, once welded in place and ground down the welds to give it a smooth finish I put a thin layer of filler over the top of the weld and painted it black to match the rest of the panels under the bonnet. I must say it really looked part of the Y frame and I was really happy with the job I had just finished. I had no idea this little repair was going to cause so much of a headache, I learnt something new that day I went to Regency Park for the I.D. inspection.After the guards were repaired and painted with primer, matching the colour was a real nightmare well at least for the painter, who did a reasonable job, but you could still see a difference. Once refitted the guards looked good, but to new for the rest of the car and I was really disappointed I went ahead with the repairs, but where it was done and dusted. A day or two I was going to take the FE to Regency Park to have her I.D. and then rego. That’s what I was hoping for.

The day came I had a day permit (what a rip off they are) with a big smile on my face as I was getting plenty of toots and thumbs up on my way to Regency Park. If you ever been to Regency Park you know the routine, park the vehicle around the back go to the office and fill in the paper work and then just sit down or stand out the building and shut up till one of the inspectors call your name. I was called and I was told to bring my car to the inspection shed. Once you arrive at the sherd your asked to give a mileage, sorry km reading, then your told which bay to park your vehicle open and lift bonnet then go behind the yellow line and wait again.I knew I was in trouble when after half an hour I was still sitting there looking at my car being inspected by not one inspector not two inspectors but three inspectors, yeah thats right three inspectors, in the beginning I though these other guys were just eyeing my car but after a while and from the way they were pointing and flashing their torches I knew life was going to get hard.An hour had passed by now and I’ve got to tell you I was more than a little pissed off, but I knew the more you say the worst off you are, so I just waited.

After the other two inspectors took off, the inspector called me over to my car and started off with “you’ve done some rust repairs to this vehicle, which I replied yes, and explained the repairs I did, first the guards and the floor, then I asked him what was the problem and mentioned that I had been waiting for almost two hours just for an I.D. to which the inspector comes back with the repairs I did to the Y frame, which I must admit I hadn’t mention as I forgot about it and  thought it was so small it really didn’t matter, well you guessed it, that was what he was concerned about.The next thing he asked me to do with the FE, I knew the proverbial had hit the fan.

He told me to move the FE and drive it onto the hoist, which I did and then went to go behind the yellow line, but no he calls me back to inspect under the vehicle. Then he stated that the repair I did to the Y frame was not suitable as it was only filling the rust hole with body filler and not replacing the panel or at least cutting out the rust and welding in new metal.You can guess what my reply was, firstly no replacement panel was available and that I did exactly as he had just mentioned, making a point that the metal I used was of a heavier grade then GMH had used back in the day. He was addiment that the repair was done with body filler only, my reply was how did he come to that conclusion, he shown his touch to the bottom of the repair and yes you could see some body filler, I said that I had used a small amount of filler to finish off the repair and make it look good, to make my point I said to him if he had a magnet he would see that there was metal under the filler, this suggestion didn’t go down to well because the next thing he said was “ I don’t care it looks like a bog repair” and that he also saw one of the bump stop rubbers had a split in it which I agreed with him and said I’ll replace all stops when I get the FE home.

As I said earlier I tried to explain the repair was as he wanted and that I would be replacing all rubbers that needed, all  this fell on deaf ears, the next thing he said was that he was putting a defect notice on my FE for rust repair to the Y frame and replace rubber stops, at this I let fly with this was going to screw me around something shocking because the repair was done properly and that he wasn’t listening and that I would need to continue to pay for day permits which were a rip off, when I needed to move the FE to have any repairs carried out, and that he was being unreasonable, he didn’t like that and pointed out he could give the FE a major defect instead of a minor one that he was filling in, that’s when I shut up and actually thanked him.

With paper work filled in the inspector comes to me ( now you have to remember I have been there for well over two and half hours)  he says that I have until 7.00pm today to have the FE off the road and I would need to make repairs and book the FE in at the road worthy section and get this all those bright sparks at this inspection station and I’ll point out that some of the inspectors are around my age at least they look like they are, this younger guy says what model was the FE, they thought it was a FB or EK and it was built around 1959, I pointed to my paper work that I fill on arrival with all the details and just to get my own back I said something like if you don’t know your models or makes of vehicles that maybe it was time to look for another job.

All the way home I was not a happy little vegemite, my first stop before I got home was to my brother’s workshop and showed him my defect notice, explaining how it all went, telling him what really pissed me off was the inspector saying he didn’t care and that he was going to put a defect notice on my FE, which I must say hurt. After a dummy spit I headed home, parked the FE in the garage, went inside told Mary what had happen, not much sympathy from her (she says all my old cars are very expensive piles of rust and money pits) had a beer and another and another, I was finally feeling better. I didn’t do another thing to the FE for three or four weeks I was so disappointed with not getting the FE passed and Rego on the windscreen, that I had to decide which way I was going with the FE just repair the defects or full resto. Iknew deep down that if I only did the repairs and back to Regency Park road worthy station as is I was asking for more grief, but a full resto was a long time job to only a few days repairs, what to do. Stay tuned in for what happens next.

Click HERE to go to Part 4 of the FE Restoration.

Article ID: RESTO003

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