After my mishap on the A127 shortly before the HCR, the time came to take Gertie on a trip up to my good friend Peter Jackson in Cambridgeshire so he could have a go at performing surgery on her and trying to restore her natural good looks.
After months of chasing I had managed to find a replacement nosecone panel (for the bargain price of £20!) in case nothing could be done with the dented panel and her nose cone had to be replaced entirely.
On arrival at Peter's, I offered him the option of cutting up the new panel and welding sections in as I thought that might have been a lot easier than trying to pull her one out but Peter was confident that that wouldn't be necessary.
With the car up on axle stands to enable a suitable working height the inner head lights, side lights, indicators and front grill were removed for easier access to the front panel.
Peter's first plan of action was to weld pieces of metal with holes drilled through them onto Gertie's nose. I had brought my large hub puller with me which would act as a large slide hammer and this was then attached to the pieces of metal via a large nut and bolt.
Some spirited pulling and yanking ensued and slowly but surely the nose cone started to reform its original profile. The hardest bit was the drivers side as this side was more flatter than the other but by welding a bolt directly onto the panel near where the crease was and pulling while hammering at the same time, it gradually relented.
Peter also pulled out the dent where the badge was which I was delighted about as that had always been there since I bought it and was nothing to do with the accident. It was then that we discovered that the backing plate for the badge that pushes into the three small holes was missing and that the chrome surround and plastic badge part were just glued on anyway!
With the panel now up to Peter's very high standard he then started filling, sanding down, then filling, then sanding down, then filling, then.......well you get the picture. I never realised there so much that goes into bodywork to get it perfect and Peter certainly has more patience than I do. Even though it wasn't his car, not once were the words 'that'll do' or 'that's close enough' were spoken even though, by now time was getting on.
Relentlessly, he carried on until he obtained the shape and profile that he wanted and then and only then did he start talking of getting some paint on.
I have to say, I'm seriously impressed with the end result and cannot convey my appreciation enough to Peter for his high standard of workmanship and dedication in restoring Gertie's nose. This last picture doesn't do the work justice as the Grey primer and 'mist' of Satin black somewhat hide the shape and finish, but believe me it's very very good.
I finally left Peter's house just before 9pm and arrived home around eleven. A very long, but very very rewarding day. The next move will be to flat the primer back and get the nose ready for painting. Then Gertie will look her best again. :)