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Jon Rothwell
Unregistered guest
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Posted on Saturday, 14 June, 2003 - 15:06:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Having got some of my Bentley T1 back to bare metal I am now looking the welding that needs to be done on the body, all of this is at the level of the sills and has got me thinking about body modifications. As I am going to be doing metalwork on the car anyway it is not much extra effort to incorporate welded in body modifications, but I wonder what you could do that would enhance the T1. I would like to do some very subtle modifications that would enhance the character of the car but would be in keeping with the Bentley heritage, and would also be in keeping with the era (1960ís).
I would like to make the mods look like they could have come out of the factory. So my question is; If Rolls Royce had released a sportier Bentley in the 60ís (as they did later), what would they have done to make it look and handle better? Has anyone seen any modified early Shadows or T1ís that would fit these criteria? Are there any pictures or websites that show any body modifications?
It goes without saying that I do not want to start gluing fiberglass wheel arches and spoilers to the car, nor do I want to make it look like a hot rod or fit plastic bumpers, or a boot spoiler etc to make it look more modern.
Given that my T1 is an early car it already has decent instrumentation and good looks, but is in my opinion deserving of a little bit more recognition of the Bentley name
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David Gore
Username: david_gore

Post Number: 41
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Saturday, 14 June, 2003 - 16:45:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Hi John,

Whilst I respect your right to modify your car as you wish; I would like to sound a note of caution regarding future resale value and the effect of any permanent modifications you may make. The Shadow & derivative models are at the lowest point of their price cycle and many poor examples are on the market at any time. However, this is a repeat of the cycle that was experienced by pre-war cars and post-war cars up to and including the Clouds many of which came to market in very poor condition and needing lots of attention to make them driveable. Look at the prices now being achieved for these cars which are continuing to increase. The same cycle will apply to your car and the best prices will always be achieved by cars that are in original specification.

I would experiment with the "bolt-on" modifications as it is easy to remove and modify these until you find an outcome that is to your liking. Whilst you may not intend selling the car, your descendants may wish to do so and removing "bolt-on" modifications is the best way to allow this to happen. Our Corniche had been fitted with a US-style replica continental spare wheel kit on the boot which the previous owner loved and I hated; fortunately it was a "bolt-on" modification and the only repairs I had to do after removing the wheel and cover was to fill the holes in the boot lid and touch-up the paintwork. I shudder to think what the cost would have been if the lid had been cut down or welded for the conversion.

Conversion kits to improve the handling are available and I suggest you contact Robert Chapman through the link on this website for more information. In my humble opinion, the most desirable modification would be to install a late-model fuel injected turbo engine AFTER tweaking the suspension; leave the external appearance of the car unchanged and give the local "rev-heads" a hell of a shock if they try to out-drag you in a merging traffic situation. It is surprising the number of drivers who just have to get in front of you to cater to their need for superiority over a car they recognise as better than their own!! DRH14434 has been occasionally guilty of smoking the back wheels [a limited-slip diff would be nice] to prove its ability to match or better other cars with delusions of superiority [my family do not approve of this but old habits die hard!!].
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Jon Rothwell
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Posted on Saturday, 14 June, 2003 - 19:31:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Thanks for the advice David.
With my car it looks like the future resale value will probably be nil as the body looks like a patchwork quilt with the paint off, (lots of rust repairs have been done) and all the high pressure systems have been removed. Given the condition of the car and it's history I'm probably a fool to do it up at all as it really would be worth a lot more in bits. Having said that though I like it and it doesn't owe me too much money, so I'm enjoying giving it the TLC it deserves.

As to the engine I have looked at a couple of Jap import superchargers from 3 litre Toyotas. Rigged up correctly these would be easily removeable if desired and give a very decent increase in power. Total cost for the two units would be around $600 plus the new intake pipes, pulleys, and belts. Most of the fabrication I could do myself anyway so it's a pretty cheap way to bolt on extra horsepower. I was thinking of combining this with a "gas only" lpg conversion.

At the end of the day I may not modify the body at all, as given some welding and a new coat of paint the car will look first class, and be perfectly safe and roadworthy.
Mechanical problems are also fairly minor, so I may just leave things as they are.

It is an interesting subject for discussion though, and there do seem to be very few of these cars around with body and engine modifications.

If anyone wants to have a look at my car and the rebuild progress they are welcome to visit my website at .
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David Gore
Username: david_gore

Post Number: 42
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Saturday, 14 June, 2003 - 22:59:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Hi Jon,

Never realised you were in Karratha - I spent quite a bit of time there in 1980 setting up a warehouse and regional representative for Comsteel to service the beginnings of the NW Shelf Project and saw the last of the old "Walkabout" pub days and the beginnings of it being civilised due to the influx of female permanent residents as the Woodside staff took up residence. Fond memories of some great times especially with the 7 Mile Hammersley Workshop mob!!!

Enough of my reminiscing, I have had a good look at your website and the photos of your car and my comment is that it is what I would have expected from a car that spent most of its life in Hong Kong although the rust repairs are very characteristic of English cars. Fortunately, the box sections appear to be OK however you did mention some welding of these without going into much detail. There does not appear to be any problems that time and patience [and POR15] can not fix economically. To show you are not alone, these are photos of rust on DRH14434 a UK delivered Corniche that was "repaired" in the UK by spot welding a patch cut from a tin can [I am not joking] over the original panel.

As you appear to have bodywork skills, I still recommend restoring the car to original condition rather than modifying it but to whet your appetite for what might be possible; I suggest you obtain a copy of Ian Rimmer's book on "Rolls-Royce and Bentley Experimental Cars" [should be available from Hunt House or Club libraries] and look at the Shadow series prototypes specially 41B - the first monocoque car built by RR, the 46B Bentley or if you are really adventurous the Bentley Korea 61-B 2-door Sports Coupe designed by Koren {this would require a "cut & shut" to shorten the body} but would be a very unique replica of what appears to have been a good looking and distinctive car.

My comments on some of the other issues you mention are:

1. Does the Falcon system use twin master cylinders to provide enough fluid for the twin calipers on each front wheel or has one set of calipers been removed to allow the use of a standard single master cylinder? I would have expected the volume of fluid required to actuate all the calipers to be beyond the capacity of a single master cylinder.

2. Your 3/4 gearshift problem is common and can be fixed by any auto transmission specialist over 50 years old who worked on Holdens up to and including the EH.

3. The noisey lifter is standard and should not need attention unless you are a perfectionist in which case it can be replaced by Chrysler V8 lifters.

4. Black smoke under hard acceleration is usually a clogged air filter or incorrect carburettor settings resulting in a rich mixture. If oil consumption is greater than 1 litre/1000Km, worn valve guides/stem seals may be the problem.

5. I would contact Roger Fry in Perth to get referral to local veneer specialists if he doesn't do it himself.

6. Leather colour change is not as difficult or expensive as you think; go to the Leatherique website at for details and their Australian representative John Postle can be contacted on for more information.

Hope this is of interest.
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Richard Treacy
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Username: richard_treacy

Post Number: 23
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Saturday, 14 June, 2003 - 23:44:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Do your rear pads wear unevenly ? Unless later series rear calipers have been fitted, the pistons will not all be the same size. This is because the master cylinder operated the large pistons, and the hydraulics operated the small ones. Later cars have no master cylinder and the bores are therefore all the same size. They are available secondhand.

Seeing the photos, the car is so non-original that authenticity is no longer an issue but taste is. Therefore the usual blurb about returning it to original are not useful at all.

I would retain the original looks as far as possible, but turn it into a "sleeper" I would use larger later Shadow I tyres. They fit most cars: we ran them on our '72 T for a time, but they do foul on some cars. Also suited are the standard suspension mods, including stiffer antiroll bars and Turbo R linkages and bushes. I wouldn't supercharge this motor. For a start, the gearbox and drivetrain have never been tried with a large horsepower increase. Unless you fit EFI, you would need an expensive pressure vessel for the carburettors, along with a complicated fuel pressure regulator. Otherwise the carbs would need to be moved to the supercharger intakes, and would not work very well. A turbo R motor is an an enormous task to transplant as there are at least two ECUs, knock sensors, new fuel circuits and tank, masses of rewiring and extensive plumbing required. Also a new gearbox, diff, special torque support bracket (the early ones break with a standard motor already), specially made half shafts and more, along with a reliability risk. With such an unoriginal car a large block American engine would be feasible. This has been done many times in the US, although much frowned upon.

What a massive project you have undertaken !

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Jon Rothwell
Unregistered guest
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Posted on Sunday, 15 June, 2003 - 10:28:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Thanks David,
Karratha has changed a lot since the 80's but the place is now quite frantic with several large constructions underway and an expansion at Woodside.
As to the bodywork, all the outer sills have been replaced with fabricated panels as have both lower front and rear quarter panels, this is a very neat job with very fine welding. Later some extra welding was done near the rear arches and under the rear bumper, this is not as good a job but is passable.

The brakes seem to work fine even though it uses all four front calipers with just a standard XF Ford Master cylinder and booster.

Richard, in answer to your question about the rear calipers, Ive not noticed any uneven wear on the pads. The dual lines still exist but are both fed from the Ford Master cylinder. I did trace all the lines when I first got the car as I didn't think the brakes could work, but it seems to be ok.
I did consider a transplant with an EFI V8 and four speed auto, but my motor and box are mostly OK and are real works of art.
And you are right it is a massive project, but it keeps me off the streets and it's always nice to bring such an unloved vehicle back up to scratch.