|THE WAKE OF THE RED WITCH: a starlet in disguise|
Red Witch: Early Days
Well, probably tempting fate as she has not really been a witch, but she is a 1200 saloon who arrived in our life in reasonable condition, if rather stock! The plan was originally to keep her as is, but upgrade to disc brakes, and overhaul the steering rack, which was done. Test drive and it really did feel like not much was happening (pretty boring actually) so plan 1: install a Datsun 1200 engine and gear box which is a common and straight forward conversion but then this twin carb 1500 Starlet motor showed up with a 5 speed- cheap! So it really had to go in. More the awakening of the Red Witch!
The 1200 motor and box went into a Herald Coupe, out Loburn way (and goes well) so nothing is being wasted. I wanted to keep the motor at the Toyota stock angles which is to say leaning over. This entailed some firewall surgery to clear the manifolds(see photos)
Body wise, both sides had scrapes right through the doors, from bonnet to the rear (this was the worst damage as it went right through the bottom panel of the doors which is hard to get at) Boot dented in and bogged up badly at some point, so beaten out and repaired. The left rear had half a guard welded in at some point in her life and this had cracked down the welded seam and had to be re-done. Bonnet had some rust around one wheel well and there were a couple of holes in the rear inner guard which had patches welded in. Few other minor dents. Bit of minor rust in the boot. Otherwise the body was pretty good for a vehicle born in 1966. She is Carmine red, which was kept original. Started off with beating the various panels and ended up taking all the trim off and doing a better job. Fishoilened inside doors, boot and around the bonnet seams prior to undersealing.
This engine has twin carbs with water heated manifold, I have blocked
off the water heating both from the heater hoses and a water gallery
into the block. I drilled and tapped the head water inlet and blocked
it off. I am trying for cool air and hope that the increased air velocity
will not freeze the carbs up. I have separated the exhaust manifold
from the inlet manifold (normally bolted together)and cut a thicker
exhaust manifold blanking plate on the top, as I suspect the thin
one will warp with heat and leak (check a Toyota exhaust manifold-not
worth a photo)
I had both front and rear springs re-tempered to lower the car about
25 - 30 mm which helped some of the rear camber hassles. Also replaced
rear shocks whilst in that area. I procured some spitfire wheels and
tyres and these set it off nicely with 175 x 60 x 13 tyres to get
the diff ration about right. Given that some additional horsepower
was involved it also indicated that the Subaru/Nissan differential
conversion would be a good idea (see photo of flanges and also Tessa
Vitesse site for diff photo), and is now installed with the stock
axles. (the only difference to the Tessa conversion is that you locate
some Datsun 1600 (510) axle flanges and weld a couple of spacers on
to match the stock Triumph diff width.) As requested, here is a
to the details for the front diff plate as fitted to my cars.
OK, on request from all you overseas correspondents, here is an alternative
diff plate, as supplied by Gus Smith who races Triumph
Lynx cars (Herald based chassis etc.)
Fabricated fresh engine mounts onto the suspension turrets to prevent
them flexing. (engine mounts onto chassis is not a good idea as triumph
used the engine as a brace for the suspension turrets) Also made up
a fresh engine mount to get better clearance over the steering column
(see photo) shortened the driveshaft, fabricated clutch cable and
new bracket, wired up the engine. I have swapped the fuel lines onto
other side of chassis to give a more direct line into the motor and
it also means that the fuel line will be well away from the exhaust.
Luckily Triumph have holes on both side of the chassis for the mounting
clips. I have re routed the brake lines around the front of the suspension
turret (again for the exhaust) and put a T junction in front of the
rack. Another T junction is on the other side of the chassis and goes
direct to the brake booster.
Return to Rocky's Triumph Pages
Differential out, valances removed for rubber removal and panelbeating. Rear spring re-tempered
Bulkhead cut for exhaust manifold clearance. "Click" on picture to see final result
Engine mount to clear over steering column, I 'stretched' the size of the base plate to gain another mounting bolt on the engine
Photo of the flanges required to bolt stock Herald axles up to a Nissan/Subaru Differential. One on extreme right is stock, spacers are welded to this unit. A larger spacer will increase negative camber.
Panelbeating in progress, ended up dismantling everything