Fiat Dino Spider 2000 #726 Restoration

Pt. 4 - Evidence of Previous Bad Workmanship

We collected the Spider from the dipping company after securing it on the dolly we had previously made for the purposes of moving the shell. We put it on the trailer and came home. Once safely back, we dried it and dosed it up with WD40.

The next job was to build brackets to mount the shell onto the rotisserie. You can see from the photos that this allows us to lift and then rotate the shell through 360 degrees. With the shell fully cleaned, we can assess the historic accident damage, the repair work, corrosion and the subsequent poor restoration work.

The car has had quite an eventful life!

It appears to have had quite a heavy knock to the off side front. The wings have been replaced with 2400 panels. I think they must have been second hand as the rear quarters had been replaced at the time of fitting but then subsequently had more repairs during a later restoration. This is an area that tends to rust.

The front valance looks to be a new replacement panel but the nose section is probably the original damaged item as there is evidence of much hammering and shrinking in an attempt to straighten it. I suspect a new one couldn't be found at the time. Even back then, Spider panels were incredibly difficult to come by. There is evidence of brazing on the front cross member. I suspect this was also replaced at the same time. These outer panels were joined at the front by braze repairs and were somewhat ill fitting.

The front inner wings have been heavily worked with heat shrinking and lots of gas welding in an attempt to straighten them. It looks like, whilst being pulled, they have split and then be re-welded or possibly cut into in an attempt to relieve stress and stretch them, and then re-welded. The shock from the accident doesn't appear to have travelled back further in the chassis or into the bulk head but has crumpled and buckled in front of the bulk head. However, there is evidence of damage to the off side front A post. Washers have been welded to the top door hinge to move the door out because the A post has moved inwards towards the centre of the car. This has also crumpled the floor slightly. I also think that the car's rear panel has been replaced with a new factory original panel. There is evidence of crumpling to internal panels where a porter power ram has been used, although there is no evidence of any damage to the rear panel. I assume the rear panel was somehow damaged, possibly in the same accident, maybe at a different time, and the ram was used to push the rear panel out again, then it would have been cut off and a new panel let in. At a later date, the lower rear valance has been poorly repaired.

There are a lot of nasty repairs to the floor pans. The front floor pans have been crudely plated over the top of the original corrosion and the off side rear panel (underneath the seat) has been crudely hacked out and replaced. There is also evidence of some very nasty repair work to the outer sills and front splash panels. This is all typical of the poor workmanship I see regularly on old cars. The only good thing to be said about this type of repair work is that it has kept these cars going long enough for them to appreciate in value to a point where proper restoration is economically justified.

The later repairs from a subsequent restoration suggest the accident damage was quite a long time ago, as obviously it has then had time to rust and need a further restoration. However, the second hand 2.4 front wings, which I suspect had some rust in their lower rear quarters (hence their replacement), would have come from a car that must have been nearly ten years old. This would date these repairs to around the very late 70's/early 80's.

I will go into more detail about the different affected areas and discuss how we repair them as we move through the restoration.

N.B. The following photos detail the car in it's CURRENT state BEFORE any corrective work has been done!

  • Spider shell on the rotisserie

    Spider shell on the rotisserie.

  • strengthening supports

    In this shot you can see the strengthening supports. These go from the hood frame mountings to the windscreen mountings.

  • Spider shell on the rotisserie
  • Spider shell on the rotisserie
  • mounting brackets

    Here you can see our mounting brackets attached to the front tie rod mounts.

  • holes in the front floor pans

    This shows the holes in the front floor pans. You can also see evidence of where the weld has blown through where the floors have been plated from above. Also note the damaged outriggers and badly welded front sills and jacking points.

  • section underneath

    You'll see here the section underneath the seat that has been crudely cut out with a plate let in from above.

  • mounting brackets for the rear

    This shows our mounting brackets for the rear of the car. These attach to the rear spring hangers and also go into the bumper mounts through the rear panel.

  • fresh cracks

    You can see here evidence of fresh cracks around the rear shock absorber towers. Also of note, you can see the welding that has been done previously. The cracks around the rear shock absorber towers are a common problem with Dino Spiders.

  • poor welding

    Here is an example of some of the poor welding that has been done previously. This is the lower rear quarter.

  • crude plating

    Another picture of the crude plating underneath the rear seat.

  • buckled front end

    In this shot you can see the buckled front end. The top rail should be straight. You'll also see the hammer marks and various welding repairs.

  • rear wing lower quarter

    This shows where the rear wing lower quarter has been replaced and at a later point, has needed repairing again but this time, the front of the sill has also been replaced. Another example of previous poor repairs.

  • rear quarter panel

    Dents in the rear quarter panel and some ugly welding repairs.

  • engine bay

    Here we are looking down into the engine bay towards the off side inner wing. You'll see how buckled this is although not as bad as the near side inner wing. Also of note is the braze that holds the wing on plus the nose panel. The bracket towards the top of the inner wing is the bonnet hinge mount incorporating the mount for the under bonnet light. You'll see there's lots of brazing around this along with a lot of washers in a big lump of braze, in an attempt to line the bonnet up.

  • brazes

    You can see the heavily re-worked nose panel and the brazes where it attaches to the outer wings. This explains why the bonnet gap was out of alignment side to side and didn't follow the contour of the radius at the front corners of the bonnet.

  • detail
  • detail
  • detail
  • front floor pan

    This shows the off side front floor pan with the crudely welded in patch. As you can see it's only been tack welded and doesn't even have a continuous weld around its edge. This actually isn't even up to MOT standards, let alone good quality restoration standards. You can see the top part of the floor pan is crumpled and also the lower A post is crumpled and misshapen from the accident.

  • poor welding

    Another example of previous poor welding repairs. You can also see daylight where the floor pan is pebbled with rust. We will be replacing this whole floor pan.

  • underseat area

    Another shot of the underseat area - this time from inside the car. Again, note it is tack welded and not a continuous weld.

  • crumpling of the panel

    This shot shows the crumpling of the panel behind the rear seat. This is the evidence of the use of a porta power ram I mentioned in the write-up.

  • side front wing

    Here you'll see the off side front wing has been removed exposing the damaged A post. This is exactly how we found it when we removed the wing. On the lower front where it joins the sill you'll see some very nasty welding and just above this a hole that has been chissled out of the panel, possibly to gain access to the inner structure. I have no idea why they have done this and why they haven't sealed it back up afterwards! Perhaps they managed to catch fire to some trim or wiring and wanted to see what could be done to replace it? Who knows. The panel above this, as you can clearly see, is dented in. Where the panel is slightly blue, this is where we've used a bit of heat to straighten things out. This whole area will be de-constructed, re-made and replaced.

  • off side front A post

    This shot shows the off side front A post from the inside. As you can see it's buckled and distorted. S.Below it you can see some nasty repairs. Also of note is the small box affair that connects the front of the sill to the floor pan. This somebody's attempt to replicate how the front corner to the floor should ramp up as they form the top part of the box section of the outrigger.