Manky's Pop project. - Part 4

Dave_Postie put me in touch with a friend of a friend, which led to the purchase of a powerplant for the Pop. I’m now the proud owner of a Rover V8, with auto box. The engine runs, just sat on the ground as it is, but without a radiator hooked up, it can’t be run for more than a couple of minutes or it’ll overheat. Thanks to some research by Brock we now know the motor came from a 1979-80 SD1 Auto Rover with 9.35:1 compression. Mind you, there's no guarantee the heads came from the same motor. The guy I bought it from seemed to think they were from another model. They're wearing Range Rover exhaust headers, which are more compact than SD1s, so he may be right. I don't intend playing about with the motor too much, just a quick tidy up & fix any leaks, then bung it in. If it ain't broke, don't break it by trying to fix it. A bargain for 200 quid, delivered to my lock-up.
After we'd been to see the engine, Loony & I got to work on the cab back.
On PantherShaun's recommendation, I bought a 1970s Morris Minor cab back panel from a Brit Chopper forum member in Wales. Cost me 20 quid & had some major rot in the bottom half, but we weren't planning on using that bit anyway. We cut it off level with the waistline on the Pop. The Moggy panel's a couple of inches narrower than the Pop so had to be cut & widened somewhere. Cutting it straight down the middle would mean having to have a new rear window specially made. Cutting it either side of the window opening means the standard glass, (which I've got), will go right back in.
Mr Lunatic started by tacking the centre section to the Pop roof in the middle then working out either side, pulling the 2 roofs together & tacking to create a nice flowing curve. The Pop roof's now got a nicely rounded profile, instead of being dead flat as it was before. Then the sides were tried in place. Not bad. A little massaging & they'll do nicely. That'll leave an inch wide strip to add in either side of the window.
Lookin' good. For half a car with the back of a car 20 years younger slapped on, it looks right.
There's more filler on the roof than we originally realised & what looks like factory lead filling too. Seems to be 2 joints in the roof, one at either end of the door, identically placed on both sides of the car, that've been filled with lead. We can't weld to that & it melts away to nothing as soon as you wave an oxy torch at it. So Loony will plate over the deepest areas & we'll try our hand at leading the rest. The joints in the roof are only in the original section that runs around the outside of the insert & are quite deeply V'd. Even if it were the result of old accident damage, it doesn't matter as we're virtually rebuilding the car from scratch.
The pick up body's all just tack-welded at the moment with everything still subject to change if necessary. It's a patchwork of small fill-in pieces of steel sheet. Loony's taken the rear cab-back corners back off & repositioned them a couple of times, trying to get a perfect curve to match the original Pop roofline. The centre section of the Moggy cab back's still got it's strengthening flange, (where it used to bolt to the Moggy cab), which helps to keep it's roof shape. We've taken the flange off the corner sections though so they can be pulled about to meet the original Pop panels. Next job is probably to repair & replace the sills under the doors to tie the whole cab unit together into one piece & give it some rigidity.
Fill-in strips bridge the gaps on the cab back, with lots of metal bashing by Lunatic to blend the curves as smoothly as possible.
Had a letter from the DVLA today. I'd sent off the Pop's logbook & changed the body type from saloon to pick up, plus changed the engine details. They've told me they need to inspect the vehicle before they can issue a document.
The DVLA have been tightening up their act for the last couple of years -seems the days of slipping seriously altered vehicles through the system undetected are over.
So- I've now got to build my Pop to SVA standards. Bugger.
I've read on other forums that the commercial vehicle version of the SVA test is much simpler than the normal car version. Even so, it's a daunting prospect. I need to start looking into it all.
Worst case scenario- it'll still get built. If I can't meet the regs, I'll take it drag-racing instead! 
On either side, towards the front of the roof, are what look like factory made roof joints. These were filled with lead, (the fore runner of modern body filler). We can't weld to that so it all had to come out. Easiest way was to melt it out with the oxy-acetelane torch. Pops were originally fitted with a vinyl roof insert. This is a 1953 car & steel was in short supply after the war, so Ford used a vinyl panel, stretched over wooden spars as a steel-saver. The first thing modern Pop customisers do is replace that with fresh steel, usually taken from the roof or bonnet of a newer car. We thought my roof had been very nicely filled, but once we started digging into the thick layer of filler around the gutter line, we discovered the new panel had been laid over the original roof edge & the resulting step smoothed out with filler.
After some discussion, we've decided to take a deep breath & cut it back out, set it in flush with the roof & weld it back in. It needs a bit of bashing anyway cos it's a completely flat panel, whereas the roof curves across it's width. We'll probably add some curved steel strips under it to help keep it's shape & add extra strength.  
At that point we thought, bugger it, might as well sand all the paint off so we can see just what we're dealing with.
Cue Taz the crazy lady. Give her an angle grinder & a sanding disc & she'll sand anything that stands still long enough. The workshop was soon filled with billowing clouds of filler dust!
By the time we've finished, there'll be very little original Pop tin left! The doors both need lower repair panels & the firewall will be cut out & rebuilt to accomodate the Rover V8 powerplant. Only standard area left is the windscreen surround -& even that's been lowered by 3 inches.
Loony usually works on VWs & had a couple of camper van repair panels in the workshop, which I really like. I don't want just a plain home-made looking box on the back. It deserves something with a little more shape & style. So a pair of those, set back in about 6 inches narrower than the cab back to show off it's curvy rear would be cool -& different. Add a tube frame along the top edge, so the panel curves inwards at the top to mimic the roof line. I'd like a flat ledge maybe 2 inches wide around it with an inner skin, rather than just a single panel thickness. The pick-up bed doesn't have to extend down to the bottom of the panel, just sit onto the rear chassis rails, with outriggers holding the bottom edge of the panels.
I reckon I can use camper van rear arch panels with the wheels sat outboard of them, covered with black powder-coated ally cycle guards.
There's really not much I can do on the bodyshell at the moment -it's down to Loony's panel bashing skills to pull it all into shape. So I contented myself with cutting a repair patch ready for him to weld in place, then mocking up the pick up bed to see how it'd look.
These are the VW camper van lower rear repair panels. I think they're about 20 quid each. The actual arch is roughly the same width as the tyres I'll be using so the axle will be set centrally in the arch. I slid the panels into the back of the open cab until the length looked about right. We'd wondered if we could use the camper van rear corners too, but when we tried one we found it's curve was too sweeping -extending the back of the bed almost another foot. Too long. So Mr Lunatic will probably roll a simple tight, single curve around the rear corners & not worry about trying to produce a double curve that sweeps under the bed too.
Loony & I agreed the pick up bed should be roughly the same length as the cab unit &, if possible, slightly shorter than the bonnet. I'd forgotten how long & pointy the Pop nose is. I dug out the relevant panels & propped them in place. The front end measured 120cm. The pick up bed I'd mocked up came to 100. Perfect. That'll make quite a useable load area -roughly 3 foot 6 long by 4 foot wide.
The VW camper floor's also available as a repair panel & has cool, semi industrial looking ribs pressed into it, which would look good.
O.K, so it's nothing stunningly original, but we can make a nice, tidy looking trad' pick up. Maybe it's been done before, I dunno, but it's the first one I've ever done & that's all that matters. 
I rang the DVLA this afternoon & spoke to the woman who sent me the "we want to inspect your vehicle" letter.
They're not happy that I'm "restoring" a vehicle which doesn't have a VIN number stamped on it's chassis & has lost it's body mounted VIN plate. I've got no way of proving to their satisfaction that the car I've got is actually the one the number plates came from. The Pop's now listed on their computer as a scrapped vehicle. Bugger.
So it's SVA time for the Pop. PantherShaun already knows Kev Rooney, who was on the consulting committee when the regs were drawn up & is a keen rodder himself. If anyone can guide me through the red tape he can. So I'm waiting for an introduction from Shaun & Kev's phone number.
I'm clinging to the hope that, as I've been told, commercial vehicle, (i.e pickup), SVA is far easier to pass than the car equivalent, due to the bus, coach, taxi & lorry companies lobbying far louder for exemptions than the custom & kit car boys did.
If the Pop's going to become a Q plated new vehicle then I may as well buy a 350 quid basic chassis package from Valley Gas Speed Shop & do the job properly. This is supposed to be a budget build & it's already creeping towards the total I wanted to spend, but with luck, at the end of it, I'll have a totally legit "new" car, which won't need MOTing for 3 years & will withstand any inspection of it's paperwork.