Mk1 Escort Rebuild - Retropower Gordon Murray Episode 3

There's a fascinating set of videos on youtube that feature Leicestershire based restoration shop Retropower. With a full armoury of design, engineering, metalwork, paintshop and mechanical workshop, Retropower tackle a ground up resto of a Mk1 Escort for legendary car designer Gordon Murray.

In this episode the guys make a start on the metalwork and start investigate the second phase of the interior design.

Here's Episode 3:








Transcript :

" I think with every project it feels like
it's a step up there's more things we
want to do this this you know boundaries
we want to push further with with
everything so this one it seems like
kind of yeah going to the next level
what's happened since last year yes it's
taken a year to get this far
yeah well we've been working on the car
probably only for a couple of weeks now
although it's been a long while since we
last did the video christmas has come
between and we've had a couple of guys
working on it first job was to get the
car mounted onto the jig properly so
we've now got these cross beams attached
to the jig and the towers and we've got
a bit overkill and done a heck of a lot
of towers so you've got one two three
four five six pairs of towers they then
ie to set a height and then we make
fixtures basically to sit between the
top of the towers and various critical
points on the shelf
and the idea with the beams and the
towers is they're they're quite
accurately made and they bolt down to
the jig bed and then when we mount the
car to it we make all the fixtures
symmetrical also the car sits dead in
the middle which then means you can use
any point on the jig as a measuring
reference basically and it'll be
symmetrical so we can measure from any
part of the jig to a part of the car on
one side and if the measurement should
be the same the other side if everything
is square and how it should be well
there's two reasons for that really one
is that we're cutting a heck of a lot of
the car out and we don't want the shell
twisting and moving and the other reason
is there was obviously some accident
damage primarily on that hinge pillar
for the door on the other side which
which we've explored further now and and
it definitely had been moved so it was
well worth doing this once we've got it
all securely mounted on there on the jig
we kind of just picked picked a random
place to start with it with the rust
repair basically
so we started with the heater intake
area we talked before about the fact
that this is quite a risk trap in it and
when we took that outer skin off it was
really badly rusty inside there and you
could tell in the factory there was just
no coating no paint inside that area at
all and the water actually runs down
inside there and out of the drain so it
was literally just just look like part
of the Titanic in there it was it was
bad so not only have we repaired that we
decided to redesign that area so that
the same thing wouldn't happen again so
we remade the bulkhead section with a
really big aperture in it and then put a
row of threaded inserts around it to
make it basically a Bolton panel in the
back of that so with that panel removed
you can get in and you can see in to
seal all the way around the seam in
there and to get paint on the inside of
that part so it can trust again and then
the actual panel of bolts in we're going
to fabricate a connection which then
ducks the air to our new revived heater
box because that's not going to be
standard anyway which kind of kills two
birds with one stone once we've done
that we put the new panel on which is
just a standard panel there but while we
were doing that we made a little bit of
a change we knew it was going to be
tight on the back of this engine which
you can see is now fitted so when we
remade that upper section of bulkhead we
slim this lip down here basically as
small as we could get it and still get
the spot welder in so you know we've
probably knocked maybe eight mil out of
the depth of that seam there just to
give us that little bit more clearance
on the back of the on the back of the
cylinder head so that that pretty much
concluded that area and then move on to
the front get the front panel out that's
going to be replaced we've got a new one
and then with that off we were able to
just straighten out the damage and if
you remember from before it had a bit of
a front-end impact and although it had
all been hammered out this was quite
wrinkled up at the back here so we've
just straighten that out roughly at the
moment we've left that off because one
of the critical areas that's going to be
changed here is the is where the
radiator mounts also allow routing for
pipes to come through for an oil cooler
on the front
and because we were waiting for the
engine to be fitted before we can make
those changes we have bothered putting
the front panel back on yet
with the front end kind of dissected as
far as where you wanted to go and weave
which changing both course panels
completely so he removed both of the
original quarter panels this one's
obviously back on now it was well worth
doing as well I think even though there
was a bit of there was a bit of debate
over whether it was even worth changing
the quarters but it's just always the
the nervousness about what's hiding in
the seams particularly the arch lips but
it was really nice when we've got the
quarters off to be able to get to the
inner quarter panel and just clean it
all up you know all the inner structure
behind there we've cleaned it all up an
epoxy primed it all so we know even the
bits that we can't get to with the
panels on I've protected there was a bit
of rust to sort out nothing too bad the
inner silat the back here there's like a
little closing plate that carries on
after the floor has kicked up in the
rear seat area and forms the back of the
inner sill we remade that completely and
the sort of edge of the boot floor at
the back here as well we've made it made
a new section at the side of there
because that would rot just at just a
little bit but it was worth making a
whole new section and then it was pretty
much just just tidying up all the mating
phases where we were going to spot weld
it back on making sure all those
surfaces were nice and clean
we epoxy primed the inside of the
quarters completely both sides just
again they're going to be areas we can't
get to later on so it's just protecting
the areas you can't get to later we
obviously don't have to just grind it
off on the on the actual seam where it's
welded the full quarter includes right
up to the Agusta here but separating
that bit is not a particularly easy job
and there's nothing wrong with that bit
at all so we basically cut it there and
there and just joined it edge to edge
along there and across the pillar there
and then all the rest of it basically a
spot weld as it would have been
window aperture all the way down that
seam at the back of the door there at
the moment the arch isn't attached to
anything and because we're going to be
doing in large arch tubes in there so
we'll be building them from the inside
and then attaching them last to there to
the lip on there on the arch I'm looking
forward to the end result can we
interest in for I have all the way
suspension products
all calls together and I know it will
work do you think it's like a big deal
when he did come in I didn't actually
sort of meet him I was so much so seen
him but I haven't actually met him in
person but no I mean the fact that it is
Gordon worries a big plus for the corner
we're gonna be paying put in the same
quality building for anybody one of the
other areas that we talked about before
was this this hinge pillar here the car
obviously been smacked on this corner
there was all sorts of evidence this was
a bit deformed here which leads me to
believe this whole wheel and this was
bashed in here and this whole wheel was
knocked back and actually broke the
straw so knocked it out of its top mount
we've dented that there and this had all
been clearly bashed in it's been cut out
on the inside so it could be hammered
back out and this doors an absolute mess
will be will be Rhys killing that door
anyway but we were obviously a worried
about the alignment of that pillar and
rightly so because it was it was a
reason I'm out out we basically put a
straight line down through the two hinge
points to a fixed point on the jig here
and it was at this point here it was
obviously amplified a lot from there it
was maybe 15 mil different one side to
the other so a bit of hydraulic
straightening and if we pushed it all
back into place so we were pretty happy
that that's that's about right now the
engine as we talked about is going to be
built by Cosworth now at the moment they
don't have the pistons for the spec that
we want on the engine so they're very
kindly just lentes basically a similar
duratec with the throttle bodies and the
dry sump setup that our engine will have
so we can use that as a dummy to mock up
in there and check all the clearances
because the fact that the engine mounts
on the crossmember one thing we did do
was make some attachments to mount the
crossmember on to these jig Taylor's
here just so we weren't hanging the
weight of the engine off an unsupported
part of the of the shelf because there's
obviously a lot of it removed in a
minute we've had a bit of fooling games
this afternoon kind of getting that into
place it's just resting on some wooden
shocks at the minute to get it into the
position we want it's tight bonnet
clearance is tight you can't go down
really any further because of the
steering rack
we can't go a lot further back without
easing into the bulkhead space and
there's a water connection on the back
here which takes up a lot of that room
so I'm very glad that we made that
change to the bulkhead there to give us
just just a few more millimeters but
it's in there and then once we've kind
of done everything we need to do in
terms of planning the space around it
running plumbing work etc of fabricating
the tunnel making the mounts cause we'll
have this back and then they're going to
build up the engine to our spec that we
want and that Gordon's asked for and
we'll actually go over to Cosworth and
film that so it'd be interesting to see
Cosworth actually building the engine
we're going to use
I think later this month hopefully I've
asked he hasn't confirmed a date yet
I've asked him basically to organize a
date to visit later this month so we can
do a fitting and we need to get a seat
in there we've got the paddle box so we
can get the pedals in we've got the seat
that we're going to use so what we'll do
is we'll get that kind of cobbled in
there on some blocks he can sit in it
make sure he's got Headroom make sure
the pedal positions are good and then
we'll get him to hold a steering wheel
in the position he likes and make a note
of all of that so we can basically get
the seating position pedal position and
steering wheel exactly where he wants it
to be so that's really a critical next
step until great for him to see it as
well to be honest I'm sure he'll be
excited to go off and see and at that
point we're also going to present the
next round of design work so all the
interior design work we've done and the
exterior changes that we're proposing
will will present all that to him when
he comes to do that fitting
so we've been working on the interior
design for the car which has changed a
lot from when we which sort of talks
about it in the early days there's kind
of three main areas we're focusing on a
interior wise which is the - I mean it's
basically all of what makes up the
inside of an escort the - the seats and
the backseat area and because there
isn't a lot of detail is no center
consoles or anything fancy like that and
the door cars are going to be relatively
straightforward but the - is quite a
critical one and originally when we
talked about it we were going to move
the vents that are normally on the top
to have them on the front section of the
- so we had space to put some auxiliary
gauges sort of higher up on the dash but
the more we kind of went through ideas
for that then what we just couldn't come
up with a way of making those gauges
look any good at all there was just no
way that we're gonna look tacked on
basically no matter how we did it so
we've kind of gone full circle and we're
now looking at having the gauges on on
the front of the dash here with the
heater controls underneath which is what
we originally talked about I mean I sort
of dropped section in the center of the
dash for those but actually putting the
vents back up onto the top section I
didn't want each side so there's four
rather than there - they originally had
and probably having them slightly canted
back that's what we're gonna use which
is actually an Audi a3 vent but it's a
very cool-looking vent actually you can
shut their main centre section to force
air out of the side sections here so you
can make it either fan air out more or
direct it more into your face so with
them being on the top of the dash that
means you can get a lot of D mist action
out of these even though we're planning
on having a separate demon the mist as
well we're keeping the main binnacle as
it would have originally been and then
we've been putting a bit of work into
the actual instrument panels we're
trying to keep this kind of Engineering
a theme that we talked about before so
one of the things we were looking at
doing is these nice little sort of thing
this is gonna be like brush down and
olives black Armenian and then instead
of having symbols for the roll warning
lights we were thinking about doing
actual engraved lettering and these
little lines it's kind of what we
another thing we've kind of had at the
back of our minds is that kind of
seventies audio stuff you know where all
the stereos had brushed aluminium faces
and lettering and loins pointing to all
the different things in our minds tied
in quite well with that kind of look of
sort of knurling and engraved aluminium
so that's been one of our influences one
of the things he talked about was the
Tartan having tartan on the seat so an
idea we're throwing out there but it
might be completely disregarded is is
actually having a flash of that tartan
on the instrument faces because we find
I think of a way of incorporating onto
the dash and there isn't really a way of
getting that tartan on the dash without
it looking way over the top
auxiliary instruments again fairly
classic looking gauges engrave lettering
and there's going to be four probably no
iminium knobs and we shall control in
the heating system and the fourth was
gonna be the headlights we're trying to
declutter everything so there's not
going to be any switches over than those
and the stalks on the column so there's
not sort of random switches dusted
around the place with the heater system
we're using it's all servo control so
the the direction of the air demas face
feet is actually actuated by a servo
motor and the water from the hot water
valve feed to its servo controlled as
well so these aren't sort of horrible
put you know the knobs that pull a cable
like you get in a lot of cars where they
feel sticky and horrible they're just
going to be nice potentiometers
basically so you just just wind it like
a would like a volume control and a nice
stereo it's there's a cobra yes yeah
yeah you know what we looked at all
sorts of options on the seats and we
were trying to find something that looks
like a classic low back and bucket like
this kind of very reminiscent to the
seats that were in things like the e9
BMWs and some of the early Porsches but
we wanted one that reclined and it's
just it's just a minefield you can get
there's the old Recaro rally twos I
think they're cool just quite similar
but there's a split here and it actually
can fold forward but a scrap set is
about 2 grand and it just seems
ridiculous for just having that ability
to fold and we're probably gonna end up
rebuilding half of the seat anyway and
at the shield ones which seem to find
their way into a lot of BMWs but again
they're just crazy money impossible to
find and they're all going to be wrecked
and the backseat area we have done some
more drawings on as well which he was
could have seemed keen for quite a
simple luggage storage area in the back
rather than any for the backseat and we
originally had some cool ideas for sort
of molded luggage which actually latched
in so we had almost like a small role on
suitcase that could latch in but I think
that was he was he was probably rightly
thinking that might be getting a bit
so we're just thinking of simplifying a
lot of the shapes and doing some just
simple trimmed powells maybe some
lashing points or cargo nets that
smaller things can be put into this area
at the front of the backseat is going to
be raised and that panel is there as
standard and the seats sort of but we're
just raising it up so it has more of a
recess behind to stop things flying
forward when he hits the brake side
which I've no doubt he will be doing and
then we were keen to get some more
strength in there as well and also have
a radius on that corner so it doesn't
just look like a boarded out transit van
with you know like a board at the top
and a board down so we kind of thought
kill two birds with one stone we're
going to do a structural tubular
crossmember in the back there which
actually tow it into the inner quarters
and the arch tubes and the turrets so
that will stiffen the shell up a lot but
also then allow us to holster straight
forward and round and down that to give
a nice radiused corner on that back
panel and then there'll be access panels
in the top there which allow you to get
to the dumper adjusters on the top of
the struts in the back which we might
make a feature of I'm not sure yet on
that one is there still various
decisions to be made but we're kind of
homing in on the on the on the design we
want to go for anyway so it's going to
be compiling some of these drawings a
bit more and getting it all together in
a fashion we can present probably then
throwing it all in the bin when he says
it's no good but hopefully not because I
feel we're getting there now it feels
like we're you know we're kind of coming
up with a pretty simple design but with
the details that'll make all the
difference which I think it's what it's
all about
I think because he's such a
down-to-earth guy and and he's a car guy
the same as all of us you know we have
that kind of common ground really which
is which is great and you know he's a
he's a really open-minded customer in
terms of suggestions and things like
that he knows what what he wants in the
end but he's quite happy for people to
kind of explore different options and
different ideas and he's open to various
suggestions which is which is perfect
really because I think in the end
everybody gets a product that we're all
happy with this morning I've been doing
some work on the exterior so there's
some small details we want to want to
change on the on the escort the the main
one really is the the look of the rear
end which you know there's some subtle
differences we're going to try out some
you know the rear quarter bumpers which
I don't think have been done before and
a moron escort I don't know just very
small changes really will throw quite a
few ideas about initially and some will
get rejected right away before they even
get shown to the customer because yeah
we need to refine it and give them
quality options rather than a massive
load of options I've really I've really
enjoyed the luggage space I did Gordon
suggested from the start that's been
quite a fun thing to work with that's
you know coming up with ideas as as Cal
said early on we were thinking about
kind of luggage systems and things like
that which you know got a little bit too
complicated but it's nice to explore
those those ideas and in the end
refining it to to a very simple solution
really to talk to what he wants which
hopefully he'll like one specific thing
that Gordon
quested was a some ideas on fuel filler
caps which is really nice that that you
know we can go into that level of detail
and design you know there's the smallest
things and I think it it makes for much
more coherent vehicle when such small
details are all tied in and they all
have the same design cues and they're
all working together to make a whole car
which is which is going to be quite a
my name's Dean McConnell and I the
designer interior upholstery and general
creative dynamo "