Crikey! Has it really been this long? It was summer last year when I got fed up of seeing a few small rust bubbles on the Sierra’s front wings and decided to take it off the road for rectification. I knew it would take a while to get around to the work, but I really wasn’t planning on having the old girl resting up for the best part of a year.
But you know what it’s like: a little corrosion turns out to be major rot, and someone else’s substandard previous repair raises its ugly head.
An original front wing remains on the nearside and, with the paint stripped off, is actually in pretty good nick. The same can’t be said of the inner wing: several plates had been patched-on roughly around the strut tower, yet a double-skinned section had been removed and sealed over – leaving a 30-year-old RS running rock-hard coil-overs and strut-braces on less metal than Ford applied to a Sierra 1.3. Absolutely bodgetastic.
A new piece was fabricated, fitted and tidied up, then I turned my attention back to the offside front. The new-old-stock (non-genuine) wing I’d found on eBay was already a good fit but I got my mate Richard to lend a hand lining it up, trimming the edges and jiggling it into factory-standard panel gaps. It was plug-welded into position, although I added fake spot-welds to the wing rail using a hammer and punch. I also stamped a date code into the rail a few inches down from the scuttle panel in alignment with the opposite side – not because I’m planning on entering concours competitions but simply to confuse any anoraks when they look under the bonnet.
Job done, I stone-chip-painted both inner arches and sprayed them with a few heavy coats of Diamond White two-pack. It’s not the world’s prettiest job, but the idea is to be clean and durable.
All that’s left to do now is prep and paint the front wings and slam panel, and the Sierra should finally be back on the road. With a bit of luck, it may even be out for show season… Although the imminent arrival of yet another project-come-daily driver may slow things down, but more on that next month…