Monday 31 January 2022



So, the anticipation is over:-
I just checked all the electrical plugs were plugged, pushed the "Spitfire starter button" & the engine turned over - but just before I released the button - was that a cough? I pushed the starter again & yes it was definitely trying, pushed the button one more time & it fired & ran.

There's issues - there's always issues, there's a high pitched ringing sound, I thought it was a loose bracket, but I tightened it up & it made no difference, also the battery light stayed on. Investigations into these will begin when the last of the cooling system arrives

Just before hitting the start button I'd fitted covers to the HT lead connectors, usually on a Zetec the HT leads come from the back of the engine, so all are different lengths & will only fit the plug they are supposed to go to, mine come up the side of the engine & are all the same length, so I drew up & printed the numbered covers so I can tell which lead is which.

Oh yes - the "STYLUS twin cam" badge is a new print as well.

Air Of Anticipation

The fuel system is complete & tested, the old starter is in place (new one arrives any time now), the air filter will arrive from the excellent chaps at Car Builder Solutions in a day or two, so the engine bay is all done except for the last heater hose & a lingering query over the clutch.

I did try a speculative start yesterday, but the engine didn't want to play & I had no time fo any investigation before I went to my brother's.

Yes, the engine is supposed to be biased towards the passenger side, it's a Sylva design feature to off-set the weight of the driver.

The plan at my brother's was to turn up an adaptor to put the old steering wheel from his Hot Rod onto the quick release on the Stylus (yes I need to pay a visit to Margnor & get bolts). I finished the adaptor plate this morning, so the interior is complete except for new five point harnesses & I'm undecided between blue & orange. My gut feel is orange, but I wonder if they would look too lairy in what is now quite a "vintage" looking car.


In the fullness of time I probably need to do something about those stalk switches.

Thursday 27 January 2022

The Pressure's On

Been rather too busy in the garage this week. After putting the engine back in I played with the plumbing & ordered some parts to make it all prettier as a great many hoses wanted to occupy the same space as the air filter. To assist with that problem I decided to ditch the foam "sausage" air filter breathing hot engine bay air & instead make something that looked similar but smaller & was in fact an airbox drawing filtered air from in front of the rad, so it's breathing nice cold fresh air. I did something similar on the Fury which worked well.

So I drew up a minimum airbox on the computer & carved it from styrofoam, wrapped that in clingfilm, wrapped that in tee-shirt material (stretchy cotton) & covered that in GRP resin. Because it still has the cotton surface it looks like a foam filter, but smaller & because it's only waffer theen, it's the same internal size as the foam one.

While that was curing I decided to take the spark plugs out, fit the starter & make sure I had oil pressure - I didn't.

Over-night research found that the Raceline sump the car has is for a silvertop - I panicked, was this the reason I had no pressure? Is the oil pick-up in a different place on the blacktop? If I couldn't use the Raceline sump I'd need another sump. The steel one I bought for the Fury was about £200, was perfectly good & lighter (because 1.5mm steel is lighter than 1/4" thick aluminium with cooling fins), but for some reason those sumps now seem to be £650!!

So today the car's gone back up in the air & the sump's come off again. The first thing to note was the vaseline in the pump input pipe was still there, so it's not been sucked up the pipe, so there was too much air in there. the next thing to note was that the 20+ year old O-rings between sump & engine were flattened off. Fortunately I had a couple the right size. With dimensional checks confirming the pipes should meet I found a nice fat syringe & pumped vaseline up it until it could take no more! (because it had got as far as the pump), I also poured engine  oil into the oil filter port, so now satisfied that I'd done all I could, I bolted the sump back up, filled it with oil, re-fitted the starter & yes! Pressure (sigh).

While all this was happening the door bell heralded the arrival of the silicone hose bend & aluminium joiner to finish the bottom hose & the 12mm heater hose. After a great deal of cutting & re-cutting, taking 1/4" at a time, the bottom hose is now complete, but I've come in for my tea before connecting up the heater that will mean I can fill the cooling system. I'll do that tomorrow & finish the airbox & maybe go for the big start to see if it works

Friday 21 January 2022

Engine's Back In!

 The copper tube I was waiting for to replace the fuel hose arrived last night, so this morning it was un-coiled & fitted, which left me no excuse for not fitting the engine. It was pretty straight forward, there's plenty of space as long as the engine is tipped tail down to get the clutch into the bell housing while keeping the pulleys above the suspension rocker arms.

There's loads still to do of course, the exhaust & throttle bodies need to be properly fitted & all the electrics need to be connected up, fuel & cooling systems, starter etc BUT, it's a major step along the road, there are naturally a couple of issues, which if this were one of the car modification / restoration shows would be a MAJOR problem causing untold cost / time over-runs & at least two hissy-fits. For example the air filter is 2mm from the new brake reservoir - way too close. I'll deal with it, it just needs a little thinking about. My plan to replace the air filter with an airbox & remote filter may be about to happen "now", rather than "in the fullness of time" 

Wednesday 19 January 2022


 The Stylus is down off the stands & once again on it's wheels on the garage floor. My plan was to put the engine back in today, but I've found some cracking in a fuel pipe that runs right through the transmission tunnel, so I'm going to replace it with copper & renew the hoses at either end - So the car'll be getting jacked up again.

On the up-side I've picked up the seat cushions from the upholsterer & fitted them to the seats & fitted the seats back in the car & I have to say they look pretty splended.

When I bought the car, I thought the seats were too modern for the look I wanted, but even cheap seats were expensive & the diamond quilting in these inserts makes them look more retro.

They need sitting in to press the creases in properly, but I'm pretty pleased with the result.

Thursday 13 January 2022

Reservoir Dogs Bollox


I've been fabricating again, the aircraft fitter skills from 40ish years ago have been retrieved from the creaky corners of my brain & set to work. I'd done some C.A.D. work (Cardboard Aided Design) so had a template, cut it out, drilled holes & folded it up & not only did it look good, but it stood flat on its' feet! I made up a bracing plate & even managed to press two flanged lightening holes into it without drama. 

After riveting it up it was still flat! So imagine my horror when I placed it on the car & it rocked - yes I've made it squarer than the car is.

Anyway, after all the prep work, it's now bolted to the car & the reservoirs & hoses are fitted & I've even filled them with oil, though not bled them through yet.

That implies the front brakes are on & yes after my brother machined the brackets, the calipers are on, torqued up & the pipes & hoses are fitted.

The car's really close to having the engine put back in now.

Friday 7 January 2022

Engine Strangeness

With the cam belt fitted
Today I decided to fit the new cam belt, I took the front off the engine, I took the top off the engine, I attempted to put the cam locking strip into the cams, but it wouldn't fit. The grooves for the locking strip weren't parallel - weird. I took out No.1 spark plug & took the piston to Top Dead Centre, checking it with a Dial Test Indicator. The inlet cam was OK, but the exhaust cam was 1/2 a tooth out. I puzzled over this for some time, but in the end I slackened the exhaust cam wheel & set it all up to the book.

With the camshaft lock fitted.

But presumably it's been like that for a while as it's a Gates belt not a Motorcraft one, so it has been changed.

Then (drum roll) the bell housing arrived, it needed a mod or two - no disrespect to RWD Motorsport, it was sold as a "Sierra replacement bell housing" & indeed it is, but the Stylus has a Mondeo concentric clutch slave cylinder, so I had to remove a little metal overhanging the central bore & make up a blanking plate for the big square hole where the clutch fork goes. But that's all done & it's on the gearbox, so it can get bled through (when the reservoir is fitted) & the engine can go back in - HOORAH!

Tuesday 4 January 2022

Engine Done



Yes the engine's more or less done, it needs a few bits taken off so it fits in through the hole in the car & I'm STILL waiting for the vacuum hoses. It'll have to sit there for a while yet as the bellhousing won't arrive for a week or two.

Of course it's untested, so might be all pants when I try to start it, but it's a Zetec & they're almost impossible to kill, so fingers crossed.


As I'd hoped the throttle bodies & exhaust hide a lot of the orange on the engine block, so it's an orange hi-light, rather that "WOW - ORANGE"

Moving the coil pack under the throttle bodies & removing all the plastic helps with the vintage look, so it should look right at home in the late '60s styled car.