Dutton Kit Cars and their owners

Today I bought another Dutton. This one has a 3.1 litre Essex V6. It's MOT has lapsed and it has a number of issues, the biggest one being that it has had a front end shunt which has upset the suspension geometry, and the bonnet fit, and the steering. The last 6 inches of the main rail is crumpled, moving the ARB. Finding a good reference to work from to restore the geometry looks to be an interesting puzzle. In this picture you can see that the nearside wheel has a different camber to the offside. It was the nearside that was hit.

I will do some investigation over the weekend and post some pictures of the damage. It was dark by the time I got home, and I was worn out. The journey was 400 miles in total, all but a handful were motorway : M5, M42, A42, M1. The car was about 15 miles south of Sheffield.

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Comment by Daryl Heasman on November 4, 2018 at 23:28

No comment -:))

Comment by James Doulton on November 4, 2018 at 23:01

'glassing' not 'classing'

Comment by James Doulton on November 4, 2018 at 23:00

I'm still fiddling around with the drivers seat and spent all day yesterday classing up the holes and extending the 'brim' so it should fit the body neatly. I am enjoying the whole thing of making bits of mould and doing proper GRP but it is all very slow. The drivers side is nearly done, maybe I won't bother with the passenger seat. I'm beginning to wish I had listened to Daryl when he said to just line the cockpit in metal and bung a cushion on the floor - but don't tell him!

Comment by James Doulton on October 20, 2018 at 0:21

Family and work continue to make it very difficult to make any real progress. I have tinkered with the seat to improve the fit to the rest of the body. I have also removed the bonnet because I managed to break one of the fixings [the bonnet weighs 20Kg].

I have spent a lot of time working out a solution to the cooling issues but I haven't actually bought the bits yet. I'm planning to use a 'Polo' radiator like the Westfields do - it isn't an actual Polo one but a quadruple core aluminium one with the same layout. It should fit the Dutton nose cone nicely. If it was just for road use then I could probably get away with an actual Polo one because there isn't much opportunity to use the engine power for long but on track you can have your foot to the floor about 75% of the time, so that is about 75KW that the radiator needs to be able to dissipate.

Comment by James Doulton on August 29, 2018 at 0:23

So the seat is now satin - I've sat in it. I'm very impressed with the finish of the gel coat where it was against the acetate film as it is a glassy finish, reflections and everything. It looks rather different to the dull satin finish of the existing GRP. With other family commitments over the weekend, it has taken me a week to actually get it made into one piece, and I've still lot lots of holes to fill. I will have had the car for two years next week - I need to get my priorities right and retire!

Comment by James Doulton on August 23, 2018 at 23:24

I might come back to that, Daryl. I have quite a bit of checker plate but I'm having fun with the glass fibre at the moment. I might end up using the ally for the foot well because that needs changing to lower the floor a little. Now that I'm going to put the exhausts down the sides instead of under the car (as they are at the moment) then I'll have a bit more room so that I can lower the floor so that I can get the ball of my foot on the brake rather than my arch.

Comment by Daryl Heasman on August 22, 2018 at 18:12

Quicker  in aluminium  James more room too

Comment by James Doulton on August 21, 2018 at 23:29

After a couple of hours of cleaning the front side of the tub, and then grinding the paint off the back to get back to a reasonable glass fibre surface, I finally got the tub ready to glass back into one piece. I had screwed wood batons on the back of the tub to get it correctly spaced while in the car. Then I bridged the gap with clear acetate which I held in place with that nice yellow gaffer tape. Then I fitted the wooden strips on the front, so I could then remove the ones from the back, ready to do the business from behind.

Then I discovered that the black gelcoat that I got a few months ago had leaked in the packaging and all of the black pigment was missing, leaving the tin half full of beige resin. So that stopped me in my tracks. The replacement gelcoat should be here before Friday so hopefully I might get it done over the weekend.

Comment by James Doulton on March 11, 2018 at 22:52

After family left at lunchtime, I was able top get a few hours in the garage to fiddle with the drivers side of the tub. Having already cut the tub in half, I cut the drivers side in half again. and then I cut the floor in half again so that I could bend the side. There were various other little bits of trimming with power tools but I have now got it pretty good and I can actually sit in the seat properly.

The seat was 14.5 inches wide before, now it is 15.5 - that is the size of that bit of wood in the photo. I have got 5mm packing pieces on the two sides (on the diff flange and on the trailing arms) and the sides of the seat are hard against those. It is never going to be comfortable but it will be okay.

The tub of black gel coat arrived yesterday, so I just need to rig up some way of holding the bits together in the right positions while I glass it and then I can start on making new seatbelt fixings and maybe a cage for the prop shaft.

Sitting in the car, I can now see that I'll have to modify the foot well too and also the pedals which need a bit more modification. There is nowhere for my left foot to go but I think I can leave it on the clutch pedal because that is pretty stiff. It would be good if I could make a little extra legroom and maybe move the master cylinder away from the exhaust port of no.3 cylinder.

Comment by James Doulton on March 3, 2018 at 22:14

After a weekend in Center Parcs last week, I finally got back to the Dutton today. I trimmed a few lumps off the tub where the GRP was very thick so that the tub would fit more snugly against the frame. Then I bit the bullet and finally cut the tub in half lengthways. This is so that I can work on getting the drivers side right (and wide enough for my broad hips) before worrying about marrying it to the passenger side.

This showed me that I have 25mm at the narrowest point between the diff flange and the tub. I wonder how much the axle moves when driving? I can work out the geometry of various arms but what about chassis flex and bushes? I'll aim for 5mm - if the worst comes to the worst, and it touches on occasion, then I will just have to rework it.

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