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Project Tomcat, Cosmetic Updates

This car has some cosmetic challenges. I managed to knock a couple off and make things just a little nicer.

Most of the cosmetic issues with this car stem from it being outside under the sun. There are some things that are hard to get (or hard to replace) but thankfully some parts are easy to replace, and since there is an R8 Rover 200 liftback at the local Pick A Part I went on a raid to get some bits.

The major one was the dash wood. Mine was in really bad condition and was an eyesore to look at. Although the wood seemed good, the lacquer was falling off in chunks.

The wood on the dash of the car at PAP was perfect. Not a mark on it.

Removing the trim can be a bit nerve-wracking. There are a series of spring clips along it.

To release the clips, start with a pry tool on the far LH side, levering it outwards. Using another tool, work slightly further along. Eventually, with some force, the end clips will give in, and then you can just pull it free with your hands.

The other benefit of replacing the trim was that I could look into why the backlight on the clock was dead. The LCD was working as you could just make out the faint digits. It turns out that both the bulb was blown, and the clock needed to be disassembled and the solder joints reflowed. The replacement clock suffered the same issue.

The replacement wood just pushes into place, starting at the RH end.

And the clock works too. Such a classic orange glow.

When I was at Pick A Part I decided to grab a couple of door switches, as I know they are known failure points. Turns out this was fortuitous as both of mine were broken, and the interior light didn’t work. The slider lever had broken off both.

One screw holds it on, so remove that

Disconnect the cable, plug it into the replacement and screw it back in. Done.

Rinse and repeat for the other side. Now the light works on the door setting.

I changed it to an LED for more brightness and less consumption.

The LED doesn’t fade quite as nice as a bulb (yes, the light fades out, how flash) but it’s not really noticeable unless you’re watching the light.

Moving right along, the next part I scored was a good condition front grille. Mine was rusty and I was at risk of getting tetanus every time I lifted the bonnet (which is a lot).

5 nuts hold the grille on. I found this mess behind the grille.

A quick clean

And the replacement grille fitted. I had to swap my badge over because someone had screwdrivered the badge when it was at PAP.

This is why I replaced it

The replacement had some surface rust on it, but I wire brushed it and then used some rust converter to hopefully stop it getting too crispy. The grille is riveted together, So it wouldn’t be a bad idea to split it and properly coat that steel backing inside and out.

Still plenty more parts to tidy up on this car, but it looks nice from afar.

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