203 in progress
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Thread: 203 in progress

  1. #1
    Fellow Frogger! luthier's Avatar
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    Default 203 in progress

    Hi folks, since getting the beasty last September I've been working pretty hard on her.
    I had a thread here that some may remember, before the crash, so I'll just jog your memory by putting up the pics I have already on my website from then.
    The first lot are of the journey from Melbourne up to the Hunter Valley when I bought 'Toots'.








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    She went quite well, but the fumes nearly killed me , sat on around 70mph most of the way, sleeping for awhile on the eastern side of Dubbo and arriving mid morning at beautiful Stewarts Brook.
    All round she's a very clean car but the paint needed replacement as rust was showing and there was a lot of crazing and flaking, and later, I know it may seem back to front, I will fix the engine and the gearbox which falls out of gear on steep inclines.
    So here are the first shots of the initial strip down and first undercoating.










    As of today I have the dash painted, the wiring is redone and she is ready for colour. I've had to use a bit of filler in all the guards but not in the roof, bonnet or boot. So far I haven' worked on the doors.
    I managed to leave the hood lining in place and drag the old wiring loom through and then feed the new wire back the same way. I am planning to use LED festoon globes in the stop/tail lights which I have modified to include the indicator instead of the reflector .
    I have also got the semiphores operational and have them hooked up to the three way original parker switch which will be next to the steering column instead of being next to the fuses. That way I can use them at will when I want to show off.
    I have decided to hook up the small cabachon parker lights as indicators on the normal indicator circuit.
    I'm also thinking of installing 406 seats although this will only be until I can get the originals done up in red leather.
    More photos soon .

  2. #2
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    Default 203

    great progress there, what is the chosen color ?

    405 seats are easy to fit and are comfy(ones with soft sides)

    even used the existing bolt holes !

    suggest you get some sound deadning underfelt from 505 wreck or similar

    screw it onto the firewall up as high as you can and seal ALL the holes around cables etc thru the firewall

    it makes it a lot quieter

    cheers

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    Quote Originally Posted by alpine View Post
    great progress there, what is the chosen color ?

    405 seats are easy to fit and are comfy(ones with soft sides)

    even used the existing bolt holes !

    suggest you get some sound deadning underfelt from 505 wreck or similar

    screw it onto the firewall up as high as you can and seal ALL the holes around cables etc thru the firewall

    it makes it a lot quieter

    cheers
    Trouble is the 405 seats are designed to bolt to a ramp and will sit very flat if fitted to a 203, all depends on your seating preferences I guess.
    I replaced the 405 seats with 205 but still not that happy, the present Citroen Ax seats are great (even have the removable squab to gain access to the under seat bins!) but near impossible to get hold of of course.
    Graham

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    Fellow Frogger! luthier's Avatar
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    Not sure about the seats, I have a set from my dead 406. I think they'll bolt straight onto the original frames.
    Anyway today I got the colour on and should get the clear on tomorrow with a bit of luck. I think I'll fit the bonnet for the final clear coats.
    Here are before and after pics and a shot of the dash. I need to get some of those silly trim clips with the bendy tags. It's made like a tonka toy in that area.
    The colour is called Saphire Bleu and is a VW colour from 1970. Don't think I ever saw a VW this colour.





    Last edited by luthier; 21st March 2011 at 10:58 PM.

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    Fellow Frogger! luthier's Avatar
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    Well I'm terribly sorry, I hope I haven't offended anyone.
    Sorry, attention seeking behaviour. Do you really hate the colour?

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    the 203 my mother had wasn't far off that colour
    3 x '78 604 SL

    1 x '98 306 GTi6

    1 x secret project

    1 x '98 406 STDT troop carrier and i don't care if it stinks, i don't sniff it's arse Death by wank tank

    1 x '99 406SV 5spd wagon, time to burn more fuel

    1 x 1994 605 SV3.0


    WTD long range fuel tank for 605

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    Regrettably I have ISP ssues and I haven't been able to bring the colour pictures up. That picture along the bonnet on the highway is great.
    As to if the colour suits, I think every 203 owner sees his car in a different way. I also think the early cars present a different line to the later ones. I would see two tone as breaking up the line of the car, but in reality the two tone cars in the Redex re-run looked rather good.
    My car used to jump out of gear but I sourced a new gearbox top and it fixed the problem. The tops wear and the linkages can have slack.
    To make a liar of me it just brought up the colour. Not far from an original colour. I remember 203's in a very similar blue. It looks good, suits the car and isn't too "modern". Are you going to leave the wheels white?
    Last edited by Russell Hall; 23rd March 2011 at 11:59 PM.

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    Fellow Frogger! luthier's Avatar
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    Good, I didn't want to make it like a hotrod colour and I'm very pleased with it as the clear goes on. The wheels have been very nicely painted and have almost new Michelins on so I'm going to wait till new tyre time to decide whether to repaint them. I like the look of whitewalls but would not be bothered with them.

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    Fellow Frogger! spar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luthier View Post
    Well I'm terribly sorry, I hope I haven't offended anyone.
    Sorry, attention seeking behaviour. Do you really hate the colour?
    i think it looks great ! gorgeous blue IMO.

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    Fellow Frogger! luthier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spar View Post
    i think it looks great ! gorgeous blue IMO.
    Nice of you to say so Spar.

    I've done a bit more now. Got most of the clear on although it needs at least one more complete rub back and more clear. Also hooked up the dash and the wiring to test my rewire. Happily it starts and charges although haven't hooked up lights to test yet, but under the bonnet is good to go.





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    very nice...

    colour is good to...same as my 604...all the shiny bits should contrast nicely against it...

    whats the plan for the interior...navy blue???

    well done




    dino

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    Fellow Frogger! luthier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dino View Post
    very nice...

    colour is good to...same as my 604...all the shiny bits should contrast nicely against it...

    whats the plan for the interior...navy blue???

    well done




    dino
    Thanks Dino.
    Eventually I want red leather as the trim, seats and linings. I think it will contrast nicely with the blue on the door tops and the dash.
    I'm going to try out the 406 seats first and if they work, I'll see if I can get the right colour of sheepskin covers for those bucket seats. Bit of a sucker for those seats.

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    1000+ Posts Greg C's Avatar
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    I had two 203s, one black and one light grey. I think the dark colours suit the shape and a red interior will show the blue off beautifully. My black one had red interior.

    You cruised up at 70mph, we had a rule that 4,000 rpm was the cruising limit on the 3 bearing motors (it was raised to 5,000 rpm when we moved to 404/504), I guess that is pretty close to 70.

    As you can see I have jumped ship but I have a real soft spot for 203s. Look forward to seeing it finished.

    Greg
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    And didn't your 2 l injected 404 go like stink! My 504s used to be happy to cruise at 80mph around 4000 rpm from memory but of course today we are told that your brain will explode and eyes will pop out as the sky falls in at those speeds! Neil

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    Looks beautiful.

    I think the original 203 shade of blue is called 'Royal blue' and I think that's the colour my dad's 1955 203C is. Your shade looks a little brighter and more vibrant, but still looks great! His dash is still a milky grey though, as it was...

    When you've finished, you will enjoy one of the finest driving experiences available. The 203 is a brilliant car. Love your work.

    Binky.

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    Fellow Frogger! luthier's Avatar
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    Thanks for the enthusiasm guys.
    Today I got the headlights fitted after a long day of polishing yesterday. So much more polishing to do which is making me feel quite weary.
    And still to work on doors and sills. Wow, it's so much work.
    But she's looking better all the time.
    Cheers.



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    1000+ Posts catshamlet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luthier View Post
    So much more polishing to do which is making me feel quite weary.
    Don't think of it as polishing, more like applying sin cream to a curvy lady!

    But hey, that thing looks great, love it.



    Mike.
    Started out with nothing, still got most of it left.

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    Fellow Frogger! luthier's Avatar
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    Hmmm sin cream eh? Like 30++ total blockout? The mind boggles.

    I got some shiny bits on today.


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    Quote Originally Posted by luthier View Post
    Hmmm sin cream eh?
    Must've been one of those freudian slip things. But it does sound more fun than sun.....
    Anyway, we don't get much sun over 'ere. And when I think about it not much of the other....



    Mike.
    Started out with nothing, still got most of it left.

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    1000+ Posts Greg C's Avatar
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    Only one gripe, you need to get a black battery for her

    Greg
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    Default 203

    It is looking brilliant. Great work. What sort of paint did you use - acrylic lacquer or something else? I intend to do some respraying myself at some stage. The clear coat came up really well. You have to be pleased with the result. I actually had a VW Passat from the mid 70s in a blue that looks the same as your blue.

    Keep the progress shots coming.

    James
    P.S. Now that Google has shown me where Stewarts Brook is, I can understand why you have said that it is a beautiful place - right next to Barrington Tops!

  22. #22
    Fellow Frogger! luthier's Avatar
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    Greg, I agree although I was told a nice blue like that was very Swedish and all it needed was a dash of yellow.

    Would it hurt the battery to spray it black d'yer think?

    James yes it's acrylic lacquer and yes it's a vw colour from the seventies called saphire bleu, in case you didn't read that before. Spoton.
    And we do live in a beautiful spot , only plagued by pig shooters and trail bike idiots, but I prefer that to normal suburban or even country town living.
    We have a few creek crossings and about 10k's of dirt which to my mind will suit the 203 as our main car.
    It's going to be a shame to take it through all the cowshit after I finish polishing and get all the road dirt on it, but I won't mind cause I'll be driving it. And it should scrub up OK for a few years after this effort.
    I hooked up the little cabachon lights as indicators today. They look very cute. I got both horns going but then they became intermittent so I guess I'll have to run proper earth wires to them as well.
    And then I began work on the front left door. What a voyage of discovery that was, getting the lock off and the window out and the quarter vent assembly. Very clever design.

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    1000+ Posts dino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luthier View Post
    Greg, I agree although I was told a nice blue like that was very Swedish and all it needed was a dash of yellow.

    Would it hurt the battery to spray it black d'yer think?

    I wouldnt paint it..you are much better of dropping it in a battery box...cost you about $15-$20...
    (i can hear the purists sigh)

    She is coming along nicely...I m about to paint an old merc in a metallic brown...I d be well pleased if it came up as well as your pug has...My only saving grace is that I ve cut and polished hundreds of cars and feel reasonably competent with wet sanding...so yeahhh I m going to pile on the clear...



    dino


    ps...as mentioned by James...keep the progress pics coming... love these threads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dino View Post
    I wouldnt paint it..you are much better of dropping it in a battery box...cost you about $15-$20...
    (i can hear the purists sigh)

    She is coming along nicely...I m about to paint an old merc in a metallic brown...I d be well pleased if it came up as well as your pug has...
    I wouldn't sweat the purists on this project, 203s originally had one small battery in each front corner for even weight distribution, it also looks like it has a 504 radiator fitted, and as I said earlier, the dashboard would not have been the same colour as the body. I figure that Monsieur Luthier is restoring this one to his own preferences - a perfectly valid approach (as long as he doesn't start flaring mudguards, etc!)

    As for the Merc, it might come up as good if it were a Pug!

  25. #25
    Fellow Frogger! luthier's Avatar
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    Not sure about the radiator Binky, it has a 403 engine so I think it's more likely a 403 radiator.
    It has the 203 gearbox and diff though but a previous custodian fitted the stronger 403 half shafts .
    I have to say as well that I am very grateful to whoever had it who fixed up a whole lot of things, welding the door hinges, inserting nice metal inlays here and there. And all the great treatment on the floor and inside the doors. It was kind of like getting a restored car that just needed paint and rubbers. Of course there's a bit more than that, but someone did a lot of work on it while they had it.

    And yes I am setting it up for my own preferences while trying to keep as much of the old charm intact. For instance I decided not to repaint the engine bay as it's clean and tidy with original black paint. Same under the bonnet. Nor am I getting all the doorhandles and stuff replated.
    I am however going to fit a windscreen washer and a heater. Still haven't decided about the stereo.
    And I'm modifying the tail lights, by grinding off the inside of the reflectors and fitting indicators in there, and using led festoons for tail/stop as well as indicator. I'm also using the cabachon lights above the semiphores as part of the flashing indicator system, while having a totally seperate setup for the semiphores for which I've used the three way under dash switch that once operated those cabachons as parking lights.
    I'll use one of the dash cables to operate the heater switch in the engine bay. Haven't worked out how to utilise the old advance/retard button, but perhaps another heater control.
    It already has an extra electric fan mounted on the radiator with a manual under dash switch, and there was a VDO temp guage in the dash, which I managed to destroy when I took the dash out, so I'll get another that looks acceptable to fill the hole and do the job.
    I'll fit the original seats to get her rego'd but swap for 406 ones while my wife recovers the originals in red leather. So that part should eventually be sort of original only better.
    It has seat belts in front and more will be fitted in the back for rego.
    No it won't be fully original because of the things I mentioned, but it's a very clean example with a large part of the original features plus a few sensible addons.
    I'll probably just ignore the yellow battery till I need a new one. I'm not trying to make it concourse, just a very nice daily driver which will no doubt be covered in mud most of the time.

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