The road to restoration part 1

Quietly over the last 18 months we’ve had a project we’ve been chipping away at.
We’ve been rebuilding a little 1971 Chrysler/Mitsubishi Galant rally car so named for this series as the road to restoration.

The car was originally built to contest the Clubman Cup in the late 90’s. By the time we got the car it had done many events, had a few owners and not much maintenance in the latter stages of its life. With the Galant in a corner of our workshop, we considered the options. We knew we wanted to restore the car, however we didn’t know whether we’d keep it in our stables or sell it on.

It wasn’t long before one of our younger team members spied the car and decided that he wanted the Galant to be his debut rally machine. So the rebuild began.
In the months before we acquired the Galant, the previous owner had us do an inspection to see what was required to get the car up to rally standard. The list ran into three pages and there were some big ticket safety items in terms of suspension and brakes that needed sorting, let alone the terrible wiring. Also the engine was so tired it was nearly asleep. With less than 30 PSI of compression in one of the cylinders and the highest about 70 PSI, an engine rebuild was also desperately needed. We were amazed the engine even ran.

EB1Sporting a set of twin Weber carbs, extractors, a five speed gearbox and disc brake rear end, the little machine had all the right bits on paper.
When the car arrived at our workshop it actually didn’t run at all. The previous owner had replaced the engine with a direct swap 4G32 1.6L motor out of a Mitsubishi L300 van. Something hadn’t gone right in the process and we found the gearbox in the boot along with some of the other parts. When we enquired as to the whereabouts of the original engine, we were informed it had gone to scrap. This news was a little disappointing as the original engine was purported to be a worked rally motor. A good rebuild may have seen the original engine able to cope with the big twin weber carbs and developing some serious mumbo. Oh well….
We then decided that a freshen up of the 4G32 belt drive we received with the car would be a good starting point. The owner will run it stock with a single carb and then the engine can always be upgraded later. In the background we’re keeping our eye out for a naturally aspirated 1.8L Cordia motor so we can go bigger cc and also EFI.strip

The engine was quickly pulled, stripped and robo-washed clean. The single cam, non balance shaft engine is a fairly simple mill and a good hone, new rings, bearings and a head service fit the bill. Other ancillaries such as a new water pump also went onto the motor and the oil pump was carefully checked before re-installation. We looked at finding a mild cam, however the engines are just too old to find off the shelf units so the standard cam will suffice for the time being, with a reground cam an option for more power in the future.

on_cranePrior to the engine re-fit, a coat of gloss black paint was sprayed to tidy up the engine bay.

The engine had a new Extreme clutch fitted to it when we got it, however the previous owner seemed to think there was a problem with it. With the five speed gearbox fitted, it was possible a four speed clutch had been ordered and hence the problems. We test fitted the engine and gearbox on the bench and found no problems with the clutch actuation so everything was installed back into the car in one go.back_in

With the basic drive train back in, it would be some time before it could be fired up.

Next post, we’ll look into the suspension and brakes.

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