www.jprwildcat.co.uk The Wildcat Owners Club

Richard Schofield's Build Page

Over 20 years after it was first built, it's time for a second birth. The story so far....

Here's some advise, don't leave your car in a field for 8 years!!!!!

Just bought the car and rolled it into my garage

The car is pretty complete. It has a 2.0 Pinto Engine, 3-speed auto box, original Cortina number plate and an interior thrown in, literally, nothing actually attached.
The car has been off the road for 8 years, and from what I understand has switched hands a couple of times and mostly spent it's life in a field. As expected nothing works, the brakes are seized (this made it really fun rolling it up a hill into my garage), the GRP body is covered in small cracks and tin worms have been nibbling all over the place.

That long bonnet still looks great

Despite the horrible paint job, the shape of this car still impresses. If you are wondering why the bonnet looks like a toddler's bedroom wall, it's because someone tried to draw a union jack on it.

All in all, the body work isn't bad

The main concern is the crazing in the GRP. This is where water has got under the gel-coat and cracked it away when freezing. The only way to fix this is to grind away all the damage and re-gel. Not a job I'm looking forward to. Still, if it's just cosmetic work needed this will be turned around in weeks. Head in bucket of sand.

The Wildcat Back End

As most readers will know, the Wildcat has a modified back end to take the wider axles available on common cars (at the time) such as a Cortina. People often claim it doesn't look right, but to be honest, I need to see the two cars side by side to tell. From where I am standing it looks great. Let's hope what's under the GRP is in much better nick.

The Mighty Pinto, It wont start!

Ok, so the engine looks a little rough. Oil looks clean and it has good compression so it may still have life left, but jeeze it looks a little rough. 8 years in a field did not treat this engine kindly. Hopefully the chassis faired better!.

Ah, there's a rust hole in the chassis (bottom left)

This is just the one that's easily visible. There's much worse waiting for me underneath.
It doesn't look too bad in the picture, but a little bit of poking and your finger goes right through it.
The issue is the lack of protection on the inside of steel tubes. Water gets trapped inside and has free reign to slow rot all winter.

How do I fix this?

Body work and mechanical issues is one thing, but I may run out of talent with this interior. If anyone has a knack for building great looking interiors please get in touch.
The seats are old MX5 seats and fit quite well. My plan will be to get some nice leather MX5 seats and then try and match the rest of the interior as best I can.
The interior is otherwise complete, but it's made out of old pieces of hardboard wrapped in vinyl that have just disintegrated whilst being exposed to the elements. I'm not sure yet how I'll build the replacements, but I'll want to do something that will last much better.

Off comes the body

This is going to be the home for the body for the foreseeable future. Given the amount of welding that needs doing on this chassis I don't want plastic anywhere near it. I had to build a wooden frame to lift the body as it's very flimsy around the doors. By the way, it weighs half a tonne this body. I had to use several hoists attached to my garage roof to lift it.

How do the mechanicals all look?

That axle looks like it's had a hard life. Oh well, I need to swap it out anyway, as it's a Koln style axle. These were fitted to the smaller engined Cortina's and are a weaker version when compared to the Atlas Axle. The V6 Cortina's and Estates had the meatier Atlas axle which I'll need for what I have planned.

It's Alive

I had long since decided that I wasn't going to keep the Pinto engine, but decided to get it running (needed a coil, leads and carb clean) just for a bit of fun and to help sell the engine to fund the replacement engine.

Chassis with rot cut out of it

Here's the bare chassis with all the rusty sections removed. It's mostly the ERW thin walled box section that has rusted from the inside. These tubes sit at the bottom of the chassis, and any water that gets in has no where to drain. I might drill a bunch of holes to try and avoid the repaired chassis having the same fate one day (not that I plan on leaving it in a field).

New section ready to weld

Here's a view of the replacement ERW tube ready to weld.
I've just bought a new Tig welder so need the practice anyway.