It seemed simple enough – pull off the rusty outer sills, make good underneath, replace with a brand new set and enjoy another Cappuccino summer – and I guess that part was. Unfortunately it never got that far: the welder’s rust-finding screwdriver saw to that.
Although a strip-down of the interior had revealed a few other rusty patches to add to the list, it wasn’t until the welder decided to check out the rest of the car that the scale of the problem became apparent. Shortly after a doom-laden “Do you want to pop down and see where we’re at with the car?” phone call I stood underneath the Cappuccino staring at a mass of holes around the front and rear subframe mounts, in the floorpan, where the sill ends should’ve been… the list goes on.
So, what to do?
With no storage costs – the Cappuccino sits in a family member’s garage – there’s no pressing need to do anything at the moment, and a bit of time to think things through properly won’t hurt either. At the moment the plan is to carry out a mini-restoration (focusing on the body in particular) whenever my father’s half-rebuilt MGB is complete and the garage is free – 18 months or so at a guess. In the meantime I can start to strip the car down as much as possible – either to speed up the restoration or, if I have a change of heart, to separate the good & bad parts ready for sale – and save up for the work that my dad and I can’t do ourselves; welding, spraying and the like.
I’ll also be selling the LS400. It’s been the perfect winter transport but money will need to be spent on it before long (tyres, servicing etc.) and the bills will no doubt be on the large side. The original plan had been to keep the LS until the Cappuccino’s sills had been replaced (how straightforward that sounded!) before selling the Lexus and running the Cappuccino through the summer – come winter another (slightly more sensible) car would’ve been purchased to protect the Capp’s fancy new sills. It seems winter has come early though and it’s time to find replacements for both cars sooner rather than later. It’s a good job I was already ruminating over the coming winter’s purchase then…