Day 5: Engine Electrics, Steering, Front Lights

Day 5 overview

Today it was a little scrappy. I had a few moments where the assembly guide was unclear and I wasted time researching on BlatChat, and I had an attempt to install the radiator cowling only to realise it needed some “reshaping” of slots for ARB and actually there was a more efficient sequence, but more on that a little later.

Engine Electrics

The assembly guide is generally OK in this section and most of the engine loom to chassis loom wiring is straightforward, its just that Caterham has not updated the wiring colouring that describes the odd cable in the guide, and these kind of basic challenges make you question if you have connected things up correctly.

Having said that it is all really obvious and doesn’t take too long. The only part of the instructions I had to query online regarded the battery positive cable to starter motor. It took me a while to realise that its switched on the negative side, and that you connect this fat cable directly to the positive pin of the starter motor, and along with the 2 brown ring terminated cables from the car loom. And then the problem is that this terminal thread is fairly soft and also on my car chamfered at the end, so getting all 4 cables on (3 existing and the battery cable) + the spring washer was impossible. It simply wouldn’t catch on the thread. In the end I removed the washer and Caterham can decide what to do at the PBC with this.

And then there are the odd set of cables from the engine that aren’t used at all. In particular the following 4, which I will tape up using self-amalgamating tape and cable tie to the chassis at a later stage. The assembly guide tells us to connect the battery, but I don’t see the point at this stage, I can leave that until near the end of the build.


I then connected other items – the hydraulic clutch banjo bolt and the fuel line connector, which is a click on, and special tool to remove. I made sure I was happy with my loom wire routing before doing this.


I haven’t had my exhaust bits back from the polisher yet, but I have read in other blogs that you can finish the steering and then guide the primaries around the steering rod without too much hassle. Its not the end of the world if I have to remove it again at that stage, so I cracked on.

I have heard horror stories about problems with lower and upper bushes, but I found the whole assembly really easy once I used the correct lubricant. I played for a few minutes with Holts rubber lubricant, but in the end washing up liquid was the solution for the problem of inserting the steering rod through both bushes. The lower bush is already in place at the bulkhead end, and others have had problems with both insertion of the upper bush (use washing up liquid!) and guiding the steering rod through both upper and lower (washing up liquid!).

From start to finish this job took less than an hour, including final torquing of the steering rack fixings.

The only problem surfaced at the end, when I test fitted the steering wheel to find that the bolts to attach the wheel to the quick release boss were not the correct countersunk ones. Derek is sending some of the correct variety!

Front Lights

I was going to finish the day trying to work out how to fit the radiator cowling and SV brackets (slightly different instructions to a S3), but to my dismay the inner cowling slots were not shaped to take into account the position of the anti-roll bar. When I did a loose dry-run I also noted that once the ARB is fitted, access to the front upper suspension bolts is impossible without ARB removal again. The knock on effect of this is that it was time to fit the front headlamps, as these fit on a bracket that is attached to the front upper suspension mounts.

I had previously been shopping for a few extra bits and bobs to help with headlight fitting, namely heat shrink in two different sizes. this is because it has become widely know that another self-builder, Daniel French, devised a much neater way of both handling the wiring and fitting the headlamps. His instructions come with some great pictures, and in full colour/high definition, putting the Assembly guide to shame. To read these instructions just click here. As Daniel says, the first light takes a while and the second is completed so much faster as you get the hang of the process. Really good way to end Day 5, super happy with my progress at this stage.



Day 4: Engine In

But Before the engine, the brakes had to be completed…

During the week I received the missing shake proof and 3/8th inch washers for the front brake pipes. I was in the garage on Saturday morning around 9:45am and sorted that small job out in ten minutes flat. The aim was to be ready for engine hoist erection by the time Craig and another good friend Paul came around at 10am.

The assembly guide for the flexible brake pipe fitting is OK,  but the pictures below should really help other self-builders. For reference I have the upgraded brakes, but the process is pretty much the same irrespective of your brake option.

Initially I removed all red and yellow plastic protective caps from hoses and callipers. I started with the flexible hose on the outer skin, and used the flat washer against the paint work. I then placed the shake proof washer on the inner skin and the nut that comes in the small bag with the brake hoses. I finger tightened and then seated the fixed brake pipe brass sleeve over the flexible pipe end, and tightened the sleeve, again finger tight initially.

I then moved to the calliper and screwed the female to female fitting finger tight into the calliper, just adding the copper coloured flat washer first. There seemed to be only two ways the flexible hose would position itself, based on the rotation of these fixings. The photos you see was the only way to fit these without them fouling on the steering, and it all seemed pretty obvious and straightforward.

Flexible brake hose in its natural curved position. Both sides look similar, and tests of steering lock-to-lock show no fouling

Tea break and hoist shenanigans

When the 3 of us were in the garage, we had a chat about the order of events, and then had a cup of tea to settle into the day ahead. I had borrowed the engine hoist from another friend, but none of us on the day had used one before. The hoist came without a load leveller, so I had purchased one from Machine Mart a month or so back in anticipation.

The hoist folded out and it was obvious that we needed to move the chassis further back into the garage to create enough space at the front, and also to replace the 2 axle stands at the front with just one under the centre chassis crucifix point.

This took all 3 of us to shift the car back, lifting at the back end, and using a jack at the front end. We then needed Steph (my wife) to quickly move the rear axle stands into their new position. I should have considered this requirement up front, and also it is so much easier with a single axle stand at the front, as it gives much more space for the legs of the engine hoist.

IMG_1547 (1)
Dry run: chassis lifted further back into garage, single axle stand at front now, stops hoist legs fouling on axle stands

Load Leveller

The Duratec engine has two diagonally opposed hoist mounting points, which is OK, but unfortunately twists the engine and gearbox assembly around, so that it’s roughly 10 degrees rotated axially. But more on that later…

Other than this rotation, it was plain sailing to lift the assembly and adjust the pitch of it so that the gearbox was pointing down roughly 30 degrees. This is the initial angle of insertion. Be warned, its like threading a needle. Imagine reversing child birth and trying to get the baby back into the womb. And this is with an SV. Or to continue the analogy, a “larger boned lady”.


Prep before insertion

I had read more than enough other blogs to feel confident about what I needed to do before the insertion. We removed the RHS engine mount arm, the alternator belt, the alternator itself and then cable tied it up to the plenum above. We got a fair way into the insertion when we decided that it would be easier to remove the LHS engine mount arm too. The belt was particularly simple, as its on a spring loaded tensioner and took just a few seconds to slip off. reversing this process was equally simple.

Trying to undo the bolt with the spanner attached actually pushes the sprint tensioner to the left and allows you to pop the belt off easily.


There were moments during this process, which, by the way, took hours, where I was convinced that it would never fit. The real challenge was the unavoidable rotation of the assembly, which needed the help of a short piece of wood and a jack under the bell housing to straighten up. In addition, the 5-speed gearbox is really, really tight in terms of its lateral clearance along the transmission tunnel.

The assembly guide implies this, but at the end of the day both the left and right side of the gearbox touch the transmission tunnel (or at least are rubbing up against the heat resistant sponge/foam that was pre-fitted. I have no solution for this, as there is little or no movement left to right, and therefore nothing that would make an appreciable difference. at least the gearbox looks centred from above and from the back of the car.

Even when we thought we were really close to solving the puzzle, we were actually another hour away, not including another tea break. Clearing the front diagonal cross member on the LHS was the biggest challenge. It really is a case of “down a bit, back a bit, level a bit” almost ad infinitum until the engine block confidently clears the chassis by half a millimetre (with foam lagging removed)

IMG_1554 (1)
The tightest clearance was the bottom front corner of the engine block on LHS, the bit immediately above the bar code sticker on the pipe lagging above. It seemed that it would never clear the lower diagonal…


Gearbox bolting

We were finally in a position to bolt the mounting plate to the gearbox from underneath the car, and then bolt the plate to the chassis.This was fairly easy, although we needed a long wobble bar inserted from above to be able to torque the captive nuts from below to the right torque setting. The trick is to NOT fully torque them until both engine mounting arms are re-attached to the engine block and then attached the the engine mounting rubbers.

Ancillary re-attachment

It was, as previously mentioned a 2 minute job to reattach the alternator belt, and not much longer to sort the engine mounting arms out, or reattach the alternator. Simply reverse the previous procedure.

The challenge was getting the long bolt to fit in the LHS mounting hole in the mounting rubber. I had to remove the plate that holds the washer bottle on, via the 4 small 8mm bolts, and then drop it out of the way.


I then fully torqued and paint pen marked the gearbox mounting bolts from under the car, but didn’t fully torque the front engine mounts, as the long bolts require an imperial allen torque bolt, and I don’t own one. So I hand tightened using a large allen key and I’m off to B&Q or Halfords again tomorrow for yet another purchase.

5-speed gearbox chassis mounting plate, central large bolts to gearbox, outer cap head bolts to chassis. 

Engine Hoist removal

We were then, five and a half hours after we started, able to remove the engine hoist and congratulate ourselves. This was a simple job and as the hoist was retracted it was difficult to describe the feeling of pure unadulterated joy. We all felt it, and I can’t remember the last time I felt this good about any achievement. It’s magical.

Bob (background, left), Steph (left), Paul (right)

Exhaust gone

I finished the day by driving my exhaust components around 45 minutes north to a place in Eastwood near Nottingham that does metal polishing, as previously mentioned. I should have a satin finished exhaust back with me within 2 weeks.

Engine insertion  video

This is the big day, all 6 hours converted into a 1 minute stop motion animation video. With cameo appearances by by father-in-law Bob, my next door neighbour Andrew, and my lovely wife, Steph.At times it felt like a party. Enjoy!

Fun Photos

Some of the nutters in my life, and a well deserved glass of wine, just before I started typing this blog this evening.


Day 3: Final prep work prior to engine install


Had a great family holiday over half term to Italy, Lake Garda area, and therefore was not at home in the garage working on the car. I was aiming to work this last weekend both days, but a big party night on Saturday pretty much killed me off on Sunday. I managed to mow the lawns in the afternoon, but still felt grotty and hungover. So day 3 efforts were all about Saturday.

Pipe Lagging, Washer bottle and Heater

A quick trip to B&Q in the morning for some standard plumbing foam pipe lagging and it was easy to protect the engine bay chassis tubes in readiness for the engine installation.

The washer bottle apparently needs fitting before the engine gets installed, and it appears from other blogs I have read that this is due to both the routing of the rubber tubing and the poor access to fit the bottle to the mounting plate afterwards. It was all really straightforward with the exception of the fact that I had to snip a tie wrap that was running close to the top right corner of the bottle as you look at the overhead bottle shot. The cables were running too close to the bottle and needed repositioning under the cross member.

The Heater unit was the next item to install, and this was very straightforward, but a little fiddly to tighten up. I had two minor issues with the heater though. The first is a known issue. Basically the vent plate that mounts behind the bulk head in the cabin comes pre-attached one way up, but many other blogs indicate that the mounting plate needs to be rotated 180 degrees.

This seems weird to me, as this means that the “legs” on the vent plate point downwards and also stick out over the bottom edge of the inner bulkhead. It looks silly, but is apparently correct.

Look at the following picture as a guideline. When complete, rotate the vents so that they point downwards, again as per the image.

This is wrong, but looks right!
This is right, but looks wrong!

The second issue I had was that the top mounting screws were nowhere to be found. Or at least not in the bag I was expecting them to be in. I found screws that looked right and fitted in a miscellaneous chassis fixings bag. Like everyone who has built a Caterham before me, I seem to spend more time searching for fixings than actually fixing things.


The job was fully completed by using a bead of clear internal and external use silicone sealant I picked up from B&Q when I bought the pipe lagging. I also squirted this on the inner edge of the heater unit, all the way around before I bolted the vent face to the heater. A sort of belt and braces approach to try and avoid a little future water ingress into the cabin.

The assembly guide and other build diaries don’t mention that the vertically situated Banner battery is very close to the top lip of the heater unit, and when dry fitting the heater, I felt I needed more space and the battery wasn’t slid as far forward as it could have been. You can see in the bottom left of the picture above one of the four slotted battery cage mounts. I loosened and slid the mount a little to the front of the car, and also whipped out the battery to make fitting the heater easier.

Very tight fit between heater and battery

Engine / Bell Housing / Gearbox

My kit is the 420R Duratec, with the 5 speed Mazda gearbox. The installation instructions are a little odd with this configuration in one tiny area. They basically tell you not to remove the bell housing from the engine. But that’s simply untenable, as bolts have to go in from the bell housing to the gearbox, and its impossible without having access to the inner face of the bell housing.



You can see the sneaky trick with the cable ties on the bell housing to engine bolts. They are different sizes, and to avoid having to sort through and remember or get them in the wrong order, I simply cable tied them temporarily, then when it came to refitting to the engine later, I could just slip off the cable tie on each bolt. Anything that saves me thinking too hard is a good thing!

You can see how I would HAVE to remove the bell housing to gain access to the 4 more centrally mounted caphead bolts for the gearbox above too.

It was a two man job and I had help from Craig again today. What we did was keep the whole sub assembly as low as possible, and used my Halfords creeper to rest the engine on. We then used some thick card and a few bits of wood to raise the gearbox and attached bell housing to the same level as the engine.

Craig stopped the engine and creeper from moving and I then tried to slot the gearbox and bell housing into the hole and align the splines. It took a few little rotations of the gearbox shaft by finger (super light and easy to do) before it all slotted together easily.

I then tightened each bolt in a clockwise from front of engine order as dictated and the job was complete.

Engine mounts


The two remaining jobs for the day were engine mounts and horn fitment. This should have been easy, but turned out a little more complicated than planned.

Basically the RHS engine mount is too close to the chassis tube triangulation point welds. You can see from the above picture that I had to get my Dremel out to grind a little piece of weld away to get the mount to sit flat.

Once I was happy with the minor operation, I used some smooth black Hammerite to paint over the bare metal and then much later in the day I could attach the mount properly.

The LHS mount also needed minor surgery, but this time it’s because it also is a mount point for the engine earthing cable, and I had to file the coating from both sides of the mount and the chassis tube to ensure a good earthing contact patch. We tested this afterwards with my multimeter and all was good.



Final job of the day was to fit the horns, and this was a little nerve-wracking as a 420R with dry sump requires the horn to be mounted in such a way that you have to drill a hole in the chassis steering rack platform. The picture in the assembly guide is not 100% clear with where this should be, but I’m pretty damn sure we drilled in the right place.

8 mm hole drilled front centre of steering rack platform

The fun bit was then identifying where the “special” mount bolt and sleeve for this was. It was in a bag on its own in the heater box. Took 30 mins to find….grrrrr…

So that was it really, a fun and gentle day, lots of cups of tea, sunshine and a nice lunch. Exactly how I hope each day goes on the build, with zero stress. This is really good fun so far!

Enjoy a picture of the whole car so far, you can see the horns mounted on the shot below.


Out of sequence front brake pipes

Something I should have completed on day 2 after the suspension assembly was the front brake pipe and flexible hoses mounting. But I couldn’t because I simply didn’t have either the plain washers or the shake-proof ones. I put a call into Derek on Monday morning and the washers arrived today. I will sort that out before the engine goes in over the weekend.

Day 2: Addendum!

Bosh, suspension….done…easy

I was quite disappointed that I didn’t finish off the suspension by the end of day 2. The main problem was that I didn’t trust that the top wishbone ball joint had seated properly, and access to the temporary locking nut was a challenge with the tools I had.

The two problems I was having was that it was a little challenging from an access perspective with the wing stay flange in the way (not the right socket), and I wasn’t sure when the top joint would snap into place regarding torque amount.

Blatchat to the rescue with the tightening issue – the top mount is on a taper under the rubber, and it just slips in and locks.

And Halfords to the rescue with a better (less deep) sockets that would allow me to fit the socket and get the torque wrench into the small triangular space at the back of the wing stay.

Embarrassingly, and a lesson I will remember (and probably fail again with) is that it’s all about having the correct tools. In total 1.5 hours of elapsed time, including trip to Halfords to complete the RHS assembly.

I popped into the garage at lunch time today and did the LHS assembly from start to finish in 18 minutes.

So that’s the true (Marcus adjusted for stupidity) Day 2 conclusion. Here are some pictures of progress.

It’s amazing how satisfying it is to see this progression. I know I’ve only just started, but I’m still giddy with enthusiasm.

Problem is that I’m away for a while now, and no more build time until the weekend of the 4th and 5th June….


Day 2: Front Suspension, uprights and exhaust polishing

Confession, time management…

Yet again I didn’t manage a full day. I am tracking time on the build, and I will give a complete breakdown of my efforts when completed.  I only managed about 5 hours, and therefore even though its my ‘real’ day 2, I’ve only put in 8 hours of effort to date. And quite a bit of that has been chatting to friends and family that pop around for a nosey, and cup of tea management and drinking. I’m happy with this though. Soon everyone will get bored of me locked in my garage and I can hopefully get some more robust build days under my belt.

Front Suspension

As you can see from the pictures I did the safe and careful thing and added multiple layers of masking tape around the suspension area, and stuck cardboard to the side skin further back. This was my first real step through of instructions beyond the simple steering rack bolts, and I was pleasantly surprised. Once I had identified the nuts and bolts from the inventory sheet within the build bag for front suspension it was simple.

Like everyone before me who has done the same, the 2nd side I built up was about 3 times quicker, its still fairly time consuming making sure that you have done everything properly first time around. Oh and its all a tight fit. Took a bit of manhandling to get the lower wishbones in place, and the upper wishbone bolts are fiddly and close to the bodywork, but all fairly easy stuff, no need for any Dremel attacks…

I have a SV model, so wide track suspension by default. If you take the assembly guide as gospel, then the aim would be to have 4 washers, then one spring washer and another at the front of the lower wishbone. I have read enough build diaries to feel confident that I should ignore that and put 2 spaces behind, and 2 in front, as per standard track suspension guidelines. So I did so.

The other thing I didn’t quite understand from the assembly guide was where to place a mysterious grommet on the headlight bracket. The instruction is to insert in hole, but there are 2 holes. One on the upright stem 2/3 rds up (which is oval), and one on the base which mates with the chassis bracket. I assumed the round hole, fitted 2 grommets, checked with Derek and its actually the oval stem holes where a grommet needs to be added. Apparently you slice one in half then stick them together around the edge of the hole, as 2 halves of the oval. Its and IVA thing, ’nuff said, I’ll do it later.


I tried and failed with this one, for lack of correct socket, although once I have the correct socket, I feel like it may still be a funky struggle. I ordered the upgraded brakes, so the uprights arrive as complete assemblies, callipers and pads added, which is cool.

This is where the assembly guide is OK, but the parts list sheet is not. In the bag marked “suspension” there are random bits and bobs. Likewise in the primary parts list bag, there are unidentified components.

So I had to guess my way to a spacer for the lower mounting part of the upright, and also for the Nyloc ‘cut down’ nuts, but it was pretty obvious really – these are the offending items:


I have to torque the lower mounting in the wishbone to 55Nm, but the stem, as you tighten, pushes my socket out and away from the nut. So I need to whizz to B&Q and buy some deeper sockets.

I have temporarily bolted the upper wishbone fitting to the upright, for stability and safety, but I might still need a friend or something to clamp the upright with to be able to apply 55Nm of force. I will try tomorrow after work if I get the chance.

But here are a few pictures of the hanging upright for your viewing pleasure:


Problem Areas

As I spend more time looking at the chassis, I see little problems that I need resolving. Two relate to scraped off and missing paint, either damaged in factory, or in transit to and from BookaTrack from me. These will need fixing, and I will talk to BaT first about it.

A few areas under the rear end, behind the fuel tank have been gouged away. Plus the top of the near side hood mounting point.

There is also a big dent in the underside of the fuel tank, its obviously been sat on something and not been handled quite carefully enough. Little items, but as I say, will need to be sorted at some point.

Exhaust polishing

The exhaust as it arrives is a bit in need of a proper polish. I don’t like polishing, to be honest I thought they would arrive in a slightly more beautiful state, but not to be.


The collector in particular is rough, really rough. So I phoned a local metal polisher (to me in Leicestershire) who specialises in this kind of thing. He actually mirror polished all of the Norton motorbikes in Spectre, the James Bond film.

I don’t need that kind of finish, so asked for a quote for Satin finish. I sent him the above photo, hence the tape measure out so he could work out a price. He quoted £120 which I thought was OK, and I will drop it off to him in the next week or two.

Day 2 Time Lapse


Day 1: Inventory, IVA, Steering Rack

Day 1, at a gentle, enjoyable pace…

So I woke up giddy with excitement this morning. The only problem was that it was at 10:30am seeing as I’d taken a sleeping pill the previous night to try and recover a little from jet lag – fairly extreme as I’d had a week in San Francisco with work and had just about fully transitioned over to West Coast time.

Box Shifting

So I only really got started after lunch, before then it was a loose inventory and shifting a few of the later build boxes out of the garage and into the house. And my good friend Craig came round to help, and he will be really great support as the build progresses. He has an engineering background and also a current Duratec R400, purchased just before the Caterham branding switch over to 420R, but essentially the same car.

Big Kids!

Give a man a large diameter hose and he is going to do something daft with it. We tried a few things, but this is the only video that is broadcast-able. Note that we are both well into our 40s, but it doesn’t stop us behaving like school kids!

Cavity Wax

I read up on Blatchat and other sources and decided that for my build I was going to only really worry about the “grot traps” on both sides of the engine bay lower chassis tubes along the edge of the side skins as the tubes disappear rearwards behind the foot wells. I know from my previous Caterham ownership that over a fairly long period of time grot and water can build up in these areas and cause some problems.

So I purchased a can of Dinitrol Cavity Wax 3125. I dropped the rear axles stands to let gravity do its work, covered the floor under the chassis with cardboard, and squirted gunk in the offending gaps.

I’m not planning on using any other underseal style protection, as its a fair weather, 3,000 mile a year garaged track vehicle. I will squirt ACF50 from time to time on chassis tubes and leave it at that. In my excitement of wanting to start doing something, I forgot to take a photo of me squirting anything anywhere. Instead enjoy a shot of my Cat-erham!


IVA Trim

Having watched many other build blogs online, most of which I have linked to on this page I knew that I should start with IVA trim around the front suspension and steering holes in the side panels.

I also knew that this would take a while, so settled in for the ride and warmed the tubing a little using an electric fan heater, which helped (slightly) with the awkward corners. I used the odd blob of super glue on the inner skin, but the trim generally stayed put.

The frontmost suspension hole was a really pain, and I had to take time to snip out triangles and chunks of trim on the rear face to get it to fit. This process took up most of the work today, but pleased with the outcome, and I don’t mind a fiddly close up job, its good for the soul 😉

Steering Rack

So then onto the steering rack. This was the exact opposite in terms of effort compared to the IVA trim. Literally 2 minutes after starting we had the rack loosely bolted to the chassis, and further IVA trim identified. At this point we were at 4:30pm, Craig was off home, and I walked into the kitchen to see my wife cracking open a can of beer, so I simply downed tools and joined her. I thought about going for a rummage around in boxes for the final bits of the steering assembly and to get prepped for front suspension build, but gave up for the day as I wanted to fiddle around with my stop motion animation recording and to start to get into the groove with this blog.

Day 1 Stop Motion Video

My main “recording of the build” effort for IVA purposes will be via an old GoPro, which I have secured to the top corner of my garage. I have set shots to be taken automatically every 60 seconds, and simply turned it off for tea breaks and lunch, but left it running when we were actually attempting to do anything vaguely build related. Today I recorded 173 frames, so 173 minutes of “stuff” happened, which is 3 hours. Told you, a lazy jeg lag recovery day…

Arrival Day

I received a call to say that my car was ready, and with no shortages (really?!), last week. The only problem was that I was due to be flying to the US with work and not back until Friday 20th May, so the plan was to deliver my kit on Friday afternoon.

Typical Friday traffic out of Heathrow and north was bad, so a 12 hour flight, and a 2 and a half hour drive got me home 10 minutes before arrival.

Enjoy the photos, I’m too tired to go through any kind of inventory this evening. The only thing I know for fact is that I have been sent 2 silencers, one that does not terminate with an end pipe, so I guess that’s an error and some poor soul is missing their silencer that attaches to their rear terminating track day “quieter” exhaust kit.

If Derek works on a Saturday, I may well introduce myself to him tomorrow about this.

So here are the very first photos of “arrival” home after birth.

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Notice the lovely Keith, ex-of the old Caterham Midlands franchise, now working at BookaTrack. It was nice to see him again, was always cheery and helpful on my visits to the old place.

The nice touch is that the keys and owners manual arrived in a nice box with a welcome letter from Graeme MacDonald. Very nicely done Caterham.

However, the build guide is a DIY job, so as I sit here typing this my printer is working overtime on the 219 page print. Tomorrow is going to be fun!

Garage Completion…

Since the last time I posted on my blog, I have been up to my eye balls with work, but slowly chipping away on the garage project. I fitted some cheap IKEA cupboards and work surface. Seeing as I’m very tall, I fitted this higher than normal, and then built a custom plinth out of MDF and faced it with aluminium kick plate.

All that was left was to finish off a little skirting around the plinth and I had this all completed by Saturday 14th May, just 6 days before the car arrived.

Here is a photo of the completed garage, although I cant seem to find a photo with the aluminium plinth, so this is a shot with MDF showing…


Build Slot update and Caterham sale

Whilst on a work trip in the US, Caterham BookaTrack informed me that my build slot of late June (week 24) has been brought forward to late May (week 20), which is great news.

The side effect of this news is that deposit 2 was required a little sooner than anticipated, so on my return from travels, my old car has been taken in as part exchange.

It was previously on sales or return with PT Sportscars down in Windsor, and Ian Payne was convinced given a few more weeks it would sell, but needs must, and I drove down and trailered my old car back up to the Midlands, and then the following morning, to its current very glamorous resting place.

The good news about meeting Ian was that a few little jobs to tidy up the car were undertaken, and the very detailed inspection report showed that my old pride and joy is in very good condition.

So if anyone is interested in a great Caterham 7 150 Bhp K-Series SV, with full service history, comprehensive history folders, including a break down of mileage development from new, and every receipt, you know where to go!

If you are interested then give Greg Smith a call on 07813 653726 – this is what she looks like now:


Garage update

Quick update

Much earlier than required wit ha June 2016 scheduled delivery, I have been getting my garage in order before the big day.

I cleared it completely, upset my wife considerably by storing most of the contents in rooms downstairs, and then had the grey breeze blocks painted white, and the concrete floor sealed in anticipation of fitting some light grey floor tiles from PlasFloor.


I purchased 760 small light grey tiles at the end of December 2014, but then never quite got round to fitting them. The tile choice was based on a BlatChat conversation, with quite a few folk happy with this option. Essentially, they are thinner, harder, and more hard-wearing than typical domestic options available currently.

They were easy to lay, but unfortunately I got to the last box and noticed that the tiles were suddenly a different shade of light grey and I didn’t want to continue fitting them. As you can see from the picture below, 3 blocks of 4 x 4 tiles are obviously not colour matched compared to the rest. The rubber mallet is sort of pointing at the offending tiles in the following picture.


Its such a shame, because I couldn’t quite finish the job over the weekend, but now have replacements ready to fit before Christmas.

Which means that the house will stop looking like a garage, and my wife starts smiling again 😉

Next Steps

I have found some UPVC skirting board suitable for garages, and it also has the added benefit of having inner and outer corner joints as separate components, so I don’t need to make a meal out of mitring joints at corners. And for such a simple room, there are 5 inner corners and 3 outers.

Beyond that I’m going to get some units built up along the back wall and some work space sorted, plus acquire the nice Halfords tool boxes when they are next on discount in the New Year – probably these ones, and refit a big notice board, and some other hanging storage.

Soon I will have nothing to do other than wait!