An update - (March 3rd 2002)
I've gotten quite a few emails over the past several years from people like you that have enjoyed looking at this site. Some are just congratulatory, some ask for advice and some others who just want a little more detail on a particular section.. I've enjoyed receiving the emails and hope to get more in the future. It's been over two years since I pretty much finished putting the car back together and I wanted to let you know how the past few years have been.
I didn't rebuild the engine when I first went through this process (it seemed strong when I pulled it out) and in retrospect - this came back to bite me in the rear. I just finished doing an engine swap on the car with another used spitfire engine that I had acquired. This one doesn't smoke like my old one was really starting to do all the time. I also took this opportunity to get rid of the Monza exhaust system and put in a more stock arrangement. Although the Monza looks cool with the four tail outlets - for me, it was just too darn loud. I'd drive the car for about an hour and have to quit and boy - it almost hurt to drive with the top up!
My rear differential has also started to go - it makes an awful whine when driving over about 35 miles an hour - So, I've got to get this dealt with. I also purchased, when I did the restoration, a new rear spring - man, this thing is crap. the rear end already has sagged and needs work. I have purchased a performance leaf spring for autocross applications that is supposedly much more heavy duty than the stock unit that I'm hoping will last considerably longer! I also replaced the front springs with the units out of a MKIV - they were shorter than the later 1500 series springs and the front nose doesn't stick up as badly anymore (it'll totally get fixed with the correct leaf spring in the rear) I still drive the car though - it's a lot of fun. I just didn't want you guys thinking it stayed in my garage for months on end!
Installing of the newer engine:
Old engine pulled - The newer engine was from a '79 model so I swapped the water pump housing:
Front end isn't sitting up so high but you can see the sagging rear end:
Still nice and shiny!