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Where to start

Josh Tagg

Well-Known Member
Apr 21, 2017
Country Flag
I have been dreading this ever since buying the 80, but with a new addition to the family (little Suzi) I'd like it to be as strong and safe as possible. So I'm going to have to tackle the bodywork. Here is some of what I've got to take on- inner and outer sills, Boot floor, rear archers, rear wings and most doors need a bit of love. If anyone has any decent panels or body's that can be utilised that would be much appreciated
Start by looking for another one ?

Seriously though you’re brave taking that on. I’d run for the nearest hill.

You’d best get Garry80 of speed dial.
Haha I've thought about that many times but I think I'm a bit too attached to the old rust bucket and spent way too much money already to let it go to waste. Time, patience and lots of metal bending and we'll get there!
Whilst I think @madmanmart has the right idea and I would second it however, I am also a glutton for punishment! First I would look at a realistic schedule and planed time to get it all done, a new addition to the family is not something you want to miss as she grows and develops in her early days. I mean that as you would think this task you are undertaking is going to be done in a few days. well you might be lucky to get it done properly in a few months! Then there is your partner, she too is going to want some attention after having carried for around nine months, and she may need some rest thrown in for good measure? Working out in the garage until all hours (BTDT) can be shall we say 'frowned upon'?

Look at your calendar with your partner and work something out between you, if you plan on doing the work yourself, then you are not going to say, "Well darling I will have it done in a couple of weekends." Simply because you can't, that is assuming you don't have a large handful of decent welders and panel beaters to hand. Then there is the availability of body parts, they are pretty scarce to say the least. Then there is the 'oh my god' moment as you take a wing off and find you can see the engine through the inner wing panel, that used to be there! To add to this there is also the 'while I am in there' times, and why not pull those shock absorber mounts at the rear and find the bolts breaking off as you do.

I may sound like the bringer of doom and gloom but what started as 'some minor rust' around one of my rear arches ended up with removing more metal than planned to get to good steel to weld, then the step area where the arch meets the body had to be removed, and sure as hell most of the bolts broke off! The planned one day....ish job to have the arch prepared for painting turned out to be nearly three days!

This is going to be a long and arduous task to do it properly and I wish you all the best going with it, the amount of fulfillment you get from doing your own work cannot be overestimated (is that the right way around?)

Good luck with this.


Hi Josh,
Is the 80 MOT’d at the minute?
I would concentrate on what would cause it to fail an MOT.
Remember these are build on a chassis and already a solid vehicle.
As long as the seat belt fixing areas are sorted I wouldn’t worry too much, you can sort the rest over time.
As long as the running gear is is good order the rest can be dealt with.
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There is also the 'general vehicle condition' clause that can be used to fail a vehicle. Corrosion around suspension, body to chassis mounts, bulkhead where the brakes and servo are mounted, looking at the rear door jambs where the locks engage a common enough place to rot, and so forth, it is not so simple to say the seat belts are safe.

If the vehicle is presented looking shall we say 'rough' (which I don't think the OP is planning) then a tester will look deeper for issues, also consider the tester is not looking at just the present time inspection, he will be considering if the corrosion may cause issues within the period to the next inspection.


Just trying to give him some encouragement.
Without seeing the vehicle it would be hard to say, but generally the 80 is a very well built vehicle.
They all have rust around the rear arch etc but are still strong enough and safe enough given a good patch welded in.
Appreciate the replies chaps. Yeah it's MOTd, the chassis and running gear is all good. We had about a year sorting all that out a few years ago. We're not phased about doing the job, between me my dad and uncle we're all mechanics and must be a sucker for punishment. We did my dad's Colorado when lockdown first kicked in, body off restoration (oh the joys). I'm in no rush to get it done and like said with a newborn here I'm not sacrificing all days off to sort out a car. I'll just do what I can when I can and keep you updated with the fun and games along the way. A few sourced panels would help though instead of trying to fabricate everything!
Body swap turn it into a 40 , it would only take a bit of welding :whistle:
I did actually think about dual cab pick up conversion but it would only be a very short tray. More ideal single cab but not very practical with 3 people haha
I lost my 81 for a good few months, I rebuilt the drivers rear wheel arch and body mount in front of the wheel.... was in the same situation.. when done over time it's been great to use the truck since.

It's a case if you can find another one thats in greater condition... in my case, it's better the devil you know, a body swap is not a quick job because there's so many components in an 80.
I managed to get a replacement rear LHS door cos mine was dust And I’ve had the rear quarters rebuilt.
Had to have the LHS front of the rear arch where it meets the sill done this year and the same place on the RHS needs doing. Otherwise, mine isn’t as bad as your photos, hopefully.
I’d love to be able to think of a body-off job, but it will never happen.
Good luck Josh, you’ve got a job on there…. Watching with interest…. :thumbup:
@Josh Tagg Hi Josh,

Having read your 'Project Mush 80' thread, did you get a chance to start on the bodywork?..... obviously, the family commitments will come first!

Was wondering whether you actually decided on the dual cab pickup route?