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Rover SD1, Wing-A-Ling Prep

I couldn’t help myself, I HAD to work on the wing and see what condition it was in.

So the other day one of the amazing parts I scored from Whanganui was this original Vitesse rear wing.

These are crazy hard to get hold of these days in NZ, unless you buy a fibreglass replica from Rimmer Bros in the UK, for around $270 + shipping.

The Vitesse was the only model to get these spoilers. Rumour has it they increase stability at speed, and may even reduce fuel consumption by altering the coefficient of drag. According to Karen Pender’s book the standard 1982 3500SE (no spoiler) had a coefficient of 0.405 whilst the early Vitesse was 0.360. The only body changes between the two cars was the spoiler.

Plus, they look awesome; they just finish off the back end so well.

So yes, I now have one in my possession. Unfortunately the previous owner had painted it white, and it was in bad condition. The paint was cracking badly, and the rubber wing itself was cracked in a couple of places.

I started with stripping the paint off to see what state the rubber was in. Initially I tried 80 grit sandpaper by hand but wasn’t getting anywhere as the paint was so hard and thick, so I moved to an 80 grit flap wheel on my grinder. I very carefully used this to strip off as much paint as possible, without cutting into the rubber.

I decided to grab a DA orbital sander today and have another go. This was far more effective, and I managed to remove most of the paint

This shows clearer how badly cracked the rubber is

You can also see there that I still have some paint stuck in the rough texture where the wing has weathered. I’ll leave this as is, as I don’t want to dig into the rubber to remove it.

The standard Vitesse wing attaches by about 6 studs to the boot lid. Obviously my car doesn’t have the holes for the spoiler, and I’m not keen to drill into it, so will be looking to attach it with Sikaflex or the likes. This meant removing the studs from the spoiler, which isn’t a hard job, when only two remain.

Using my Dremel and some sweet aliexpress cutting disks I cut them off as flush as possible. I also used my flap wheel to grind them down some more (after the photos were taken).

Once it had dried off a bit I decided to have a quick test fit.

Does it belong here?

Mmm, probably not. What about here?

A bit better, but still not quite right. What about here then?

Yeah, that’s the stuff! It wouldn’t hold itself on the boot lid, so no full photos as it’s not mounted.

I did some thinking regarding the condition of the wing. Obviously I cant just stick it on as it is as it looks pretty rough, so I need a plan. I think what I’m going to do is take a fibreglass mould of the wing, and make a fibreglass replica and then mount that on the car. I’ll store the original wing away safely.

This is a good thing for a couple of reasons. Firstly I won’t need to uprate my tailgate gas struts as fibreglass is a lot lighter than the original wing; It’ll also give me the ability to remake the wing if I need to, IE: if I get another SD1 that doesn’t have one.

Now to add another skill to my set, how to fibreglass. Eek.

The MX5 is about to fall off its WOF, and its a couple of weeks until I can get it in for a WOF check, so until then I guess I’ll just have to use and work on the Rover more. What a shame.

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