Panther Enthusiast Club 

Essex Area

Mk 1 Lima Hood Conversion

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I have always thought the Lima the prettiest of all the Panthers and still do. I especially liked the treatment of the rear with its leather-cloth covering. However, I must be getting old for the inconvenience of raising, lowering and stowing the hood finally got to me and I decided to see if I could convert CJX292S so that the hood was permanently in position. I was careful to carry out this experiment so that I could restore the car to standard if the result was unsatisfactory. I made up a new set of hood irons that still slotted into the original hood iron holes. The most drastic modification was to cut away the rear deck and construct a new reinforced leading edge. I did this to enable the folded hood to be stowed in a similar manner to a Kallista hood. It also enabled me to raise the seat belt guides to a position that better suited the Kallista seats I had installed. The following pictures should, I think, clearly show how it was done. The most expensive item was the folded hood cover. The rest of the exercise cost under 25 and because my hood is not a standard Lima hood there were added difficulties and extra expense. The task would have been easier and cheaper with the standard Lima set up.

The two mounting brackets made up from an old pair of bonnet pins and some 3mm mild steel. Leaving the nuts on the bonnet pins gives me a means of adjusting the frame height if necessary. I didn't have a tube bender so I used the old method of filling the 13mm tube with dry sand and kinked the tube bit by bit in the jaws of my vice to the shape of the existing hood irons.
The holes in the mounting brackets were positioned so that the two frame tube folded down to the same point on the rear deck. I did eventually adjust the  top tube so that it was  parallel to the bottom tube for those discerning people amongst you
In order that the frame comes up as the hood is raised, I had two strips of Velcro mounted on webbing and  stitched to the underside of the hood. It works well and shows no signs of coming undone. Once I was happy that the hood would raise and lower satisfactorily I cut out the rear deck. I strengthened the new leading edge of the rear deck with Dexion angle. By making saw cuts in the correct places I was able to bend the angle to the correct shape before clamping and fibreglassing it in.
The finished modified rear deck after "blending in" and respraying. Only the non standard hood on my car made it necessary to do away with the rear leather-cloth apron and respray the back. I think that on a standard Lima the apron could be cut and re-glued to the smaller rear deck and no re-spray would be necessary.
The centre rear of my hood was secured by 4 studs (not the usual bar), so in order to provide studs for the hood cover to fasten to, I had to remove the press studs and use a piece of stainless steel that would cover the holes in the hood. This is held in place by four extra long studs bought from Woolies.  The standard bar arrangement used on the Lima would have been so much easier to modify and there would have been no large holes in the hooding material to cover up.  The picture above shows the hood ready for folding down after releasing from the windscreen and folding in along the seam.
The folded hood ready to be covered by the hood cover.

View 1 of the stowed hood with the cover in place.

View 2

View 3

In practice the arrangement works well. The view through the rear view mirror is good. It is certainly better than that of my Kallista. If you were a dab hand at lowering a Lima hood, I can't say that stowing the hood and getting it snug into the hood cover is that much quicker, but raising it takes a fraction of the time and it frees up so much precious luggage space. I'm pleased with the result.

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