My Laurel needed a tow bar. Okay, it didn’t need one, but I figure being a decent sized motor with enough pulling power, it would be handy for hauling other cars about when the occasion arises. But as tow bars are pig ugly things, it had to be built so it was out of sight when not in use. Easy enough… just tuck it up behind the rear valance and make the neck detachable right? Easy in theory, so I set to work….

The first hurdle is the C31’s oddball exhaust design. Despite the exhaust system passing down the left side of the car, the tail pipe exits on the right, with the pipe passing along behind the valance. Must be a good reason for this… probably something to do with resonance or such like, but it seems pretty daft. This part of the exhaust on my C31 was rotting out anyway, so I figured I’d just remove it, then alter the pipe and the cutout in the valance so it exits on the left, leaving plenty of space for a tow bar. Plus I get the added benefit of being able to fit a nicer rear silencer for a bit of deep L6 burble.

Then I started poking at the rust. Oh noes! I was aware that there was a bit of grot in the left rear corner but as is usually the case, it was considerably worse than it first appeared. My head tells me to not get involved when I find stuff like this… to slap some filler in, hide it and ignore it, but I just can’t help myself… I need to eradicate the rot!

I looks bad enough in these shots but in fact it was worse… all the bottom on the quarter was paper thin and most of the bottom of the rear arch and closing panel had returned to nature too. Gah!

I busted out the sheet metal and snips and set too making up some new sections of metal. Fortunately none of this was too challenging as it’s mostly flat metal, apart from around the bottom of the rear arch and the closing panel. It was still a full day of chopping and welding though.

It still needs some final finishing and paint but for now it’ll have to survive in primer as there’s plenty more grotty bits around the cars nether regions that need fixing yet. Once it’s all metal again then I’ll hit it with some fresh paint on the lower half.

Along with fixing the frilly bits, I also chopped out the exhaust cutout and moved it to the left then made up a new section of valance to weld back in to the right…

So here I am, a full day of cutting, fabricating, welding and grinding later and still no tow bar fitted. But at least the back corner is good and solid now, eh? Next stop… tow bar design and fabrication.

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