My 2008 metric 1.6 K Series Caterham was used as my every day car for ~5 years, in which time I did around 50k miles in all weathers. It was great fun at the time, but has taken its toll on the chassis powdercoating and bodywork, despite efforts to touch up the chipped powdercoating over the years.
For the past ~ 8 years it's been a garage queen, covering only ~2k miles per year in the summer, so the condition hasn't significantly worsened - but I've got bubbling powdercoat around the windscreen mounts on the scuttle, and more worryingly bubbling paint at the lower edge of the side panels, along with surface rust on a fair amount of the exposed powdercoated tubes. There are also some small dings and dents from various mishaps to the ali panels.
I believe all the corrosion is superficial so I'm not immediately concerned, but it's to the point now where I don't enjoy driving the car as much - as all I see is the scruffy state the car is in (despite being mechanically sound and as reliable as it's ever been!) - which just takes the edge off the ownership experience.
I've toyed with the idea of taking the easy option, chopping it in (what's a 66k miles 120bhp 1.6K S3 worth?! - £12000-£14000?) and buying a new 420R kit - but with options this would end up at ~£45k, so at least £30,000 on top of trade in.
So I'm considering a full nut and bolt rebuild, to end up with the car in close to as-new condition as possible.
I'd like a bit more power whilst I'm at it (~170bhp would be nice) and an LSD - and inevitably end up doing lots of other little bits - wide track, rear anti-roll bar, watts link, etc whilst I'm doing it. Seats and tunnel cover and various other parts would also need to be replaced as they're badly worn.
So I'm in the initial stages of investigating the following options:
1. I'd Strip back to a bare tub and have Caterham/Arch/someone else? re powdercoat and re-panel the chassis, paint it a new colour, then I would reassemble and upgrade/replace as I rebuild. Who's best placed to do this on a metric chassis?
2. As per option 1 but rather than having it powdercoated, hand paint / spray with POR15 in the hope that this is more durable this time around than powdercoating. Has anyone tried this? The logistics would inevitably be more complicated as I'd have to organise the blasting seprately then paint it my self, prior to getting Arch/Caterham to re-panel. Are there likely to be issues with rivetting new panels onto a chassis painted with POR15?
I'd appreciate any insight from anyone who's done something similar.