Thanks for the comments Anders! Finding one that needs a bit of work for a reasonable price can be a bit difficult, but finding an already restored and clean one is fairly simple over here. Then it's just a matter of getting it to your home country, which could be the most difficult part of the entire operation, haha.
There were two things that I really wanted to get accomplished this weekend: handle the center console and get the face on the car. I started with the center console. Here you can see what I was starting with.
The big problem was that radio and the massive hole below it. The radio was very poorly installed and was really only held in place by someone cutting the hole too small and then jamming the radio in. The massive hole below the radio served no purpose as near as I could tell. So, I had this idea of removing the radio and installing my Halda Speedpilot in that location.
Another problem that was bothering me was that the previous owner apparently had very bad aim with a hot cigarette lighter. The leather was just destroyed.
The first step was removing everything from the panel.
With everything removed, I slowly peeled off the original leather.
You can see here, to install the radio, someone just sliced the metal and bent it back a bit. So very sloppy.
Here you can see the mountain I have to climb to get rid of those two holes. It's always easier removing metal than adding it.
My solution came in the form of a piece of aluminum.
What I did was cut out those two holes by cutting along the very edge of the center console metal piece. This game me one massive hole. Then, I cut a piece of 2mm aluminum to the right size and shape and drilled holes in it so it would get sandwiched between the original metal piece and the center console. The downside is that there would be a slight step down as the new leather transitioned from the top piece to the sandwiched piece. Hopefully, the Speedpilot will hide that step down fairly well.
I needed to cut a hole in the aluminum piece for the Speedpilot, but first, I needed to check some dimensions and clean up the Speedpilot.
So I pulled the case off to let me take the outer trim ring off to get a new lick of paint on it. This gave me an amazing view of the mechanical masterpiece that the Halda Speedpilot is.
It's so beautiful in there and the mechanical wonder of it all is just breathtaking. I wonder if I was a watchmaker in a previous life (maybe a previous life where my hands were slightly more precise than a sledgehammer).
I cut out the hole and then, using the original leather as a template, cut out a new piece of leather for the front. I slathered some glue in place and then used any heavy thing I could get my hands on keep everything in place while the glue cured.
Once the glue dried it was time to put it all together!
It's not flawless, but it's miles better than what was there originally. I think the Speedpilot is slightly tilted, although I measured about 4 times to ensure it wouldn't be. Also, the leather is a bit lumpy around the clock and in the top corners, but other than that, I'm very pleased with how it turned out!
To install it into the car though, I needed to get the heather core and fan in first. This required complete dis-assembly because it was full of leaves.
I then of course got sidetracked when the Sagawa guy delivered my 23 dollar bumper!
My original rear bumper had quite a lot of rust spots on the top, destroying the chrome. So, I got on Yahoo Auctions and started searching through every auction listed and hit the jackpot when some guy mis-listed his bumper as a bumber. This meant that it didn't show up in any searches for a bumper. He also had a ridiculously low price of just 2,300 yen. I slapped a bid on and had no competition. Score!
And installed on the car!
Since I had the rear bumper on the car, it was time to accomplish my second goal: getting the face back together. I started with the front bumpers.
Getting it to that point was hugely time consuming though. The bumper brackets didn't align quite right, so I had to work some magic to make it so the bumpers sat at close to the same height. I also had a broken off bolt that was in one of the bumpers that had to be drilled and retapped. Then all the bolt holes on the body had to cleaned out with a tap cause they were full of gunk. They put up one hell of a fight for just 8 total bolts.
Then I had an idea. I was sitting nearly outside (because space is now incredibly limited in my garage) and I turned around saw my little Life sitting there. A few minutes and I managed to get a mockup of my idea.
To be fair, the idea was brewing ever since I got the Halda Speedpilot installed. The Bellett takes to rally mods like a fish takes to water so I was thinking if there was a better way to make it look a little more rally and a little less circuit racer. Fog lights were the answer of course! The little Honda Life wouldn't be going lightless though.
It may be a downgrade in size, but considering it's getting a set of Sev Marchals, I would call it more of a lateral move. Besides, the smaller lights match the car really well.
For mounting the big lights to the Bellett, I re-purposed some eye bolts I had laying around. I also mounted the fog light bar backwards to push the fog light brackets as far away from the body as possible.
Both lights mounted!
With the lights on, I was just two pieces away from completing the face. The headlight surrounds were all that stood between me and sleep. So, I masked them up, sprayed some paint and then put them under a heat lamp to cure the paint quicker.
Given that it was like 11 pm, getting quality pictures of the face was proving to be difficult. So, I ran down this morning before heading off to work and snapped a few more pictures.
The only part I'm concerned about is that the lights might stick out a bit too far. I swapped the mounting bar to give me as much room as possible, but it may not have been necessary. I think I'll swap it back this week and see if the lights still fit.
Overall though, I'm very pleased with the outcome!
Thanks everybody for reading!