FIND ON THE MOVE
Since our last report in the June issue, giant strides have been made with the fabrication of a complete new floor plan, from galvanised steel sheet, a tad thicker than the original, so it should last for at least another seventy years.
It wasn't until we started
to dismantle the body we discovered that we had bought, in reality, nothing more
that a set of plans in rusty metal lacework. Undeterred, we dismembered the body
piece by piece, taking many colour photographs to aid our memory of which item
went where, and carefully measured each piece (although we have to admit that
because of missing edges in some instances, the measurements became educated
estimation), then cutting and bending metal to shape. After our first attempt at
gas welding our carefully cut pieces together it was obvious the amount of
distortion that had taken place could never be remedied by any amount of applied
hammer blows. So we started cutting new metal from scratch and this time decided
to bolt and rivet as the original body had been. The distorted version now leans
against the Barn as a welded‑art garden sculpture.
The accurate cutting to
shape and size, allied to much use of a 90 degree square, resulted in parts
which fitted together easily and meant that we could take it apart and
reassemble for fitting of other parts when necessary. At this stage worries of
whether our new floor would accept the few original parts that were useable
(after considerable refurbishment) began to dissipate and we discovered that,
yes, it did all fit together to make a rigid floorpan.
This structure was then bolted temporarily to the chassis so that the bodybuilding could commence. About 50 per cent of the woodwork had to be replaced with some nicely grained, easily worked, ash obtained on order from our local woodyard and the bottom of the aluminium body on both sides had to be remade and rivetted onto backing plates with countersunk rivets. During all this work the use of at least eight G‑cramps and twenty or so aircraft skin pins were found invaluable.
When the petrol tank and dashboard were bolted into position, the whole construction gained a rigidity we would not have thought possible when we cast our minds back to the structure as bought, which had all the structural attributes of a bowl of spaghetti.
At the moment, the steering
column is being made good, the box is broken and cracked but we have found
another one and new brake cables and linkages are being made. Andrew Harding is
lending me a “Bodelo” brake coupling device (a 1927 contemporarily available
accessory) to copy, so we should soon be able to push it around the garden.
We are still searching for
parts ‑ see the advert in this month’s Sales & Wants.