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27 April 2008 - Body goes on

It is funny how a deadline looming suddenly gets you in the mood to get on with the job in hand! Only 4 weeks to go and I was determined this weeked to get the body back on the chassis. Did I succeed? Take a look at the pictures and see for yourself.

It was a beautiful day on Saturday for working outside and so I was determined to make the most of it. Luckily, during the week, I had spent the evenings sorting out the suspension parts, painting them up and sifting through the tins of nuts and bolts I had accumulated to match up all the right nuts and bolts in the appropriate places. This paid dividends as in one evening the front suspension was together, and then the Saturday was spentputting the rear suspension and brakes back together and the chassis back on the wheels on the floor.

Assembly is the part I really enjoy and especially when you are using all new nuts and bolts and nice painted parts. It is very therapeutic and satisfying when you see it all coming together. I was fortunate to have another 13/60 chassis to follow as a pattern, so I could quickly check that everything was in order. I only had one minor mishap and that came from the fact that I had two different disc brake types from the spares I had and so it took me a while to figure that the stub axles would not fit the wheel bearings I had. Also the backing plates and steering arm brakets are different. It transpires, that I had one set of Type 12 caliper vertical links and one set of type 14. The latter being the correct set for the car. I did learn about the different types, and it didn't hold me up too long, so within a few hours, all the front end was together with wheels on and then it was just the back end to go.

The diff was just cleaned and painted for now, the intention is to recon one of my spare ones to swap over if this one is too noisy, but for time and speed, I am crossing my fingers that this one is okay for the wedding! The back end went together quite well, with the tie rod brackets nicked off my spare chassis, as the new ones I have ordered have not yet arrived. The rear brakes were pretty straight forward, with new shoes, wheel cylinders and retaining springs. The other parts were just cleaned and reused, including the drums, which seemed in pretty good nick, so I will use them for now.

With all the wheels back on I lowered it to the ground, for the first time in at least ten years for this chassis, so quite a momentus occasion! I roped in a little help from my fiancee as you can see in the pictures, to put the bulkhead, bonnet and tub on and with a little bit of pulling and pushing I managed to get it all to line up. Even the doors, lined up pretty much, quite a feat bearing in mind that most of these panels have not ever been together before and they have all been welded and repaired off the car!

You can also see that I have a fibreglass gearbox/tunnel cover, so I put this in to make sure the bulkhead was still the right sort of shape!

With the body panels lined up, I started getting the other parts together that would go off to the paint shop. The front bumper is a steel secondhand one that was not too bad, but a bit rusty round the rubber strip mounts. I am going for smooth bumpers on this car, so the rubber strips are not going back on, so I ground off teh mounting strip. I do have a fibreglass one, but I really would like the car to have metal panels, so I set to repairing the metal bumper. This was just a case of shaping a piece of metal to fit inside and then welding it in. Outside was tidied up, rust cut away where necessary and then a coat of filler was applied. I did the same with a couple of metal side sills, which had a couple of holes in, but were generally very good for their age.

With all that done, I bravely spoke with the paint shop where the car will be going to get sprayed, and agreed that I would ship it over there on the Bank Holiday, 5 May. They have agreed to have it for 2 weeks, returning it on the 16 May. That will give me a week to fit it out and get it MOT'd! In the meantime, I will get on with filling and sanding where I can, to hopefully save the bodyshop some time.

So, hopefully I am still on track for the wedding, baring any major catastrophes. Cautiously optimistic is what I am!




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