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Bits and Pieces

16 Sep

I purchased my 1951 model TD two and a half years ago. Apart from adding extras, such as tonneau, luggage rack, MG Midge mascot, etc and chroming a few parts, everything seemed OK, except the clock did not work.

I took the clock out and after cleaning and a few adjustments, managed to get it going again, and it still runs today.

I wrote an article for TTT2 (Issue 24) offering to repair any other clocks that had stopped working. So far I have had one TA clock (which is mechanical) and 18 TD and TF clocks sent to me. I have managed to repair 14 clocks.

Recently at a village fete, I met a Mr Ed Rayment who owns a 1953 MG TD with a non-working clock. He agreed to bring it over for me to look at and left it with me. I cleaned it and made a few adjustments but it would only run for a few seconds. Whilst it was running, I noticed that the main pivot arm that holds the flywheel and balance spring was not only rotating but also moving up and down slightly at the non-jewelled bearing end.

This indicated that the mounting pin at the end of the pivot was bent. The pin is hardened steel so straightening it would risk snapping it.

I have an old friend who is into watches so I asked for his advice. He took it away and took it to bits. We found that the pin had been completely melted, so presumably the battery voltage had somehow been applied across this point.

My friend managed to grind the welded blob off, re-drilled the end of the shaft and fitted a new hardened pin.

   

Melted pin as found with new fitted hardened pin.

The clock now works and is back with its owner. If anyone has a non-working clock please do not hesitate to contact me: David Ward Warddavidc’at’virginmedia.com

TF REAR SPRINGS

I’ve recently had an enquiry about the supply of new rear springs for the TF. I have in the past arranged for batches of road springs to be made by Brost Forge and I am willing to do so again if the demand is there. The arrangement is that I collate the orders (a minimum of four pairs is usually necessary) and pass them on to Chris Wann, proprietor of the company. The transaction is then between the customer and Brost Forge with no further involvement on my part.

The price is not known at present, but it will be competitive. The springs are supplied with holes drilled to take the interleaf pads; I understand that not all springs on the market are supplied like this.

Of course, you can go direct to Brost for your springs, but it should be possible to get a better price for a ‘bulk’ order.

Brost Forge: Unit 7, 149 Roman Way, London N7 8XH Phone: 020 7607 2311

John James: 85 Bath Road, Keynsham, BRISTOL BS31 1SR Phone: 0117 986 4224 jj(at)octagon.fsbusiness.co.uk {substitute @ for (at).

Interleaf Spring Pads for TD/TF/Y Rear Springs made from Nylatron

Mention was made above of interleaf pads. I have had some of these made from Nylatron following a suggestion by Barrie Jones, MGCC T Register Technical Specialist, for the TD and TF models.

Nylatron is said to have high mechanical strength, stiffness, hardness and toughness, good fatigue resistance, high mechanical damping ability, good sliding properties and excellent wear resistance. The cost is £2.07 per pad, which is less expensive than commercially available rubber pads and they should last a lot longer!

Twenty four (24) are required for a pair of TD/TF/Y springs and are available from the Editor (contact details under the ‘TF Rear Springs’ paragraph).

ANGLE PADS FOR SPRING CLIPS AND SPRING ‘SADDLES’ FOR TD/TF REAR SPRINGS

I have had these made in polyurethane as an alternative to rubber.

The spring ‘saddles’ cost £5 each – four (4) are required; the angle pads for the spring clips cost £3.50 each – eight (8) are required. Both are available from the Editor (contact details under the ‘TF Rear Springs’ paragraph).

Polyurethane suspension bushes TC & TD/TF

The Editor can supply the following:

Part number 0073 5/8 inch bush for TC spring ‘eyes’ £3.25 each. Eight (8) required.

Part number 0074 ¾ inch bush for TC upper front shackle pin (chassis ‘tube’) £3.50 each. Four (4) required.

{Part number 0074 is also the part for the TD/TF rear suspension. Eight (8) required}.

Part number 0145 large bush for large rear shackle pin at rear of TC £4.50 each. Four (4) required.

Part number 011 Front inner wishbone kit for TD/TF £21.75.

Practical M.G. TD – 6.99 GBP plus postage
Available from the T-Shop or direct from John James (use the website contact form)

Drive defensively – Safety Fast!


TC9996 (LTC 385) – Then and Now

14 Sep

In Issue 27 (December 2014) I related how I had managed to bring together Geoff Southern (a former owner) and Martin Lowe (the current owner). At the time, Martin had not quite finished rebuilding the car. He’s recently sent me the following account of his ownership and of his correspondence with Geoff………….

“I purchased TC9996 in 1980 in a stripped down state, it had been disassembled for rebuild 16 years earlier and was complete, but required a large amount of work. The ash frame and panel work of the main body tub was in poor condition but the wings were very good. I proceeded with a complete rebuild, including a new Naylor Bros body tub.

Rebuilding the car to be fit for the road took approximately 12 months, and how satisfying it was to drive the finished vehicle, and the doors didn’t even fly open over bumps unlike the last TC I had owned.

The years passed by and the paintwork under the wings had deteriorated and some brass was showing through the chrome plating, when my grandson told me it was time for a little renovation work. With his help we set about removing some parts from the car. Three weeks later the car was stripped down to the last nut and bolt.

We proceeded to refinish the vehicle to a high standard including fitting a supercharger to the engine and uprating the brakes. I decided on an Eaton supercharger that runs at 6psi boost. Competition linings and Alfin drums were fitted to the brakes.

This rebuild took a little longer than it did in 1980, 2 whole years in fact, but towards the end of the process I received an email from Mr Geoff Southern who lives in the Liverpool area. He had been trying to track down his old TC which he owned in the 1960s. It was in fact TC9996.

He had used the car to commute between Liverpool and London on a weekly basis. I confirmed that I was now the owner of his old car and sent him some recent history and photos. Geoff replied with some very interesting photos of the car from the time he owned it and confirmed that he sold the TC to buy a Triumph TR2 but always regretted the sale of LTC 385.

Much correspondence change hands until I was rewarded with the wonderful surprise gift from Geoff of a DVD with footage of his father rebuilding the car in the early 1960s, then himself and friends using the car for picnic trips and days out.

So after owning this MG for 36 years another chunk of history had come to light. Incidentally the music that Geoff had played over the DVD is “every time you go away, you take a piece of me with you” and I know how he feels, because I felt the same way when I sold my original TC (HYA 888). This is also why I had to tell Geoff that LTC 385 wasn’t for sale, but I invited him over to reacquaint himself and have another drive.”

TC9996 – ready to motor!

Lost and Found

11 Sep

Robin Drewett is hoping that someone out there can shed some light on a TA, registration mark AJB 406.

Robin says that the car was owned by a friend of his (Roger Brewer) sometime around 1960. He died some 15 years ago. His widow would like to pass on any history of the car to a grandchild.

Robin recalls driving it, before the engine ‘blew up’ when driving around Gerrards Cross!

Information about another TA (TA2951 FKN 849) is being sought by Bob Rose. This one has surely survived?

Bob says it was a wonderful car, taking him unfalteringly between Oxford and Leicester every weekend in all weathers for the best part of two years, after which he thought it deserved a complete restoration. This was completed in about 18 months and the photo reproduced here was taken some time after. Bob also has other photos but sadly they are not of high quality, the colour ones being taken on a fairly rudimentary Kodak Instamatic camera and the monochrome taken on a Polaroid Land camera. They also suffered the ravages of time prior to being scanned into a computer some years later!

FKN 849 is shown on the DVLA website as “Untaxed – Tax due 1st May 1989” so the probability is that it is sitting quietly somewhere.

TTT 2 Tour of the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley 26th – 29th August 2016

10 Sep

Robin and Derek Holden from Tasmania joined this year’s Tour as part of their holiday in the UK – here’s Derek’s account of their time with us.

Robin and I joined around 80 others for a weekend touring the Forest of Dean, criss-crossing the English/Welsh border on numerous occasions.

Thirty nine (39) MGs took part with cars ranging from P-types (2), TA (5), TB (2), TC/EXU (1), TC (6), TD (10), TF (7), TF1500 (3), RV8, YA, and MGA (1 of each).

John James ensured that we had rides in an MG with Robin travelling with Terry Baulch in his RV8 and Derek with Peter Cole in his TD.

The weather could have been kinder, traditional intermittent showers, but they failed to diminish the overall enthusiasm.

Saturday’s run of 80 miles was based on the eastern edge of the Black Mountains and the English/Welsh border.

The roads varied from narrower than normal to abnormally narrow (single track), as can be seen from this encounter with a tractor……

There were plenty of photo opportunities at the Vale of Ewyas, Gospel Pass and Hay-on-Wye, better known as the second hand book sale capital of the world.

Saturday’s route included three castles; White, Grosmont and Skenfrith Castle, as well as providing spectacular views of the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons.

Unfortunately, an immaculate MK II TD from the Isle of Wight broke a clutch cable, and had to be driven for a considerable distance, before a recovery vehicle could access it.

The Sunday drive was of shorter duration, only 40 miles. It was mainly confined to the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley. As on Saturday, some of the roads were so narrow, it was hard to believe that people lived on a permanent basis alongside them with such restrictive access. It would be a nightmare to drive on them on a daily basis, but it can be nice occasionally.

On Sunday we visited the Dean Heritage Centre and Museum, where the MGs were displayed as part of the “Childhood Memories Festival” event which was being held at the Centre over the weekend. The photograph shows ten of the cars parked at the entrance to the Centre. The rest of the cars were parked around the corner in a reserved section of the main car park. Robin just gets into the picture in the foreground.

We also visited Tintern Abbey and Symonds Yat Rock to see the spectacular views over the River Wye. Clearwell Castle, Clearwell Caves and the 12th century castle at St Briavels also featured on our itinerary.

View of the River Wye from high up on Yat Rock

An excellent dinner at Bells Hotel, Coleford and a film show by Paul Ireland, which included the TTT 2 weekends on the Isle of Wight (2014) and the Lancashire Lanes and Yorkshire Dales ((2015) wound up a highly enjoyable and very well organised weekend.

Our abiding memories of the weekend are; firstly, the incredible narrowness of many of the roads, and secondly, that British classic MG car owners are a hardier type than their Tasmanian counterparts, as they leave the tops down in circumstances when few Tasmanians would.

The TTT 2 Tour was held in the last weekend of August. The following weekend we attended the Beaulieu Autumn Autojumble, where I managed to pick up all the parts I was looking for. The weekend after we went to the Goodwood Revival.

MoT test Check List for pre 1960 vehicles no longer requiring a compulsory test

8 Sep

The following has been received from Jonathan Goddard:

“Now that the UK MoT test is no longer required (for pre-1960 cars in the UK) owners are presented with a slight dilemma when wishing to ensure their vehicles are safe and roadworthy.

One option is to ask the local Garage to “MoT” the vehicle, and this is fine if the Garage in question still has the skills and equipment. The more modern Garage may be reluctant to take on this work, particularly if they are “unable” to plug in their automated vehicle analyser into the Controller Area Network {CAN} of the vehicle. CAN is the system of wiring and software protocols that provides the connectivity between the modern vehicle’s components and sensors, and without the appropriate (computer) analyser, life would be difficult for today’s engineer to fault find.

More traditional (non-franchised) garages are generally helpful and able to MoT the older vehicle.

The “Pre 1960 MoT Check List” is a useful guide to either carry out the work oneself or to “offer” to the “Traditional” Garage Engineer (Inspection Authority) for him to carry out the necessary checks and sign off the last page of the check list.

This, I believe, would also keep the Insurance Companies happy should they ever have to question the roadworthiness of the vehicle that no longer has to have an MoT.”

Check Box []

Sidelights Front sidelights should be white, and the rear, red. Bulbs should not be faded or dim. A broken lens is a failure unless it has received satisfactory repair.

Status [ ]

Headlights Switch between main and dipped to ensure bulbs turn on and off instantly and that the “colour” of each pair is the same. The brightness of pairs of bulbs should be the same, but distorted or weak beams due to broken lens, rusty reflectors or unaligned bulb filament would need to be rectified.

If you have a full beam dash light it must be working.

(Pre 1936 vehicles do not require headlamps.)

Status [ ]

Headlamp aim

With the beam shone on a wall the alignment and dipping action can be checked.

The beams need to be the same shape each side, not fuzzy and in conformant with the above diagram.

Status [ ]

Note. Headlamp directional adjustment is usually possible. Garages will use specialist equipment to align headlights.

Brake lights and reflectors

Where fitted, brake stop lights should come on fully and show no white light when the brake is applied, and go off when it is released.

Status [ ]

Rear reflectors should be red, unbroken and capable of reflecting i.e. clean!

Status [ ]

Direction Indicators

Indicators, where fitted, must flash between 60 and 120 times a minute. Cars first used after 1965 must have amber indicators. On those fitted before this date the fronts could be white and the rears red.

The direction indicator switch must work properly, as must the “tell-tale” internal light or audible signal. Self-cancelling is not part of the MoT.

Where semaphore arms are fitted they must work smoothly, show amber light and have a dash tell-tale indicator on the dash.

Status [ ]

Number plate lights

Check that rear number plate illuminating bulbs are working normally.

Status[ ]

Reflectors Where fitted make sure that they are clean and not broken or obscured.

Status [ ]

The Horn Ensure that the horn works reliably.

Status [ ]

General Electrics

All switches must be secure and wiring securely fastened and the battery must be secure.

Status [ ]

Suspension & Steering

Test the wheel for structural integrity by pushing and pulling both along the shaft axis and at right angles to it. The objective is to identify wear between the shaft and steering wheel, end float, wheel not properly attached or bearings worn. Finally rotate the wheel both ways to check steering column couplings and clamps.

Note. This test should be conducted with both front wheels jacked up to avoid overstressing components.

Status [ ]

Steering Mechanism

Check for play in the steering box or rack and pinion by waggling the steering wheel from side to side until the front wheels just move. Up to 13mm of free play at the steering wheel is permitted for rack and pinion systems and up to 75mm if a steering box is fitted.

Status [ ]

The rest of the steering mechanism is checked by turning the wheel one way and then the other until there is no resistance. (Front chassis jacked up so wheels are clear of the ground.) The steering rack mechanism must not be loose on its mountings and these should be checked for cracks. Also check for wear in all the steering swivel joints. Check that all the locking devices are in place such as split pins and locking nuts. Make sure that there are no splits or tears in steering gaiters.

Status [ ]

Finally examine the surrounding chassis areas and make sure there is no corrosion, distortion or cracking in the structure within 30cm of any steering mechanism attachment points.

Status [ ]

Front and Rear Suspension

All the joints and the suspension arms as well as the suspension swivel joints must be checked for wear. The vehicle must be jacked up to relieve the load off the steering and suspension swivel joints so they can be properly examined.

Check the springs to make sure they are not fatigued or broken.

Status [ ]

Shock absorbers must be securely attached, leak free and the bushes inspected. Bounce the car up and down to see that the dampers are working properly.

Status [ ]

Check that all split pins and locking nuts are where they should be.

Status [ ]

While the wheels are off the ground, the wheel bearings can be inspected for excessive wear.

Status [ ]

Where fitted, anti-roll bars must be secure and the bushes acceptable.

Status [ ]

Brakes Garages will use specialised equipment to fully check the brakes but much can be done without such equipment.

Inside the car, see that the footbrake is firm and does not depress nearly to the “floor”. (With power-assisted brakes, the servo must be working).

Status [ ]

Operate the handbrake to see if the ratchet works and releases properly. Check the handbrake mounting for cracks or corrosion.

Status [ ]

Examine the brake master cylinder for leaks and ensure that it is correctly full of clean fluid. Check pipes and unions for condition and leaks. Beneath the car, check all the flexible brake hoses for condition and make sure they are not chafed with the front wheels on full lock. Also examine all the metal pipes and unions for leaks and corrosion, together with any compensating valves, if fitted.

Status [ ]

Drum brake back plates should be checked for signs of fluid leakage from the wheel cylinders inside. With an assistant operating the hand brake, have a look at the cables and mechanism to check that it is all working properly and none of the levers or cables are seized.

Status [ ]

Brake performance can best be checked (without professional garage equipment) by driving on a deserted road (check the road ahead and behind as a safety measure first!) at about 20mph, gradually apply the footbrake and check that the car does not veer one way or the other, that there is no brake squeal or “rumble” from the pedal.

Status [ ]

Carry out the same procedure as above with the handbrake. 

Status [ ]

Exhaust Systems

From under the car, check the exhaust system. It must be securely fitted from the engine exhaust manifold down to the final mounting at the tail pipe. With the engine running, check for leaks throughout the system. Also, make sure that it is not too noisy. Emission tests do not apply to pre-August 1975 vehicles.

Status [ ]

Structural Security and Corrosion

The MoT test can fail a car as a result of corrosion in two ways. First, if structural areas of the vehicle are damaged, distorted or corroded so as to weaken them and, secondly, if the structure is damaged, corroded or distorted within 30cm of a brake, suspension or steering component.

Structural areas of the car are specifically prescribed in “The MoT Inspection Manual” and can best be summarised as follows.

Excessive corrosion is checked by squeezing the suspect metal or component between the finger and thumb to see if it “gives” or crumbles. If so, then it must fail. Light tapping or scraping with a special tool, which is, in effect, a small “toffee” hammer, is acceptable to detect corrosion. If light tapping penetrates the surface, or scraping reveals underlying corrosion which has weakened the structure, a failure results.

Repairs have to be welded and carried out in a special way dependent on the nature of the structure being repaired. This is laid out in the Manual. Highly-stressed components (a suspension arm for example), generally cannot be repaired by welding and will have to be replaced.

Status [ ]

Tyres and Wheels

Tyres should be examined for perishing, splits and bulges. Tyres fitted to any one axle must be the same type and size. Mixing tyres on one axle is not allowed. If cross ply or bias-belted tyres are fitted to the front, then a failure results if radial ply tyres are fitted to the rear. A failure also results if cross plies are fitted to the front, and bias-belted tyres to the rear.

Minimum tread depth is 1.6mm across central three quarters of tread. Cuts must not expose the tyre’s cords.

Status [ ]

Cautionary Note. MoT standards change with time and this could affect the “Check List”.

Note. In a recent survey, Insurance companies confirm that pre-1960 vehicles, whilst not requiring an MoT test certificate, must be legally roadworthy. Failure to maintain the vehicle with corresponding proof that the vehicle is roadworthy could result in the Insurance Company declining to pay out should a claim be made.

Garage Official Confirmation that the above MoT test Check List has been carried out in accordance with required standards.

Inspection Authority.

Signature of Issuer ———————————–

R.I.P.

Front Cover Story

7 Sep

TA1013 was one of four relatively early TAs (TA1011 to 1014) produced by the Factory in Completely Knocked Down (CKD) state. The Production Records are not specific as to the date, but if one refers to the dates of production of finished built cars with chassis numbers before and after the ‘kits’ (essentially they were a kit of parts to be assembled, probably by a dealership) they would most likely have been ready for crating up, either on the last day of production in 1936 (23rd December) or the first day of production in 1937 (6th January 1937).

Whilst the chassis numbers for these CKD ‘kits’ are listed in sequence in the Production Records there is also a separate entry alongside each with the designation ‘EXP’ e.g. TA1013EXP. ‘EXP’ almost certainly stood for ‘Export’ since we know that TA1389 and TA1390 went to Australia as chassis only and are designated TA1389EXP/CHASSIS & TA1390EXP/CHASSIS. However, the record keeping does not appear to be consistent since TA1980, which graced the front cover of TTT 2 (Issue 8 – October 2011) was exported to Australia, yet there is no ‘EXP’ designation.

TA1013 was registered as ZB 1570, a County Cork registration mark so it is not inconceivable that all four TA ‘kits’ went to the same dealership in Ireland. It would be interesting to learn of some details of its time in Ireland (and of the other three TAs, if in fact they were sent there) but increasingly, with the passage of time it becomes more difficult to trace historical details – we are going back 80 years!

ZB 1570 somehow found its way to Gloucester, since it is recorded as being there in the late 1960s. The car then fell into disrepair as shown in the following pictures:

It was purchased in this state in August 1987 by the then owner, who later asked Naylor Bros. to carry out a complete restoration. Naylors started the job in March 2000 and completed it in August 2011. Cost is not known but would certainly make your eyes water!

The current owner bought the car from Spinning Wheel Garage in Chesterfield, Derbyshire on 01/09/2015. Incredibly, the car had only covered 300 miles from its completion by Naylors in 2011 and the September 2015 date of purchase.

Once purchased it was necessary to upgrade a few parts as standing does these vehicles no favours. With the primary use of the car for long drives and rallies in mind, the decision was taken to give it ‘longer legs’ and fit a Hi Gear Engineering 5-speed gearbox. This has been very successful, putting less stress on the XPAG engine and enabling the car to keep up with traffic in a safer manner on long hauls.

The car really performed well to and from the Le Mans Classic and as France was her ‘maiden voyage’ and she cheerily ‘sang’ her way there and back, she has been christened ‘Chantelle’.

The plan for this winter is to uprate the engine to better cope with the higher gearing and then the “sky’s the limit”. ZB1570 seems to want to go on more tours and is enjoying the freedom to explore again. She will soon have another opportunity as a

Southern Ireland tour is in the planning with a visit to her old home of County Cork.

ZB 1570 will be used and not ‘kept in a glass case’.

TC10178 – saved from sitting on bricks since 1967 in a Sheffield lock up garage (Part 8)

6 Sep

I’m so lucky… see if you agree. I started by checking the ignition timing as I had a suspicion it was 180 degrees out. It was, so out with the distributor, turn shaft and refit. Hold choke open and pull starter motor lever. It fires…. and stops. So do it again. It fires…. and stops. OK, let’s try again…..CLUNK. The engine won’t turn. It will go backwards but stops with a clunk and then forwards but stops with a clunk. Remember, I’m so lucky…..

Sump off, nothing wrong there. So after lunch engine out as I thought it may be the clutch or flywheel causing the problem. Remember, I’m lucky!

We all look at it when it’s on its side on the floor. Joint decision, remove the head. So a table is brought in and I have to stand on a block of wood as the head is now so high. Head off. And this is why I’m so lucky. A spring washer is in No. 3 bore on top of the piston. It couldn’t have been there when I fired it twice so must have been sucked in on the third attempt and hasn’t done any damage. That’s why I’m lucky!

I’ve left it all out, covered up. The engine has always had the carbs blocked with paper so it’s a mystery how a washer got sucked in…. unless….NO, that’s unthinkable.

Putting it back together……………….

I had to take the crank pulley off as the half round cord seal had come out of the timing case. Went back a treat with a bit of black silicone gasket goo on it. I pulled down the head but not fully, then dropped the engine on the sump. Did the sump bolts up but found the left hand front bolt that goes into the timing case was stripped. I tapped it out 3/8″ BSF and used a 3/8 bolt. All ready to go back in but it would not go onto the first motion shaft splines. I had the gearbox jacked up and the rear of the engine on a jack and the bell housing and rear plates were in line. Eventually one of the chaps gave me a hand to push and it went in. Spent the next 2 hours doing up the bell housing bolts, refitting the rad and starter etc. and filling with anti-freeze. Oh, I also torqued the head down and refitted the rocker shaft. You may remember that I had new rocker posts. Well the two holes are not exactly in line so it’s a real problem getting both bolts started. I stripped two of the smaller (8mm) bolts. I’ve asked Roger (Furneaux) to send me two. 

It won’t start……………

I was ready to start it. It didn’t, but sounded like it was firing. I asked one of the chaps to hold one of the plug leads to the block to see if we had a spark…. no spark.
Need to investigate……….

Took a while but got it going in the end.

First I removed the rocker pedestals and drilled out the small hole by 2 mm oversize. Then refitted it and adjusted the tappets. With the hole slightly larger, both bolts went in OK. I turned up the lock tabs and refitted the rocker cover. I then wanted to reset the ignition timing so had to take the rocker cover off to ensure it was firing on number 1. Set the ignition timing and checked the coil tower lead. It was out. I’ve dropped and lost the small washer that the cable comes through, so soldered a small washer to the centre lead.

I took the plugs out and turned the engine over to get oil pressure on the gauge. None. But the oil was at the rockers (as seen through the oil filler cap) I found the oil pipe to the gauge loose, so put a small rubber ring in and tightened it again. Still loose so just tightened, hoping I didn’t strip the thread. Eventually it went tight. I turned it over and, like magic, got 20 psi pressure at the gauge.

I then refitted the plugs and put the fuel pipe into the petrol can and tried to start it. It fired and stopped about a dozen times then it ran…. for about 20 seconds. It wouldn’t start. Fired and then cut out. I checked everything, then put a screwdriver in number one plug lead and watched the spark go to the head. It seemed to be intermittent. I rechecked the coil tower – that seemed OK. In the end I took the points out, cleaned the faces and reassembled them (I had done this some time ago). They were fitted correctly with the fibre washers in the right places.

She fires and runs…….

OK, try again. After two turns, she fires and runs. I keep it running at about 1500 RPM until it gets warm. Then do a rough throttle balance and mixture adjustment. I seem to have the same problem as my friend’s TC. The jets are going right up and it still seems to be running rich. I’ll need to drop the needles 0.020″ and set the carbs up. I’ll take my balancer and SU jet spanner to do it properly. I’ll also adjust the tappets at 0.012″ hot (I’ve set them 0.014″ cold). Then I can put the air cleaners on and the bracket for the choke, starter and fast idle cable. The only problem is the flexible oil pipe for the gauge is leaking. I’ve ordered one from NTG along with a new coil washer and a 3 foot length of HT lead so I can make a new coil lead, which is a bit short.

The bad news is that the panel man wants me to take the body off so he can fit the front quarter panel between the bonnet shut timber and the main body frame. That will help me as it will be a lot easier to get the Thackery washer on the brake pedal in the right place and fit the new petrol pipe.

I didn’t take any pictures but did video the engine running….. Now to see if I can load it. …. hang on, it’s coming, some conversion work needed first. Here it is……MG TC – It lives

48 years after the engine last ran, and 10 months after Norman Verona started the rebuild of a 1949 MG TC, the engine runs!

I asked the TABC group if anyone had ever had the need to lower the needles in the piston to avoid the jet being wound up to the top to get the mixture correct. I got a lot of answers about the float levels being too high. I have been around SU carbs for 55 years and know the difference between flooding due to float chamber being too high and what I was getting. I took the dashpots off and took a very close look, not easy when your eyesight can’t see fine, close up detail. I reset the height of the needles to the bottom of the ali piston instead of the brass insert, about 0.040″ lower. Refitted the carbs and started. Much better and got the mixtures correct starting with the 7 flats position (not two and a half turns someone quoted). Got the engine hot so I could check the tappets hot. Tappets were set 0.014″ cold and only needed two taking up a gnats cock to make them all 0.012″ hot. Refitted the rocker cover and then the air cleaner and fitted the three cables. I’ve no idea why I did that as…. wait for it…. OK, bet you guessed, I have an oil leak from the rear main. So the engine will have to come out. I’ll wait until the body is finished and do it at my workshop.

The bad news today is that it’s been confirmed that the body has to moved back so the quarter panels and scuttle can be tacked to the tub before the bonnet shut panel is fitted. To make things worse we’ve found that Moss sent two left hand front quarter panels in August, but with the correct part numbers on. Carl is sending one from Bradford and I’ll send the incorrect one back to London, whence it came. It’s Murphy’s law that says if it can go wrong it will. Hello Murphy.

Moving the body back……

First I removed the battery and all 18 bulkhead to tub bolts and the six that hold the tub to the chassis. I asked Jean-Maurice to help me move the tub back and see if it came back enough for him to undo the screws that hold the bonnet shut panel to the tub. He was happy.

Not good enough for the boss – he wants the tub removed……

Jean-Luc, the boss explains he wants the tub right off so Jean-Maurice can panel it off the car. He suggests we cut the lower part of the centre dash mount out so we can feed the wires and cables through and leave the dash on the car with all the wires and cables connected. I’ve thought about it and I’m going to take all the wires and cables off. Having spent all this time and effort, let alone money, I don’t fancy cutting the tub as a short cut.

As mentioned before, the pedal shaft needed to be removed to move the inner Thackeray washer to the correct side of the brake pedal, thereby allowing the pedal to sit behind the stop bar. It’s very hard to get the split pins out and back in with the exhaust on and the body in the way. But that wasn’t the real difficulty; the main problem was that the sun was shining through the windows straight into my eyes so I couldn’t see anything. Never mind, got it done in about an hour. Then cut the screws holding the pipe clips to the chassis and painted the clips and screws. I had a sneaky feeling I’d put the new fuel pipe on the wrong way around but checked the tank and it’s ok.

Keeping track of the wiring…….

Multi plug connectors with the male and female spade connectors that fit inside the plastic halves. I solder the connectors to the wires.

The labels for the wires. I have made up two sets. The black and red letters are for the two centre connections which can’t be marked. However, I’ve coloured both sides red and black.

The blocks are labelled A-L and M-X. I do this as my orientation is non-existent and I’ll put the wires in from different ends if they’re not marked like this.

Next few jobs…….Finish plugs on loom and then, after body is off, reconnect the dash. Fit the new flexi oil pipe and a longer HT lead then start up and determine where the oil leak is coming from. I also want to do a final adjustment of the carbs now that the air filter is on. I’ll pull the head down again as well.

Get to the bodyshop at 0800. Label and cut the wires from loom to dash. Solder the terminals to the loom end and push terminals into the plastic block.

Loom having been cut is having the terminals soldered on.

The terminal blocks with the terminals installed. There are 25 wires in the loom in total. I also cut two from dash to dash which I will refit with bullet connectors.

The wires on the dash.

I labelled up the first multi plug A-L correctly. The other one I labelled one side left to right and the other right to left. The clue was no ignition and the panel lights coming on without the lights on. Took about 10 minutes to pull them all out and refit them correctly.

Completing jobs listed earlier……

I fitted the new flexible oil pipe and a longer HT lead from distributor to coil I then made some straps to go around the battery (from rope) so as to make it easier to lift it in and out. Took a while to work out how the fast idle return spring went but got it fixed after some head scratching. I then connected the can of petrol to the petrol tank pipe at the rear and the battery via jump leads. Full choke and it started on the button. I got it warm and started adjusting the carbs. Problem. The rear carb jet wouldn’t return home. Turned out to be the connecting rod between the two choke levers was too long. So adjusted and carried on. The carbs are as good as I’m going to get them until the engine’s run in.

There was a slight leak from the oil filter but tightening the bowl a tad stopped that. This is a modified filter with a paper cartridge.

Ok, bad news and good news. The major leak is not from the rear main but the front of the gearbox. I finished the day by polishing the bulk head, air filter and radiator. All nice and shiny.

I was thinking, a very dangerous occupation for me.  When I left the bodyshop on Thursday night the tub was on the floor. I had asked the boss to get the car finished in 4 weeks, (giving me time to finish the interior by 28th April, one year after starting). I want to paint the inside of all the “skins” with POR15 so as to prevent rust forming. This is where the thinking comes in. I’m not due back to the bodyshop until Wednesday morning. What if he finishes the skinning in the meantime and the inside of the panels are not treated with POR15?

So, after physio I drive to the bodyshop…. and just as well. The near side is nearly fully skinned, He will then take all the panels off, paint them and fit permanently. I have asked him to paint with the POR15 and given him a tin. Good thinking, Batman.

Skins. All cut to perfect shape.

And from the rear. He’s even got the inner wheel arch in. Tunnels and light….

As Jean-Luc, the boss, had asked me to clear up my work area at the bodyshop I got there at 0800, dropped the car onto four wheels and pushed it out of the way. I then put sawdust down on the oil spills and swept like a ‘loonie’ to soak up the heavy gear oil. Then commandeered another bench and put all the parts and books on the new bench and laid the tools out on the big bench. Pushed the car back, jacked it up and back on axle stands. Was awarded three stars.

Had a good day. Got to the bodyshop for 0800 and got the gearbox out. Took the bell housing off and removed the seal from the bell housing. It was loose on the shaft so I prised the leather open and then boiled it a cup of water in the micro wave. It was now a tight fit on the shaft so I put it all back and refitted the box.

I also fitted the new ignition warning light, what a job, took two of us, one to hold the cup and spring down the other to put the clip in.

Refitted the dash and started the engine. It ran for half hour and not a drip from the gearbox. But the filter is still leaking so I tightened it a bit more. I think I’ll have to remove the cap and see why. I suspect the O ring isn’t seated properly.

Now for the bad news. The little red light comes on …. but doesn’t go out. It’s not charging. Job for tomorrow.

A picture of the bell housing/gearbox casing joint. No leaks.

So, I got to the bodyshop for 0750, before the boss! He turned up at 0800 and opened up and let me into the workshop. I took the cover off the dynamo wiring and looked. The wires have different size tags which go on different size posts so that must be correct. Best way to find out is start the engine and see which has 12v. Problem, the battery is too low to start the engine so I reconnect the charger.

I then fit the radiator stays to the bulkhead then take some vinyl tiles, the 12″ rule, a Stanley knife, the drill and drill bit to the machine shop to make new packing pieces. It was about 1degree C and my poor little fingers were frozen. I made sure my fingers weren’t sticking out when I drew the knife along the tile using the rule as a straight edge. Never mind, the knife slipped off the edge of the rule and went straight across two fingers. OUCH! Actually I didn’t feel anything as my fingers were frozen. But it bled, and bled and bled…OK it was bleeding. I put two plasters on but it was still dripping blood. I took some white paper roll and wrapped the fingers in it. It still bled. I finished the packing pieces and, eventually decided it wasn’t going to stop so I left to go to the hospital in Segre. They don’t have an “urgence” department and suggested I go to Chateau Gontier. I decided to go to Chateaubriant but on the way thought I’d call in to my doctor. He saw me with about a 10 minute wait (whilst he finished with the patient he had in the surgery). He dressed both fingers putting those little strips over the sliced off tip of the index finger.

Oh, by the way, the battery charger isn’t working. I’m typing this at 1030 on 1st April but it’s not an April fool joke.

You can read the whole of this daily blog on the renovation, and other matters, at www.FrenchBlat.com.

1938 TA Cream Cracker BBL 80

4 Sep

“The Missing Years”

The story of BBL 80 under Derek Pearce’s ownership was told in Issue 15 (December 2012) of TTT 2. The man who built the car up from a rolling chassis was John Barnacott. John describes how he came to acquire what was essentially a rolling chassis and a ‘box of bits’ and how he put the bits back together over a period of six years.

BBL came into my possession sometime in 1972 following a chat with ‘P’ Type Cream Cracker man (as he was then) Steve Dear, at our local natter near Bristol. Steve drew my attention to an advertisement in a recent issue of Motor Sport for an “Ex-works MG trials car, EX155/4”. Steve explained that this could be one of the TA Cream Cracker cars, he was familiar with the chassis numbers. A phone call the following day to the advertiser, who happened to be Julian Ghosh, confirmed Steve’s suggestion and arrangements were made to view and collect the car if we could come to an agreement, which we duly did.

Ghosh had made a start on the rebuild and had completed a rolling chassis before being seduced by a Vauxhall 14/98 (I think) needing his attentions. The rest of the car was literally a “box of bits”, but as far as I could tell mechanically complete, although in pieces.

The aluminium bonnet and doors were missing, as were the front wings, the rest of the body tub was “present” but so far deteriorated that salvage would have been impossible. Other parts in the collection were the scuttle and scuttle top, fuel tank, radiator and shell, and the front valance, together with windscreen and frame, to be incorporated in the rebuild. Beneath the black paint on the rear wings I discovered the original brown of the team colours (better described as “chestnut”) which I managed to match when it came to finishing the car.

The car was slowly refurbished over 6 years (and three house moves!) utilizing, one of Alastair Naylor’s excellent aluminium skinned, ash framed, bodies, with the bonnet and sides being fabricated in aluminium by my friend Graham Ash. All mechanicals were refurbished, re-assembled and installed, various components fabricated and new electrics fitted.

The car finally took to the road again in 1978, and after a suitable running-in period, I campaigned BBL 80 quite successfully in trials for several years, including being a member of the winning team for the 1980 Lands End Trial along with Norman Mckee in his 1937 TA Cream Cracker ABL 960 and the 1937 TA Musketeer ABL 965. We also took part in the MG50 carnival parade in Abingdon in 1979.

This is the only rebuild that the car has had as far as I know. Certainly, Ghosh acquired it as a wreck and only made a start on the rebuild as far as the rolling chassis described.

I sold the car in 1986 and it eventually came into the possession of Derek Pearce.

John Barnacott

Rolling chassis as acquired from Julian Ghosh (1972).

First fitting – half engine and g/box. (1974)

Re-build halfway through.  New body tub fitted and sprayed, ready for further additions.  (1976).

Back in action.  Blue Hills Mine, Lands End Trial 1980.  1st Class and Team Awards.  

Same venue, same trial, but 15 years later (1995) under Derek Pearce’s ownership. Gold Medal award.

Restoration of TC8485 – Part 2

3 Sep

In issue 31 (August 2015) I reported on the early days of my restoration of TC8485. To recap, when I bought the car it was in need of a complete frame up restoration and in my first instalment, I covered stripping the car down and restoring and repainting many of the black parts that bolt to the chassis (including both the front and rear leaf springs). I said that progress would be slow for the next few months due to other commitments but that I wanted to get to a rolling chassis by the end of the year.

In this instalment, I cover restoring and rebuilding the chassis, hubs and leaf springs to end up with a rolling chassis. As it turned out, it took longer than I anticipated, partially due to some technical issues that I cover below, but also due to a head injury that I sustained when I slipped on some ice whilst out running that put me out of action for a while (it turns out that exercise is bad for you after all!).

The chassis

I started to strip the chassis with chemical paint remover but then realised it was very messy, difficult and altogether a bad idea, so I had it grit blasted along with the rear axle (total cost £70 delivered). I thought about having it powder coated but decided to go for originality and painted it instead. I’m pleased with the result.

Before I painted it, I decided to take some accurate measurements to ensure that the chassis was straight. The key measurements are the diagonals from the front edge of one of the rails to the rear most body tub out-rigger on the other. The diagonals should be within 1/8” of each other and mine were about ¼”. I don’t know whether I could have lived with that, but pride dictated that I needed to do something about it.

To get a better picture of what was going on I put masking tape along both rails, marked it at 4” intervals, measured the gap between opposite markings and then plotted the differences on graph paper at an exaggerated scale. This revealed a sort of S-shaped distortion in one of the rails whilst the other was dead straight (you could see the difference by sighting along each rail).

As tolerance on the key diagonal was marginal, I decided to have a go at straightening it myself. This was easier than I expected using blocks of wood and a jack at strategic locations. I used a long block of wood to spread the load on the rail that I didn’t want to move and a shorter one to create more of a point load on the one that I did. Much to my surprise, I quite quickly managed to get the diagonals back within tolerance. You do however need to slightly over-bend the rail to allow for bounce back when you release the jack.

Rear Springs

As reported last time, I had disassembled the spring leafs, sanded them down and painted them with POR15. These were reassembled with a mix of silicone grease and graphite between each leaf. It was relatively easy to bend the clamps back around the stacks of leafs, but it did damage the paint, so cosmetic repairs had to be made. A new set of poly bushes was purchased from John James and all four sets of springs went back on the chassis without a problem (or so I thought).

Ed’s note: Incorrect axle location – the result of a faulty batch of rear springs badly made some years ago (see text). The dimension, centre to centre of the chassis spring mounting points, is 36 inches. The loaded length of the rear spring should be 36.5 inches, and the pivot point for the axle centre 18.0 inches from the centre of the front (metalastic) bush.

I bolted the rear axle back onto the springs and then attempted to fit the rebound hoops. I couldn’t get these on without the front edge of the axle pressing against the hoops, as can be seen in the photo below. This was clearly not right and careful measurement, plus some head scratching, revealed that the dimple in the main leaf of each spring set (i.e. the longest one, with the eye holes) was too far forward by about 1”. This explains why the rebound hoops were in the back of the car when I bought it! This might seem like a small discrepancy, but it is significant when you remember that the main leaf locates the position of all of the others as well as the position of the rear wheels in the arches. Rather than buying a whole new set of rear leaf springs, Brost Forge (located between Kings Cross Railway Station and Caledonian Road Tube Station, London) made me two new main leafs for a very reasonable price, which were collected on a business trip to London.

Compressing the springs i.e. flattening them so that they are drawn upwards, in order to be able to bolt up the axle.

Incidentally, the springs need to be compressed in order to bolt on the rear axle as the axle presses hard against the chassis until the full weight of the complete car is on its wheels.   I had previously made a trellis out of spare wood to rest the chassis on whilst I was working on it. This was just wide enough to bridge between the springs, and by resting a bit of steel box section across the top of the chassis, with a jack sitting on top of that, and the whole lot tied together with a load strap, I was able to compress the springs to allow the axle to be bolted on with ease.

Hubs

The next stage was to restore the hubs. Whilst I had the hubs apart I decided that it would be prudent to replace all of the bearings, even though the old ones appeared to be in reasonable condition. It’s a simple job whilst the car is in pieces and at relatively low cost. At first I struggled to get the pair of bearings out of each front hub as I tried to press them out from one end of the hub only. On reflection, it’s obvious that they cannot come out that way as it would mean that the wheels would fall off in use! The correct way to get them out is to first of all remove the smaller bearing by passing a suitably sized drift (I used a socket on an extension bar) through the larger bearing and tap/press it out, then press the larger bearing out by using a larger drift from the small bearing side. This is necessary because both bearings press against lips in the hub which prevent them from pushing all the way through. With the new bearings pressed in, I got the front of the car rebuilt without any further problems.

Interestingly, the front hub backing plates on my car had been heavily modified by a previous owner who, I believe, lived in California, to improve cooling. I thought about replacing these in order to go back to factory originality, but, in the end, I decided to paint and keep them as they are part of the history of the car – so my car is now ready for those long, hot, British summers that we always get (it’s good to be optimistic!).

Ever seen one of these before? Lightened front backplate with cooling scoop!

When reassembling the rear hubs, I decided to forsake originality on this occasion and use the improved design combined hub nut and oil seal in order to prevent the known problem of differential oil leaking onto the rear brake shoes. I also decided to apply the improvement described in ‘TC’s Forever’ designed to reduce stress on the half shafts. Here, the idea is to ensure that the outer edge of bearing is pinched between the wheel hub and the bearing carrier when assembled in order to prevent play. In some cars, the extension flange on the hub is not long enough to touch the bearing. Careful measurement of the hub and bearing carriers on my car showed that, allowing for the hub to carrier sealant or gasket, I needed a 0.3mm shim on each hub to ensure pinch up. If anyone else is intending to use this approach, then The Bearing Company) supplies a wide range of shim diameters and thicknesses. The 80mm OD ones are perfect for this job.

Improved bearing carrier securing arrangement with inbuilt oil seal.

Differential

Inspection of the differential revealed that it had already been fully restored. There was no oil in the rear axle housing, the differential gears were covered with a film of fresh oil that had clearly never been used in anger, and the gear teeth looked unworn.   However, rather than just trusting that it had been done properly, I decided to check that the backlash had been set correctly. The TC Instruction Manual (‘the Brown Book’) helpfully states that the correct amount of backlash between the crown wheel and the pinion should be between 0.007” and 0.010”. However, with the differential assembled it’s not actually possible to get any sort of measuring device between the teeth. I solved this by clamping the prop shaft end so that it couldn’t move and then placed a small, soft faced, G-clamp on the crown wheel to act as a reference point and end stop. By placing a digital vernier caliper between the G-clamp and the diff housing it was possible to measure accurately, and repeatedly, the amount of backlash by rocking the crown wheel backwards and forwards.

Adjustment of the gap is then relatively easy to do by adjusting the two large nuts on the outside of the differential bearing races. It should be noted however that the adjusting nuts should be locked in position with the correct pre-load before taking another measurement. Finally, the crown wheel teeth were painted with a small amount of engineer’s blue to check the meshing of the gears. I found that only coating half of the circle of crown wheel teeth works best as its easier to see the tooth mating markings when the pinion becomes coated in the blue and then leaves markings on the clean half of the crown wheel. The end result of these adjustments was a fairly close approximation to the drawing in ‘Blower’.   Whilst the differential was off the car, I also took the opportunity to send the pinion cap to Roger Furneaux so that the improved lip seal could be installed.

Finally, the dampers/shock absorbers were tested off the car to make sure that they were working properly. The front ones were fine and only needed a rub down and re-spray before being put back on the car, but the rear ones were not working properly and had to be refurbished by Raj Patel at Recon and Return, Leicester.

Next Steps

The immediate next step is to sort out the braking system and the next big step in my restoration is to rebuild the body tub. Due to lack of space, this is going to have to be done on the restored chassis, rather than on a jig, so I’ll need to be careful not to damage the work that I’ve done so far. The advantage is that I now have a rolling chassis so I can work on it outside in, hopefully, the sunny summer weather. I’ll report back again at the end of these stages.

Steve Wallace
July 2016

Ed’s note: Talking of Steve’s “S-shaped distortion in one of the rails” of his chassis, how about this one for size? It was sent to me by Brian Murphy in Melbourne. Brian said that this chassis was advertised as “TC chassis for sale … but has had a hit”………. Some “hit”!

Thought to be TC0284, it has been successfully straightened and in the last pic I saw, it had Brian’s Q-type replica body mounted on it as a temporary measure whilst chassis TA1475 is being restored.

DISCLAIMER BY THE EDITOR

‘Totally T-Type 2’ is produced totally on a voluntary basis and is available on the website www.ttypes.org on a totally FREE basis. Its primary purpose is to help T-Type owners through articles of a technical nature and point them in the direction of recommended service and spares suppliers.

Panelling a TC ash frame – Part 4

2 Sep

In Part 1 of his article (see Issue 35) Bob Lyell started on the front quarter panels to (as he put it) “gain experience and confidence”. Part 2 (see Issue 36) saw him moving to the rear quarter panels. In Part 3 (see Issue 37) Bob made a start on the doors and in particular the door edge flanges. Part 4 deals with the door skins and fitting them.

Over to Bob……………

Although the entire outer surface of the tub is formed of compound curves, making its shape so attractive, each curve is only slight and each panel so narrow that no special action is required. Clamping, forming and nailing the edges being sufficient to persuade the Aluminium to follow the gentle curves of the Ash in two directions.

However, the much larger and relatively unsupported door skins do require special attention, I cut mine some 3 inches’ oversize and took them together with the Ash frames to a craftsman who curved them to fit in both planes by using an English wheel.

I added 3 pieces of wood to the frame, a strip of plywood so it could be held firmly in a vice and 2 blocks for panel locating screws in what would be surplus material, vital because once work has started the Aluminium skin panel must not be allowed to move by a fraction.

Rolling the top edge over was the most difficult job yet. I studied the shape of the top rail because whilst it sounds obvious this is what I needed to persuade the now valuable Aluminium skin to tightly hug as I worked it around the edge. I blended the various curves into each other by gentle sanding until I was both satisfied with the shape and that both doors were the same.


Clamping strip set just away from the edge and 2 additional flush fitting blocks for panel locating screws.

Clamped tight and located with 2 additional screws, work started in the centre of the rail with the Aluminium being worked out to each end. On the rear half, like the rear quarter panel, the metal wanted to form a straight tubular roll but as the outer face of the door curves from front to back, the skin had to be encouraged to ripple and shrink as it went over.


Starting to roll the top edge over.

The very attractive and complex shape of the front half needed the most effort because the metal wanted to bridge the gap and once I started I was no longer able to see the wood surface that I was trying to follow. I thought I had the shape twice but each time found I could work the metal down further before I heard the reassuring sound that I had reached the surface of the wood. Having the other bare door as a reference was a big help, as was keeping the metal soft by frequent annealing.

Eventually rolled over, the next operation was to shape a hardwood former to clamp the skin tight against the top rail so the return edge could be cut to a substantial 15mm (for rigidity) and folded over ready for nailing.

Before final assembly it is important to appreciate that clinching the skin around the flanged edge serves two purposes, to secure the skin tight against the outer face of the ash and to secure the flanged edge tight against the aperture face of the Ash. Both are vital for a good door fit.

So the challenge is how to form the skin into a 90 degree return before folding over and clinching when the aluminium flange is not strong enough to hammer against. The skin must not be allowed to crease against the edge of the Ash as that error would be impossible to recover from.

I decided the answer was to make yet another tool to add to my collection, an Aluminium block which would clamp the flange against the door frame whilst providing a robust face to fold the skin against. The following illustrations show the process in six steps.

1. Assembly

2. Clamped to establish the cut line

3. Aluminium block added

4. Folded 90 degrees

5. Folded beyond 90 degrees

6. Clinched

To fit the door flange without damage, the Aluminium block required a filed radius to clear the inner corner (I used a thin packer instead) and a curved edge to match the curve of the door, its thickness was the same as the width of the flange. Later I would also step one end and rotate it 90 degrees to accommodate the reduced width needed in the tight radius corners.

First I snapped the hinge reinforcement panel into place and secured it with countersunk wood screws. Then I fitted the 2 flange edges, clamped them tight in position and nailed them into place

through holes drilled in their inner faces. The top of the front flange was trimmed level with the wood to allow the skin to overlap and at the same point the protruding flange edge was tapered into a tight radius.

Then I fitted the skin still oversize, clamped it down tight along its top edge and nailed it into place. With the door sitting skin down on a cushion the edge was marked and cut to size as illustrated in stage 2.

I annealed just the edge of the door skin, applying the flame to the outer face so as not to singe the wood. The skin distorted slightly but fortunately returned to its original shape as it cooled.

I cut out both door hinge slots, back to the rebate in the wood using a junior hacksaw and file, which provided the easiest starting point for folding the skin over, the straight steel section between the hinges. The 90 degree fold was achieved in several stages but without further annealing as illustrated in stages 3 & 4.

Next I tackled the other relatively straight sections which again were folded to 90 degrees, the skin remained in contact with the Ash and started to become much more rigid.

Working a straight section to 90 degrees.

Finally, I turned my attention to the sharp corners, carefully applying the same principles in small steps.

Stepped end used to fold the tight corners (one clamp removed for clarity).

Effectively the whole process was repeated but using a thin strip of steel to hold the flange tight against the aperture. By carefully directed hammer blows the edge could be encouraged to fold over much further without distorting the skin. This is illustrated in stage 5.

Folding the skin beyond 90 degrees, the flange edge proved strong enough.

To finish I had considered buying clinching pliers to complete the job but having tried hammering a small area against a hardwood block I decided to continue that way all around the door. The tight corners needed annealing again to help them shrink.

That left two final jobs, first the top front joint where the edge meets the skin, achieved by cutting the skin to a tight joint and TIG welding which did not appear to burn the wood. Second, the short section above the top hinge where the already tightly curved skin has to be turned over 180 degrees. By this stage I had invested so much time and effort that I had to find a safe way to make this final fold so I decided to make a cut through the curve, fold the flat portion through 180 degrees and TIG weld the cut edges back together. The weld filed down smooth.

180 degree return at top rear by cutting and TIG welding (cheating).

My thoughts upon completion are that I am glad that I did it, learned a lot about Aluminium, have a lot of respect for the craftsmen who produced the original bodies at a rate of 1 per hour (I wonder how many manhours per body?) and finally for anyone thinking of doing the same I hope that I have at least revealed what is involved.

Above and below: two ‘shots’ of one of the finished doors.

The finished skinned tub with the nearside door fitted.

Ed’s note: Bob is hoping to have the car finished by next Spring. Judging by the progress he has made so far, this seems to me to be a realistic timescale.

I’m sure that Bob won’t mind me saying that in skinning the doors he was able to refer to an original one from TC0750.