TC7045 – An 18-year Restoration

Readers of TTT 2 who were ‘subscribers’ back in the early days of the magazine will recall a series of amusing articles from Chris Oswald, describing the trials and tribulations of the restoration of his TC ‘Busker’. Chris has now completed the restoration and has sent me a ‘comic strip’ article which catalogues the task from start to finish. Whether or not you are embarking on a restoration it makes for interesting reading…..

This was taken in USA with Frank L. Barrett before being re-imported in 1990.

Back in ‘Blighty’ on the day of arrival in 1991.

Having fun in 1992, but the body was already showing signs of instability!

Then in 1993 lots of gremlins struck at once…. and the full horror story began to be revealed.

Woodwork above the rear axle – missing parts or eaten away by termites.

More rot……….

Bodged repairs……..

More rot……get the message?

Body panels surface rusty, but sound thanks to the California weather.

I suppose it’s one way to repair a wooden body frame……

..but, by now, I was on a mission

And things are beginning to look a bit sparse.

……but it’s too late to stop now!

Off to get the chassis straightened and some welding done……

at last I can think about putting it back together; body panels wait on top of the frame to save space and….

…….have to wait for the ash frame – I made as much as I could myself and bought in the complex compound curved parts.

Diff frame with all four new wood pieces now – (compare with ‘shot’ taken on dismantling). Rear axle rebuilt to stop leakage into the rear brakes.

Body panels back from chemical strip and first fit – beginning to look like a car.

Daylight for the first time in many years.

How I discovered the original colour – patient rubbing down with wet-or-dry.

So back to red it goes…to my secret delight

Must contain excitement – lovely ‘paintman’ Tom in background who allowed me the use of his paintshop at weekends so I had space for the careful reassembly of the panels

Nearly ready to come home…………

Lookin’ good but still a long way to go – so back into the gloom of the garage……

Now, this needs fixing!

On left – original panel all chrome as done by Hollywood sports, Studio City, California – on right, after some work.

Above: Winter job – dash harness. Below: And refinishing the front – 16 coats of varnish endlessly rubbed down and repeated.

Meanwhile, down in the garage… bit better than how it started.

Quick, join them all up before the smoke leaks out!

Only kidding – they all worked, including the indicator light hidden in the sidelight fairing …but, oh, that radiator. New paint shows it up.

Aah, £600 lighter but that’s better – beautiful chrome and upholstery colour slats – also, note correct fog lamp now.

Now, while you were concentrating on the body, there was also the mechanics…., leaking diff, seized shock absorbers, wobbly fan, oil and grease everywhere………..

Poorly located front axle – no not quite as bad as seen here but, as evidence, the cage bolts.

Just….. mess and crud everywhere. Hours of stripping, cleaning, examination and either refurb or replacement….and a leaking block…..

Space management was a bit of a challenge at times. Dexion framing came in very useful – chassis below, body above, axles in front. Engine was parked to one side on its own frame awaiting restoration as I worked on the chassis.

Front axle now secure, with straight cage bolts.

Springs separated, cleaned and in place – new brake shoes to go on – new brake pipes in place – seized shock absorbers rebuilt.

Pedal assembly, Master cylinder and brake switch looking a lot cleaner now.

Master and slave cylinders lined with stainless steel to avoid corrosion. Silicone fluid inside. Extended securing nut improvement.

Original engine and gearbox overhauled, lead free head, MGB 7 bladed plastic fan fitted – less noise and vibration – waterless coolant.

No more rusty manifold, but deeply unpopular with wife over fumes from UHT paint in oven.

No, I don’t want the dog poo brown plastic upholstery it came with, or black wheels and the wing mirrors were useless so…rebuilt and painted silver wheels if you please – and a new set of rubber. The old luggage rack polished up nicely and the modern motor bike indicators fit in with the look.

The original upholstery was red – Dilemma – I don’t like it. Well, beige was a factory option with red body so that’s how I’ll go.

Once the covers were taken off…. more rot in the seat frames and 68 years’ worth of YUK.

Bits of old carpet to dampen the springs and frame held in place with hardened old leather strips.

New back board needed……… and seat bases.

New made, old used. New cushion and cover, new hessian in place.

New leather seat covers, frame refurbed.

New back and leather cover and the interior goes in to match.

Will the dog fit in that space, I wonder…? ….. I can’t wait to fit into this one – note original export steering wheel.

Oh, my goodness………. it’s actually going to be ready soon!

Still in the garage, like a butterfly inside the chrysalis…..until……

3 thoughts on “TC7045 – An 18-year Restoration

  1. Douglass Longenecker says:

    A beautiful restoration.Congratulations on a job well done.The before and after photos illustrate how much work goes into such a project. One question; some pictures show the grill slats as chrome but in the daylight photos as off-white or tan to match the upholstery.Should not the grill color match the interior color?
    Best wishes for the “new” TC,
    Doug
    PS I have a ’52 TD (rhd) for 59 years.

  2. Steve Sabine says:

    Chris,

    A stunning restoration well done, I’m amazed at your limited space and how that did not deter your progress. I know from personal experience the distractions and life changes along the restoration way. Hope to see you and the TC at Silverstone.
    All the best
    Steve

  3. John James says:

    In response to Doug’s question about the colour of the grill slats. Yes, they were originally chrome but when the shell was sent away for re-chroming Chris removed the slats and painted them beige (the same colour as the upholstery). In one or two of the photos the grill slats may not look beige due to the way the light falls, but they are beige, which is the same colour as the upholstery.

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