Whatever happened to TA0844?

It is quite some time since I last updated my progress on the restoration of TA0844; in fact, the last article was October 2012. Life having now returned to normal, here is the latest.

Having finished most of the mechanical details, the time came when I had to think about the seating and upholstery. TA 0844 arrived with no upholstery or seats, one floorboard and a crumbling, but complete, seat back. PJM Motors offers a service to cover the upholstery panels which are made to fit the car. They kindly supplied piping to enable panel fitting and the fitting of the dashboard. I made an accurate replica of the ply and ash seat back using stainless steel woodscrews to hold things together. The wirework spring assembly was scrap with the mesh rusted through along two sides and along the bottom, one broken spring and rusted framework. I used thin wire to tie this into a working shape for a pattern.

Wirework spring assembly salvaged & held together with thin wire for use as a pattern.

TA production started in June 1936 with TA0253 and some of the items used were carried over from earlier cars for some time. One item was the peg and plate method of locating the seat back. TA0844 was registered in November 1936 and incorporates this method.

Peg and plate method of locating the seat back (lugs, one each side of the seat back locate the chosen hole for best seat back position – a carryover from the PA/PB where there is a similar arrangement).

Early attempts to fit myself into the car had indicated that I would not fit easily, having long legs and arms. With the seat right back I was still unable to operate the pedals without having bent knees and there was little room at the front of the seat to swing size nines into the car. For me, the seat was too low to give adequate forward vision. The peg and hole arrangement will have to be fitted such that the seat back can be adjusted to as close to the tonneau as possible.

I had already fitted a VW steering column with a splined steering wheel shaft which would give some adjustment of steering wheel position. Removing the bottom springs from the seatback cage and bending part of its frame so that the seat base was ‘tucked under’ the cage close to the plywood, as on later cars, gave easier access if one sat first and swung legs in after. I now had a much altered seat back spring cage, held together with more wire. The length of seat was now reduced by about three inches but does provide enough support.

The next problem was the height of the seat, the solution was to introduce a tapered ‘spacer’ between the seat runner and the seat base initially about 1.5 inches. This can be reduced later if required to give a view through the middle of the windscreen.

Seat ‘cushions’ now tucked under the seatback to give more legroom and their height increased by the use of a tapered spacer.

Knowing that the pedals were too close together when I replaced the pedal shaft, I had modified their spacings and by heating and bending, their position. They do not look much different to the original but the difference will help.

Now I have to get a seatback spring assembly. I discovered that Wade Spring Ltd. make replica seat spring assemblies for all T-Types from a supplied pattern.

The hood frame was rotten where it was attached to the front wood bar over the windscreen. I welded on a copy of the original, taking care that the side rails were the same length.

When I assembled the bodywork prior to painting I omitted to fit the hood frame. This should be done with the sidescreens fitted in order to get the necessary lines right. The height of the main pivot is set with the horizontal side rails of the frame which is situated above the sidescreens, parallel with the door sidescreen tops. These tops should be parallel with the ground with both sides of the hood frame of equal height above it.

Mark the position of the pivot points both sides of the car. Now the tricky bit, the hood frame has to fit when down. It should fit into the space above the sidescreen box. Fold down and mark the horizontal position of the pivot points. These should coincide with the previous mark Trial and error and bending the hood frame vertical is needed, see photo.

Above: Checking the height and location of the hood frame when it is in the raised position. Below: The hood frame has to fit into the space above the sidescreen box.

Because I built the frame and most of the body panels, there was no certainty that bespoke door and quarter panels would fit and so I made a complete set from birch ply as original. The fit of the panels and the seats with the much modified seat back spring assembly have already been shown in a previous photo.

When the upholstery is complete, the fit of the panels and the upholstery and other finishings, will conclude the series.

TA 0844 was first registered BTG 855 in November 1936 in the East Riding of Yorkshire, it arrived with a folded card logbook which gave some history but only from February 1951. Any earlier history is probably lost but any such information would be welcomed.

Bob Butson October, 2016

Seat runners are made by Vintage MG Parts, Wm Collingburn Tel 01748 824105 and Moss Europe.

Seats and rubberised horsehair covering for the seat back can be obtained from Wm. Collingburn.

Wade Spring Ltd. Tel 01159463000. www.wade-spring.co.uk

PJM Motors. Tel 01630652873. Web www.pjm-motors.co.uk

Slotted stainless steel woodscrews were from Rice International, Tel. 07743 402105.