Of course, once I’ve got the front engine mount in I can remove the brace at the front of the chassis. It’s a bit moth-eaten and I shall make up a new one with, possibly, a slight redesign to take account of the new position of the radiator. The brace is a folded channel section and the fact that it’s secured by 16 rivets gives some idea of its importance. It’s become a bit thin because during its life it’s taken the brunt of the weather and all the radiator leaks.
So, once I folded up the new section, I can whizz down to our local blacksmith and get him to hot rivet it back in and, at the same time, re-rivet the front spring hanger – which I’ve had repaired – to the nearside rail. Once it’s in and rigid, I can blend the welds so they become seamless in order to discourage further cracking.
In the jumble of thoughts that ping about in the small hours, the handbrake mechanism made an appearance. Fortunately and unlike the Austin 7, this is an independent arrangement and, like a lot of the cars of the period, has its own brake shoes in the rear drums. These are serviced by cables running from a cross-tube mounted towards the rear of the chassis. So I could forget about that system for the time being.
Then the steering column barged its way into my semiconsciousness. Originally, the Hillman column was mounted directly onto the engine block – this was not going to be possible. But, one of the great features of the Hillman column is that the rake is adjustable because the steering box has a steel pin on the side that swivels in the casting that bolts to the block. All I need to do is fold up a ‘U’ bracket that’s bolted to the offside chassis rail, into which the steering box and mounting can drop. No, that’s wrong, the ‘U’ bracket will have to go over the top of the box otherwise the drop-arm won’t be able to work. Next problem please.
Aha! The gearchange mechanism. The gearbox is operated by a column change and somehow I’ve got to convert the fore and aft movement of the 2 selector levers into a plane at 90 degrees to the…….. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz