….are best made with all the ducks lined up.

What I’m trying to do is establish the position of the steering wheel and the rake of the steering column. Then I can go ahead and drill the mounting holes for the box in the chassis rail. To do this I need to know the position of the driver’s seat and the height of the scuttle at the dashboard from which the column will emerge. Coupled with this, I need also to determine that the column is going to travel through the gap between the brake and clutch pedal, not clang into the engine and that the gearing in the box is reasonably matched to the travel of the wheels to the left and right. Plenty to keep me occupied then.

I’ve cut out a bulkhead that represents the position of the dashboard. This lets me check that the slope of the bonnet to the radiator is the same as on the drawing. The radius at the top of the panel is freehand because it has to reflect the shape of the top of the radiator in order that the bonnet panels take up a natural set between the 2 stations.

Then, just for larks, I added a couple of stringers to the side for acklement. Acklement? I don’t know where that came from either but my Father always used to ‘eyeball for acklement’ to good effect.

And then lob in the steering wheel and we’re starting to get the shape of the beast.

The handbrake mounting is going to be extended so that the lever falls outside the body.

All this is great fun and it’s nice to see that everything’s looking right. However, I’ve got to put the engine back in (after the paint and new core plugs) and that’ll throw up a lot of horrors to tackle in getting everything to fit and work properly. I can see that I’m going to have to put a universal joint in the column which will sort of mess up the hand controls unless I put universals in those as well – easily done, but another time-consuming job.

I’m also a bit apprehensive about the Ford steering box – I’m not sure that it’s going to be quite the easy route I imagined. The mounting casting is at the wrong angle – I can machine up a suitable wedge so that’s not too big a snag – but the gearing of the steering is less easily adjusted. I don’t think that it’s got quite enough travel. This would be fine if the turning circle was tight but it ain’t; it’s quite the reverse. What I’m considering is squaring off the splined shaft so that the old Hillman drop-arm can be used; it’s a good deal longer than the Ford one. I should make gains on 2 fronts: 1) the ball that engages with the drag link would be on the correct side of the arm and, 2) the longer lever would probably give me the required travel or as near as makes no odds.

I must be on a migratory route – the ducks just keep coming.


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