If At First…..

… you don’t succeed, it usually gets worse.

Two or three things haven’t gone right in the last couple of weeks. Firstly, the sewing machine had to be returned to the supplier as it didn’t quite cut the mustard and secondly, I bought an on-line manual for my everyday car in the belief that I would be able to open the files, see what to do and get on with the job.

Ha-blinkin’-ha, I couldn’t have been more wronger than that!

For a start I needed first to unzip a load of .rar files. I downloaded Winrar and 5 hours later I had 10GB of .vm files for which another programme was needed that created a virtual machine within my computer to read those files. At the end of all that palaver I still couldn’t open anything. Is the average mechanic conversant with all this nonsense? What’s wrong with a .pdf – a simple format that everyone’s familiar with? I’ve asked the supplier why it has to be so difficult and that really, I just want to get on and mend the blinkin’ car, not spend the day shouting at my computer!

The next job that didn’t go quite as planned was the brake pipes. I made up the 2 short ones for the front hubs and installed the flexible hoses to points on the chassis from where the lines could hook up with the brake cylinder.

Front brake

I felt that something wasn’t quite right (I’d borrowed a flaring tool without instructions) but continued and completed all but one of the lines. It wasn’t until I was in the spares shop and chap mentioned a ‘double flare’ that the penny dropped. I’ve never done brake pipes before and wasn’t sure how the flare that I’d been making would marry up with the flexible hose ends – they appeared to need saucer-shaped flares rather than a doughnut shape. It turned out that I was missing out a secondary process to make the flare ‘female’ where necessary. So I’ve junked the first lot and started again (luckily, I bought 2 reels of pipe).

I’ve set about the dashboard and have gathered together most of the instruments on the bench. The Cooper-Stewart speedo had to be cobbled together using parts from 2 others and the spare case will house the Rover rev-counter (with a new face).


I’ve got most of the artwork for the new faces and have only an oil pressure gauge to secure. I think the Morris Six runs with about 60lbs of pressure so an early gauge is no good. The water temperature probe won’t go into the radiator as the boss will accept only a modern type (my miscalculation) so I’ve found another thermostat housing and I’m going to drill and tap that for a suitable fitting. For the board itself, I’ll do the holes in the plywood first and then overlay the engine-turned aluminium to mark out where to cut. It’s not difficult, it’s just a bit nerve-wracking as getting it wrong means another evening making up a replacement turned sheet.

And lastly, to finish on a high note, the Jowett Juniper emerged and I rattled off a few shots…

Jowett Jupiter

…and the other side.

Jowett Jupiter

The front,

Jowett Jupiter

and the dashboard.

Jowett Jupiter

Good innit.


4 comments on “If At First…..

  1. Andy Jackson says:

    Hi Nigel

    Very interesting to see all this information on your progress. Thank you.
    May I ask if the dashboard is the one supplied by JOAC, which claims to be MDF?
    Yours is very attractive.


    PS Whilst your site is brimming with information, I gather you have various projects on the go and quite often I do not know which car you are picturing or referring to. I think you switch rapidly from one vehicle to the next. Is there a way of labelling to help the uneducated reader please?

    • Hello Andy,
      The dashboard is aluminium and homemade – there’s a couple entries about how I did it but I can’t remember when they were. Most of the ‘Notes’ is about the Hillman except when I describe otherwise. The Austin 7 Special is on its sister site, ‘I’m Just Going to the Shed, I May be Some Time’. I’ve yet to finish that blog though the car has long been completed. As has the Hillman – I’m now 5000 miles down the road in it.
      Thanks for your interest.

      • Andy Jackson says:

        Hi Nigel,
        Actually I was asking about the dashboard for your Jowett Jupiter.
        I am in need of similar for mine and wondered where you sourced yours from please.
        Keep up the good work.

  2. Hello Andy,
    Sorry to have missed the point! The Jowett dash is the original which I stripped and re-veneered. I notice there might be a spare one in need of restoration in the pile of bits that make up the ‘Le Mans’ Jowett; we’re going to have an ali dash on that one. I’ll check with Learned Counsel and get back to you.

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