Measure Twice…

It seems that I’m pathologically incapable of getting measurements right. I sent off the drawings for the friction damper mounting brackets and didn’t hear anything back so assumed that everything was hunky dory. What I didn’t know was that Clever Chap who normally spots my gaffes and rings me, was on holiday so, well, here’s the picture:

Top bracket hole

The rogue measurement is arrowed. How I managed that I can’t begin to conceive but, here’s the result:

Top brackets

That’s why it’s always handy to have someone in the drawing office who knows your limitations. Anyway, I popped the friction dampers on and, although I’ve still got to drill the holes in the chassis for the front upper brackets and do the ‘U’ bolt for the rear lower mounting blocks, the dampers complete the ensemble very nicely. Here’s the offside rear…

Rear damper

and here’s the offside front…

Offside front damper

Then it was back to the bodywork but, first I had to settle on a scheme for the spare wheel carrier because the more I thought about it, the more I realised it would have to be part of the body and not just something hanging off the back as an afterthought.  Every time I sat down at the kitchen table, I added to my doodlings to try to get closer to what I wanted and I think that I’m just about there. I’ve made a few measurements (practice makes perfect) and it’s all looking do-able.

Spare wheel carrier

The central spine which forms the profile for the tail of the car will be in 4mm steel. I’ll weld to that a couple of threaded blocks, one of which will take the actual hub for the wheel and the other will form part of the triangulation going back to the bracket mounted on the cross beam of the chassis. The base of the spine will be welded to a piece of stout tube with a gusset each side to stop lateral movement and this will slip over the stretcher that keeps the rearmost ends of the chassis apart. The spine will be sandwiched in ash so the body frame can be attached. It may seem a bit over-engineered but I could do with some weight on the back and also, as a bonus, the protection it will afford the fuel tank and the back of the car will be as good as having a tow-bar.

Body lower rails

With the spare wheel sorted out I was able to make a bit of progress on the back of the body. The 2 lower rails have been cut to shape and they blend in nicely with the radius from the cockpit. I may have to make an adjustment to the rearmost bulkhead as that’s pushing the sides out a bit too much. I can’t really do much more for the moment except continue to ponder how to do the top rails; I might have to make up a steamer out of some drain pipe and a wallpaper stripper to get the double curvature.


So whilst I was thinking about that, I slotted the dashboard and popped it on to see how it looked. Not bad, although I’ve got a bit of a problem with the switch on the extreme left of the panel but it’s not insurmountable (so to speak).

front offside friction damper

And finally I drilled and mounted the front friction dampers, turned up a couple of extra spacers for the steering cross-link and tightened up the bolts on the propshaft. The only thing left to do on the chassis is fit grease nipples to the spring shackle pins and give all the non-painted parts a coat of bear grease.

Happily, neither of those jobs involve measuring anything.

2 comments on “Measure Twice…

  1. Simon Jansen says:

    You could try making a cardboard model from your drawings before sending them off to be made. I’d wait a day or two then try making one so you approach it fresh. I am sure the mistakes would leap out at you then!

    Did you do much to the engine of your Austin when you build that? I am looking at what I will do at the moment. Block seems bored out to +60 already. Phoenix 1 1/2 crank and new rods on the way.


  2. Hello Simon, I’m usually very good at making templates but didn’t think it worth while for the mounting plates – they looked too simple. I made a model for the spare wheel carrier though.

    The only thing I did to my Austin engine – which I consider to be a must – was to put a Pigsty Trials camshaft in it. The engine breathes and revs much more easily and it doesn’t put any strain on the rest of the parts; it just does what Austin should have done in the first place.

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