You wouldn’t think that it would take that long, but it does. The voltmeter arrived at lunchtime and I set about taking it apart – old instruments are easy because I suppose they were largely assembled by hand but modern ones are a bit of a nightmare; most of the manufacturing process must be automatic – fit and forget – lots of crimps and not too many screws.
The first thing to do was to draw up a new face with the numbers in about the right place. Add a few decorations – all the instruments are labelled Cooper Stewart – and print to fit. The artwork may seem a bit wobbly; that’s deliberate and gives the finished article the right look. If it was precise with very sharp edges, it would look wrong.
I used a spray glue to stick the new face on; sometimes the job is made easy if the needle comes off but usually you end up wrecking the instrument if it doesn’t pop off easily first time. This needle stayed very firmly in place so I had to work around it which made the job a bit awkward. Once the needle hole is punched, a cut with a very sharp scalpel to the edge of the face will allow you to gently manoeuvre the new face into position. There were two stop pins on this face so I had to sacrifice the first print to get the positions of the holes for those right and also the face securing screws added an extra fiddle. It was all a bit of a face-up really.
I don’t know why it says ‘London’ twice – it must be one of those gauges from the batch with the printing error which makes it such a rare and valuable instrument – a bit like an over-printed penny blue. The old ammeter was a much larger diameter so I had to do a bit of bodging with some ply to make sure that the hole in the dashboard was filled.
But it turned out alright in the end and it looks very nice on the dash.
And that was approximately 8 hours work. The morning was taken up by my continuing with the wiring.
This was all getting a bit out of hand and so I decided to make up a power bus bar…
and, having spent an hour on that, I realised that I was going to create even more of a jumble by adding a fuse box. What dopey didn’t know was that he can get a 10 way fuse box with a power input. I ordered one straight away – which reminded me; I’ve got to re-wire my Marchal headlamps before I fit them. A friend of mine was telling me that he nearly lost a Bugatti with a combination of the original wire in the Marchal headlamps and no fuse in the circuit. I’m quite looking forward to that job – hopefully I won’t do something daft like break the glass. Then I’ve got the decision about what to do with the rear lamps. The spare wheel is actually rather awkwardly placed so the lights will have to be mounted either on the rear wings or on stalks from the chassis rail. I might fit a reversing light in the boss of the spare – the gearbox has that provision.
No doubt that’ll take the best part of a day as well.