A Change Of Plan.

Plywood?  Still too much work in the time available so Plan ‘C’ it was. I didn’t have a lot of gash wood about the place so I begged a couple of bits for the two front cheeks and the rest was African Tree Wood (the coach builder’s choice).

Filling In The Blanks

The only downside about using solid wood for the turtle deck was that it involved a lot of measuring and cutting of odd angles. Nevertheless, by the end of the day I’d got it all done and it was a relatively neat job to boot.

Turtle deck

Part of the plan was to get The Ambassador’s Daughter busy with one of the wood planes which would break the back of it (so to speak) fairly briskly. On another tack; while I was loading the Gold Seal engine to take to the engineer’s, I noticed a small but shiny something on the top of the block.


It looked a bit like platinum (surely not) and I’m hoping that if it is a repair, then it was done by BMC in 1961 when the engine was last rebuilt. Fingers crossed! When I arrived at the engineer’s and unloaded everything, the bores were given a cursory glance and there was much sucking of teeth. I thought the bores were alright but I suppose that if the engine’s out it would be silly not to at least hone and fit new rings. There was as well, some conversation about the state of the mains and big ends – ipso facto, it’s short commons for a month or two.

A day's work

So with me on one side and The Ambassador’s Daughter the other, between us we managed to plane down the panels to a rough shape and that took all day. We didn’t have an electric plane; I could have borrowed one but I rather wanted to get the feel of each of the panels before I went over with the finishing cut – as you probably know, besides grain, wood has a ‘best cut’ direction and it can be a bit awkward when panels close together have opposite cutting directions. I was careful about the lay when I put them in so didn’t anticipate problems although, as you get deeper into the block, things can change. I’m quite pleased that I made the decision to use wood; the back is now very solid and there’s a bit more weight over the rear wheels.

Almost done

There’s a couple of little valleys that need a touch of filler, mostly at the cockpit end where I was a bit out of line when I first did the angle on the cross beam. Once the filling’s done, I’ll do a final sand and add a coat of body filler to smooth off ready for painting – taking into account that the side panels have to be flush with the top.


I had to break off to do some gardening (I saw my landlord looking over the hedge). It’s been a terrific year for blossom and the Lilac,


the Laburnum and …Crab apple

the Crab Apple I have in my garden have been flowering for it seems, weeks. Then the mower ran out of petrol and I had to go and steal some from the Hillman tank. I noticed that it took only a day for the fuel in the filter bowl to discolour. It came through from the tank very clear so exposure to light must have some effect on it.


I put 4 gallons in the Special’s tank for starting up and generally messing about and when the petrol tap is set to ‘Main’, the pump doesn’t pick up fuel but, when it’s set to ‘Reserve’ (the longer pick-up pipe) it does. I plan to change that by lengthening the ‘Main’ pipe and get it to pick up down to 2 gallons.


2 comments on “A Change Of Plan.

  1. Nigel, Could you save some weight on your turtle deck by routing away some of the wood on the underside? You could use a simple elongated oval pattern and a pattern following router bit and mill away a fair amount of the wood. Just a thought.

  2. Hello John, I think I’d rather have the weight at the moment. When the car is finished, I’ll re-weigh and see where the longitudinal CG is. It was within an inch of the centre of the wheel base so if it’s largely unaltered (African Tree Wood is pretty lightweight stuff), I’ll leave well alone. Also, I don’t fancy routering upside down! Thanks for the thought though.

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