All this looks very nice but the difficult bit was yet to come – the centre pillar.
Not having a welder that’ll tackle aluminium, I’ll rivet the assembly together and pop down to see George (who welded up my Austin windscreen) and afterwards insert a steel support plate to stop the whole business folding backwards. The joins in the Austin screen frame weren’t that accurate but George said ‘don’t worry about the gaps – if I can jump it, I can weld it’. He’s a man to know.
And, because the bonnet hinge sticks proud of the profile, I’ve added this wooden filler to make the top line of the car continuous. I’ll shape that and it’ll be painted rather than varnished.
The wing stays were another pressing matter and I set about mounting the original Hillman front stays. I had thought in the past that these were rather clumsy affairs and lacking elegance but with time running out and their accommodating a headlamp bar (thus saving a lot of extra work) I chose to make allowances for their appearance. The ends that support the wings will have to be altered to suit the new profile or, if I can get away with it for now, maybe a beech block will suffice for The Monaco Dash and I can attend to the details on my return.
As these cars are always ‘work in progress’, I can come back to things and re-do stuff at leisure. I still haven’t finished the Austin – despite my best intentions – and the aluminium strips to make the front wings have 3 years of dust on them!
I’ve since altered the paint scheme by bringing the radius a little bit further back which helps to balance the look of the car a little better. And whilst I was playing with Photoshop, I began to wonder if I had explored all my options properly.
This scheme is quite nice but it’s just not individual enough.
The lights are about the right height (I’ve yet to finish their restoration having been distracted by lengthening the brake rods to reduce the pedal travel in the cockpit). And the other job which I’ve wanted to do for a while…..
… raise the exhaust. It looks so much better. I cut a small ‘V’ in the stainless pipe just forward of the bulkhead, pushed the two ends back together and welded it up; got it right first time as well! A 20 minute engine run and another whizz round the yard and nothing fell off; there were no odd noises and it all worked as advertised. I hear from my chum in the US that the wings are due on Friday. I’m hoping that I’ve got the rear stays done by then as there’s some work to do on the wings – putting the wire edge in and sorting out the joining plates.
If I have the stays done I can offer up the wings as work progresses and make sure nothing gets out of line.