Joss popped in today and suggested a slight change I might make. When making the skin the idea of having just one bucket seat for the driver and only a simple seat for the passenger came up. The car isn’t really meant for two people although two can fit. The passenger then can make do with a simple cushion and padded back. This would work better if the rear firewall was further forward which is what Joss suggested today.
So I made some minor modifications to the frame.
Yep, the rear firewall and axle tunnel were cut out. I also removed the unneeded framing around the tail and boot opening. The skin is more than solid enough to be self supporting and since the boot opening will be wired up and not wrapped down around the tubes the tubes themselves weren’t needed. I had an afternoon with the angle grinder chopping bits off the frame!
I will make a new rear firewall that site about an inch or two further forward than the old one. The passenger seat back will attach directly to the firewall, a bit like a bench seat. I will also make a new axle cover which I am quite pleased about as the old one was a bit wonky and I wasn’t very happy with it.
With some of the tubes and the rear firewall removed the skin sits a bit better on the frame but it still needs some adjustment and a lot more smoothing out.
The smoothing will be much easier now as I can do a lot of it with the car on the frame since now I can easily get to both sides of the aluminium.
After taking a break from the car for a bit (I instead fixed up my lathe and worked on my bus sign) I got back into it this weekend. I started filing and hammering the welds to make them smooth. I did split one but that was easily welded back up. I still have more hammering to do yet. I also made some tools to use on the body including the slapping file.
That was made from a large bastard file. You need a 14 inch one. The tang is cut off with the angle grinder and the file ends ground smooth on the bench grinder. I also ground in some finger grips. The file is then heated up and bent to make a handle. Finally the handle is covered in some thick heat shrink.
I also finished the body file and the wooden mallet (made from a bit of firewood and a dowel handle).
Along with those tools I use various dollies although you never have the right shaped one!
I did go back and grind off the tail welds as well as making the little tail cap piece. That is simply bashed out roughly on a hollow log with a big hammer. You can really belt it about. Once you get something like the shape you want you start tidying it up over a bench stake to smooth it all off. You keep trial fitting it, trimming it smaller and smaller, tweaking and re-fitting. Eventually it gets to the right shape and you carefully cut and file until the piece fits in nicely ready to weld.
You can change the shape of the tail depending on how you make this piece.
That was then welded in then hammered and filed until smooth. When hammering a weld split and needed re-welding. This was where I didn’t quite get the two pieces of aluminium lined up before welding. This is important to do. Because they weren’t level when I welded when I filed it I filed through the weld (so technically the weld didn’t fail, it was just removed). I re-welded it and then re-filed it.
That took care of Friday night. On Saturday Joss showed me how to start hammering the skin into shape. First I just need to get the shape correct then later I will go over it smoothing it all out. Later Mike came to help me move the body back home on his trailer.
Now I can do the rest of the work back in my shed. I have made up a holder for the body file I bought. That’s just a lump of wood it is attached to. I also need a wooden mallet so I had a look in the wood pile and found a likely looking wooden log. I cut that, hand planed the back off the the log somewhat round then drilled a hole and attached a handle made from a scrap fop dowel I found under the house. I still need to sand the ends smooth and flat (hence the tape line) but that should work fine. The aluminium is pretty easy to hit!
When I was pottering about a car with a trailer pulled up right outside my house. Seems the load on the trailer wasn’t secure so they stopped to better tie it down. I went to see if they needed a hand. The load turned out to be this:
Apparently it’s a 1946 Norton ES2. The chap said he was only the second owner! It still runs but has been stored for years and it got a little damp so the paint is faded and the chrome rusting but it still looks great! Since my garage door was open they popped in to have a look at the car too and seemed impressed.
Tonight more of the same. Welded in the top of the tail section and did a little more trimming. That’s all the big welds done. Just a little tail cap to bash up now then weld that in.
Tomorrow I will go and grind and file the welds.
Tonight I welded in the mid top section. That went pretty well and my welding is improving. I did go a little lumpy at the end of one weld but nowhere near as bad as when I started! These will be ground down and hammered smooth of course.
Where the welds reach the ends of the panels you can’t weld right to the end as you just blow out the joint. Instead you add in a separate piece and then weld onto that. It then gets trimmed later. You want to trim through a weld so that the joint is strong. If you leave the un-welded portion there a tear could develop that would continue along the panels.
Being the evening I couldn’t grind the welds due to the noise. Joss may do that for me during the day when no one is home.
Joss made up a quick wooden template for the front edge of the rear most panel to see where that needed to fit as my tube on the frame is too low. I don’t actually need the tubes there anyway as the boot opening is wrapped up, around a wire, instead of down around a tube. With the wood in place I tried my original tail piece and as luck would have it it fitted due to being previously trimmed fat. I only needed to cut a small amount off it to get it fitting nicely. That’s now clamped in position ready to weld.
We also started trimming the panels a bit closer to their final shape. I need to finish the bottom of the side welds as mentioned above to finish the welds then trim them through the welds to get the bottom line right.
I will do that after finishing the tail piece welding. Then I need to hammer up and weld in the very tip of the tail and the body welding is complete. Then the hammer and dolly and file work can begin but I can move the car and frame home to do that.
For some reason the tail without that little piece looks to me somewhat like a Womble.