I cut holes for all the gauges in the instrument and also cut the hole for the glove box and folded the edges for that in. The glove box is made to Austin pattern. The top and side edges have tabs which get spot welded to the inside of the actual box. The bottom edge folds over a vertical lip on the base of the box itself. I am thinking of finding another Austin 0-10PSI oil gauge and fitting that next to the tachometer above the steering column. The smaller David Harcourt oil gauge I could then use as a boost gauge. Pressure is pressure so it doesn’t matter if it is measuring oil or air (which is why air bubbles in your oil pressure gauge line doesn’t matter).
That was all done last week. This weekend passed was the Roycroft trophy weekend. And it was an eventful one. That story can be told later.
Today I made the actual box to fit behind the panel. The first box as I will need to make another. I carefully measured (twice!) and folded the box using a borrowed folder being very careful to make it fit the tabs perfectly.
I even remembered to allow for the fold up at the base of the front edge. What I forgot to do was allow for the fact that the bottom of the box sits lower than the front of the hole. The sides need to be about 1/2 inch taller.
And of course that was my last piece of steel! After that I gave up and came in in disgust with myself. Will sort out getting more tomorrow.
Today I put the floors and painted transmission tunnel in place. I did have to re-drill the holes in the frame and tunnel so everything would fit. It did all fit previously but was very fiddly to get right. I think when I added in the T-nuts some positions changed slightly. Oversized holes (which seems to be British car standard if my MG is anything to go by) gives the extra wiggle room to get everything fitting again.
With the floors in place I was able to refit the instrument panel. I made sure that was flat today and drilled the mounting holes for it. With that in place I could refit the steering column bracket. That required a little tweaking but now fits correctly.
Tomorrow I will cut the holes for the glove box and for the instruments. The torque tube cover is in place but doesn’t have a clip yet.
Yesterday I welded up the cracks in the corners of the skin. They happen due to the sides flapping about so I also bolted on a piece of timber temporarily to stop that happening. I need to do a little more hammering on the sides. The flat welds are much harder to get smooth than the curved ones! But they aren’t so important as where they are there will be wheels and guards and so on hiding where the welds are.
Today I made a steel instrument panel. I rolled the bottom edge around a piece of 8mm steel rod. That went a little wrong and I have ended up with a slightly curved panel as the rolled lip is slightly fatter on the ends than the middle. I can fix that easily enough and can make sure it is flat. This is is temporarily clamped in place.
Obviously I still need to make the holes for the instrument and the glove compartment. I think I will paint it crackle finish black when it is complete.
I also (yesterday) took a picture of the spring clip holding the cover in the transmission tunnel in place.
I made a little steel template of it. Once I find the right, springy steel I can make my own one.
Today I painted the transmission tunnel. I hung it up outside under a tree and sprayed it. That’s now hanging in the tin garage to dry.
I also made a new bracket to attach the steering column to the frame. It now doubles as the panel the starter is attached to. I took apart the starter pull which was just a matter of unscrewing the outer spring cable then unsoldering the inner wire. I then put the bits in the ultrasonic cleaner which immediately shook off all the white paint in the lettering! Once it was clean it was simple to repaint it using Humbrol enamel. I use number 41 which is Ivory Gloss apparently. I just splodge some on the wipe off the excess with a rag. I will replace the outer spring and cable with something else, perhaps bits from an old MG choke cable which I am sure I have somewhere.
The new bracket is made from steel. I brazed two pieces together then added in some end plates so the whole thing should be quite strong. The pull starter will be next to the right hand side of the steering column.
I won’t mark and drill the holes to attach it to the frame until the frame is attached to the floors and bolted to the chassis. I did however temporarily put the floors in place. I think I will paint the bracket the same grey as the frame.
I also painted my little cover I made yesterday. I was worried it will be too glossy but it will dull over time and, as Joss pointed out, original Austin bits were painted gloss black. This is an original flywheel cover and it’s pretty glossy despite being grubby!
I still need to weld up the cracks in the skin and add a temporary brace. Then I can scuff the inside of the skin and then we’ll finally be ready to wrap the skin on the frame. I think then it will really start looking like a car!
Today I spent all day doing one small piece of metalwork. I made a cover for the hole in the transmission tunnel that allows access to grease the torque tube mounting. A real Austin one looks like this:
I don’t have a real Austin one so I needed to make one. It didn’t need to be exactly like the proper one. It just needs to be right. It took me three attempts to work out the best way but this is what I did. I made two steel formers. One to punch the small swages and another to do the overall shape. These were just made from bits of steel crudely welded together. I am using a punch and die principle here.
First I punched in the two small swages.
Then I put the plate on the large die and punched in the main flange. Basically you lay the steel over the hole. Line the punch up over the top and belt the crap out of it with a big hammer. That forms the metal crudely.
As the metal pushes into the die the edges will pucker up. I think clamped the whole thing to my workbench plate and hammers the flanges flat. I found using a G clamp holding everything down worked well.
Next I hammered in the dome. This was just done on the sandbag with a teardrop shaped mallet.
Finally I did a bit of planishing with the hammer to smooth things then wire brushed it.
I am really pleased how it came out. It’s not perfect, definitely hand made, but it looks right. Proper vintage!
I need to make a little metal clip that holds it in place on the transmission tunnel still but the tunnel can now be painted which means it can then be bolted in place with the floors and we are then ready to attach the skin. The skin needs a couple of small cracks on the front corners welded and I need to clean and sand the inside of it. I’ll just scrub it with a green scotch pad to get a nice, matt finish.
The other news is I was hating my job (I had been in only three months) so, like number 6, I resigned. The plan is to take some months off to work on the car and various other projects for a bit. I told everyone I was retiring. I am only about 25 years too early!