December 2nd, 2014

I’ve been slack updating although I have been doing little bits and pieces. I can’t remember everything in the correct order!

A few weekends ago was the car club Chelsea hill climb. I went along for that to watch and took a few black and whites.

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I am pleased with the contrast I got on the middle one. I think I’d let my previous film developer get too old so I got some new stuff and it is much better. The stuff doesn’t keep unfortunately. I’ll have to try printing those on proper paper  although I imagine now my print developer has gone off too! I also pushed that 400 film to 800.

I also fixed the rear wheel. One of my wheels was a thin spoke type with a spoke completely broken. I used some tyre irons borrowed from Joss and removed the tyre from that wheel and the spare on the back. The spare rim is a thick spoke one but it also had a spoke missing. I found that the thin spoke one had a few replacement thick spokes in it so I removed one of those and fitted it to the spare. Then, after much struggling and an injury to my back that made me come in and lie on an ice pack for an hour, I got the tyre back on. I gave up trying to fit the spare tyre in the end. Joss lent me a good rim but I just haven’t managed to get the tyre fitted back on it. The old tyres are rather hard. So I just don’t carry the spare for now. I also tightened any loose spokes. Turns out I have the perfect tiny spanner to fit! The good thing about and Austin 7 is to fiddle with the back wheels you don’t need a jack. You can literally just lift the back of the car up and onto the axle stands.

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New tyres should arrive at some point as a bunch of us have done a big order through Marcus who kindly organised all of that. I have been driving the Chummy about. I drove it into work one day last week and managed not to break down or stall anywhere on Queen Street! Everyone looks at you in a car like that. And people want to stop and ask you about it everywhere. I also drove it up Mt Eden.

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Probably a good thing I did as it sounds like they will soon ban cars from going up there at all!

I have used the car any excuse I can get really. I went shopping with it last weekend. In the rain. But it didn’t matter. A little water doesn’t hurt and it all dries out. That little windscreen wiper actually does work!


After one trip I did find my rear light had lost it’s little plastic lens. So I made a new one by machining up a piece of translucent red perspex I have. I carefully opened up the top of the body so that the plastic will fit in there then I can carefully tap the edge back down to hold it in place. A flange I machined on the edge of the disc should help. To fix it I had to remove the light. Since I removed it I decided to clean it up and paint it too.

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The bracket holding the light to the car and number plate was rather lame so I am replacing that with a little metal bracket I made that the lamp can bolt to.

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Also a few weekends ago Joss and Richard popped in in the H-car.

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It now has something very interesting going on under the bonnet, a nice alloy head.


Under the bonnet of the Chummy is looking rather sad as the top water branch was leaking so there were puddles around my spark plugs. Tonight I took that off, cleaned up the surfaces then reassembled with a oil paper gasket with some Loctite 515 smeared on either side. I still need to get a fibre washer to go under the nut holding it in place.


To fix that I had to drain the radiator. There is a plug underneath and I opened that to drain it. Actually the brass plug was so corroded it actually fell out as soon as the socket touched it. The water was being held in by a thick layer of hard crud. Once I poked through that with a screwdriver the water drained.

Joss popped in just then, probably to check up on my lack of updates, and he helped me pull the front of the car apart. I cleaned up the hole for the bung with a 1/4 BSP tap. And I broke out most fo the hard crap in the base of the radiator.

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I’ll properly flush it all out again soon. And since it’s off the car probably give it a coat of black paint. The core is in near perfect condition.

Then some ducks came to visit. One tried drinking from my parts washing bowl (filled with kerosene!) and it didn’t like that so it crapped on my driveway.

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I’ve also been working on the special, the car this blog is meant to be about! I am basically waiting till after christmas and my trip then when I will get back I will start building the engine. In the mean time I started on making a seat. I borrowed an original pattern seat base as a start and, being lazy, copied that with whatever bits of wood I had lying about.

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After gluing on the thin ply top I was worried the base wasn’t going to be strong enough given this seat has to be stood on to get in and out of the car so I added an extra brace underneath.

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That will have on top of it some kind of air cushion made from an inner tube probably. Joss suggests putting that in a canvas bag to hold it then on top of that will go the leather cover. The valve will protrude into the bottom of the seat so you can pump it up to whatever softness you like.

This is just the seat cushion really. Next I need to make the frame that bolts into the car and has the back on it. Below is what the Chummy ones look like with their cushions removed.


These are obviously home made and not quite the right shape. For the special I can make whatever shape I like so I will have a thin seat back and make the sides a but more hip hugging I think. The base is all just thin steel folded up. The back is part of it and will have a wired edge probably and some swages in it for stiffness.

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