Starting the front end.

December 13th, 2011

To give the tail some shape I made up some supports between the sides and the backbone. To bend the tube I took the advice of Joss and made a high-tech pipe bender.

IMG_1210_1 Tube bender.

Yep, basically a block of wood with a hole in it. I sanded the corners of the hole to give a nice radius. To bend the tube you just shove it through the hole and pull on it. You can make progressive curves quite easily with it. I made up four top pieces for the supports and filed the ends so they were a good fit then tack welded them in place. Eventually all the tubes will be filed so they are a perfect fit to each other and brazed but for now everything is tacked with the MIG welder so things can be tweaked as necessary. I think tubes will be moved around and I will probably end up remaking a lot of them but keeping the same overall shape I have now.

IMG_1214_1 Top of tail supports.

Joss paid another visit and offered some more good advice. I should now be looking at the front of the car and getting that nice and solid with everything mounted as it should be. The rest of the body then flows back from that hopefully following the lines I have now. Those however may be tweaked still so everything looks right. Joss also suggested putting a slight curve on the tops of the front two hoops (I also had one a little too low on one side).

The plan now is to get the get the radiator surround in place, get the correct front horns in place and weld the two front hoops into position. Then I make the firewall and the valences on the front (the curved bits under the bonnet that wrap from the side to the bottom of the engine bay). The valences and bonnet will be removable (they are just bolted in place) so working on the engine of the car should be easy since you can remove all the body panels from around it.

I decided I need to watch the time I spend in the garage since I was tending to rush home, go out there then forget the time till it was 11pm then I realise I still had to eat and sleep before work the next day. It got very tiring. Now I am trying to do a few hours each evening and finish at a more reasonable hour.  I am being a bit more organised in what I do and try to set myself small goals.

Monday night was to remove and adjust the front two hoops and bolt the starter nose cone in place so I can get the radiator surround in the right place. The starter cone I have is a later one so it much too long but this actually helps me here as I can use it as a pin to hang the radiator surround on to make sure it is in the right position relative to the engine. It then occurred to me I need the engine in the right place on the chassis. At the moment it is just sitting there without the proper engine mounts.  I have ordered the mounting kit for it (basically rubber mounting bushes I believe) so I can sit the engine at the right height.

IMG_1216_1 IMG_1219_1 Nose piece and front hoops.

So now the front hoops have a nice curve to their tops but they aren’t welded in place yet till I know how high the radiator surround will be. I can’t work out where that will go till the engine is on its proper mounts.

Tonight I decided to make the horns. These are the two brackets at the front of the car that the valences bolt to. The valences bolt to these then the radiator surround bolts to the valences. You can see my original ones in the picture of the nose cone above – the two 90 degree brackets bolted to the front of the A frame. These are totally wrong for this car since I have altered the shape of the body. Joss lent me some off an earlier car so I could see what those look like. These also don’t fit correctly but they show me how it should work.

IMG_1223_1 Earlier horns.

I still have that length of 30mm by 8mm steel bar from when I went to get the steel for the steering wedge. I went and got that from the big garage. There was a slight mishap as I did though. My aluminium ladder got in the way, fell over and hit the MG! There were some words said but I calmed down when I realised the damage isn’t too bad. A chip off the paint on the rear wing and a small crease. I should be able to beat that out and if not a thin skim of filler will take care of it. I managed to get the steel out of the corner without further mishaps.  I then used a thin piece of aluminium to make a pattern of how I needed the steel bent.

IMG_1226_1 IMG_1231_1 Aluminium pattern.

The original horns actually have a twist to them to account for the angle on the sides of the body where the bonnet goes. The mounting holes on the A frame are also at an angle so the horns aren’t parallel to each other. This combined with the narrower body on my car (so a flatter angle) means my horns don’t need as much twist. They only need a slight tweak.

I cut off two lengths of steel and put my steel block (useful for bashing things on) into the vice. This is a cylindrical section and was useful for me to curve the steel around. 8mm steel is hard to bend cold so I used the oxy-acetylene rig with a bigger tip to heal the steel red hot. Then I simple hammered it on the block till I got the right shape. I made two the same.

IMG_1235_1 IMG_1237_1 IMG_1239_1

Steel  horns.

That was my aim for tonight. Tomorrow I will drill the holes to mount the horn, trim the to the correct lengths and then make fine adjustments to the curves. Now the main curve is in the steel I should be able to make small adjustments to the bends with the vice, a large hammer and brute force.If not more heating and hammering is easy enough to do (and fun!).

IMG_1243_1 Horns.

With them sitting in place (not bolted on yet – no holes) you can see they don’t quite fit yet. Some tweaking will be required. I am not sure how good the fit is on normal Austin 7s actually but this is my car so I can make it nice!

One Response to “Starting the front end.”

  1. Rob Burrell Says:

    Fantastic to see how you have overcome various problens associated with building a body from scratch. My rolling chassis also has a Box saloon radiator is almost ready to take a new boby once i have built one, and hope it looks as good as yours is going to look.I will be watching with interest to see how it all turns out. Great job.

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