July 25th, 2011

So with the car in the garage I started looking at what I had. I wanted to remove the existing body as it is not in my idiom at all. I also want to totally strip and rebuild everything which means TOTALLY dismantling the car. I figured I should just be able to unbolt the body from the chassis but unfortunately this proved to be impossible. The way it had been constructed was with a steel frame was bolted to the chassis then then the aluminium body panels riveted to the frame. This mean a lot of the bolts attaching the frame to the body were inaccessible. The frame was attached using stove bolts and square washers and in places that made access impossible.  So I started removing the aluminium.

Luckily I came across this very handy film on YouTube showing how to restore a 7. I even already have the Police Box they drive past at 3:00 minutes!

Actually, the body removal part of that clip proved quite accurate. Removing the body involved lots of drilling of rivets. I found a lot of them were loose so drilling proved tricky as they would just spin in the holes. Luckily this mean they weren’t tight so often I was able to literally tear the aluminium off. Parts of it had also been glued on with some kind of adhesive but I found if you inserted a large screwdriver you could just pop the seams easily. When I was doing this I found a lot of the brazed welds on the steel frame broke.  Eventually, after much drilling and ripping, I had the frame stripped.

IMG_0214_1 Body stripped of aluminium.

With the skin removed I could see what I had. Now I admit I am a perfectionist and I do have very high standards. This is probably why I am still a bachelor. I always suspected I would probably want to build my own body from scratch.

Errr, that’s not related to the bachelor comment.

I don’t like to criticise others work but I do feel this body as I got it would have been unsafe to use. A lot of the brazed joints just broke with a small amount of pressure on them and they never would have held up on a car where everything flexes.  So I feel it is the right thing starting from scratch.

IMG_0208_1 IMG_0212_1

Stove bolts holding body on and brazed frame.

With the body off I was able to get to the stove bolts holding the frame to the chassis and totally remove it.  The great thing about working on such a small car is you can handle most jobs by yourself. I was able to manhandle the frame outside.

IMG_0240_1 Frame removed.

With the frame gone I was able to see what I have. The chassis is sound, apart from a few extra holes here and there which I shall weld up. The steering box is not attached firmly at all. There is some kind of wedge in there but it doesn’t seem to be the right angle to me. The box will come off anyway to be refurbished so I will sort that out later. I want to restore everything. It’s the only way to be sure. With my MGB I didn’t restore the gearbox and that’s the part that’s giving me trouble now!

IMG_0251_1 IMG_0243_1 Car free of body.

The other thing I did was buy a new carburettor. It’s a NOS (New Old Stock) AUC 884 SU that came up on TradeMe. It’s an H2, 1.25 inch off an 1958 Morris Oxford apparently. Should be fine for this engine I think once I change the needle and maybe dashpot spring. I’ve never seen a brand new SU before! interestingly enough when I went to collect it I ran into an old workmate of mine into restoring old motorcycles at the sellers garage and also the nice chap selling it is in the vintage car club so I suspect I will bump into him again.

IMG_0241_1 Brand new (50 year old) 1.25″ SU carb.

So now I have the car stripped to a chassis the next job is to pull that apart (basically you keep dismantling things until you can’t go any further) and restore it and the running gear then start looking at the engine and gearbox.

This final picture is for my friend Dave who didn’t believe me I could fit an Austin 7 in my garage sideways!

IMG_0255_1 Sideways!


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