Struggling on.

November 24th, 2013

Been a while since I last updated. Mainly since it’s been a while since I did much on the car. I recently had to change jobs (not wanting to move to Boston) and having done that now I am just settling in. I have to think at this job and am actually writing code again (a test framework) so by the time I get home I’ve been knackered. A few things have been happening though.

First I spoke with Paul Bonewell in the UK about getting a cam. He’s kindly sorting that out for me, including sourcing a cam to modify there instead of me having to find one and send it over. I am grateful for that. The cam will be for a blown engine but will run on a normal one so I can finish the car NA then supercharger it (and get it certified I guess) later.

Also my crank and rods have arrived in the country. Apparently they arrived in the country on the 6th of Nov but the rest of the time things have been happening with customs and the shipping company (mainly the latter). I haven’t got them yet but the duty and fees are paid (NZ$500) so they should be delivered soon I hope.

In preparation for that I had the head and block sitting in molasses to clean them up. They came up fine. And I cleaned the crankcase and checked it over. That should be fine to use. I did find one buggered thread on the sump where someone has drilled and tapped through the remains of a stud. I was able to tap out the broken part with a hammer and small punch no problem.


That can be retapped or helicoiled I think.

I also discovered how the front bearing lip mod was done. It’s a plate with studs through it. The whole thing pulls out easily enough. I will ask Ian nicely to check if that’s going to be good enough or not.


I also took apart the starter motor to rebuild that. It’s in good condition I think and should clean up well. I might get a new switch for it though (I think you can get these new).


There is no solenoid. The starter is a cable that pulls the switch shut!

And today I got back into the body work. A few weeks ago I pulled the shell off the frame and went over it from the inside and welded up any seams that seems a little weak. There was quite a bit of welding. Of course that made everything wonky again so now it’s more hammer and file work to get it all smooth again. I’ve decided to work on one seam at a time now instead of going round in (never ending) circles.

I started on the front right seam, one of the smallest. I had to do a little more welding on the outside too to fill some small flaws but the corner came up fine. I don’t want to say the welding is easy now, it’s not, but you definitely get more comfortable with it. I will never get the skin perfect but then Joss reminded me this is my first hand made, hand welded car so that’s ok! He also pointed out cars in the 20s and 30s weren’t actually made that well in the first place. Actually the same is true for modern cars. When you know what to look for the paint work on some is terrible!

So will just work on getting it done now. I did one corner and still have 8 seams to go!

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Looks ok in pics but running your fingertips over it shows up the small imperfections. I’ve grown too sensitised to it. You can see here I pulled off the firewall and valences to make things easier to work on. That makes putting the skin on and off easier.

One other interesting thing. My friend Steve has been telling me for a while about an Austin 7 he saw at the bottom of town in a car rental place. I caught up with him and we went for a walk to find it. Turns out it’s literally across the road (and down a bit) from work.

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It’s tucked away in a corner next to a van and behind a hand truck and a rubbish bin. Unfortunately it’s not for hire. But it is registered and road legal. It’s a 1929 model. Apparently the owner of the place restored it for someone years ago. When they passed on they left it to the owner and it’s been there since. Apparently they put Santa in it at Christmas and lets kids sit in it and have their photos taken.


So now I can get the block and head machined and the bores taken out to fit my new pistons. Paul Bonewell sent em details of a mod to make to strengthen the crankcase to block connection I need to look at doing. I also decided the best way to drive the blower will be off the crank so need to look into that. Probably with a V belt and idler. And with a bit of luck I should get the crank and rods this week!


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