Saturday, 31 December 2011


New to Blogs?
If you're reading this for the first time, you might want to start at the beginning.  You can use the "Blog Archive" list to the right to quickly navigate around.  To find the start, click on 2010 (1) to go to the First Post.  Use the "Blog Archive" list again (2012) to return to here or anywhere in between.  Sorry if this is a little confusing but its just the way that blogs apparently work.  The last post is always the first post you see.

With just over one year elapsed since purchase, the work schedule is still reasonably in tact but will need to be improved on, to win back some of the built in contingency.  The Christmas break has seen nothing more than a bit of a "dabble" with the odd inevitable hangover not exactly helping things. 

For Christmas, my daughter bought me an Idiots Guide to Blogging which says that I should be producing between one and three posts a day to be successful. So hey-ho, I guess Ill just have to settle for failure with two a month.  If progress picks up, I could possibly stretch it to one a week!

Anyway, back to the job in hand.  How often have you seen the phrase in Classic Car adverts "bare metal respray" and wondered just exactly how bare was the metal at its very "barest" stage?   Back in August, the front and rear body sections and other assorted bits were taken to Dave Ferguson at Hutton Rudby and media blasted in every nook and cranny, with not a vestige of anything other than clean metal and lead remaining.  After this somewhat brutal process, the body was immediately etch primed to prevent the formation of any surface rust on the now spotlessly clean steel.  Dave had purposely picked an ideal hot dry day to complete the job, and then trailered the bits five miles back to Auto Body Craft at Stokesley.

The wooden temporary chassis had done sterling service up to this point, but in order to ensure an absolutely precise re-construction of front section, doors then rear section, it was decided that the chassis proper, currently also in etch primer, should be utilised from this point forward. 

Picture taken just before the trip to Dave's for media blasting, and
a reminder of the reason for removing the side of the wing.  Its the
 only way to gain full access to the nasty bits which invariably rust,
and reside behind it.  Although only the bottom of the side frame
 was rusted out, we decide it would be altogether better to replace
 the whole frame on each side.

After blasting and etch priming, with the new side frame from
Contour Autocraft in place and now sitting on the proper chassis.

New sill with B post, tacked in place for first trial fit, with the original
number of packing pieces on the chassis outriggers.  The steel
triangulated braces also fit exactly as before which all bodes well.

Lots of other detail bits are being attended to.  Alex just didn't like
the look of these flange plates, or the way they were fitted so
decided to replace them. 

Wing back in place after much seam sealing and wax-oiling of
the bits behind it.  The decision on the colour (previous post)
was essential because the door hinges needed painting and
fitting before the wing was welded back in place.  Door fit looks
pretty good and rear section first trial fit also looks promising.
Once Alex is happy with the way the whole car sits together on the chassis, it will have all the new parts properly welded back together.  A slight change of plan is to solidly brace the body with steel box section and adjustable threaded rod, so that it can be safely lifted off the chassis in one piece.  I then need to fabricate the rear part of the chassis in ply, to form a complete temporary base for Alex to sit the whole body on in order to start the bodywork in detail. This will free up the chassis for me to start re-assembly back in my workshop, hopefully around mid March. 

Back in 1996 a bought a Frog Eye Sprite (Bug Eye in Americana's)  I spent three years restoring it and another three making it go like stink, handle even better, and eventually stop.  This involved various hair brained DIY add-ons including Turbo Charging, Nitrous-Oxide and eventually after a few engine mishaps and detonations, a Supercharger.  I still have it, and use it for sunny days, the occasional hill climb and track days.  I usually drive it like a demented teenage delinquent and it scares the crap out of me.  It will I think, one day be responsible for the onset of an adrenalin related coronary incident.  Just a matter of time.

Somewhat crowded engine bay of Frog-Eye with ad-hoc additions
and associated plumbing, bit like a V12 Jag engine bay in that respect.
Through out my ownership it has always suffered to some extent from wheel balance problems and try as I may, I have never found a tyre depot that filled me with confidence, with endless attempts to get the wheels balance correctly.  I am pretty well barred from all my local depots due to my insistence that they do a second check after achieving the usual 0-0 on the balancing machine first time round.  Always, and I mean ALWAYS it no longer reads 0-0 when they very reluctantly put the wheel back on the machine.  The reason I'm sure, is that the cones are not designed specifically for wire wheels and the wheels fit on the machine slightly differently each time.  That's why, when you take them to the tyre depot you always hear the guy say "don't know who balanced these mate but they're a ******* mile out"  Actually, it was you, last week, and you charged me twenty quid, is a not much appreciated response.

So whats to be done?  Browsing EBay a few weeks back after yet another wobble issue, I happed upon a proper adaptor for balancing wire wheels, bid on it and amazingly won it for £26.00.  Its designed to fit a "Sice" balancer, so all I have to do now is find a Tyre Depot out of the area that has such a machine.

Adaptor for Sice wheel balancing machine  - after a little TLC.
The very fact that such an accessory exists must mean that
there is a need for it!
Next job starting 2nd week in January will be re-assembly of rear axle and one half of front suspension.