Sunday, 2 December 2012


A bit of a mixture of stuff going on at just now.  Even allowing for the expulsion of all none XK120 related bits from the workshop it's bursting at the seems.  I suppose that this is the point in time when maximum space is required, just before some of the more space consuming parts are re-fitted. 

Every shelf and horizontal surface now occupied - can only get better
I seem to have spent a good deal of time ensuring that the body is correctly fitted back on the chassis but with 5mm rubber replacing the water absorbing and rust inducing felt originally used.  This will also be used between the chassis and the floor boards when I eventually get round to fitting them.

I've finally decided on the Coach Trimmer or should I say after I was 'interviewed' he considered me a suitable client.  John Richardson of Shildon comes very highly recommended by several friends and acquaintances.  He previously worked for David Royle at Barnard Castle, a restoration company with a huge reputation, and used by London's Rolls and Bentley specialists.  Alas Royles went out of business a few years back mainly I understand through some rather large unpaid bills.  Anyway, John decided to set up on his own but restricts his activities to one job at a time and works by himself.  On my first visit, he was busy making a pair of new but old looking seats for a fabulous Delahay race car which almost filled his workshop.  Certainly no doubts about his trimming credentials then.  
My car is booked in for the full works, upholstery, door cappings, carpets, hood, side screens and tonneau and will be away for two to three weeks in March next year, but in the meantime I can send John a few parts to be getting on with.
Having finally decided on Old Red and Biscuit, my amateur effort of trimming the dash in red leather back in spring 2011 now needs to be re-done in biscuit with red edging. 

All to be re-done in biscuit with old red edging
I've decided to change the seat backs to bucket style and order a set of seat frames from Aldridge, trimming company.  The bases are longer and a little thinner than the originals, but very sturdy and well made and will still hinge forward to access the area behind the seats.  This also means that I can increase the height of the central arm rest by a couple of inches to incorporate a storage area.  In all other respects it will look identical to the original. 

New central arm rest, now with storage and ICE controller
The plan was to install a Pure Highway 300i DAB Radio and iPod interface / controller under the hinged lid. Only problem is that they seem to be sold only by Halfords who don't have any, so may have to re-think this, but in any event I don't want any ICE kit on show.
Pure Highway 300i controller will sit nicely
in arm rest storage and also control iPod.
Just need to find one!
With the exception of front disc brakes which I can't do anything about, I really don't want any of the many upgrades I've planned to be seen and this includes hiding away a secondary wiring loom for the ancillary equipment.  To this end, an additional four fuses are required, which need to be accessible but out of site.  The RF95 Voltage regulator is really now only required as a terminal block as its innards have been made redundant by the fitting of an alternator.  The space vacated by it's coils and relays makes an ideal home for a neat little fuse assembly.

Four way fuse box now lives in RF95 Voltage Controller

Side View - looks like it's always been there and will disappear
entirely once the cover is in place.
One job that I intended to do as soon as I got the body back onto the chassis was to check that the door gaps were still as perfect as they were at the body shop when mounted on the jig.  Ideally I need the rear wings back on before this can be done properly, but I need to fit the spring gaiters and locate the correct wing beading before I fit the wings.  The gaiters were sourced some time ago from Wefco and I actually spoke at length to the lady who was going to sew them together which was rather nice.  They looked pretty good before fitting but look superb once sewn up on the springs.

Beautifully made rear spring gaiters by Wefco

Fit on original springs is perfect.  
I understand that on early steel 120's, the beading between the rear wing and body was made up from rexine over paper cord then painted body colour.  I have managed to source some exterior quality Vinyl (normally used for hoods) which looks similar to rexine and is almost an exact colour match and this will be used to make up the beading.
My recent visit to the Classic Car Show at the NEC started very well.  The entrance to the exhibition was dominated by a beautiful 120 Roadster on a pedestal, who's first owner was Clark Gable.  This car has been restored at very considerable cost by JD Classics and went on win best in class at this years Pebble Beach Concours.  With such a prestigious win, I would expect it to be technically correct in every tiny detail, meriting around thirty photographs for future reference.

One off special colour by the factory - became known as
Gable Gray.    Note rear wing piping in body colour.
 Pity they wouldn't let me open the bonnet and boot.  I was reliably informed by it's temporary custodian / security guard that this was not possible due it's value of £3.4 million!  With Chassis No 670003 it's certainly worth more than a later aluminium car at say £250K but how much more will the Gable connection influence it's value?

Clark Gables 67003 - Value £3.4 Million? - Unlikely but who knows
The stream that runs thirty meters from my front door has a normal level of around three meters below my damp proof course.  Up to the 27th of November it had rained almost continually for four days and I must say I was starting to become a little concerned when I could see the level rising by the hour until it was almost over the top.  This is in spite of a very expensive flood relief scheme built in 1979.  A little research revealed that we are still in a 'zone 3' area which effectively means we can expect to be flooded once every one hundred years or so.  With thirty odd years gone, the odds are shortening!  Fortunately the rain stopped a and within a few hours it was back to normal.

Next Post mid December