A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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23 April 2013

If It's Too Good To Be True.....

Because the weekend's work on the shape of the body had gone so well, I turned to reviewing what I'd done because it had gone almost too well. Sure enough, I realised that the frames were at the wrong height because I'd not put the bottom rails and the floorboards in position. The floorboards are about an inch thick and sit on the bottom rails so if I just raised the frames to correct the omission, then the rake from the scuttle to the radiator would become too steep. So the radiator would have to go up an inch as well. Which, in turn, meant that the steering column was out of kilter both in height (of the steering wheel) and length. I went back to the tourer with my tape measure and, immediately distracted as it was such a nice day - 'Drive it Day', as it turned out - I went for a spin. There was 'undreds of old cars roarin' about - everyone waving to each other and so forth; a drop of sunshine just transforms everything. I stopped in a village to pass the time of day with a Norfolk farmer who was out for a jolly in his 1930's Morris Minor and then went on for tea at Cook's.

I got back quite late in the afternoon to find Learned Counsel had put the body frame on the Jowett Jackanapes.

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He must have seen me working on the body of the Hillman and thought he'd better look lively. I haven't seen any sign of the wheels yet - he's going to need some of those.

Anyway, back to the Hillman... after a bit of measuring, I determined that the steering column would have to be lengthened by about 4" so I put in a 6" extension because I know how these rulers can sometimes throw me a curved ball....

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I've raised the radiator shell and consequently I'll have to make up 4 bolts with a grip length of about 5" - the old ones are now too short. I could buy them but they're prohibitively expense and they're not under any particular strain so my home-made ones will suffice.  The rear of the car is looking good and that little kick up at the tail, I don't know why but I think it really makes the difference.

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The car is a little bit taller now but I reckon that at least 75% of the weight is still going to be below the top of the wheels and I'm told by Learned Counsel that this is a good thing. The steering wheel is now in more or less the same position for the driver as on the tourer so that'll be very comfortable (and another good thing).

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So with the new arrangements in place I borrowed The Navigator, who happened to be lurking in the vicinity, to hang on to everything while I took a picture - the wind was getting up and it was only bits of string and a few Bulldog clips holding it all together.

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I'm not sure what she found so amusing; this is a perfectly serious business as far as I'm concerned.

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