A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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20 April 2013

That's Art That Is.

The first decent day in months. I opened the workshop door at 7.30 - that was probably a bit enthusiastic as there was quite a sharp frost overnight - and got cracking on the body. I spend quite a lot of time thinking about how to do things but really, there's no substitute for getting stuck in and making the first cut. Sure; I'm going to make a few mistakes but these are more often than not oversights - things I didn't see until the job was offered up. But if the sun's out and you're down to shirt sleeves for the first time in 7 or 8 months, nothing is too big a problem.

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So the first thing to do was to muster as many Bulldog clips and strips of wood as possible and get the body line right(ish) so bulkheads and frames could be cut to shape. I decided to use 12mm ply for the basic shapes of the frames and then later, I'll build up around them with ash. Unfortunately, inexpensive cameras produce terrible distortions and in actual fact the top longeron is horizontal from the radiator to the frame behind the seat. That's quite an important factor in the styling - at the moment it looks a bit like a flying banana (the sort of idea that Learned Counsel would pick up on and repeat endlessly). It looks a bit better 3/4 front..

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The sides of the body aren't going to be barreled like my Austin; they're just nipped in from top to bottom from the firewall back. The plan view is looking very skiff-like so far but the back won't be as sharp as it is here..

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... and the rear frame will be open in the middle. The office is looking good and the ergonomics are pretty much the same as the '29 tourer. I sat in the mock-up the other night. It felt very comfortable and I was delighted to find that the clutch was quite light - Miss X will appreciate that.

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However, the bottom rail is 1" ash, plus a bit for the anti-vibration matting I'm putting between that and the chassis so, to preserve the body line I've cut the required amount from the bottom of the frames and that's lowered the dashboard - so I've had to take an 1" from the bottom of that as well - all that means is that the instruments will be slightly more closely packed but you won't clang your knees on the panel. The hole for the pedals was a bit of a lark (here was one of my mis-cuts) and the relief for the steering column was also a bit of a game..

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.. but it all worked out in the end. So by late afternoon I had the two cockpit frames cut - there's still a bit of tidying up to do on the top radiuses - and had cut to length the forward parts of the bottom rails. Throw on a couple or three floorboards and you've got a car!

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And whilst I was cleaning up ready for the next step, I noticed that the sun had come round the corner and was now low enough to cast some interesting shadows on the floor of the workshop...

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That's art that is.

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