I've gathered together most of the bits for the assembly of the spare wheel carrier which, when rigged, will allow me to establish finally, the shape of the turtle deck. I was pushing the car out for a photo session last weekend when I noticed that the body is slightly raised at the back. This is probably because the rear springs aren't doing as much work as the front ones so the weight of the spare wheel, the battery box and a tank full of fuel may help matters. If not, I'll have to make some adjustments in the skinning to get the right look or maybe take a leaf or two out of the springs to soften up the tail.
In fact, I met up with Awkward & Leon the other night ....
... and they remarked that the rear springs may be too stiff per se. But that's the sort of thing that I'll find out only by going down the road.
Open cockpit night driving is always invigorating and reminds me that in the Austin, a dash light over the oil pressure gauge would be a handy fit. I could use one of the two period Lucas items I've got for the Hillman - one for each side of the cockpit - but that would deprive Miss X of her map-reading light. Tricky.
But, getting back to the carrier... I asked Chumley to knock me up a tube (for the usual consideration) that tapered in both directions and which will slip over the spreader bar on the back of the chassis. To the tapered tube will be welded the 6mm steel spine for the back of the skiff.
In reality, the spare is going to be positioned a lot lower than at first envisaged. I tried a couple of positions and, although it's not the prettiest arrangement in the world, the profile works best when the top of the tyre is more or less level with the top of the turtle deck.
The low level of the hub gives me a more pronounced triangulation for the structure - something I was hoping to achieve after the first jury rig.
Of course, the siting of the spare wheel has thrown up another snag which I'll have to work round. I was hoping to put the rear light clusters on the aluminium cover which is going to attach to the chassis rails and give the body a bit more flow to the rear end; that's no longer possible. I'll have to think again and either have them on stalks - not a favourite - or somehow incorporate them into the wings where at the greater height, at least they'll be more visible.
And this is the top plate which will carry the load strut. I'm almost too embarrassed to mention it but I managed to get the measurements for that wrong and had to disc-cut a lump from the other side of the fold. I'll have to drill new bolt holes as well - the ones I specified are just too close to the edge on the vertical flange of the chassis cross member.
Maybe I should take measuring lessons in my spare time?