A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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11 June 2014

New Discoveries.

With the addition of stewed rhubarb, ice-cream and cream, ginger cake made in the bread-making machine is the perfect desert.

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Because of the limited time available to finish the car, I cast about for various shortcuts and, remembering that what was left of the original Hillman windscreen was propped up in a corner of the stores, I had an idea. It was pretty quickly dismissed though as the squareness of the screen made the car look a bit like one of those early Roll-Royce drophead coupe's with a dickey - a bit stodgy for my taste. Nevertheless, it was excellent to discover that the windscreen supports fitted the scuttle radius almost exactly and I'll be able to adapt the parts to make the 'V' screen that I planned in the first place.

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Then it was time to busy myself with the bonnet panels - a job I wasn't looking forward to particularly. I started off with a cardboard pattern and then cut the shape from aluminium, remembering to allow for the return for the hinges and the beaded edge on the front and back. The first panel took a good part of the day and whilst I was doing that, I got The Ambassador's Daughter to go over any exposed metal around and under the car - nuts and bolts etc - with Bear Grease, a US military spec. protective coating. I slapped it all over the bits on the Austin that were likely to corrode and in 5 years of motoring in all weathers, there's no sign of any deterioration where the grease had been applied.

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The next drama was that I discovered that the front brakes weren't pulling off properly and it took me all night to think it out. When I'd assembled the brakes, I'd used the old return springs which, I remember observing at the time, had lost their set. It was my intention to get them remade and it was only today that I got round to it. The first people I phoned weren't prepared to give me any advice and wouldn't do anything without the original drawings; there were lots of reasons why - mostly to do with covering their backs - but, sometimes you don't want to hear that such and such isn't possible when you know perfectly well that, with a bit of effort, it is. Anyway, I rang a less fancy company and was told that if I could bring the springs down, they were sure they could help me out. That's what I wanted to hear.

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By this time, The Ambassador's Daughter had moved on to making the toile for the tonneau - there's not going to be a hood just yet. Unfortunately, the bit of double duck that I had over from doing the Hillman Tourer's hood was just a couple of inches too small. But, while we still have the sewing machine, a tonneau for the Austin can be made from the surplus. That might inspire me to make the front mudguards and then the Austin will be finished.

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The bonnet side panel was easy-peasy, as was the offside top panel (now I'd got the method) before I discovered.....

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... Cirrostratus pelagia, the elusive jellyfish cloud.

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