Planning & Preparation.
The Alvis engine and gearbox are a bit of a lump and the rocker box weighs almost as much as me! I discover from the engine number that it's a late Series 1. The 4-speed gearbox is a British Leyland creation - the same one fitted to the Austin Healey and the first gearbox fitted to their cars that Alvis didn't make. It has apparently some problems with weak synchromesh but, with a bit of digging I've discovered that a 5-speed Getrag box, as fitted to BMW's (I'm not sure which one) can be adapted. The Tremec T56 box found on Mustangs and the like, can also be used but the price of those made my eyes water.
A disc brake conversion to the front hubs (these are new and have been made up specially to fit modern wheel bearings) looks a relatively simple exercise. There's bags of room for a disc and the hub carrier has four holes which can be utilised for the caliper mounting.
An Alvis TD21 manual was something I was searching for on the net when I tripped over the next best thing - arguably an even more useful tool than a manual - a fully illustrated spares list.
For instance, this clearly demonstrates that the timing chain is at the back of the engine rather than the front - a handy thing to know - and the previous owner of the manual has kindly annotated some of the drawings with part numbers for filters etc.
So, although it was a bit more than 15/-, it was an excellent buy. I took a few measurements of the TA14 chassis and made up a drawing of the basics so I can start working out shapes for the body.
The dotted lines represent the 18" Lagonda wheels (complete with tyres), the solid lines, the 15" TD21 wheels. There's not a lot of difference at this scale but having the right wheels will make or break the look, just as the wings on the Hillman needed to be just right.
At last I've managed to make room to get the Rover into the workshop to finish off the gear lever and handbrake quadrant. The Riley single-seater has gone back into store - it was a project beyond my capabilities and I lacked specialist knowledge of the marque to make headway with the kit of parts it came with. I'm happy to admit defeat on that one. The Alvis is in a slightly different category - the rolling chassis is there and it's rolling. That is a huge advantage over something like the Riley. It means that all the running gear is there - no missing special nuts and bolts, thrust washers and the like. The engine and gearbox are complete as far as I can tell from a cursory glance and there's a steering box and column, a pedal box of sorts, fuel tank and various odds and ends peculiar to the TA14 and TD21.
The disc brake conversion on the Hillman is complete. The discs aren't anything like as sharp as I imagined they might be - a good thing as there's no seat belts - but the great improvement is that the car stops in a perfectly straight line - full left rudder was needed in emergencies before now. Counsel and I had a bit of a game balancing up the rear cable brakes with the discs and although it all works rather well, I think I might need a different size master cylinder to give a little bit more of a progressive feel - something I might have taken into account had I done the planning and preparation.