I Had Hoped.....
..... to spend a day at Herculaneum as our schedule showed a free day before the Atalanti arrived and the start of the load-out.
But the next morning I could see her from my hotel window, moored at the end of the pier that transports the cable from the factory to the ship. Blast!
Still, there could have been worse places to be than the Gulf of Naples on a sunny day....
... even if our home for the next 10 days lacked some refinement.
Picking up again the story of Sunita; leafing through books and hoovering up anything I could find on A7 Specials, I noted that many builders seemed to want to avoid the problems of compound curvature in their designs, resulting in often rather unattractive, slab-sided and square-tailed bodies. Having no panel-beating experience and the curvy bits being central to my plans, the obvious choice for me was a plywood laminated construction reflecting de Havilland's practice for the 'Mosquito'.
Knowing that I'd be making difficulties for myself but determined to produce something different, I followed the lines of the model and set out strips to judge the parameters of the floor and bulkheads. The steering column would later have a universal joint inserted just behind the dashboard to get the wheel at the right angle.
The floor shape made provision for the driver's foot and the accelerator pedal by adding a bulge which I imagined I could blend into the body without much difficulty. It wasn't long before the folly of that idea saw me reaching for the jigsaw and altering the line to mirror the nearside.
Similarly, my idea to run the floor around the gearbox and flywheel as tightly as I could, proved impractical (especially when removing the engine). The cut-out for the propshaft was to prove inadequate - not discovered until I went over the first pothole in the road - and later required major surgery.
Once the seating position had been determined, bulkheads were added. Again, the firewall was cut too tightly around the flywheel housing and later caused me to make part of it detachable.
The height of the body was particularly important as I wanted to make sure I sat in the car, rather than on it - a characteristic of many A7 Specials that I didn't want to replicate.
It was time then to transfer the body to the jig and start building up a framework. A good point about having the jig was that it put the body at a sensible working height.
With the addition of stringers, the shape began to emerge. It was very difficult within the confines of the workshop to stand back and check that the body was 'right'. To do that properly meant putting the framework back on the rolling chassis and wheeling it outside.
And thank goodness I did - it was a disaster! There was a real problem with the cockpit sides which were miles too high making the profile very ugly.
Hoping that no one had seen it, I whizzed the car back into the workshop and covered it in cardboard so I could sketch out the re-design.