Thursday, 22 August 2013

An Alvis Triumph

That one'll get the Car Afficianados going......

"What's he planning? A 2.5 PI engine shoe-horned into that poor TA14?"

Oh, dear me, no..........

Nothing so naughty.

No, today I ventured once more unto Wisbech, this time in the inestimable company of my pal Jane, ex-Holemaker and owner of a very nice Triumph TR4.

We went in that very machine so Andy and Terry at The Body Shop in Wisbech could give the car a thorough once-over before quoting for the job of restoring the bodywork including a bare-metal respray.

While we were there, I took some pictures of the Alvis. Terry has been cracking on with it!

 The leading edge of the rear wings will be trimmed to just below the new sill line.

 The front wings have been bare-metalled & local repairs have been stitched in where needed.

 The rear wings will have beading between them and the body tub.
The fit, however, is now pin-point perfect.
The beading will allow for the body flexing when the car is under way.
 The elegance of the Carbodies Drophead Coupe coachwork is now beginning to re-emerge.

Jane and Andy chatted while I took these shots, and Jane agreed to Andy's quote for the work on her car.

Terry joined us and we all nattered about the Alvis for a bit.
(During this, I decided, with help and guidance from Andy and Terry, on the hood colour. A matching shade will be used for the rear wing piping. Andy also suggested keeping the original interior, but changing it's colour to also match the hood. The front reats squabs had been re-trimmed before I bought the car. This was done in a shade of red which isn't even close to the original upholstery, which has weathered to a deep reddish brown. Any further local repairs to the original seats will also not show up if the colour change is done. So I've decided to go ahead with it.All in all, it should look jolly nice!)
Jane then had a brilliant idea. Her garage will be empty while Andy and Terry work their magic on her TR4, so she suggested they deliver the Alvis to her place when picking up the TR4. This will give me a window of about 8-10 weeks in which to re-wire the Alvis, sort out the steering box, rebuild the engine and attend to any other mechanical work that may need doing.

So, hopefully, all this forward-moving momentum will keep on going!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Further on down the road..........

............and further on round the bend........

Today, I took Jackie up to Wisbech to see the Alvis and to decide what colour it shall be.

Progress this week has been very good:

Both doors are on.

The rebuilt boot lid has been reinstated

 Much remedial work has been carried out on the rear wings

The rear arch repairs are complete

Yes, the rather lovely flowing script that has been delicately angle-grindered into the nearside door does spell a rather rude word..........
May I point out to the more delicately minded amongst you that this is perfectly legitimate 'workshop shorthand' (or 'Workshop Esperanto') for the presence of large quantities of 1940's lead body-solder.
It is not an act of vandalism.
Nor, indeed, is it an ignorant comment regarding the relative merits of the Alvis TA14 in general or FFU 297 in particular........
Any lead found in cars of this period (it was widely used in the forties and fifties before the advent of plastic body filler) is highly dangerous.

If it is reduced to air-borne dust in the removal process, (for example, by angle grinding) inhaling it will do the person doing so No Good Whatsoever.

Hence the, (admittedly terse), warning and reminder engraved on the bodywork.
I hope this explanation will prevent another overload of The Auntie Mary Filter (TM), and perhaps serve as smelling salts to any daughters of the clergy who may have fainted as a result of reading this post........


Anyway, there's still a long way to go.........

Terry will not be happy until the doors click shut with light finger pressure and the gaps are beautifully even all round.

This means removing the doors again, rebuilding the frames with new wood and metal, then replacing the leaded areas of the door skin with new metal..

Likewise, the wings will be fettled to within an inch of their lives to achieve a fit that Terry considers acceptable.

The hood frame, also, is to be completely re-built. All the wood has deteriorated beyond the point of re-use and one of the metal 'hoops' is quite badly damaged.

So not only will FFU 297 be completely rot-free, it's going to be one of the straightest, tightest TA14s in Groovetown.

I am very lucky to have found, in Andy and Terry, a couple of craftsman who take such a pride in their work.........

In fact the only thing over which I think they would take issue with me is my use of the words 'one of the'.....

But Mother brought me up to regard modesty as a virtue........

Oh, and the colour Jackie chose?

Well, I could tell you..........

But you'll all have much more fun trying to guess!


Monday, 5 August 2013

Turning the corner........

........which is as good an alternative to 'going round the bend' as I can think of, presently.....

Yes, you'd have to be unhinged to take on a project like my TA14 Alvis.........

 And to prove it, here they are!

Yes, the car was unhinged. (You read it here first, folks.....)

I then took the hinges round to Roger so he could machine some nice new stainless steel hinge pins and fit them to the brass hinges.

They are now lovely and tight, so the doors won't drop when they are opened.

(This was making the achievement of nice, even panel gaps much more of a trial for Terry than it should have been......)

So, for the benefit of any TA14 Alvis afficianados out there who might have wandered into this nonsense by accident, here of some snaps of FFU 297 'turning the corner'......

The patient is definitely sitting up and taking notice........

All sill timbers, new marine ply floor and toe-board are all finished and in position.

This is the new off side sill cover, fabricated by hand by Terry.

And this is the 'former' he used to create those complex compound curves.......
As the late, great, Ian Dury so rightly said, 
'There ain't half bin a lot of clever b@st@rds!'

This is the nearside sill-cover welded in place.

(In a brief aside, it's worth noting that on the TA14, the steel sill-covers are purely cosmetic. The load-bearing structural timber is doing all the work. Which means woodworm, not rust, is the issue!)

Compare Terry's wonderful work with the patched up pieces of knackeration which were removed....
Off-side sill-cover welded in position

This wavy bit of tin, (or what my sainted Grandfather, and Motor-Engineer Par Excellence, Eric Coles, used to refer to as 'oven iron'....) was installed in 1971 when the car was last heavily fettled.
It's going to go, and thanks to the kind offices of Alvis Owner Club Marque Secretary Eileen Goddin, an accurate and proper replacement boot-floor will be made in steel to measurements and photos supplied by AOC member Steve Tillyer.
Thank you so much for your help you lovely people!

Detail of the nearside bottom corner of the scuttle.
 The steel had rotted through, the wood beneath was worm-eaten and rotten and the whole lot had dropped 1 and a 1/2 inches on the chassis outrigger, which had a hole in it.
Good as new.
I'd been very worried about the bootlid: I pulled it to bits then lost the photos of where all the bits went ( they are adrift in the datasphere.....)
I needn't have worried.
Here is the bootlid completely renewed and ready for re-fitting.

I feel I should at this point say something to the effect that I think Terry and Andy are good.......
They aren't good.
They are magicians!

Meanwhile, around the rest of the workshop, other Alvis TA14 body parts await their turn for surgery.

At this rate, we are going to have to make up our minds what colour we want it fairly soon!