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10th May 2018: Wings

After a chilly start to spring, the AC emerged into daylight in mid April. Having temporarily reassembled the body last autumn, I decided to tackle the wings first. Stripping paint, making minor repairs and painting the underside. Next, I'll be completing the repaint of the front inner panels and chassis. I plan to try out coach-paint from Paragon Paints, both black and body colour. For the original paint scheme, AC used the body colour paint on the visible parts of the chassis around the jacking-points, the ledges that the bonnet rests upon, and the bumper irons and associated bolts. Paragon paint looks as though it will work for those steel components, including wheels. When the time comes, I hope to use Tekaloid coach-paint for the body panels. I'll update the restoration section in due course and let you know how I get on.

10th August 2018: Coach-painting

Blessed with fine sunny weather for many weeks, I've been busy painting inner panels, brackets and numerous fittings. As mentioned above, I tried out Paragon Paints so-called coach-paint, where I need a nice finish on steel parts. That was a disaster! It might protect against heat, acids, etc., but the brush-marks are very bad indeed. At least it's handy on small steel parts, since it does not need primer.

So I hastily purchased some Tekaloid coach-paint which fully lived up to its reputation, as brush-marks disappeared within the first few minutes after applying. There have been no shortage of niggling little problems when trying to paint both sides of brackets, as the paint (especially the clear coat) remains very delicate for some days and is easy to spoil. I will write it up in detail at some future date, but for now a few points about colour matching might be of interest.

When trying to establish the correct body paint colour, from the faded original paintwork, there are a few points to consider:

1 - When the surface of the original cellulose paint oxidises, it turns brown. In the case of my light green AC, it changes to a khaki colour.

2 - Certain colours are unstable, including the shade of dark blue used on many ACs, creating a wishy-washy mix of shades.

3 - As any artist knows, colours look more pale, and weak, the greater the distance it is viewed from, due to moisture and dust in the atmosphere. This effect is greater than you might expect even from a short distance. If you take a small panel indoors, examine it closely, take photos at close quarters, it is surprising how dark it looks - especially for lighter colours. It is also important that it is not reflecting any strong surrounding colours, such as blue sky or artificial light.

With the above in mind, I used paint from inside my door openings, as a reference, since this was only partially faded. I identified it as colour number 278, from the BS 381C range, known as "Light Olive Green". AC called it "National Grey"! I took the risk of using my close-up photo of semi-faded original paint, to compare with online colour charts. On-screen and photo colour matching is not as inaccurate as it used to be. I did buy two BS colour charts previously, only to find that light olive green was omitted! Thankfully, the colour is an excellent match, with a much more vibrant look than the faded version, but pretty close to the less faded areas of the old paint.

Here is a bumper selection of photos of new, shiny paint - all brushed, not sprayed!

Front bumper-iron.

Front bumper bolt, front number-plate brackets, door-stop holders, knurled knob for bootlid and bonnet catches.

Bonnet-catch on top of inner wing.

That's the original 69 year old rubber jacking bung, above.

Rear jacking point and bumper bracket, above.

Horns so shiny that you can see a photograper!

Original paint on the wing panel compared to new paint on the jacking point.

24th April 2019: Engine lift

1st April brought the first sign of spring, as my garage doors opened and the AC - and its owner - emerged from hibernation. The first task was lifting the engine out, single handed. I have a lifting beam below the ceiling of my garage, and attached a winch, and used soft slings around the engine. I could have done with a more elaborate lifting gear, to tilt the engine. Once I got it free of the drive-shaft, the chassis cross-member prevented further forward movement, while the clutch-housing prevented upward movement. I lifted the front by hand, and placed thick planks under it until I could move it forwards. Once free, I almost got stuck again, as the starting-handing bracket was a tiny bit too tall, and the winch was at it highest travel. Standing on the car and jumping up and down, did the trick!

Then out came the gearbox, squeezing the bell-housing passed the bulkhead. It's fairly heavy, but manageable without a winch. I'm currently painting the chassis mounting points now exposed, plus all the brackets. The prop-shaft is next on the list, to be followed by the gearbox. I hope I can remember where all the bits go!

7th June 2019: Paint stripped.

While waiting for some PU paint to cure, I busied myself stripping bodywork paint. The PU paint was for the prop-shaft, handbrake control, and new brackets I made for the under-wing mesh splash/stone-guards. A write-up on the prop-shaft (and those pesky universal joints!) will follow in due course.

21st August 2019: All the right gears in all the right places....

My gearbox overhaul went better than anticipated, although a road test will not be done for some time yet. I sorted out the notorious Moss box synchromesh, and can feel the increase in physical effort to select 2nd, 3rd and 4th (maybe I need to find myself a strong girl-friend to gear change for me? :) A long list of smaller jobs now beckon: Window frame repairs, new fuel line, finish the front brakes, etc.

17th November 2019: End of year round-up.

Some business setbacks meant that little work could be done in late summer, due to finances. The good news is that I've started a new and promising business venture which I hope will finance the rest of the restoration, but it is taking up all my time, and hence the gearbox is not back in the AC yet. Having test fitted the repaired window frames, and checked that the interior trim still fits over them, I couldn't resist refitting more trim and seats. It almost feels like a whole car again. I've also had an offer of expert assistance on the engine, as soon as I can purchase a few new parts.

My new venture (to finance the AC) will be of interest if you appreciate art or enjoy drawing. I'm producing Youtube videos of art demonstrations and tutorials. I won't be able to do many car drawings, since these can typically take 50 hours and I'm doing a drawing every week. Here's one of the videos I've created:

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Website started 29th December 2006