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19th August 2014: My AC's birthday!

My 2 Litre was registered this day in 1949. I'm pleased to report that I have completed its rear axle rebuild and the AC is (sort of) reunited with the axle. As soon as I get the springs reset, the car will be mobile again. Note that in the photo above, the axle is inverted.

As planned, I crack tested the half-shafts and the photo below shows one of them with the red dye and no cracks to be seen. Much to my relief! The hub bearings had excessive end-float before dismantling, due partly to the bearing cones not being pressed fully home. But the outer-races were also not fully in place, so after rebuilding the axle, I found it actually had even more end-float! With the thicker 2 of the 3 shims removed, the end-float was within tolerance (7 thou).

I've almost completed the mechanical brakes. The old brake grease was like thick treacle, and it is possible that the floating expander mechanism was not sliding easily on the backplate.

I will shortly be writing a new section for this website covering the rear axle (ENV type), rear springs, and rear mechanical brakes.

Wasting valuable time

Have you ever found yourself in the bizarre situation where someone is arguing with you, even though you actually agree with them? If so, then you have probably frequented one or more online forums! The illogic of the emotional homosapien knows no bounds! I should have known better, as a former veteran of non-car forums several years ago, but when most of the folk are nice and intelligent, it's easy to get lulled into a false sense of security. It only takes one or two to spoil the party.

More importantly, it wastes valuable restoration time. I have to install my rear springs. Glue together the last of the rear wood frame. Unbolt the frame from the chassis and lift it (for more painting and new seals). Repair the alloy body panels and refit them to the frame. Everything takes more hours than you expect.

11th September 2014: 2 springs forward, 1 spring back.

Taking my rear leaf-springs to a specialist, reminded me why I like to try and do everything myself. The spring fellow wanted to bend the spring's flat dampers, until I produced the Woodhead drawing and specifications and had a long discussion. To his credit, he got the springs spot on, but mentioned how hard it was to press in the new Silentbloc bushes. On the following day, I noticed that he'd also accidentally bent one arm of a spring shackle! I returned to have it straightened, but it is almost impossible to perfectly align the 2 bolt holes again.

I crack tested both shackles, to be safe, and with some fettling, got the bolt to go through. Then followed the expected fun installing the springs. Then the mechanical brakes went back on, now working far better than in many years. Then I refitted more components to the chassis and the wood frame.


The above photo shows the AC with some ballast weight to allow me to tighten the spring bolts under normal static load. Or maybe this image could be used for a caption competition?!

9th November 2014: Body building.

I managed to lift the wood frame off the chassis, and put it back on without any unscheduled dramatics. In between these two processes, I completed repairs to the underside of the wood frame, painted this area, and painted the top of the chassis. I then made new seals from closed-cell neoprene foam to replace the asbestos originals. I hope they last well.

I'm currently working on the alloy body panelling: Stripping the 65 year old green paint from the small panels that fit around the door openings. Also, straightening the creases at the edges from when I prised the panelling off the wood frame. I've watched numerous videos of professionals shaping aluminium panels using slappers, dollies, magnesium hammers, etc. I grabbed some ordinary hammers and a block of ash timber!

It feels a bit sad finally removing that original green paint, but it appears to be one of the British Standard colours still available. I haven't confirmed the colour, but I think it is number 278 in the BS381C range, called "light olive green". AC called it "National Grey", and have it in their records of cars produced simply as "grey", alongside all the cars that really were grey!

Build yourself a new car?.

My AC is on full view of passers' by (while I'm working on it), and since resuming the restoration, I've noticed two things: Firstly, the very positive reaction from most people. Secondly, younger folk (especially teenagers), are convinced that I am building a new car! And they don't always catch on when I reveal the AC's age. This included a couple of teenage girls recently. One decided to do "before and after" photos, and said that she would be back a month later for the "after"! But all the attention is favourable, so I'm not complaining :)

11th November 2014: Rememberance/centenary

Here is my AC pictured on 11/11/14 with a poppy to mark rememberance day, on this centenary of world war one. You can also see my new banner that describes the AC for the benefit of passers-by.

4th January 2015: Recommended book

Father Christmas brought me a copy of an excellent book which has a few contributions from myself, plus some photos of my AC's wood frame. Entitled "Wooden-Bodied Vehicles" by Colin Peck (The Crowood Press - 2013). Buying, building, restoring and maintaining most forms of wooden or wood framed road vehicles. It includes a section for coachbuilt cars. It is a well researched book that picks up on the opinions and practices of various restorers in the UK and USA. If you look carefully through the many photos, you will notice some close-ups of my AC's wood frame. There is also a photo of a dark red AC that I took.

If you are contemplating the restoration of a wood framed car, then I would thoroughly recommend purchasing a copy of this book.

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Website started 29th December 2006