The big strip down…. the aim is to not lose all the parts and especially all of the nuts, bolts and assorted fixings which have been added to the car over the last 75 years. Therefore we made a big effort to label and tidily store all parts and the outcome was we lost most of them….
The removal of the interior was a concern, not least due to the fact that we had between us no experience of upholstery, headliners and all the paraphernalia that goes into a coach built car. The original headliner was a cloth suspended with tacks from cross beams of wood. That came off easily, leaving hundreds or was it thousands of tacks in the wood cross members. Above the cloth there was a chicken wire / horse hair / wool type pad which acted as sound deadening and soaked up the water that was leaking through the cloth roof panel! This unbolted and the whole structure came out easily.
The seats and carpets were removed which exposed old rusty bolts holding the car body to the chassis. Our first opinion was that the chassis was sound, however on removing the bolts and lifting the body clear with a convenient JCB tractor we found that significant parts were actually made up of old racking type metal!
The engine had by now been lifted out and after a good power wash we were able to see the extent of the chassis rebuild. It was not as bad as some but bad enough and without much ado the angle grinder started a long process of removing old material and making new parts to be welded in place.
The engine strip down was fairly simple and we quickly saw that the rings on two pistons were well worn and the oil control rings seized. The block was put to one side to be taken to Royal Kustom for inspection, and a decision made on what to do next.
The gearbox was only a three speed unit, no doubt strong but definitely the wrong ratio and so we started to hunt for a new box to fit the engine. More of this later.
Written by: Richard