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24th August 2009

Just as usual, it's been a while since the last update. This is mainly due to the time spent sorting Dom's car out after the acccident he was involved in in June. The Dom's car page in the friends index has more info. Anyway, back to the A.

Things have moved on well since the last update. The offside battery panel end piece has been replaced with a distinct lack of drama. I felt that I wanted a change from welding for a while and so decided to beat the offside rear wing into shape. Out came the panel beating hammers and dollies. The beating took a couple of weeks of occasional evenings and a few hours at weekends. The wing has regained its original shape with no filler, just a light coat of primer filler.

The next logical task was to finish the re-construction of the offside top deck panel where it meets the inner wing at the top of the B post. I started this work at the top of page 6 but haven't been able to complete it untill the rear wing was the right shape again. With the rear wing fitted, fresh metal was cut and bent to shape and welded in place to complete this area of the car. unfortunately, this didn't go as well as was expected as the wing and B post top area don't line up properly. I'm not quite sure if it's the wing repair in this area that's wrong or if it's the top deck/inner wing repair. I think I'll have to wait for door hanging to see where the fault is and recitfy it then. For now it's in the too difficult pile. Time to move on I think!

The only part of the rear tub that need attention now is the boot floor. I'd considered fabricating the necessary repair panels but on closer inspection, the boot floor had 3 areas that had the structural integrity of a tea bag! With a light source held under the car I could see through the boot floor in three places. Not gaping holes but perforations. The light underneath looked like stars through the boot floor. I decided to order a complete boot floor repair section as this seemed the best way of repairing the area neatly. Whilst I was at it I ordered two new battery carrier trays and supports. These have duly arrived and are currently awaiting fitting.

After all this bodywork and welding marathon, I wanted to do something mechanical. Soooo, the bodywork has now been removed from the chassis and is stored in two pieces in the garage. Now it's time to deal with the chassis and the running gear.

The first step was to take the chassis out on to the drive and clean it thoroughly. I used some motorcycle cleaner and a pressure washer to good effect. Having washed and dried it, the chassis came back into the garage. The first step of stripping the chassis was to remove the rear axle. As usual, all the nuts and bolts came undone easily apart from the last one. The offside spring mounting bolt at the front of the spring was siezed well and truly in the bush, which in its turn was siezed into the eye in the spring.


To get the nut off I tried a socket on a ratchet, the impact air wrench, a socket and ratchet with a 4 foot breaker bar all to no avail. I tried plus gas releasing fluid, heat and finally a hammer and chisel. After all this I'd got nowhere, nothing had moved at all. Next step was to cut the nut off of the bolt. I did this by grinding the side of the nut away and finally managed to get the nut off of the bolt. Not bad for an hour's work!

With the nut now off I applied some more plus gas and a brick hammer to drive the bolt out of the bush - Nothing, no movement at all. In a fit of frustration I cut the bolt head off to try and drift it out from the other direction, no luck. The only option left was to drill the bolt out. After some careful drilling from both sides the spring finally swung loose to release the whole axle/spring assembly from the car. The best news was that I've not damaged either the chassis or spring in doing this.


To make storage easier, I seperated the springs from the axle, sacrificing two of the U bolts in the process. I'll fit new ones as a matter of course on re-assembly. Having got the springs away from the axle I pressed out the forward bush from the nearside spring. Needless to say the offside one didn't give up easily. In the end I had to resort to drilling out the rubber part of the bush between the inner and outer sleeves. Having finally got the rubber and inner distance tube out, I thought the ordeal was over, sadly not as the outer sleeve of the bush is still firmly stuck in the spring eye. When comparing with the other side, it seems that the outer sleeve is also stuck in the spring eye. I'll tackle that next time.

The mysterious phone call ...

A couple of weeks ago I received a call from the previous owner of the car. I'd written to him in December 2007 to ask if he had any further details of the car. He'd kept my letter and had found some small parts of the car whilst tidying his fathers garage and called to ask if I'd like them. I had a long conversation with him and got some excellent information about the car, the work he'd done and the previous owners. Christopher, if you're reading this, thank you very much for the parts you sent and for the information. It's really nice to have some provenance of the car.

If I've got it right I bought the car from Paul (a restoration project dealer) who bought it from Christopher. Christopher bought it from his neighbour and the neighbour bought it from an employee of his who bought it from new. Hopefully Christopher may be able to fill in some names and dates for me.

Christopher had done a lot of work to the car prior to selling it. Engine and rear axle rebuild, new braking system parts as well as having the body shot blasted and put into primer. The chassis was also repaired, painted with red oxide and finally a coat of black. Sadly the black has chipped in places. i'm going to strip it and repaint it, I don't think any repairs are necessary at this time apart from the addition of the battery carriers.

Information found.

During the holiday we had a day out at the National Motor Museum at Gaydon. During the visit I went to the archives to see if they had any details of my car. The very helpful people there showed me the original build record of the car. Not much is recorded, but what there was was interesting.

The car started its build on 11th April 1956, completed build on 13th April, delivered to the dealer on the 18th April and first registered on 23rd April. The car was Glacier blue, fitted with the following optional extras - a heater, white wall tyres, a blue hood and a blue tonneau.


1st November 2009

Since the last update the chassis has been the main focus of attention. As previously described, the rear axle, springs and shock absorbers have been removed. My attention then turned to the front of the car where the front suspension has been removed on both sides and split into component parts. These parts have been shot blasted, etch primered and have had their first coat of chassis black enamel with one more coat to follow.

The next step was removal of the transmission tunnel front and rear pieces. To release the front section the handbrake cable was removed as the handbrake lever is still attached to the tunnel. With the tunnel pieces out of the way the next step was the propshaft, just four bolts and off it came - or so I thought. The propshaft joins the gearbox on a splined shaft not a flange, so it just tapped off. Next came the engine and gearbox removal. In the past on the MGB and Midget I've always removed the engine gearbox as one unit and I decided to do the same with the A. With the engine mount bolts and single gearbox mount bolt removed and the hoist securely attached, I started to lift the engine with Dominic steadying the tail of the gearbox. With the engine raised and the gearbox at a suitable angle, we started to manoeuvre the assembly out of the chassis. Dom gave a sudden warning of 'Watch It!!, hang on a minute', what he'd seen was gearbox oil pouring out of the tail of the gearbox onto the carpet on the garage floor. We managed to lift the gearbox to stop the sudden outpour but were left with a sizeable oil slick soaking into the carpet. Oh well, that one of the reasons for carpeting the garage!

The engine and 'box were finally removed without any further dramas, thankfully.

I then made a frame on wheels to bolt the chassis to to make it easier to move around. I used wheels with brakes on to stop it rolling around when necessary. I built the frame to enable the chassis to be bolted to it either way up to give access to both top and bottom of the chassis. With the chassis bolted to the frame I started by using a stripping wheel to clean the old paint off. My latest toy then came into play, a sandblaster.

I sheeted off an area outside the garage, wheeled the chassis on to the sheeting and started blasting, very satisfying. I got about 20 minutes blasting per bucket of blast media. After that time I swept up the media put it back in the bucket and started again. I swept up and refilled the bucket about 6 or 8 times to completely blast the chassis all over, including inverting the chassis on the frame and doing the underside as well.


Finally I was left with a clean chassis and was able to assess what repairs needed doing. I found the following damage to be repaired -

Cross tube under bellhousing badly dented, the damaged section has been cut out and replaced.

One small hole on underside, the corroded area has been cut away and new metal let in.

One small hole at the joint of the floorboard rail and inner rail on the drivers side, to be repaired this coming weekend

Dented and poorly repaired underside of NS chassis rail - looks like trolley jack damage, new repair sections made to be fitted this coming weekend

All the areas that do not require further work or have had the repairs completed have now been brush painted with a coat of Red Oxide primer.


Once all the repairs mentioned above are complete, those areas will be primered too. The next step will be to seam seal all joints and then a second coat of red oxide followed by two coats of chassis black and finally the chassis interiors will be trated with Dynotrol. Let the rebuild commence!!


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