We have done a great deal of work since the last journal entry. I was too lazy to do the writing and formatting, and so the web site got a little stale. My apologies. The parts database is up-to-date, by the way. I got a little worried seeing all of the various parts beginning to accumulate, so I did the cataloging and data entry to get it all current. I’m hoping that rather than adding to the list of parts we can soon begin simply to update records with notations like “painted and ready for installation” — or even better: “installed”
Right and left outer sills installed
The last entry showed the two sills sitting side-by-side on a makeshift table. We went ahead and installed the right outer sill (the one made by Martin Robey) shortly after that picture was taken. Welder-in-residence Aaron spot welded — and closely spot welded — along the door frame just under a centimeter apart. The most tedious job was the spot welding to join the sill to the floor under the car. I did think that a “rotisserie” to swivel the car body would have been nice. As I write this (29 June), the right side is undergoing the final body work to smooth the welds and even up the line beneath the door. The section that was cut out from the right rear wing was replaced with metal, so the entire right side of the car is practically finished and ready for final sanding before priming. The left outer sill is about two-thirds complete. It stands as shown in the picture, with a smidgeon of Bondo smeared behind the door line. I had some left over from touching up the other side. (The picture was taken after I had moved everything in for the night, so it isn’t the best angle. It’s the best I could do given the space constraints.)
The fabricated sill fit well, though we will need to put about two millimeters of body filler along the upper edge of the sill to bring it out a little. It tucks a bit too far in where it meets the door and the “A” and “B” pillars. Other than that, the sill fits well.
Bonnet Wings and Internals POR-15’ed
The bonnet still demands attention, but not now because it needs whacking. The various pieces are all hammered out and smoothed. Now we’ve been trying to get them coated and ready to reassemble. There are a lot of pieces, especially when you count all of the oval washers that hold the thing together. All of these pieces, including the washers, we’ve been coating with POR-15. Luckily, most of the washers we were able to save, so we won’t have to make too many of them. I’ll be cutting them from 16-gauge steel, and I suspect that will take a fair amount of time. We were able to get most of the bad dents out of the bonnet internals, though there are a few remains of creases that I’ll need to figure out what to do with. Since these are inside the bonnet, I’m less worried about getting everything straight and really tidy, though some of these items will be visible with the bonnet open. (The picture was taken after a second coat of POR-15 over the nose section after I sanded out the insect bodies that had embedded themselves into the paint.)
These bonnet pieces will be loosely attached to the bonnet, using whatever hardware attachments are available. Since the center section has tabs that are glued, we’ll get the exact placement of those tabs from this preliminary fitting. Once the placement is all right, we’ll go ahead and glue the tabs on, and then we’ll be able to attach the bonnet pieces more firmly. I left bare metal at the places where I expect the tabs to attach. The adhesive will probably adhere better to bare metal than to POR-15. Interestingly, when we disassembled the bonnet, none of these tabs remained adhered to the center section. They had all come off and were screwed and bolted to the vents and various internal wing pieces. My guess is that there was a fair amount of rattling in the front when the car was in motion.
And here I thought that 60 hours or so would be all the bonnet would take to rebuild. Hah!
Left Frame, Front Suspension, Steering Rack Dismantled
In order to get to the final stages of the metal work and body shaping, we’ll need to be able to hang the bonnet onto the frames. We had dismantled the right frame and right front suspension some time ago, but the left frame, the left front suspension, the steering rack, tie rod, and picture frame were still in one piece. We took everything apart, with the exception of some of the left suspension that resisted the wrenches too much. We’ve stripped and sandblasted the left and right frames and the picture frame and the bonnet frame assembly that hangs off the front of the picture frame. This is ready to be attached to the body so that we can fit the bonnet to the car body. (No pictures of this, I’m afraid. All overexposed and out-of-focus. They will be available in the photo archive nonetheless, since they still have some informational value. I took lots of pictures of this disassembly, too. I figured they would be useful in reassembly.)
I have heard that you need to put in the front suspension brackets in order for the bonnet to fit correctly — at least this is something that I’ve seen in one report. The frames seem pretty strong for the bonnet, so I will be measuring the spaces where the brackets fit to see if there is a difference with and without the bonnet attached. We will rough-fit the bonnet using the failed left frame. It should suffice. Final fitting can be more meticulous later, when we’ll fit closely with the bonnet shims that are needed.
Good news: I think I found a welder who will be able to take apart and replace the failed tubes on the left frame. This will do the trick. I won’t need an entirely new frame. The fellow said that the left frame was already repaired once near the battery area. He’ll jig, cut, and replace everything exactly to spec. I’d like to have the piece in his shop in July.