Restoring an Austin Seven Special

An Austin Seven restoration/renovation project can take months, years or, with gradual loss of enthusiasm and interest, it may never be finished.  It will be left to lanquish or sold to another enthusiast who might try to finish the project.  Here presented, is the tale of renovating a Special for the second time - a true labour of love.

 

Pt 1 - Scouse special
I first acquired AMC 250, a 1933 Austin Seven Special, in 1967 while still at school.  My parents were on holiday when I saw it for sale in 'Exchange and Mart' near London for £45.  It wasn’t a runner, and the first attempts to make it go were in Cambridge with my mates Donald and Malcolm pushing. The spark plugs were connected in the logical order 1,2,3,4 and sometimes the wheels would spin backwards as we got a partial fire.  It took 3-years to get the car on the road and legal, by which time it was with me at University in Liverpool. The final stages of renovation were done in my ground-floor bedroom, having passed the car in through the big bay window to work on it in the dry.

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Sefton Park c 1970

Once roadworthy, and shortly after passing my driving test, I can remember speeding down Liverpool’s Otterspool Promenade and drifting round the roundabouts.  The car was a competent attempt at a special, without being too radical.  The standard 1933 A7 chassis was shortened and lowered, and the body was aluminium on an ash frame with steel cycle wings and the spare, spoked wheel carried on the back.  The engine had a Dante high compression (6:1) head and twin SU carburettors.  Brakes were Morris Minor hydraulics. It was fun to drive, and I used it for trips to Wales and Scotland.  

After University I started travelling the world, so sold the car to a University friend, Ern, who was a student doctor, in 1972.  He and his wife Anne both became GPs in Yorkshire and took the car there.  Ern put the car in a shed, which collapsed, crushing it amidships.  I saw it there in 1999, still trapped. Ern eventually freed the car and started to dismantle it for restoration.  Unfortunately, the engine and some ancillaries (radiator, starter motor…) were stolen and enthusiasm was lost.  When Ern decided to get rid of the car in order to carry out modifications to the house and outbuildings, he rang me around Christmas 2018 to ask if I wanted it back.

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As it arrived at Veryan, Feb 2019

I jumped at the chance, so Ern and Anne brought it down in a box trailer in February 2019.  They would only accept the cost of hiring the trailer (£120) for the car despite my best effort at paying them more.  Being in the middle of the full restoration of a 1975 BMW R90S motorcycle I had to complete that before I could start on the Austin.

Joining the Cornwall Austin Seven Club has been a good move and something of a revelation.  I have owned a 1931 Austin Ulster replica since 1999, and campaigned it successfully in the Classic Monte Carlo Rally of 2000, but hadn’t been aware of the Club.  Meeting Andrew Jarmin, and being shown round his collection and workshops, demonstrated what I had been missing.  The Club gives me added confidence in taking on the restoration, together with local friends who have astonishing skills that will be relevant and called upon.



Pt 2 - On time and off budget
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It is easy to be overwhelmed and I knew I was in for a major project so the first thing was to get it into a dry workshop and sort the bits I had into boxes.  It was a little depressing as quite a bit was missing.  Luckily I had a “spare” engine, but this was also minus the fan assembly, starter motor, clutch, water inlet, oil filler tube, oil pressure union, dipstick etc.

Into the workshop


First to be fettled was the dynamo.  A quick whizz on Andrew’s rig showed that it worked.  Its polarity was changed to negative earth and the output set, using the third brush, at 10 amps.  The 4-speed gearbox with synchromesh on third and fourth took a bit longer, but over the course of an enjoyable day in which I learned a lot at Andrew’s elbow we installed new bearings, balls and springs.

The distributor shaft was seized, so I worked it and drenched it in WD40 until it started moving.  I then ordered new rotor arm, condenser and points and assumed that the job was done.  Not so. I took the base plate off and was met with a red mess of corrosion in which the advance weights were well stuck.  Again I worked manfully to free these and their springs.  One spring was broken, but eventually the weights started to move and even return feebly.  However, I decided that the wear in the shaft/bushes was too much and despatched the whole unit to The Distributor Doctor for a complete rebuild. looked into electronic ignition but couldn’t find anyone who makes good quality units for the Seven.  A bonus was that Martin Jay at DD also runs trials Sevens and offered me a windscreen.

Pound 202My idea was to get the Special on the road, but not to attempt to make it concours. However, whatever I touched seemed to need work, so eventually I decided to take the body off in order to fettle the chassis, shock absorbers, springs, steering and brakes.  The aluminium on ash body was built by Super Accessories in Kent, probably in the early 1960s, and comprises a whole jigsaw of panels, none being particularly complicated.  Good thing as I’m going to have to make quite a few of them as they were buckled and torn by the shed collapsing on them. 

That is for later.  For now I decided to concentrate on building up a rolling chassis. The rear and front springs were pretty good and only needed new U-bolts on the rear springs. The rear shock absorbers were a very unmatched pair, so I bought new ones.  I also bought a good second-hand radius arm from Holmesdale Sevens as one was original and one a replacement at some time in the car’s history.  I have fitted a new double front shock absorber purchased with new links and bushes from the Austin Seven Workshop to improve handling.  I removed the steering column and box and have yet to assess the whole steering system.

Pound 203Next to come off were the prop shaft and torque tube.  What I thought was play in the torque tube turned out to be a crack around the outer tube.  I rang Andrew to ask if he advised welding.  No, he said, bring it round and I’ll sort it.  And true to his word he and his Sorcerer’s Apprentice (me) replaced the outer tube with one he had in his store.  Meanwhile I’m thinking that I’d better start to source the missing bits from the engine.  I have the Supaloy high compression head, twin SUs and Dante bunch of bananas manifold that were on the car when I had it between 1967 and 1972.  But I didn’t have a starter motor.  Much interneting later I persuaded Tony Leslie of Holmesdale Sevens to make me a suitable starter from bits he had.  Bless him he did it and then I discovered that the mix of 1930 engine I have, mated to the larger 1933 4-speed gearbox, is incompatible with a standard starter without quite a bit of re-engineering.  Fortunately Andrew had a solution and the early “bacon-slicer” starter fits with only the need to shave a bit off the housing.

Pound 204I mentioned earlier that I did not have a clutch.  Indeed the only clutch bit I had was the (good) clutch lining on the flywheel.  Andrew fished a pressure plate complete with worn starter ring gear from somewhere but even he didn’t know how I was going to renew the ring.  I consulted and researched the interweb thing.  Tony Leslie came up with the clutch bits I was short of, and recommended that I send them all, with a new starter ring to Paul Bonewell in Sussex.  He is a whizz engineer who reprofiles camshafts for racing Austin Sevens and the like.  He machined off the old ring and shrank on the new one as well as assembling the clutch so that I can just slot it in.  Brilliant.  

Pound 205And that is about as far as I’ve got so far apart from painting the chassis and cleaning loads of parts for the Big Build.  I’m still not ready to start that.  I need to check the engine over carefully as it has been idle for 10 years; I need to get brake parts (Morris Minor 7” hydraulics), and I need to go through the steering mechanism to see what is worn.

At some time I also have to address the fact that all the electrics have been cut off short, so it needs a complete re-wire.  I have a full set of instruments, but no cables/pipes/drives to make them work and no front lights.  Aaaarghh.

My very good friend Ian Johns, who passed away in 2019, used to take about ten years per car and resurrected some real wrecks to good running order.  Nothing flustered him and he was always ready to make a cuppa and talk.  I feel him on my shoulder as a calming influence and guiding guru. 

Got to get the painting done while the weather is good, and then get into body building.


Pt 3 - Winter, what winter?

I only started work on the Austin in July 2019.  I had removed the body and started working on the chassis and renovating some of the parts that were salvageable with the help of Andrew Jarmin and various service providers (clutch, gearbox, torque tube, axles, suspension, dynamo and starter motor).  My next task was to go from this incomplete pile of bits to a rolling chassis.

Luckily I had a 1930 engine, complete with a nearly new Phoenix crank, Supaloy high compression head and oversize valves.  It was not contemporary with the chassis or gearbox, but I thought it was a runner.  That was until we opened it up for inspection and found chunks of aluminium lying on the gauze oil strainer.  I collected all of these and pieced them together like an archaeologist.  They formed a neat ring that puzzled me until I realised that they were the front bearing retaining lip that is part of the rather delicate aluminium crankcase casting.  I was in deep despair as I assumed that meant a new engine.

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Pieces found on the sump oil strainer.



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New bearing lip bolted inside the crankcase

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Fortunately I also have the help and enthusiasm from Tim George who lives nearby and I had not counted on the resourcefulness and skill of the A7 fraternity.  I found that Ruaridh Dunford at Alba Austins in Glasgow could fix it by machining the lip flat, inserting a steel ring and bolting that to the front bearing plate.  I happened to be going to Scotland for some mountaineering and arranged to meet Ruaridh at his garage.  He not only repairs Austins but uses them for family holidays.

Having fixed the bearing lip, we then had to give the engine a rebore to 20thou oversize (Paul Ince in Plymouth) and new pistons and rings - taking care to gap the rings correctly (3-6thou).   Andrew helped me to install new valve guides and Tim’s engineering expertise was used during the engine rebuild to ensure the flywheel runout and camshaft end float were within limits.  During the assembly of the conrods onto the crank, we used Plastigauge to measure the journal clearances.  These were all between 1.5 and 2 thou, which is within the acceptable tolerance range.  The car came with its very non-standard 1 1/8” twin SU carburettors in a very corroded state in a bucket full of builder’s rubble.  They were cleaned (airline, flapwheel + carb cleaner).  Overhaul kits were obtained from Burlen Ltd., and the carbs re-built, including new float and main jet needles.

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The twin SU carburettors after air hosing out the dust and rubble.





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Cleaned and working.









The aftermarket Dante “bunch of bananas” exhaust manifold was mounted on the block and the inlet tubes inserted with hand-made gaskets.  These are home-made castings and are a very tight fit. It proved very difficult to do up the retaining brass manifold nuts, so all but the two outer studs were removed and allen-headed machine screws substituted.

A “mock-up” rolling chassis was assembled with engine, carburettors, dynamo distributor, fan and pulleys, gearbox, prop shaft, torque tube and handbrake mechanism loosely in place.  This brought to light a number of issues.  The engine rocked on its mountings because the driver’s side chassis member was bowed.  The gearbox fouled the front chassis cross member because the engine mountings on the older engines are ¾” further forward than the later engines.  The gearbox had a small crack near one of the bellhouse mountings, and four out of six bolthole threads for the gearbox cover were stripped.

The chassis member was straightened using a stout 5ft steel girder and clamps.  The engine was moved forwards about 7/8” by drilling new mounting holes in the chassis.  This had to be done very carefully so that no components subsequently fouled one another.  The engine was raised about 4mm at the rear and 2mm at the front.  The chassis had been boxed for rigidity, so where the rear engine mounting bolts went through we provided a ¼” steel plate underneath the chassis so that we didn’t distort it on tightening.  The gearbox cracks were drilled and the drill holes filled with silicone, while the stripped threads were helicoiled.

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Tool of all trades, Tim straightening the chassis







This all allowed the engine and gearbox to be solidly installed, complete with clutch, carbs, manifolds and starter motor. The radiator (with a new “modern” core) and hoses were then added.  Initially there were leaks from the top water branch and the bottom hose, but these were rectified.

At this point we decided that we had everything in place to start the engine.  We connected a battery to the starter motor, and wired up the distributor and coil.  We also rigged a petrol tube to the carburettors and had a fire extinguisher handy.  The next 3 hours we tried everything to get it to run.  It seemed to fire and then falter every time.  It so nearly ran that we kept trying different things, checking firing order, sparks at contact breaker and plugs, and experimenting with more or less advance at the distributor.  We dismantled the twin SU carbs and re-built them, all to no avail.  It was all a bit reminiscent of when I first tried to start the car in 1967.  Then, as a lad of 17 with no mechanical knowledge, I connected the HT leads to the plugs in the logical order of 1, 2, 3, 4 and got my mates to push me.  They pushed and pushed and occasionally the engine would fire and send the wheels backwards!  Only when someone told us to connect the leads 1, 3, 4, 2 did it go.  We were waiting for a similar eureka moment more than 50 years later, but none came.  Had I learned nothing in those 50 years?

Eventually we realised that we had to go backwards to go forwards.  We removed the carbs and manifold, the starter motor and gearbox – checking each in turn and dismissing them as the principal source of the problem.  At this point we noted that the flywheel was really hard to rotate, and when we did so a squeak was heard.  We removed the engine and pulled off the flywheel.  No obvious problem, so we took the cylinder head off and all was revealed.  Water had leaked across the head and into the bores.  This had caused surface corrosion and the pistons were virtually stuck in their bores.  WD40 and careful rocking of the pistons freed everything up.  The cylinder head was skimmed 6 thou by West Cornwall Engine Services, and a new high compression gasket fitted.  This time (7th February 2020) the engine fired readily and, after adjusting the carburation, the motor ran sweetly.

This restoration has been made all the more challenging by the “bitsa” nature of the beast, a 1930 engine with after-market head and manifold, 1933 chassis and gearbox, 1920s starter motor and 1950s brakes and body.  The Dante manifold meant designing a bespoke exhaust system.  A standard downpipe was chopped up to provide the flange and 4” of pipe for a piece of 39mm internal diameter stainless steel flexible exhaust pipe to connect, via another 6” length of downpipe, to the standard exhaust pipe that is mounted front and rear to the chassis with home-made clamps.  We are really pleased with this as it looks as if it comes off a Spitfire, and works as intended. 

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Eat your heart out Lamborghini, that home-made exhaust is peachy

 






With newly blasted and powder-coated wheels, overhauled steering box, courtesy of Cornwall Austin Seven Club Teach-in led by Andrew, and new Longstone 4.00/4.25 x 17 tyres we now have a rolling chassis.  The engine runs, the water circulates only where it is meant to, and the transmission drives sweetly through the diff to the rear wheels.

By any standards that is progress, but we are still in the foothills.  We can see problems getting the non-standard hydraulic brakes to work well, and the racing fly-off handbrake needs actuating parts making.  We have no idea if the body tub will fit back on now that we have changed the location of the engine and have a different starter motor. In addition, we will have to make new body panels, floor and seats.  There are no electrics and most of the instruments need attention.  Ho hum, I guess that is what the summer is for.


Pt 4 - Lockdown special

In February 2020 the rolling chassis had no brakes, no body, no electrics, only a couple of functioning instruments and no seats.  There was however a body tub, constructed in the 1950s by Super Accessories from aluminium sheet on an ash frame.  Luckily, the wood frame had survived remarkably well, so this was treated with preservative and the aluminium was cleaned up as well as 70 years of dents and scuffs would allow.

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Front and rear views of the body tub before cleaning and “modification



Because the original 1933 engine had been stolen, and the replacement engine was from around 1930, the gearbox, a four-speed from late 1933, and the starter motor, a 1920s “bacon-slicer”, I wasn’t sure that the body tub would now fit around this miscellany of parts.  We offered it up and sure enough had to cut out a space for the starter motor.  We also had to make a new throttle linkage on the inside of the bulkhead as the original fouled the starter motor.  All in all, the tub went on and came off about four times before we got it right.

The braking system of the special was based on Morris Minor hydraulics and a “fly-off” handbrake.  The handbrake lever was fine, but the rest of the mechanism had to be replaced.  Tim made a new rod that passed through a gland in the rear chassis cross member, and connected to the original equalising bar.  New Morris Minor handbrake cables were then shortened and connected to the equaliser and thence to the rear slave cylinders.  Fortunately I had the four brake back plates, and we built these up with new Morris Minor brake springs, brake shoes and slave cylinders.  A set of Morris Minor brake pipes, master cylinder and splitters were obtained, plumbed in, and bled until it all worked. “Mecanic” silicone brake fluid, which doesn’t attract water and doesn’t harm paintwork, was used to fill the system. Sounds simple written down, but it took a lot of fettling because we had to modify everything to fit, making sure we didn’t compromise any other component of the car – in particular making sure that the brake pipes did not chafe on anything or foul any of the steering arms.

With the body tub on and the braking system installed we could now turn our attention to the fuel system.  We had previously tested the engine complete with its twin SU carburettors using a lashed-up tube to feed the float chambers. Now we installed the carefully cleaned tank at the rear of the car, and threaded new ¼” copper fuel pipe from the tank to a float-bowl filter and thence to a new electric SU fuel pump.    

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Engine compartment starting to look more complete.  At this point we still needed a water temperature sensor in the top hose and all the electrics including a cut out and fuse boxes. The brake master cylinder can be seen on the far side of the engine.  




What we should probably have done at this point was to install the new electrics.  In fairness to ourselves we did install the battery in a compartment behind the driver’s seat, the positive lead to the starter motor and the main earth to a bellhousing nut on the gearbox.   We deferred doing the rest of the electrics because: a) we didn’t have the new cables and connectors at that time, and b) we were itching to get on with the rear end of the car as we had no idea how that was going to go together.

So, we mocked up the rear end with the various bits of wood and aluminium sheet that came with the car and got the general idea.  The aluminium panels were torn and rough and needed to be replaced.  While some of the wood frame was serviceable, the whole back end was judged to be too flimsy to carry the petrol tank, luggage and the spare wheel. We therefore re-enforced it with extra bracing spars of ash, using dovetail joints.  A new 9mm marine ply floor was made for the rear luggage space (this is pretty small, having about 75litres capacity – the same as a large rucksack).   

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This might look brutal, but in Tim’s hands a mallet is a precise weapon.




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The back end takes shape and gains strength.







As the body tub, the cockpit floor, the bonnet sides and the rear end woodwork are fixed securely in place suddenly everything is much taughter.  The car is still light and somewhat vulnerable to being T-boned by a milk tanker, but it now feels agile and of a whole.

Much debate was had about the colour scheme.  Should we leave the body bare aluminium?  What colour should the cycle mudguards be?  Eventually I decided that the aluminium should stay, proudly displaying its rough and tumble history.  The mudguards have been prepared in primer and gone to a local car sprayer,Tim Poore at Tregony, for topcoats in Lotus Yellow.  This is near to the colour when I had the car 50 years ago, so feeds my nostalgia itch perfectly.  Also everybody knows that Lotus evolved from Austin 750 racing, so there is a direct and legitimate connection.

Lockdown has meant that I have had more time to work on the car, and suppliers such as The Austin Seven Workshop, Paul Beck and Holden Vintage and Classic, as well as on-line tool and fastener suppliers have been brilliant at sending bits and pieces.  Often it has taken a lot of detective work to sort out the precise part for the job as we attempt to create something unique, but so far so good.

The proof of the pudding will be how it performs on the road.  With a low-power engine, primitive suspension and design by intuition we don’t expect sparkling performance.  The first few outings will be very local, with a following car to pick up the bits that fall off, a full tool kit and a tow rope.  Hopefully that will be before the end of the summer.  A two-page list of outstanding tasks confronts us, so better get out of the kitchen and back into the workshop.  


Pt 5 - Shakedown
A major difficulty has been the mongrel nature of the beast, comprising a 1933 chassis and gearbox, a 1930 engine, a 1950s body and braking system and a 1920s starter motor.  This has required us to make some parts from scratch and to compromise on originality.

We have learned that the way it was put together as a Special in the 1950s was not necessarily the best way, and we have learned the value of advice and support from Andrew.   While the car is mine and I am responsible for all mistakes made along the way, I have been heavily dependent during the re-build on my friend Tim who has a deep empathy and skills for all things metal and wood.  Together we three have re-built the engine, gearbox, carburettors, exhaust system, steering, entire braking system, rear-end bodywork, suspension, seating and electrics.

Working on the rear end of the car the new woodwork which had been fitted was stronger than the original, and now we set about replacing the old, bent, ripped and corroded panels with new ones made from 1.2mm aluminium sheet. We cut this with a jigsaw using the old panels as a rough template.  We then bent them, bonded and screwed them in place, and perfected the fit using a rasp and various files.  The shiny aluminium was then sanded to provide a finish that was consistent with the old panels on the front of the car.  Half-round aluminium strip was used to cover seams where two panels butted together.  Given that neither Tim nor I had done anything like this before we were very pleased with the result.

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The original car had the spare wheel mounted on the back end supported by brackets, and a sort of trailer bar on top of that for the number plate and rear lights.  We decided that was too messy, so opted to mount the spare wheel on an old brake drum.  We obtained a drum and two wheel-stud carriers from Andrew.  We welded the carriers back to back and fixed it all solidly to the rear end.  The wheel sits flush with the bodywork and looks good. The rear lights, stop/tail, indicators, reflectors and number-plate illumination, were all installed on the rear mudguards and look neat and tidy there.

Some of the mudguard fixing brackets were missing, so we got Tony Pascoe Engineering at Par to make up some new ones.  After ages spent fettling, we got these to fit, and also fitted the head/side lights, rear stop/tail lights and front flashers.  Some instruments were missing or broken, so we obtained a new ignition switch, ammeter, temperature gauge and on-on dip switch.  A temperature sensor was plumbed into the top hose; it sounds simple, but it took a bit of sleuthing to find the correct sized adaptors.

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Having fitted the lights, our next job was electrics . When the previous owner had started to strip the car some 20 years ago he had simply cut all cables to the lights, instruments and controls - meaning we had to start from scratch. We obtained a second-hand cut-out and bought a new period-looking fuse box.  Because this is not a standard model we decided not to buy a ready-made loom, but to purchase the individual cables.  We went for plastic-coated, thin-wall cables from Auto Electrical Supplies, keeping where possible to the correct colours and choosing the cable cross sectional area according to the peak current that it would be carrying.  We earthed everything back to the engine block and fused all lights and instruments.  A master switch was added on the battery post, and an in-line 30amp fuse installed on the cable to the starter switch.  Flashng indicators have been added for safety, so a flasher relay is included.

The top photo above includes the gearbox, and a stubby lever emerging from it.  Originally this was operated by a rod to a remote gear lever further back in the car.  However, this had a poor mechanical advantage and it was hard to change gear.  We therefore obtained a second-hand lever from Andrew to operate the gearbox directly, and bent it with lots of heat to a suitable profile.  We had to make a new locating pin as the old one was seized in place, and bought a new knob from The Austin Seven Workshop.

All the main mechanical and electrical elements were now in place.  The last time the engine was started we used the bare chassis as a test bed.  Since then the body, floor, fuel tank, rear body panels, mudguards and electrics have been fitted.  Now we itched to try out all of those components.  Temporary seating was rigged up and the engine started. After warming the engine through it continued “hunting” so the twin-SU carburettor adjustment nuts were wound in to make the mixture leaner.

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On the farm track it was quickly apparent that although the engine and transmission were working well, the steering was heavy and the brakes poor.  The drag link was detached to see if the steering resistance was in the linkages or in the steering box.  The box, which had been overhauled, seemed to have the right amount of resistance, and we felt the main source of heavy steering was in the king pins.  The king pin caps were not seated well and so grease was not reaching the main swivel areas of the king pins.  We did not want to dismantle the whole front end to re-tap the cap threads at this point, so have made do for the moment with lubricating things as well as possible.  We are finding that with use, the steering is freeing up. However long-term the king pins need to be properly greased, so the front axles will get a thorough strip down over the winter.  We also adjusted the toe in by reducing the length of the track rod, and improved the castor angle by twisting the radius rods.


The hydraulic brakes were disappointing, so Tim and I decided to run up and down the track quite a few times using the brakes as much as possible to bed the new shoes in.

After a while they started to bite more convincingly, so we were encouraged to re-adjust the front and rear brakes.  The front brakes adjusted up quite a bit, and we found that there was a weep of brake fluid at the nearside rear brake, rectified by nipping up the banjo bolt.

The brakes were re-bled and now the car stops quickly and in a straight line.  Everything else seemed to function properly.  The thermosiphon cooling system works well, the oil pressure stabilises around 7psi when the oil is hot, all the electrics and instruments work except that the dynamo output is a bit low at around 4 amps.

Pound 508No seats came with the car.  When I owned it in the late 1960s I just used cushions that used to slide around dangerously. With an MOT looming we decided to improve that situation by making seat bases that were locked in front, back and sideways.  The seat back has to allow access to the “luggage compartment” behind the seat.  This was a design nightmare.  We tried and rejected a hinged arrangement, and eventually opted for a lift-out unit that locks in place as it is inserted.  Upholstery of the bases and back was undertaken by David Nudd at Penzance using maroon expanded vinyl that matches the facia.  The exact same material and colour are still available from Woolies Trim Supplies some 70 years after the original was acquired.   Note the grommet in the middle of the transmission tunnel that allows access for greasing.

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While the original special had a conventional windscreen, I happened to have a pair of aero-screens in a cupboard and decided that these looked in keeping with the low-slung Super Accessories bodywork.  Tim made a wooden plinth for the aero-screens and a rear-view mirror to screw into.  This leaves the car open to the elements, so I carry an umbrella in case of downpours.  The glove box shown here contains some items that had been left in the car since the ‘60s, including Green Shield stamps and pre-decimal coinage.  


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Now it was time for an independent assessment of our work.  Tim used a friendly MOT tester for his Land Rover and old-style camper van, so we thought he would be an empathetic appraiser.  I drove the 20 miles to the testing station listening for any sign of trouble, but miraculously got there in good order.  I was greeted effusively and asked to put “the beauty” on the ramp.  Unfortunately the car was too narrow, so he could not do the test.  I then contacted another tester and a fortnight later we passed with flying colours.




The last piece in the jigsaw was to get the V5C taxation classification changed from “Not Licensed” to “Historic Vehicle”.  I took MOT, Insurance and the V5C to Truro Post Office and after a bit of tapping on his screen, the nice man proclaimed it to be accomplished (he had to post the V5C to the DVLA who will eventually send me an updated version).

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The re-build has taken 22 months and a lot of enjoyable toil.  I should come clean about costs.  Excluding labour, but including the very low purchase cost, total expenditure was £11,840.65.  The outlay is probably similar to the re-sale value of the car, but that is academic as I won’t be selling it.  Too much skin in the game!





Pound 512Apart from summer jaunts around the Roseland, my wife and I eagerly anticipate packing the small luggage compartment with a few essentials and crossing to France where the roads are quieter, the locals appreciate small, quirky vehicles and the weather is a little better.  The number plate says it all: “Allez Ma Cherie”.  

Lastly I must express my thanks to both Andrew Jarmin and Tim George whose combined knowledge and skills have been shamelessly exploited, but I think the end has justified the means.  Andrew has many years experience of working on Austin Sevens.  Tim is a boat-builder and mechanic living in Veryan on the Roseland.  He brought another level of expertise to the table, enabling us to make items on the lathe, to sculpt and strengthen the woodwork, to make new aluminium body panels and to carry out complex and delicate mechanical operations on the engine, braking system, transmission and electrics.




These articles were written by Barry Pound and appeared in Seven Focus.  Pt 1 in March 2019 pp 9-11; Pt 2 in September 2019 pp 7-10; Pt 3 in March/April 20202 pp 11-16; Pt 4 in July 2020 pp 13-17 and Pt 5 in November 2020 pp 3-9.



Tachometer drive for the Special

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The car came with a mechanical Speedex rev counter on the dashboard, but there was no means of driving it as the original sports engine and dynamo had been stolen. In the sports models the drive is taken from the bottom of the distributor spindle in the dynamo casing, but in standard Sevens this is not present.  This short article describes how we fabricated a drive to make the rev counter work.




Pound Tacho 2The components needed for this were a spare brass speedometer drive of the sort that screws into the gearbox casing of a standard Austin Seven, a mild steel bolt and a standard speedometer cable.      

A precise hole was drilled in the bottom of the dynamo housing below the distributor spindle using an old distributor gear casing to centralise the drill.  We tapped the hole and into this we screwed the cut-down gearbox speedometer drive.  We then turned the mild steel bolt in the lathe to a particular profile with a shoulder that captured it inside the speedometer drive housing.  One end of this turned bolt was filed to a tab that fitted snugly (but without binding) into the slot in the bottom of the distributor spindle, and the other end was filed square to fit into the female end of a standard speedometer cable. 

Care was taken that the turned component was a precise fit without sloppiness, but also without any binding that might cause snatch and failure.  I learned that not all distributor spindles have a slotted bottom, so you might need to create a slot if not present.  The speedometer cable inner was greased and routed carefully so that it didn’t impede any mechanical parts, and then inserted into the back of the rev counter.  We tested it and all works beautifully.

Pound Tacho 3


I am indebted to Andrew Jarmin for advice and the supply of the speedometer drive, and to Tim George for his technical expertise.










This article was written by Barry Pound and appeared in Seven Focus in March 2021 pp 3-4.



Front axle faults and solutions
Pound Axle 1
Following a radical re-build the Special was given its first run outside my workshop at the beginning of September 2020. The engine ran well, and most components worked as they should.  However, a few problems surfaced.  The remote gear lever linkage mechanism snapped, the steering was heavy, and the brakes were disappointing.

After a hard look at the remote gear linkage we decided to do away with it.  Andrew Jarmin provided a standard gear lever which we bent carefully to fit the geometry of the Special.  This is just long enough to serve and has a much better mechanical advantage than the remote system.

Pound Axle 2

The (hydraulic) brakes were re-bled, carefully adjusted and bedded in - and now stop the car well.  The steering proved more difficult as it involved several components.
Pound Axle 3
The steering box was fine (overhauled and adjusted), as were the steering linkages (all bushes renewed).  We thought that the heavy steering was due to excessive friction in the king pins because it was impossible to force grease into the surfaces between the pins and their bushes as the end-cap threads were damaged allowing grease to escape.  This was rectified by removing and re-reaming the king pins and re-tapping the end threads to allow the caps to screw in well and get grease to the bushes.  While this helped, it did not cure the steering faults.

The fundamental problem was with the steering geometry.  The toe-in was very pronounced, so we used a laser leveller and a board to set the toe-in to just the positive side of zero. This lightened up the steering, but we still experienced poor straight-line direction which made for nervous driving on the road.

The camber should be 2.5 degrees of positive camber, whereas we had several degrees of negative camber (as ascertained using a spirit level against the vertical edge of the front tyres).  Camber and castor are related to the angle of the king (or swivel) pin and this in turn is related to the angle of the ends of the front axle.  The incorrect camber and castor were causing the car to jitter and shimmy at potholes, drain covers and white lines, sometimes setting up snaking that was hard to control.

Andrew was convinced that this was mainly due to a wrong castor angle (should be +5degrees).  His solution was to twist the radius arms, which in turn should twist the front axle to the correct castor angle.  However, the Special has lowered suspension and the radius arms ended in a pair of home-made shackles reducing the likelihood of this succeeding.  We decided to replace the radius-arm ends with bespoke sports ends that grip the axle much more positively than the home-made shackles.  I ground and drilled the old ends off and bolted the sports ends (from A7 Components) on. However, when we tried to fit these, we discovered that the axle was far from true and the radius arm ends would not line up with the axle.

The axle was both twisted and bowed out of true, probably from a front-end shunt at some time in its life.  We obtained a good standard axle from Andrew and sent it to Ruairidh Dunford of Alba Austins for modification to sports spec. He works with a blacksmith in Glasgow.

The straight standard axle was heated to cherry red in the forge and bent and stretched to sports specification in a jig. When it arrived back in Cornwall we assembled the axle and its linkages.  However, two problems became apparent: a) the camber was still not right; b) the track rod lever ends (which at some time had been deliberately bent) fouled the radius arms.

We obtained standard track rod lever ends from Holmesdale Sevens which solved the second problem.

The problem of the camber was discussed with Ruairidh.  As can be seen in the photo above the camber is far more pronounced on the driver’s side compared to the passenger side.  We sent the axle back to him and he tested the axle (without the stub axles attached), pronounced it fine and sent it back to us.  The photos below were taken by Ruairidh to show that the axle itself is correctly aligned in both planes.    

However, with the stub axles attached the camber was still not correct.  We had 3.6 degrees of positive camber on the driver’s side and 1.8 degrees on the passenger side.  To remedy that we heated the point at which the axle bends up to red heat with a serious propane torch and very carefully bent the axle to give the correct 2.5 degrees on both sides.  The angle corresponded to a measured mark on the floor calculated using trigonometry.              


Pound Axle 4Pound Axle 5

Once the axle had been corrected, we then offered up the radius arms.  Unfortunately, one side still did not fit well. We wanted them to slide into place without twisting or forcing, so we removed the radius arm ends and modified their length and angle so that they fitted snuggly on to the axle, and then bolted and welded them.

We surmise that the asymmetry is because the chassis is a little off-square (e.g. the distance from the stub axle to the rear wheel is 10mm longer on the driver’s side compared to the passenger side) and has suffered trauma at some time (the chassis cross-member to which the rear ends of the radius arms attach is slightly bowed towards the rear). Probably the correct course of action would have been to completely strip the car down to the chassis and to have started afresh with a totally straight and square chassis, but we decided to make the axle and other components fit the chassis instead.

With the axle and radius arms in place, the castor angle was measured and found to be 5.27 degrees, which is very close to the 5 degrees of positive castor recommended.  The track rod (with new lever ends) was then fitted and the toe-in set.

We turned the steering from lock to lock several times to ensure that the steering was free and light at all points in its travel, without any of the steering components touching or coming close to the mudguard stays, brake pipes, brake back plates or engine sump.


Pound Axle 6Pound Axle 7

Road testing was limited by wet, muddy roads, but showed that the steering was now light and free from shimmying. It was now predictable and as relaxing as the simple suspension allows. Job done!

Thanks to Tim for his expertise and persistence, to Andrew for advice and parts and to Ruairidh for his services.


This article was written by Barry Pound and appeared in Seven Focus in June 2021 pp 10-14 .



Appendices:

1.    Renovation action by car component

Chassis: Number 179566. First registered on 27 October 1933.  Long wheel-base (6ft 9ins). Has had front centre chassis member on which cable brakes pivoted replaced by aluminium tray.

Condition at start of renovation: 
Good. No significant corrosion, cracks or loose rivets. Rhs main side chassis member was bent down about 8mm from straight.

Action taken
: Cleaned up by hand and painted with 2 coats of Hammerite Red Oxide and 2 coats Frosts extreme chassis black.  Straightened rhs chassis member by clamping it up to a steel girder.  Front mudguard stay “outriggers” made by Tony Pascoe engineering (Par) and fitted to chassis.

Comment:
Body off in July 2019.  First road test (with no seats or aeroscreens) August 2020. Brakes and steering still in need of fettling.  


Body:
“Super Accessories” Super model. Made in the late 1950s with 20-gauge aluminium on ash – see http://www.oldclassiccar.co.uk/superaccessories.htm  

Condition at start of renovation:  Aluminium body parts (bonnet, engine side panels, main body tub) that could be saved were straightened, cleaned, sanded and polished.

Action taken:
The body tub was offered up on March 21 2020. A number of adjustments were needed because of changes made to other components. A hole had to be cut in the bulkhead to accommodate the rear facing starter motor. A body-stiffening crossmember had to be re-located due to the handbrake cables having been re-routed. The throttle rod mechanism had to be altered due to the new location of the starter motor. Tim made new cockpit floor from 9mm ply. This was surfaced with 1.2mm aluminium bonded with epoxy and painted with marine quality primer. The underside (ply side) was coated with underseal. The rear end aluminium body panels were in poor condition, but acted as templates for new panels.

The woodwork was replaced with new ash by Tim to provide a useable storage space at the rear, and sufficient strength to hang the spare wheel on the rear end. Tim added extra bracing and shaping spars to the rear end. The floor of the rear storage area was made from 9mm marine ply. New rear panel blanks were cut from 1.2mm aluminium sheet in early May 2020 using the old panels as templates. The back-end roundel panel was bonded to its plywood base with marine epoxy adhesive and then cut and shaved precisely to shape and also screwed with ½” x 2g brass screws. Then the two rear wraparound pieces were offered up, bent to shape, marked, trimmed and fitted using small screws and adhesive. Aluminium half-round beading was used to hide butted seams.

Spare wheel mounted on rear end of car using a brake drum and two wheel-carriers welded back to back and bolted to the rear end.  Made new torque-tube tunnel from 2mm aluminium sheet. Incorporated holes with rubber grommets so that the torque tube and front UJ can be greased regularly.  Self-adhesive number plates applied to rear bodywork.

Comment:
Body off in July 2019 and back on in March 2020.  


Interior:

Condition at start of renovation:  Fair to good.

Action taken:
New floor in 9mm marine ply with aluminium skin.  Fitted vinyl loop to glove compartment door.  Woolies Trim maroon expanded vinyl is the exact material used for the upholstery (have 1m for repairs).


Seats:
Condition at start of renovation:  No seat frames or seats.

Action taken:  Seats were made from scratch (seat frames and cushions and a seat back that lifts out to allow access to storage compartment made by Tim).  High impact foam and maroon expanded vinyl obtained from Woolies. David Nudd did the upholstery.

Comment: Started 25 July 2020  


Bonnet:

Condition at start of renovation: Fair.

Action taken: Dents hammered out. Fitted over-centre catches.  Obtained and fitted leather strap and buckles (from Paul Beck).


Engine: Number M138287 (15/16” crank).  Believed 1930. Coil ignition. Supaloy head; Phoenix non-pressurised crank. Cylinders had been sleeved to standard bore, but rings were worn. Oversize valves. Re-built by Vince Leek in 1990s.

Condition at start of renovation: Good.

Action taken: Obtained parts (fan assembly, valve chest studs and knobs, Water inlet, dipstick, oil filler tube and cap, oil pressure union, starter motor). Cleaned externally; de-coked and ground in valves. Dropped sump and found crankcase front bearing retaining lip broken. Repaired retaining lip (Ruairidh Dunford, Alba Austins, Glasgow). Studs for water inlet bent and cracked seating. Straightened studs and modified water inlet. Replaced broken manifold studs Renewed valve guides. Lapped in valves again. Obtained new 4-ring JP pistons/rings and re-bored to +20thou (Paul Inch Engine Services).

Rebuilt engine at the elbow of Tim George. No 4 big end tight so scraped white metal until free. Used existing bearings. New gaskets. New oil pump springs and ball valve. New rear crankcase seal. Flywheel runout and camshaft end float within tolerances. NB Tim tapped new threads into flywheel for puller. New tab washers all round. Painted block with Frost’s engine enamel. Filled engine with Penrite Classic Light 20W-50. Recommendation after initial running in is Penrite Shesley Light 20W-60.

The early engine had engine mounting holes ¾” further forward than later engines. This meant that when coupled to the 4-speed gearbox the combination was too long and the layshaft cover bolt fouled the front chassis cross member. We drilled new engine mounting holes in the chassis 7/8” forward of the originals. This meant other items were a bit tight, but with a bit of fiddling everything was made to fit. 100mm x M10 engine mounting bolts used at the back. ¼” steel plates under the chassis to stop the mounting bolts collapsing the boxed section.

On attempting to start the engine there was leakage of coolant across the head gasket into the top of the bores. The head was removed and skimmed by West Cornwall Engine Services (taking 6thou off). Engine first started 7 Feb 2020 using the chassis as a test bed!

First road test with all components in the car in September 2020. Misfire due to sticking valve. Cured with lubrication and tapping valve head with light hammer. Ran for 30 mins on idle. No problem after.

Comment: Engine fully disassembled end Aug 2019. Crankcase taken to Glasgow early Sept. Re-bore done Oct 2019. Head skimmed Feb 2020.  Engine started Feb 7, 2020  


Gearbox:
4-speed with synchro on second and third. Correct for late 1933.

Condition at start of renovation:
  Good.

Action taken: Penrite Classic Light 20/50 oil used.  The gearbox casing cracks were drilled and then filled with silicon. 4 cover bolt holes were helicoiled.  One helicoil tab not accounted for. Magnetic insert glued into drain plug in attempt to catch a helicoil tab that might have entered the gearbox. Remote gear lever rod broke at weld on gear stick.  A second-hand gear lever was obtained from Andrew Jarmin, and bent downwards and sideways to the right using a propane gas gun to heat the shaft to a glowing red. A new location pin was made from a ¼” bolt and a new gear knob obtained from The Austin Seven Workshop. The new lever has far better mechanical advantage than the remote linkage, so finds gear easier and smoother.

Comment: Overhauled with Andrew Jarmin on 29 July fitting new bearings, balls and springs.


Clutch:
Condition at start of renovation:  Good.

Action taken: Good lining on flywheel.  Parts sourced through Andrew Jarmin and Holmesdale Sevens (Tony Leslie). New starter ring machined/shrunk on by Paul Bonewell. Installed clutch (after false start thinking we had 3-speed toggles).  


Prop shaft: Sports propshaft with Hardy-Spicer joints at each end.  UJs seem OK.

Condition at start of renovation:  Good.

Action taken: Changed orientation of UJs so joints line up.  Cleaned and painted shaft.  Turned front end of shaft in lathe so it fitted the output drive from the gearbox  


Torque tube: Changed torque tube, as it was cracked, for one supplied and fitted by Andrew Jarmin

Condition at start of renovation:  Good.

Action taken: Cleaned and painted.  Installed on original 4 holes in rear chassis cross member (much lower than before). Now articulates well.  Checked mesh with diff.  


Front axle:  Lowered.

Condition at start of renovation:  Good.  Partially dismantled.

Action taken: Cut track rod threads with 3/4x20 die. Reduced length of track rod by about ¼” at both ends and adjusted to around zero toe in. King pins are good.  Found that front axle was bent and twisted.  Sent standard axle from Andrew Jarmin for modification to sports spec. (and eyes shrinking) by Ruaridh Dunford, Glasgow.  


Front spring: Flattened.

Condition at start of renovation:  Good. 

Action taken: New grease nipples to shackles  


Front shock absorbers

Condition at start of renovation:  Poor.

Action taken: Unserviceable so bought new sports double friction damper suspension unit.  


Front radius arms: Lowered

Condition at start of renovation:  Fair.

Action taken: Replaced left hand radius arm.  Also replaced cups and spring at rear end of radius arms.  Replaced the radius arm ends and shackles with sports radius arms from A7Components  


Rear axle: D-type (two piece)

Condition at start of renovation:  Good. 

Action taken: Filled with 7/8 pint of Penrite Transoil 140  


Rear springs:  Flattened.

Condition at start of renovation:  Good. 

Action taken: Replaced U-bolts as one cracked through.  


Rear shock absorbers: Standard

Condition at start of renovation:  Fair.

Action taken:  replaced with new.   


Starter motor:  Was missing

Action taken: Fitted CAV Bacon slicer starter motor and integral foot operated switch supplied by Andrew Jarmin.  Cleaned commutator and checked bushes.  Machined carefully to fit.  


Carburettors: Twin 11/8” SU carbs (H1-type)

Condition at start of renovation:  Corroded and filthy.

Action taken: Cleaned up and replaced internals with new gaskets, new float needles, main jet needles and other new parts.  Check float level - http://sucarb.co.uk/technical-h-type-carburetter-diagram article.  Custom made copper tube mixture balance pipes (Tim).  


Battery: Negative earth; 6Volt. Type 421

Action taken:  Purchased from Holden Classic.  Filled with acid and charged (Jan 2020).  The battery was earthed on a gearbox bellhousing nut so that there was good connection through to the starter motor.  Master switch installed on battery post and in-line 30-amp fuse fitted to the feed to the starter motor.  


Dynamo: Lucas Y 220299 6V. Tested by Andrew Jarmin and works.  Third brush adjusted to 10amps.  Negative Earth.

Action taken: Installed with distributor and fan assembly.  


Distributor:
Type BN24; Model DK4A.

Condition at start of renovation:  Poor.

Action taken: Very corroded inside. Had to free everything up (spindle, weights).  Sent to Distributor Doctor for rebuild (Martin Jay).  Now beautiful.  Installed and wired up HT leads to new plugs and new coil (soldered all ends).  


Coil: Was Wipac 6v Type S2730.

Condition at start of renovation:  Poor, this was punctured and oil leaking out.

Action taken: Replaced with new coil.  


Cut out and fuse box: Separate units  

Condition at start of renovation:  Good.

Action taken: Purchased from 7 County Austins (Tony Betts). Additional 8-fuse fuse box installed.  


Wiring loom:  

Condition at start of renovation:  Mess, a bag of wires cut from instruments and lights. .

Action taken: Thin wall cable in Austin 7 colours purchased from AES together with a box of connectors, spiral binding and heat shrink.  Decided against buying a ready-made wiring loom.  Purchased 8-fuse fuse box and 4-way junction box. Wiring started in late June with the rear lights and rear indicators. Cables were bundled in spiral wrap and routed up the torque-tube/prop-shaft tunnel to the bulkhead.  


Instruments: Speedometer; Tachometer (mechanical); clock (works); water temperature; fuel gauge

Condition at start of renovation:  Dials OK, but tubes/cables missing.

Action taken: Purchased and fit new speedo drive. Oil pressure gauge appears to work fine.  Fitted with new copper pipe and fittings.  Purchased new water temp gauge (from A7 Workshop) and sensor, and T-piece sensor housing (from Holden Vintage and Classic).  Rev counter take-off machined to take drive from underside of distributor spindle. 0-8 amps Ammeter gauge purchased from Holden Vintage and Classic, but charge and discharge was more than this, so bought 0-30 amps ammeter off e-Bay.  Fit all gauges and switches to dashboard, discarding the central console that was used originally.  Renewed some switches, including new Lucas ignition switch and on-on dip switch.  



Lights:

Condition at start of renovation:  Head/side lights missing.  Tail lamps OK.  Indicators missing.  All 6volt.

Action taken: Purchased 5.75” headlamps/sidelights, plus mudguard-mounted front flashers and mudguard-mounted rear flashers, stop/tail lights and reflectors (Paul Becks). Inserted clear glass window in stop lights to provide illumination to number plates. Installed interior light in luggage space and a dash light for map reading.  



Steering:

Condition at start of renovation:  Good.

Action taken: Lhs radius rod very pitted and replaced, together with spring and cups Put in new drag link springs and cups and ball joints. Overhauled track rod ends with new pins, bushes and cotters Overhauled and greased steering box (Andrew Jarmin masterclass 16 Nov) – rotated column setting through 180deg, and moved box gear through 120 deg to less worn segment). Adjusted play. Horn wired through steering column    


Brakes: Were Lockheed hydraulics (7” Morris Minor). Most parts apart from back plates and rear drums missing.

Condition at start of renovation:  Poor

Action taken: Purchased master cylinder, slaves, drums, pipes, splitters etc. from Charles Ware. 2 drums with car, 2 purchased from Ruairidh Durnford (Alba Austins).  Custom made bracket for mounting master cylinder (Tim). Front brakes went together easily, but rear brakes required trial and error.  First mounted rear slaves with handbrake lever upwards.  Decided this meant it would be difficult to bleed brakes so dismantled hubs and reversed the slaves.  Then brake shoes didn’t both expand when brake put on so dismantled hubs again (!) and swapped backplates round.  Then all seems to work properly.  Brakes filled with Mecanic silicone brake fluid.  Bedded in on shakedown and then re-adjusted up.  Now work well.  


Handbrake: Sports fly-off

Condition at start of renovation:  Good

Action taken: Removed and cleaned. Custom-made (Tim) rod, and equaliser with new bracket.  New handbrake cables obtained from Charles Ware.  Shortened to fit and cables joined using drilled brass rods and solder.  



Exhaust System: Dante manifold OK, but silencer and tail pipes absent.

Action taken: Purchased some parts from Holmesdale Sevens (downpipe from which to make manifold to pipe flange, silencer, clamps).  Also a length of 39mm ID stainless flexible exhaust pipe from Whitehouse Flexible Tubing Ltd. From these fashioned a bespoke exhaust system.  



Fuel supply:

Condition at start of renovation:  Good.

Action taken: Fuel tank cleaned out and painted.  Replacement neck and fuel filler cap from Paul Beck fitted.  Replaced ¼” copper fuel lines to include in-line fuel filter/sight bowl.  Replaced fuel pump with new electric SU pump (Type AUA 26).   



Radiator:

Condition at start of renovation:  Good.

Action taken: New core obtained from Hereford Radiators. Fan blade is rather close to the top radiator hose. Need to keep an eye on this.  Fixed leaks from top water outlet by use of cork gasket and blue Hylomar.  Purchased wiggly hose from Car Builder Solutions.  Temperature sensor fitted to top hose.  



Wheels, tyres and hubs: Were 17”. Front tyres 4.00x17; Rear tyres 4.50x17. Changed to 17x4.00/4.25 all round.

Condition at start of renovation:  Good.

Action taken: Sand blasted and powder coated by Blast and Clean (Longdowns).  Purchased 5 tyres, tubes and rim tapes (all 17x4.00/4.25 Longstones).  Replaced bearings, greased hubs.  Replaced wheel centres.  Spare wheel mounted on rear end of car using a brake drum and two carriers bolted to the rear end.  


Steering wheel:

Condition at start of renovation:  Fair.

Action taken: Repaired flaking plastic with fibreglass and then painted with Matt Black spray paint.  Not effective so bought steering wheel overhaul kit from Paul Beck.  Stripped s/w to bare metal. Repaired dents with supplied epoxy and then painted with 2-pack acrylic epoxy paint supplied with kit.  Sufficient materials for at least one other steering wheel.  

Hood:

Condition at start of renovation:  Good.

Action taken: Frame seems all there.  Hood cleaned.  Small cracks in Perspex, but serviceable. Hood irons cleaned, sanded and painted.

Comment:  Hood not fitted as does not work with aero-screens.  



Mudguards (Wings):

Condition at start of renovation:  Good.

Action taken: Blasted and primed (together with brackets) by Blast and Clean (Longdowns). Dents then filled and mudguards re-primed.  Tony Pascoe Engineering (Par) made brackets and chassis outriggers for front mudguards.  Painted (Tim Poore) Lotus Yellow (L07).  After completing installation and electrics, painted inside of mudguards with Hammerite Waxoyl Underseal.  Fitted mudflaps to front mudguards.    


Windscreen:

Condition at start of renovation:  Poor.

Action taken: The windscreen glass was smashed by shed collapse, and the surround mangled.  Straightened surround, but fit is still poor.  Decided to fit Aero-screens instead (look better).  Means we can do away with windscreen wipers and washers, but also means we can’t fit the hood.  Tim made wood “plinth” on which to mount the aero-screens.  


Miscellaneous:

Chassis painted (2 coats Hammerite red oxide + 2 coats Frosts black extreme chassis paint)

Block painted with Frosts Engine enamel.

Electrical components primed and spray painted with Hammerite Smooth Black;

Mudguard sprays painted with Simoniz tough black spray.

Preservative and varnish for woodwork.

Fuel additive (Castrol Valvemaster), Mecanic silicone brake fluid. Penrite Oils (Shesley Light for engine and gearbox, Transoil 140 for diff.)

Duralac, Hylomar Blue, 3M marine adhesive.

Tools (heat gun, rivet gun, step drill bit, countersink drill bits, hub puller, flap wheels and wire brush wheels, metal shaping hammers and dollies, jig saw and blades, pillar drill, crimping tool and copper pipe flaring tool with pipe cutter).

Nuts, bolts, screws, washers – mix of Whitworth, BSF and metric. 9mm marine ply, ash for spars, iroko for seat back rest, spruce for extra timber components, 1.2mm and 2mm aluminium sheet for floor, body and transmission tunnel, ½”, ¾” and 1” half round aluminium strip for covering joins between panels.

MOT (October 2020). Registered as Historic Vehicle with DVLA.




2. 
  Renovation services/sources

Cornwall Austin Seven Club: http://www.austin7.org   Technical help and parts from Andrew Jarmin..

Austin Seven Workshop,1A Cornish Way, North Walsham, Norfolk NR28 0AW.  Jamie Rogerson. https://www.theaustinsevenworkshop.com/ ; info@theaustinsevenworkshop.com ; Tel: 01692 407507.

Hereford Radiators, Berrington St, Hereford, HR4 0BS. Tel: 01432 274227; sales@herefordradiators.co.uk  http://herefordradiators.com/home.html  

ERS (RH) specialist motor insurance: https://www.ers.com/ ; rh@ers.com

Tony Pascoe Engineering Limited, https://www.tonypascoeengineering.co.uk/ ; tonypascoeengineering@hotmail.com Unit 17, St Austell Bay Business Park, St Austell, Cornwall PL25 3RF. Opposite Par Market. Tel: 01726 813817.   Fabrication of metal parts.

Keys cut to code on e-bay (Ignition key): https://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/keyscuttocode

Mercury Vintage Services: Austin Seven Manual. Susan.woodrow@gmail.com , Mercury Vintage Services, Rosedale, Station Road, Emneth, PE14 8DL.  Tel: 01945 430058

A7 Components: David Cochrane. 18 Russell Avenue, Dunchurch, Rugby, Warwicks CV22 6PX.  Tel: 01788 522033. Website: www.a7c.co.uk   e-mail: sales@a7c.co.uk  Specialist in Austin Seven parts

Seven County Austins:(Tony Betts):  0116 2867522: 31, Forest Road, Huncote, Leicestershire LE9 3BH; Tel: 01162 867522;  tony.7ca@aol.co.uk  ;  http://www.7ca.co.uk  Large stocks of new and secondhand spares

Woolies (I & C Woolstenholmes Ltd): Whitley Way, Northfields Ind Est, Market Deeping, Peterborough PE68AR. Tel: 01778 347347; info@woolies-trim.co.uk  Drevo/Denso tape for wrapping springs

Holden Classic and Vintage: Linton Trading Est, Bromyard, Herts HR7 4QT. Tel: 01885 488488 sales@holden.co.uk  Battery, catches etc.

ABS Metals (Easy Metals): Unit 4, Tregoniggie Ind Est., TR11 4SN Falmouth; Tel: 01326 333494/378811; www.absmetals.co.uk and www.easymetals.co.uk  . Aluminium sheet (1.2mm and 2mm) and flat strap.

Holmesdale Sevens (Tony Leslie): Ashlee, Thetford Road, Coney Weston, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk IP31 1DN; Tel: 01359 221838 (9am – 5.00pm); holmesdale7@gmail.com   Mobile: 0786093731

Paul Bonewell, 52 Upper Close, Forest Row, Sussex RH18 5DX; Tel: 01342 822072.  Machinist, starter ring, camshafts.

Distributor Doctor (Martin Jay): Tel: 01984 629540; Distributor Doctor Ltd, Unit 8 Old Brewery Road, Wiveliscombe, Taunton, Somerset, TA4 2PW. http://www.distributordoctor.com/distributor_advance_springs.html

Burlen Ltd (SU Carbs): Burlen Ltd, Spitfire House, Castle Road, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP1 3SB. info@burlen.co.uk  Tel: 01722 412 500.  Spares and renovation kits for most carburettors.

Alba Austins (Ruairidh Dunford): 64 Campsie Drive, Bearsden, Glasgow G61 3HX. 0141 942 8037; Tel: 07754 171005. Dunford1@aol.com . Crankcase repair and modification of front axle.

Charles Ware's Morris Minor Centre: 20 Clothier Road, Brislington, Bristol BS4 5PS. info@morrisminor.org.uk Tel: 0117 3003 754 (spares: John Knowles).  Brake parts

Paul Inch Engine Services Ltd, Unit 1, St John’s Road, Cattedown, Plymouth, PL4 0PA.  Tel: 01752 255563. Re-bore.

Blast Clean and Coatings, Lower Trolvis Works, Longdowns, Penryn TR10 9DL; info@blastcleanandcoatings.co.uk ; Tel: 01209 861456

Paul Beck Vintage Supplies Ltd: Unit 7 Merebrook Business Park, Hanley Road, Malvern, Worcestershire, WR13 6NP; Tel: 01684 212882; info@vintagesupplies.com . Lights; head, side and indicators.

Car Builder Solutions, Redlands, Lindridge Lane, Staplehurst, Kent, TN12 0JJ.  Tel: 01580 891309 / 01580 448007 / 01580 448017  Email: info@carbuildersolutions.com  . https://www.carbuilder.com/uk   Hoses, fuses, radiator grille etc  
Fuel system parts: https://www.classic-spares.com/fuel-en/

Brass screws: Ossett Emporium, 7 Nettleton St, Ossett, W. Yorks, WF5 8HQ. www.ossettemporium.co.uk ; sales@ossettemporium.co.uk 

Copper pipe and fittings: https://www.vintagecarparts.co.uk/categories/vintage-car-parts-taps-pipe-and-fittings

Whitehouse Flexible Tubing, Britten Street, Redditch, Worcestershire B97 6HD. Tel: 01527 64036 & 62398; E-Mail: sales@flexible-tubing.com   Flexible exhaust pipe

West Cornwall Engine Services: Unit 4A, Nancegollan Inds Est., Nancegollan, Helston, Helston TR13 0AP;  Tel: 01209 831789. Cylinder head skimming

SJ Andrew and Sons, South Turnpike, Redruth TR15 2LZ, Tel: 01209 213171; http://www.sjandrew.com . Steel and metalwork supplies.

Tim Poore, Autobody repairs: Pendarves Farm, Reskivers, Tregony, Truro TR2 5TE; Tel: 01872 530584. Painted mudguards  

David Nudd, rear of Marine Terrace, Penzance TR18 4DL. Tel: 01736 369419.  Upholstery.

 





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