I migrated from South Australia about 40 years ago and go back to visit regularly. I returned in 1986 and while in Adelaide saw the Bay to Birdwood Rally and thought a vintage car would be a good hobby. Having virtually no knowledge of mechanics I chose an Austin 7 as I could push it around. I eventually acquired a 1927 Roadster and joined the 1988 Bay to Birdwood Rally.
Brakes – The cylinders and lines needed servicing, these were done at Bernie’s Brakes in Dandenong. Wheel cylinders were re-sleeved, master cylinder renewed and flexible hoses rebuilt.
Bumper bars – I was missing a rear bumper so I made one from flat steel and had it chromed – looks good.
Chassis – The II chassis needed cleaning. So I removed / chiseled off the dried oil and red Mallee dirt then had it sandblasted by DAF in Moorabbin. A good number of coats of black paint followed.
Chrome – Vinney’s of Bennet Street Dandenong did a superb job. You may find someone cheaper but no better.
Doors – Some of the timbers had rotted so I cut out the rotted pieces and spliced in new bits. A pressure pack of ‘Space Invader’ filled out the gaps. When replacing the doors, I made up plates from ¼” flat steel and placed them inside and outside the frame then bolted the hinges through them – no sagging. Handles were originally made of ‘muck metal’ so I used one for a pattern and had some cast in bronze, allowing a 15° offset to the shaft to make them sit straight. Once chromed they came up well. The locks came from Roverco, not the correct ones but suitable for my restoration.
About two years ago I thought a Morris 8/40 would give me something to do and I acquired a couple of heaps of rust with the hope of eventually building a Series II Roadster. I have found a lot of help and guidance from Lionel Howard but have had to improvise and find parts. The contacts I have made could help other club members although they have probably used / found most of these before.Axles – My purchase was a Series II with some Series E bits, missing an axle on the II. I improvised by having one E axle cut off and milled to fit the II.
Electrics – The wiring was virtually non-existent so I bought rolls of 15 Amp wire, from Autobarn and will make my own loom. I have used 1″ diameter plastic tube from front to back to keep the wires together. A friend restored my starter, generator, cutout and petrol pump. The headlights and sidelamps also needed restoring.
Engine – This has been rebuilt so I am expecting no troubles.
Dashboard – I made a dashboard from 20 gauge, powder coated, Zincalume with appropriate strengthening.
Hardware – Where it was essential I found BSF, but generally I have gone to Whitworth. I was fortunate to find some ‘special order’ round head bolts for the bumpers which save me having to make square holes – they chromed up well.
Hood – I had parts of the hood bows and made up the missing or broken ones. I made up a pattern for the hood from an old sheet which should make it easy for the upholsterer. I will use a local tradesman for this.
Instruments – The units with my purchase have cleaned up well, hopefully they will work when connected.
Metal – A friend, makes up any metal bending I require, I replaced the back panel because of too much rust.
Painting – I decided on a dark red body with black guard colour scheme. To save costs I painted the guards myself (pressure packs with correct preparation) and was pleased with the result. However when the panels came back with two-pack, my job looked poor so I will have to improve the guards. The panels are very good and I think my contact would take on work as long as it is not wanted ‘yesterday’. The red is a Ford ‘off-the-shelf’ colour.
Petrol tank – I think my II was used over paddocks so it was necessary to lift out some dents.
Running boards – These were rather sad, and as I am a poor welder, I cut out the rusted sections, made corresponding fillers then riveted a cover over the patch. I then bogged, sanded and found some 12″ wide bullnose stair tread from a local carpet store – the job looks OK.
Radiator – I had a recore done by Fountain Gate Radiators. The braces from the firewall to the radiator were made of from some lengths of ¼” rod with a turn buckle cut in halves on each end. The radiator lacing came from a plaited nylon dog lead.
Seats – I did not have any seats so I made up the frames from bent 20G gal strip, one part shaped as an L with another T piece, riveted together to form a base for the seat squabs. The back of the seats was formed as one piece.
Scuttle timber – I had to shape the scuttle timber with a shaper blade that fits onto my angle grinder this makes the job quite easy.
Side screens – I made these from some flat gal cut and bent, one piece, in an L shape. One side is ¾” wide the other ¼”. Another flat piece ¾” wide sandwiches the celluloid between the two metals together and bent the ¼” profile over the other to give a straight edge.
SU carby – Parts were available from a stockist in Waverley Road, close to Warrigal Road.
Steering wheel – I removed the rust and had Redip, of Box Hill South, restore it.
Tyres / wheels – My purchase gave me a mixture of 16″ and 17″ wheels and I have settled on 16″. I had them sandblasted, repaired and painted. I was able to collect a few acceptable 16″ tyres and through another club suitable tubes.
Upholstery – I used marine quality vinyl for the seat backs and cut out 3mm MDF for the lining inside the doors, etc. Most of the door linings were either non-existent or rotted out.
Windscreen – I cannibalized a couple of screen frames to make the one required and had glass cut and fitted by Windscreens O’Brien, Dandenong.
Progress – 6 months ago I thought I could finish the car in about 2 weeks, surely. 6 months on I will say the same but it will happen.