June 2016

June had started and the car was still not ready for the road. But by the end…

Thanks to Russell Beck (see May), I possessed a front bumper with correctly-shaped brackets, plus a huge pile of carpet and soundproofing materials along with divers bits to attach, such as the gearknob, speedometer, passenger door trim, seat belts, body trim panels – and a deadline as the car was due to head down to the south of France later in the month.

Did I make it? Let’s see how we get on!

The car looks almost ready but check the pile of parts in the background.

So this was the state of play at the end of Friday 3 June. The front bumper was finally attached – it took much longer than I expected as the process was more akin to a three-dimensional jigsaw – and the number plate is on.
Here’s what took the time.

In order to fit the bumper, the main brackets need to be in line with the chassis rails (one wasn’t because I suspect the bumper had been a bit distorted by a shunt at some point) so they can be bolted on, and the ends of the bumper need to be attached through holes in the valance. They weren’t lined up either. Several spanners, ratchets and a long crowbar persuaded everything it really did want to fit.

On the bright side (literally), dismantling the bumpers gave me the opportunity to give all areas a seriously deep polish so everything is very shiny now – except where my grubby fingers have had to finangle bits back into position.

The driver’s door card furniture is now all completed, with a soft new door capping, and a new door card. Two more afternoons’ work saw more carpets laid – wheel arches and steps, plus passenger side tunnel, although the driver’s side was troublesome – the carpet seemed too big for the space, although with a bit of re-positioning, it was finally sorted.

The main tunnel carpet took a lot of fiddling, trial fitting, and cutting to get the aperture for the gearstick to the right size and location, but now it’s glued down it fits like a glove. A small mod to the sill carpets was needed as, in our enthusiasm, Russ and I had laid carpet over the holes where the end of the seat belts are bolted on. D’oh! That was quickly fixed by a bit of cutting away of excess carpetry.

A rare treat: the trim panels behind the doors and kick panels on the outer side of the footwells were quick and easy to fit. In fact, they were so precise a fit that I didn’t need to attach them in any way, just push them firmly into position and they stayed there.

Replacing the seats involved installing the wooden runners and wriggling each seat (with its newly greased sliders) into position, while ensuring that the runners stayed put and then getting them all to line up with the bolt holes so everything could be bolted down. With just one pair of hands.

Once done, ODE 29F started to look pretty much finished.

With the interior now fitted out with brand new carpets, new trim panels, new door cards, cappings and locks, the seats refitted, there’s only the dashboard to do.

And naturally, the car then headed south on a 1,200-mile shake-down drive to the south of France and back. Where else?

A brief stop in Normandy on the way to the Tarn area.

This almost marks the end of the restoration blog as the rest of the work that’ll be done (including repainting the dash – I can’t have that looking scrappy now the rest of the car looks sparkly and new) doesn’t really qualify as restoration. On second thoughts, maybe it does, as it makes a huge difference to the look of the interior. The rest is more like tinkering and maintenance really – which along with driving is the whole point!

PS: Update 10 February 2017: The interior was quickly carpeted and refitted but the dashboard remains to be repainted. Around the middle of March, it was at last – read on for gruesome details…