The Restoration of ‘Sol’ The African Rally Morgan +4 (Chapter 2)

Since I last wrote about progress on Sol, a good deal has happened, as following on from the making of the brake lines the car was despatched to VSM for the wings to be fitted. We had sourced a set of new Superform wings from the factory. Not strictly correct, or quite the right style for Sol, but more readily available and also having a link to Holden, in that Holden Aluminium (now part of the Sapa Group) form the extruded outer edge wing beading for Superform. In fact, prior to Holden Aluminium relocating to Bromyard, the wing beading was formed in the very building in which Sol is being restored!

In an amazingly short period of four days, Steve had managed to trim and fit all four wings, Sol being retrieved on the fourth day to take up a position on the Morgan Sports Car Club stand at the Practical Classics Restoration Show, gaining much admiration and questions about the rebuild, the specification, the general construction of a Morgan, as well as the ever present ‘I thought these cars had a wooden chassis’ question!

Following the Show were four days until Sol could return to VSM, so as the wings were fitted the opportunity was taken to fit the wing stays. Front wings are supported at the centre line of the front wheel, the other end being attached to the top of the cross head. Previously, making these has been something akin to Blacksmithing, as the Factory supplied items were only ever somewhere near to fitting, in that there was a bolt hole at each end and a shape something like the wing profile. However, nowadays things are different! Someone at Morgan has discovered that by making the bracket a shape much more like the wing and putting slotted holes at each end, one part can fit a multitude of cars! This main front stay aside, all the rest had to be made from flat steel strip. There is still one more to do, but this can only be done once there is an exhaust system in place.

Whilst ferreting through a box of parts for the car, we found the door locks which thankfully had been rescued off the old doors. With a little bit of a clean up and some light oil they appeared to work well and showed little signs of much wear, so as the doors were currently being held shut with a small piece of wood and a screw, they were fitted. Not without having to make a packing piece from a piece of thin steel! A little careful adjustment and they latched shut, albeit being a bit on the tight side – but as the body settles and once it is firmly bolted to the chassis the locks will no doubt need some more fettling to get them spot on.

Having done these relatively minor tasks, I tackled the brake line across the back axle and the main line from the front of the car to the rear. This runs down the chassis rail on the passenger side of the car, opposite to the master cylinder which makes the pipe run somewhat longer, but it does keep it well away from the exhaust!

With these few little tasks completed, Easter was upon us, and the following Tuesday Sol was due back to VSM for the bonnet to be made. Dodging the ever present rain showers Sol made the journey from the Workshop to VSM without getting wet or dirty. Amazingly!

Just over a week later, a phone call to say that Sol was done and could be collected was a bit of a surprise, as the anticipation was that it would be at least another week. Steve had done the job quicker than he had suggested and it was ready.

The bonnets and cowl were now fitted, the cowl box had been made and bolted in – this insignificant sounding and fiddly to fit bit of sheet metal is the part that holds the front of the valances together and provides the mounting point for the Morgan grille. Steve had also fitted the windscreen for us and at the same time cut the slots for the windscreen wiper wheelbox spindles in the scuttle. Both of these jobs being far easier when a template and plenty of experience are readily available! Getting the angle of the windscreen wrong can affect the aesthetics of the car, not to mention cause a nuisance when it comes to fitting side screens.

This the brings us to the point where some of the ‘furniture’ can be fitted. So far, a pair of headlights have been fitted, using period correct 3-adjuster steel headlamp bowls instead of the more modern plastic option, a set of front indicators added, which is something that we don’t think Sol would have had from new, but are being fitted from a safety point of view. With these installed, Sol has somehow taken a leap towards becoming a complete car!

Wiper wheelboxes have been put in place, together with a new piece of tube for the wiper rack. This comes as a lovely straight piece of tube and has to be carefully cut and shaped to fit, ensuring not to kink the tube or bend it too tightly, otherwise the rack simply won’t run smoothly and the motor will be straining to operate correctly. A modern 2 speed motor has been fitted in place of the original single speed one to hopefully provide better wipers, although we are hoping the trip through Africa will not see too much rain, you never know!

Another job was to fit the tread rubbers to the wings. These comprise a very soft aluminium extrusion that is bolted to the wing with plenty of small coach bolts, which are then hidden by the rubber strip. These have had to be ordered from the Factory, so a couple of old ones that had been replaced on a car in the Workshop were used as templates.

The final job that brings us currently up to date has been to fit the bellhousing to the gearbox and overhaul the clutch operating mechanism. Those readers familiar with a Moss box in a Morgan will understand this, others may not. Essentially, the Moss gearbox is mounted remotely from the engine at the end of an approximately 2 feet long Magnesium bellhousing. At the flywheel end there is a cast aluminium sleeve that contains a carbon clutch thrust pad, this slides within the magnesium casting to operate the clutch by pushing against a steel pad in the centre of the clutch cover. The sleeve is connected via a mechanical linkage to the pedal and has 5 separate pivot points, each one wears and contributes towards the linkage being sloppy, add this to a lack of grease having been applied to the grease point where the aluminium sleeve slides and the end result is a clutch that is terrible to operate at best.

The cure for the lack of grease – and hence the slide for the aluminium sleeve becoming oval – is to machine the magnesium casting back to round and press in a piece of seamless steel tube. This job was entrusted to GEE, who helpfully had one available as an exchange! The rest of the linkage was overhauled and new pivot pins and split pins fitted to make it all work correctly. Once the bellhousing was bolted to the gearbox with the connecting shaft fitted first (the muff coupling on the nose of the gearbox input shaft does not fit through the aluminium clutch sleeve) it was placed in the chassis. At this point, we could not resist fitting the propshaft – just to make sure it fitted!

The coming week or so will see the fitting of the beading to the outer edge of the wings, fitting rear lamps, the addition of the bonnet catches and sorting out the fuel tank. Once this is all done, we will be somewhere near to being ready for paint. The burning question now, is what colour……..!

Make the most of your classic car while the sun is shining!

We Brits know that the weather can be notoriously unpredictable. One moment, the Beast From The East is causing a national freeze, the next it’s 25 degrees and we’re digging out last year’s leftover sunblock.

So when we do get to enjoy a spot of fortunate weather, it’s important we make the most of it by bringing our classic motors out of their winter hibernation. After all, there really is no greater feeling than driving down beautiful country lanes with the top down on a warm Summer’s day.

Here’s what you can do to enjoy your classic car throughout the remainder of Spring and into the Summer months.

1. Give your classic motor a spring clean

This is the perfect time of year to really show off your classic car, especially if you’re scheduled to attend a classic motoring event sometime over the coming weeks. That’s why we recommend using the Autoglym Full Bodyworks and Wheels kit. This fantastic collection of cleaning products includes instant tyre dressing, shampoo conditioner, super resin polish, extra gloss protection, alloy wheel seal and clean wheels wash. Over the last few months of rain, wind and unprecedented levels of snow, your car will need a thorough wash down using the Autoglym shampoo conditioner to remove unwanted grime. You’ll also need to clear any grit and dirt from the wheels using the clean wheels wash. After the wheels have dried, you can use the alloy wheel seal to spray the rim of the wheels, although you must be careful not to spray through wheels onto brake discs or calipers. Once applied, buff the surface with dry cotton cloth and finish with the instant tyre dressing for a beautiful shine. Back to the car’s body, once the shampoo conditioner has dried, you’ll be able to apply the polish and extra gloss protection, giving your motor a spectacular shine while guarding it from common Summer hazards.

2. Treat your classic motor to a splash of paint

If you think your classic car’s chassis is looking a little dull, you might want to consider treating it to a lick of paint in time for the summer months. This can bring any classic vehicle back to life and give you an added sense of pride if you’re attending classic car shows or similar motoring events. POR-15 make a number of suitable paints, all of which have anti-rust properties to keep your car in better shape for the long haul. If you’d like to try out this paint before committing to it, you can purchase the POR-15 Super Starter Kit which includes metal prep, rust prevention coating and a cleaner degreaser, as well as latex gloves and two wooden handle paint brushes. Remember that cleaning your car is critical before applying paint so that fibres and bugs aren’t trapped beneath the paintwork, as this can create an uneven coating.

3. Take your car to an event

Throughout the rest of April and into May, classic car and motorcycle events are found in abundance across the country and beyond. At Holden Vintage & Classic, not only do we list our favourite events each month on our blog, but attend many of these ourselves! If you’ve seen an event that’s caught your eye and are thinking of entering as a participants, we are more than willing to talk to you about the best ways you can prep your car beforehand. Alternatively, you can bring your car into our Service and Restoration Bay for a full check-up.

And while you’re here….

We’d like to present to you this stunning Morgan 3-wheeler for sale at the Holden Morgan showroom.

Ordinarily, when purchasing this stunning classic motor from the Morgan factory directly, you would expect to wait months before becoming its owner. But with us, there is no wait at all. Treat yourself to this gorgeous new and unregistered car with 0 mileage for just £39995. For more information, click here or email Katie@holden.co.uk.

 

Classic Motoring Events April 2018

With the race season fully underway, we are excited to see what April has in store for the classic motoring enthusiast. This month Bromyard Speed Festival goes on tour, and Bringsty Grand Prix returns after a 70 year absence. You can also find some exciting workshops and bike shows across the country in the coming weeks.

 The Bringsty Grand Prix POSTPONED

The Bringsty Grand Prix will run in the Herefordshire countryside for the first time since 1947. Supported by local land owners and in keeping with the ethos of The Bromyard Speed Festival, this historic motorcross event will take place at the Tiblands Farm, Linley Green Road, Bromyard WR6 5RE, where motoring enthusiasts from all over the country are expected to gather in celebration of its much-anticipated return. PLEASE NOTE THE ORIGINAL DATE  OF 7 APRIL HAS BEEN POSTPONED DUE TO WATERLOGGED GROUND.

7 April 2018 The Carole Nash Great Scottish Bike Show 

Based at the Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh, this fantastic classic bike show will feature classic bike fire-up paddocks, celebrity motorcycle guests, children’s motorcycle experiences, a custom bike show and numerous trade and autojumble stands. You can get your tickets (starting at £13.85) by clicking here. 

7 April 2018 – The Cardiff Motorcycle Show Glamorgan 

Back for its 26th year, the Classic Motorcycle Show will take place at  Llanishen High School, Heol Hir, Cardiff Glamorgan, CF14 5YL and this year will feature 150 bikes spanning the eras. Over a thousand guests are expected to attend, with trade stands and experts on hand for a chat about the latest motorcycle news.

15 April 2018 – Classics At The Mill, Somerset 

Classics at the Mill is a family friendly classic vehicle meeting at the Haselbury Mill, a captivating venue in the heart of the Somerset countryside. The day will feature family centric entertainment, including crafts and activities, 150 classic vehicles on display and a hog roast ready to eat for when you get a bit peckish. Local pubs and restaurants will be open as usual.

15 April 2018 – The Southern Classics Spring Show, Sussex

The Southern Classics Spring Show is planned to take place at Tangmere Military Aviation Museum, Tangmere, Chichester Sussex, PO20 2ES. Featuring an autojumble and trade stands, this classic motoring event is the perfect opportunity for classic car owners to come together.

21 April 2018 Classic Virgin Experience Day Classic Car Ownership Workshop

Gain a better understanding of classic car maintenance with this superb workshop for classic car owners. The day will kick off with a session offering expert guidance on the practicalities of classic car ownership including rally participation, club membership and social activities, facilities you will need to care for your car, finance, insurance, and what to look out for when choosing your classic car. After this you’ll attend a practical session in a fully decked out restoration workshop and learn the fundamentals of classic car maintenance, from filter changes and brake fluid checks to ignition and fuel care.

21-22 April 2018 Formula Vintage Championship 

The Formula Vintage Championship will take place on the National Circuit of Silverstone on 21 and 22 April. The exhilarating two day event remains one of the VSCC’s most popular events with spectators and competitors alike, and this year will feature free access to the paddocks, an opportunity to dress up in vintage motoring clothing and classic motoring stalls and trade stands. Tickets from £15. If you’d like to treat yourself to a new vintage outfit for this event, you can look in our Holden Vintage & Classic shop. 

28 April 2018 – British & Midland Championships Weekend, Gloucestershire 

The British & Midland Championships Weekend is planned to take place at Gotherington, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th April 2018 and is expected to feature some of the fastest hillclimb cars in the country. Trade stands and experts will be on hand to answer your questions, and there is refreshments available for the whole family to enjoy.

Should you need any parts, accessories or clothing for any one of these classic motoring events, you can visit our website.