After four months of enforced inactivity caused by tennis elbow, I decided to have a major session with ROJ and took a whole week off work.
The plan was to rebuild the front and rear suspension and axles.
All the major parts have been grit-blasted and powder coated, and then painted with black hammerite. The problem was that there were odd things missing or damaged â€“ so I had to remove a few things from the wreck in the barn â€“ no easy task as it is in very bad shape.
10% rust, 90% stupidity Once again the adage of â€˜donâ€™t work when tiredâ€™ was brought home with a crash, when I knocked the damn thing off itâ€™s axle stands â€“ cracked the sump on my spare engine and spilled 11 litres of oil over the deck. Fortunately the barn was full of straw, and an old duvet supplied the feathers to soak up the mess. But then Iâ€™ve found that car restoration is more often than not two steps forward one step back.
The best engineering brains, a bottle of vin rouge and six feet of surgical tubes. There is always a danger when dipping steel into hot zinc that it will distort in the heat, and several of the thinner panels did warp slightly â€“ so I used a spirit level and laser to measure the main structure of the chassis for distortion. I was not too happy with my measurements â€“ but the two scientists Malcolm and Robert came up with an ingenious plan â€“ without a single scribbled theorem, or convoluted equation. The idea was blindingly simple â€“ and wonderfully easy to use.
Six feet of clear surgical tube filled with red wine (the best part was being able to drink the left-overs) â€“ hold one end against one mounting point and the other on the corresponding point â€“ then measure off the difference in wine levels. The result â€“ ROJ is as straight as a die, with a 3mm deviation on the front wishbone mounting that can be corrected with shims, far more accurate than my previous measurements.
Farewell my lovely It was strange to see the OI disappearing down the drive â€“ Malcolm looked like a proud parent with a smile on his lips and a tear in his eye. From my perspective the OI had been a very useful reference work on how certain parts fit together. Before it left we rode in it down to the pub for lunch and the sound of the engine sent tingles down my spine â€“ I cannot wait until ROJ is in the same state.