Monthly Archives: December 2006

History boys

I’ve commented before that restoring an old car is a bit like archaeology. The rebuilding is the excavation and interpretation, but there is still a lot of desk research as well.

The Aston Martin factory in Newport Pagnell kindly sent me the original build sheets for ROJ – showing that it was ordered in October 1973 with the initials WHC embosed in the leather of the ashtrays. This suggests it was a special order for a client.

The DVLA have just sent me, for the princely sum of £5, copies of all the registration records for the car – It was first registered in February 1974, but no mention of WHC. So who was this mysterious person? Did he cancel his order? was it bought by the first owner as a gift for WHC? Some more detective work required.

Small jobs

Well I took Malcolm’s advice and took the fuel sender apart. I did a practice run on the really corroded one from ROJ. Opened up it was just as rusty inside, and the casing almost crumbled away.

I was a little surprised by the basic nature of the mechanism – a reducing resister over which a flimsy connector would move as the fuel level changed. The question still puzzling me is why the damn thing doesn’t make the fuel tank explode! An electrical current going through a moving part within the tank?

Having done my practice run I then tackled the better of the two. I used my Dremel type tool to clean it thouroughly before carefully prising the tabs open and bending the outer case gently away to expose the mechanism. I removed the float arm and used the dremel again to clean the inside of the case, gently stroking the wire resister with wire wool and polishing up the connectors.

cleaning the sender

Before closing the mechanism up I coated it with petroleum jelly, which should protect it for a while.

oily sender

More brakes

 I thought I would clean up and repaint the brake resevoirs before refitting. This is what they looked like before I took them off ROJ:

dirty pots

 And with one cleaned and polished, ready for painting:

clean pot

I’ve polished them both up now and will paint them over the Christmas weekend – keep me out of the kitchen while the ladies do their stuff!


Slow but steady

It may appear that I am taking my time restoring ROJ, but in fact I am learning as I go along – some jobs I have to do several times before I get them right. I am also slowly getting all my stock of parts into some sense of order, sorting by condition as well as function.

The parts that came off ROJ all have to be checked as so many different nuts and bolts were used during the numerous bodge jobs (Not to mention, wire ties, gaffer tape and blue tack!) So i have been slow but getting there steadily

This weekend was unusuall in that I was the only one working on a car. Robert was nowhere to be seen – his Rochdale untouched. Gary declared it was too cold to work on his Alfa – so built a greenhouse instead. And poor Malcolm looked thoroughly fed up as he had a massive web job to complete for a client, he spent the whole time hunched over his laptop rather than the chassis of his Renault.

New Threads

Each month I tend to buy myself some useful new tool (Machine Mart has taken over from Hamley’s as my favourite store). This month was a set of taps and dies – both imperial and metric. I put them straight to work on several blocked captive nuts and a stud with a twisted thread.

New threads

 Aston Martin at last

 The other jobs I managed to get done were:

Fitting the pedal gear and pedal box (IIf you look very closely, you will see on the foot rest, to the left of the brake, the words ‘Aston Martin’. ROJ has got it’s first named item – it’s gone from a pile of metal to an Aston Martin again;


I had to take the steering collumn out again to give myself space to work.


Of course under the pedals are all the bits that work to make the car stop. I didn’t fit the master cylinder as the brake pipes had got a bit out of shape).

box of stopping tricks

I still need to do the final adjustmens once we’ve gor the cylinders and pipes connected up

levers and springs

Shlippen Shlappers

 and, the second most important part in an Aston Martin after the brake pedal – the windscreen wiper armature.

left, right, left, right

Wise after the event

To anyone intending rebuilding a car from the chassis up I say this: Don’t paint the bloody thing gloss black – it makes it very difficult to see what you’re doing – my previous Aston chassis I painted in red oxide and that worked very well.

Rural Politics

Last week the Secretary of State for Defra, David Milliband in his blog took a rather unfair swipe at the Commission for Rural Communities’ report into rural proofing. It did not paint a rosy enough picture for his tastes – ‘rural crime is down’ he proudly claimed… er, has he been out into the countryside lately? A few days ago someone brazenly drove onto the farm, hooked up a trailer and drove off with it! We can just be thankful it wasn’t one with a Renault on it or Malcolm really would have been upset!