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The Ultimate Restoration Is Complete!

I will post more on this later, but I wanted to say thank you to my family and my great crew for all the incredible hard work they put in to get this project completed.
On the family side,  Stan did a fantastic job of getting things together.  This was a big financial outlay for us, and he managed to still keep thing going at the shop and get the parts and supplies we needed to get the restoration completed.  Niki and Rob are responsible for all of the electronic information and the real time updates that everyone could enjoy during the process, and they have set things up so that what we do at British Auto Works can be more in tune with they way the world operates today.  They are trying to get me into the electronic age, it’s tough, but I’m trying.   Lyndsey was there for what she does best, that’s unlimited moral support and humor.  A special thanks to Steve, he is responsible for all the excellent videos you have scene and will be seeing.
On the crew side, I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of the work they did.  I knew they were great mechanics, and they showed every bit of that during this weekend’s project.  There were several times that something went wrong, but even if you were standing right next to the tent, you didn’t know it.  They confronted the problem, found a solution, and moved on.  You need to realize, that they assembled the car from the frame on jack stands to me driving it off the pad in thirteen hours.  That is very impressive to me.  I know how much hard work went on back at the shop, before and during the show to make that all happen, but at the end of the day, it was pretty special.  I am very proud of and want to thank Roger, Simon, Brier and Mic for all of the hard work and dedication they put in to get  this project completed.  They are why British Auto Works is as good as it is.
I wanted to give a special thanks to Doug Alden who worked the booth all day Saturday to act as an ambassador for the shop, and to help answer spectator questions.  He’s a great friend of the shop.
Thanks to all of you who stopped by and offered words of encouragement, it was greatly appreciated.
Here are a few shots to remember.  The final video should be done this week, and Niki will post it.

A Proud Father

As a proud father, I am always amazed by my three beautiful children, and their families.  (we are still waiting for our baby to get her family started).  In this case I want to express my pride to my oldest daughter and the fact that she has published her 100th blog.

Niki is the most prolific multi-tasker I have ever known.  She works very hard at everything she does, and is the best mother to our grandchildren that they could ask for.  On top of being a terrific teacher that is admired by her peers as well as her students, she manages to do a multitude of other things including helping me with all sorts of activities especially pertaining to learning about this thing called “the inter-net”.

I could not be more proud of her and her accomplishments.  She taught me how to do this blog.

The Cost of Parts Seems to be Getting Cheaper

I noticed something today that might be of interest to many of you. The value of the euro to the dollar is getting a lot closer. That means that many of the parts we are getting are getting cheaper. On a hole we are not seeing a big change yet, but it’s a start in the right direction.

This really has two effects, one is obvious that the cost of repair and restoration of British sports cars is getting more affordable, but the second thing is that once you get the car restored, it’s value is at worst staying the same, which puts more money in your pocket. At least your car is appreciating if your house isn’t.

We are working on more complete restoration than we ever have, and there are more coming in each month. I hope that is caused by the reputation and quality of the work we have been doing, but I understand that people have to have money to undertake these projects, no matter how good our work is.

In the coming months we will release 5 complete restorations we have done, and we are starting on 5 more. I am learning how to create slide shows and continuing stories about each car. I hope you will enjoy the stories.

Working on MGB Restorations

Learned an important trick today while trying to fit a MGB windshield frame back into the tub. We had spent the usual time in repairing the frame. All four “L” brackets were badly rusted, and three out of the eight screws were stripped, so we made those repairs and cleaned and polished the four main parts of the frame. The glaze for the windshield went in pretty easy and now that the frame was clean that all went together as well.

The first of the windshield problems came as usual when trying to get the frame body seal into the lower frame channel. No matter how you slice it, this works best as a two person job. The first secret I found was to use mineral oil on the rubber to get it to slide easier. We have tried WD-40, 5-56, silicone spray, and teflon, but the mineral oil far better than anything else we tried.

The second major pain in installing a windshield on a MGB is trying to get the frame to seat properly on the body so the the four bolts can be installed. I can’t begin to tell you how many different ways we’ve tried to get the frame down, but we finally discovered that it takes about two hundred pounds of down force on the frame to flatten the seal enough to start the bolts. Again this is at least a three person job

So what I have learned today is that if you are going to put a windshield into a MGB, invite friends over.

Vinyl Seat

Something neat in a can

We completed a job today at the shop and I was impressed with the way it turned out. A customer had brought in a ’77 Midget and it didn’t run and the interior look a little worse for wear.

It was pretty easy to get it running, and we fixed a few other bits to make it dependable, but the best thing came in the interior. It was the autumn tan color on the seats and carpet. The seats were in pretty good shape, but were badly faded. The carpet was shot. We pulled the seats and old carpet. Cleaned and rust treated the floor, and then put down new insulation and a new carpet kit. So far just business as usual.

But then came the seats and panel kit. They looked twice as bad against the new carpet. I remembered what Dan Hoering, one of our customers, did to his seats, he painted them. So with three cans of vinyl paint in hand, Desert Tan color, I set out to paint the seats and all the panels. I first cleaned all the parts with acetone to get rid of all the oils and dirt, and then I painted them. To my surprise, it was easy, and it looked really good. The tan set off the darker tan of the carpet, and the finish seems to be very durable.

All in all it was a great upgrade and it cost very little. If you have any questions, send me an email. I would have supplied pictures, but they haven’t taught me how to do that yet. They showed me how to upload pictures!  Here they are:

Before and after colorYou  can see in the image how the old color was a drab brown.  The new tan color offsets the interior perfectly!

Vinyl SeatHere’s a picture of a seat I painted as well.

Get Ready for the Sun

I realize that other places in the world the weather is not exactly perfect and it’s not that great here right now; but in the Pacific Northwest when we start getting a nice day or two in February that means spring is not too far away.

The significance of this is that it’s time to get your car out from under cover and get it ready for the road. I thought I would suggest a few things you should do before you actually hit the road.

1. Check the battery for charge, you should try to get a battery tender, we can help with that.
2. Check electrical items, especially brake lights.

3. Check the fluid levels in the brake reservoir and the clutch reservoir (if you have one).

4. Check the water level in the radiator.

5. Check the oil level.
6. Step on the brake pedal and see if it comes up firm.
7. You should have added “Sta-bil” to the fuel, make sure the tank is over half full.
8. If the car has an electric fuel pump, turn the key to on, and let the pump run for about ten seconds, pull the choke to full on and start. If the car has a mechanical fuel pump, you’ll need to pull full choke and try to start the engine.
9. Once engine starts, pay close attention to the oil pressure gauge or light. If after five seconds the gauge has not registered or the light has not gone out, STOP THE ENGINE. If the light goes out or the gauge reads pressure, proceed.
10. Back the car out slowly, testing the brakes often to be sure they are working.
11. Take a drive around the block and try all systems, make sure it shifts smoothly, watch the temperature gauge and make sure it doesn’t go above the mid point.
12. After a short drive, come back to the house and shut the car off. Check the oil level, water level, and look under the car to see if there are any leaks of any kind.
13. If everything looks OK then you can start back up and go out for a drive.
14. If there is something wrong, give us a call and we will help you.

What a Dilemma !

What do you  do when you have more than one old car?  As I walk out to my barn, I can see four classic British automobiles.  All of them need repair to some degree, and all of them need to be out on the road.  But yet, here they sit waiting for me to do something.

There in lies the question.  We all love British cars, and many of us are fortunate to have more than one, but what do we do with them.  It seems like I never have enough time to work on any one of the cars much less try to do something to all of them.  Even the little jobs seem to just be too much trouble to start.

That’s not right.  I preach to all my customers that they need to get out and drive their cars as much as they can, and I sit here with a bunch of cars, and I can’t even get one of them out to drive.  I think that’s called being “a hypocrite”.  That’s not a nice thing to be so as of now, I will start to do something every night I can, on trying to get one of these cars back on the road at a time.

I will log this work and try to take some pictures.  This could be the motivation I need.

Wish me luck.

Our new computer

Today we got our new computer. It was pretty easy to hook-up and it seems to working. This is what I hope to type my blog on. Not really sure what that is going to lead to but at least I am going to type.

The stories I want to tell are about my life experiences with cars and the people who own them. It is very interesting to me that an inanimate object kind take on a life of it’s own and that people even treat it as a “part of the family.

The car becomes a source of pleasure, concern, interest, bonding, focus, avenue for release of tension, a sounding board that never seems to talk back, and never really has an opinion, but is always there to listen.

If you have a pet, you can at least get some type of reaction. My favorite saying “Dear Lord please let me be half the man my dog thinks I am”. It’s true, the is this never dying complete and unbound love that your pet has. But a car, it just there. You talk to it, you pet it, you ask it to do things, like not break down, or make it to the next gas station. But it never gives you a response, though I am sure that if you make it to the gas station you will swear that it was because the car heard you, and it was trying hard to make you happy. Why do we treat our cars this way.

Not every body has pets, and just the same, not everybody loves their car. But those of us who do are the people I am directing my Blog towards. Every car has a story and I want to know as many as I can.

Yellow car

If you’re new here…

Have a read through the “About Us” page. I’m looking forward to connecting with other car lovers who want to share their car story.

these are the headlights on a yellow car
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