Thursday, 6 March 2014

The Humber Speedster Project - Update # 3

Welcome to the third Speedster Build Update, this one is mostly about finishing the seat up to upholstery stage, which it is now. I picked it up yesterday from the upholsterers with the foam in place as I had to sit it in the Humber to see if the foam was the right thickness and angle. I’m very glad I did, because the position I had calculated was about 150 mm (6”) too far forward.
Seat in position with mocked up sides.

In that position, I had full travel of the clutch and brake pedals, but was pinned in by the steering wheel. I had a sneaking suspicion I would have to lengthen the pedals while I was initially setting out the floor, not a big job really, just another one on the list.  I am very pleased about how the seat has come up, having absolutely no experience in building one. It is a little snug, but I was limited in size by the width of the chassis. I asked the upholsterer if he can shave a little off the side foam pieces, (well at least we won’t slide around in it ;-)
Seat ribs in & reinforced with fibreglass, ready for ply back rests.
Although all the recent build time has been taken up by the seat, and running board mounted battery box, (photos in the next update), I have been farming other parts out for repair or replacement.  I want to do as much of this project myself, but there are some jobs I’m just not tooled up to do. The hubcaps were one of these items. Two came with the car, one in sound condition with bad chrome, and one completely bent out of shape and beyond repair. Luckily there is a metal spinning company not far from home so I had them make up a mandrel, (form), based on the good hubcap and made me up five new ones. Not a cheap exercise, but the only way around it – it would appear that 1932 Humber hubcaps are made of ‘Unobtainium’ and cannot be found.

Ply back rests and base in.

The other item I outsourced was the assembly of the radiator, definitely a specialist’s job. I had the top and bottom tanks and another lucky find in the parts boxes, a brand new radiator core!  The assembly of these wasn’t as straight forward as I had thought - isn’t it always the way! The bottom tank was full of cracks which had to be repaired, and the new core had to be modified as it didn’t fit either tank correctly. Phil from ‘Cor Cooling’ did a great job, and I’m sure it will work a treat and outlast me.

Final sheet steel sides will follow seat contour and will have entry cut away.

Forward view to under dash. Note technical supports for c/board template ;-)

New brass hubcaps.

Another issue was the missing radiator cap and mascot. I figured these would be made out of the same material as the hubcaps, so after a week of scouring the internet in several countries I went looking for alternatives from other makes of cars around the same era. I should have realised Humber did not play well with others, therefore the size and thread on the cap only exists in the Humber world, in particular the late ‘20’s to the early ’30’s. So after having a new cap, (a plug really), machined up - what to do for a mascot? I then remembered a mascot from a car my father owned before I was born - a 1936 Chrysler Airstream. I had safely tucked it away years ago, but where?  After much searching I found it and fitted it to the new cap, a mix of class and sentimentality, perfect! Dad would have been pleased, he loved that old Chrysler.

As I now had five brass hubcaps and a brass radiator cap I started thinking about their final finish and decided against having them chromed and getting the radiator cowl and headlights re-chromed. My thinking was; as I was trying to make the car look like it was built between 1910 and 1915, brass would have used more than chrome, and would therefore help with the illusion of it being an older vehicle. Just yesterday I took the cowl and headlight buckets & rims to an electroplater who specialises in brass. They will strip off the old patchy chrome plating and I can repair any imperfections, then they’ll polish them.

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