Thursday, 24 December 2015

Humber Speedster Project - Update # 12

It’s been a couple of months since my last update and to be honest I’ve neglected the Humber a bit. I can claim other pressing distractions; shifting the 'Studebaker of Australia' stock from our off site storage shed to the warehouse beside the shop, and my main business required my attention more than usual to sort out some issues. Poor Huber` was shunted down the priority ladder a couple of rungs. It’s now looking clear he won’t be finished for the National Humber Rally next March, which really grates on me but I just won’t put him on display unfinished.

I ended the last update with the photos of the completed trunk and the steel body frame, the next project was to take the dash mock up to the finished article. I carefully drafted the instrument and switch positions, picked out the best grained plywood and marked the hole centres, held my breath and cut. (hole sawed actually). All went smoothly, UNTIL!!!! I did a test fitting to the scuttle frame – I had miss read one of the measurements and cut all of the holes 60 mm (2 1/2’) off centre. Damn and Blast !!! Luckily I had enough ply left over to make another one, and consoled myself the first was just a practice run. ;-)
The practice run....

The second try was a success

With the dash finished came the job I had been putting off – sheeting the body. Actually it went pretty well. The bonnet (hood) didn’t go as well, and I’m still working to get the outer edge how I want it. There was a small issue where the scuttle sheeting folded around the firewall. I hadn’t allowed for the firewall being on a three degree lean, therefore causing a gap between the sheet metal and timber. The obvious solution was to cut and weld, but rather than go for the grinder I decided to make the complete bonnet and re-evaluate then. Of course as this project has always two steps forward and half a step back I realised I needed to fit the front mudguards (fenders) before I could get the correct size of the bonnet side panels. I had bought two old sets of 1916 T Model Ford front and rear guards from a swap meet some time ago intending repair and use them, but after having them sand blasted I realised they were too far gone. The new reproduction guards arrived from the USA arrived some three weeks later. I was pretty disappointed in the condition they arrived in, brand new guards with rusty hand and finger marks all over them. This could have easily been avoided at the factory by the workers using gloves or some anti-corrosion film. Poor form Rootlieb Inc, poor form. I cleaned them down with phosphoric acid then undercoated them to stop further corrosion.

Front guards straight out of the box.

Rear guards straight out of the box.

Side sheet in place for marking the door cut outs.

Door cut outs done, now in place for fixing.

Folding over the top edge.

Body tub clad, now for the scuttle top and bonnet.

The trickiest job so far - getting the outer edges and curve right.

When I went to fit the guards I couldn’t understand why T Model Ford guards didn’t just bolt straight on a 1932 Humber ;-)  I expected some modifications, but not as much as it took! Oh well, just get on with it – my workshop guillotine and folder got a work out. I had to fold up a 4" (100mm) fill in piece so the bonnet side panels would clear the guards, and the mounting plates.

Filler panels & mounting plates 

To get the final position of the guards required the headlight supports to be in place, another interconnected job. (The guards have to have the correct position forward & back, height off the wheel to allow for travel and distance from the body to ensure a balanced look, AND the same height as the rear guards so the running boards are level with the car - another 3D jigsaw with no picture guide ;-). As the original headlights are being used I have to use the original support risers that were bolted to the chassis and crossed braced from each guard. The pre 1920’s look I was going for didn’t lend itself to the cross brace so that will be deleted, the headlights will be supported by a pipe welded to new chassis brackets. (the original support pipes were rusted beyond repair, but luckily were directly replaced with ½” water pipe, even the threads in the original mounts under the headlight buckets were ½” British Standard Pipe thread). One of the old T ford guards I bought had its original bracket so I used that as a template for the new ones, sized up a bit it as it looked quite flimsy. I set about to fabricate the combination Mudguard / head light support with ¾” round bar for the guards and 2” x ¼” angle iron for the chassis mount. (The T Ford brackets were tapered from the chassis mount to the guard end from ¾” to ½” which made the flimsy look). But when I placed the ¾” bar up in place it look way to bulky – no wonder Henry Ford’s design team made them tapered.   ;-)    Once again the Gods of Engineering took pity on me and allow the bar to JUST fit in my lathe so I could turn a taper on it - Now they just have to be bent to follow the contour of the guards then welded in place.

Turning the taper on the mudguard bracket.

The head light and guard brackets, using the original adjusting knuckles.

As it looks today.

Just waiting for the head light install.

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