The chassis build-up seems to be fighting me at every opportunity so I’ve decided to take a short break from wielding a spanner and instead spend a few days with the wire brush and cutting wheel in hand. In general the body is pretty good considering its been stood in a garage for at least 35 years. That said one of the first things I noticed when I started the strip down was the vast amount of caked-on mud that was attached to each and every surface – the last driver must have spent several happy hours ploughing (literally) through every muddy field he could find! That coating may in fact have had a beneficial effect because, although Triumph steel isn’t noted for its rust resistance, most of the body is fairly sound.
The sills and the front and quarter valances were ‘toast’ (or looked like that anyway) and went straight to the scrapyard, and I’m going to have to do quite a bit of patching elsewhere with repairs to the bottoms of the ‘B’ posts and a couple of new sections of floor, but most of the remainder should be OK with a good clean-up, a few coats of Bonda Rust Primer and lots of preparation before the top coats are applied.
I’m not particularly looking forward to getting to grips with the welding that’s needed. I’d originally intended to borrow or hire a spot welder for some of the work but that’s now looking unlikely so I’ll have to do my best with the MIG welder instead. If the panels are just too thin and the job turns out to be beyond my skill level, I think that I may contact a local guy who runs a mobile welding service and seems to know what he’s doing with classic cars.
Well, its taken far longer than I anticipated but at last my chassis repairs are complete and I can start the rather more enjoyable task of starting to rebuild the car and in so doing start to empty the summerhouse of the all those bits of Herald that I’ve been steadily refurbishing for the past six months.
I ended up replacing both side rails, three of the outriggers (three had been replaced in the dim and distant past and, despite being poorly welded, were still in good condition) and plating the remaining two. I also added a couple of reinforcement plates which will hopefully strengthen the rear of the chassis and prevent muck getting into the rear box sections. All-in-all I’m quietly pleased the results of my welding which has improved markedly over the past couple of months. Welding the thin and rusty bodywork will, of course, be a whole different matter!
Having finished welding the chassis I sent it off to our local ‘blasters’ who did an excellent job, including giving it a coat of primer, for only £75 – money very well spent. I then gave it another coat of zinc-based primer followed by a couple of coats of Frosts ‘Extreme Chassis Black’ which will hopefully keep it protected in the years to come. At the end of the restoration I’ll fill/coat it with Waxoyl – I’ve had a gallon tin in the garage for the past 20 years, I knew it would come in handy one day!
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