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Avion rebuild progress

Starting to go back together - nickel plated track rods with stainless adjusters are only offered up to the new steering arms. The custom phosphor bronze bearing cups will be fitted tomorrow.

Here's the infamous high tensile (10.9 equivalent) stainless M7 steering arm bolts. They are actually 32mm bolts from BBS split rims. The rear bolts should be 37mm long but it is impossible to buy off the shelf M7 high tensile s/s bolts that length - so I had 7mm machined off the boss on the arm.

Springs were an absolute pain to paint with a brush - the only difficult bit really.

Driveshafts hanging around for a 3rd coat....

I'm very pleased with the paint finish. It's also very easy to touch in. I know this because I was putting the front axle on using my crane and because I don't have 2 pairs of hands it swung around and scraped an arm. I rubbed it down with a medium 3M abrasive pad, wiped it with thinners and a tack rag then touched it in using a 1" brush and it's invisible.

I would have had enough paint to do the running gear at least twice and plenty left over for touching up but when I was making myself a coffee the cat very kindly knocked the paint tin over... One of the reasons why decanting just enough for the job into a paint kettle is a good idea.

Now I just need to get it on its wheels so that I can roll it out and tidy up the carport. Body goes back on Wednesday.

Re: Avion rebuild progress

Up at 6am to degrease,jet wash and repaint the engine and gearbox. Fitted new brake discs and clutch. Got the engine and gearbox in the chassis and the body on this afternoon. I put the engine and gearbox in as one unit,craning it in from the rear before the body went on - a much easier way of doing it.

Will post pictures tomorrow evening.

Re: Avion rebuild progress

Not posted for a while - but I have been busy.

So here we go - body back on - painted in Morgan Sports Grey (looks much lighter than it is in this photo). It's coming together now - I'm very pleased with the Craftsmaster Raddle paint I used on the chassis and running gear. I did a lot of smoothing of suspension components this time, including the steering arms. I had those machined to take high tensile stainless M7 12 point bolts. I fitted them with phosphor bronze bearing cups in the hope of getting a longer life from these very expensive components. If I stay with the Citroen engine and gearbox they will get changed for rose joints at some point. Anti roll bar was nickel plated because I like the look of nickel and it was cheaper than powdercoating - I could have painted it but wanted some bling under the car.

Kingpins were still good but needed some minor tweeking to the plugs to get them grease tight again. Rose joints are now stainless as are all spacers. I've replaced clutch, flywheel, discs and pads. Also the driveshaft gaiters and various gaskets. Had to replace the rear exhaust studs as they broke off - what a pig of a job that is.... I will have them all helicoiled at some point.

This is the ally battery box I had fabbed up to house the gel mat Harley battery. It goes through the floor under the passenger seat. This is possible because there's no longer a fuel tank under there. I will use welding cable and bulkhead fittings to get the juice to the engine compartment. Seat still tilts correctly as there is a lot of free space under there. I may put a stereo system under the driver's side using an MP3 player and a remote control.

This is the valve to switch between main and reserve. Sits on another drilled ally bracket that will get a few more speedholes and a polish. The valve is a military surplus NOS (new old stock) fuel valve from an airweight Land Rover. The fuel will go via a hardline through the cockpit and a bulkhead fitting will take it through the firewall to the SU fuel pump. The inside of the boot needs a coat of paint - blackboard paint works very well.

Here's the new ally tank in the "boot". Capacity is about 7 1/2 galllons - gives a range of over 350 miles. I made some ally brackets from 30mm angle to bolt on to the rear diaphram and clamp it down (you can just see them in this picture). I drilled them up because I like the look of it. I will polish them before I finish the rebuild. The tank has a breather to prevent burping during filling, a sender that actually works and a main and reserve outlet. There's a cover made from ply and covered in carpet that sits on the top of the foam rubber and hids all the gubbins. All fuel outlets are 8mm and the main inlet is 2".

Going out now to drill and bolt down the battery box (need to make a gasket for it) rewire the back lights, fit the mudguard brackets and make up some stainless braided brake lines - I bought a lot of stainless steel fittings as the original BZP ones were looking tatty to my eyes. Even though the rear wheel cylinder uses a M8 x 1.25 banjo bolt this is still off size and a stainless one was £15!!! You don't want to know how much the bulkhead fittings were.....

I will push on and finish in the next two weeks - then I can get on with the 1927 T Model Ford hot rod. I've got a second big block Pontiac engine for that sitting on an engine stand in the workshop - making my mind race a bit ;-) I know it will fit between the Avion chassis rails because I tried it...

Re: Avion rebuild progress

Replumbed the brakes in stainless braided throughout yesterday - a lot easier than using copper. Used all polished stainless banjos and bolts - looks very tidy. I bought the special tools (a cutter and a mandrel) to do this and it's nice not to have finger tips like pin cushions.

Big day today - Mike Jackson came over and kindly helped me to fit all the fasteners that can't be installed by one person (e.g. those through the firewall). We installed the pedal box, fuel pump, Boyer Brandsen ignition unit (made a new ally bracket), horn and a lot more.

After lunch I cracked on and plumbed in the fuel tank using bulkhead fittings and hardline to take it through the cockpit.

Tomorrow I will fit the carb and intake manifold, the starter motor. steering column, coils, clutch cable and remake the cockpit cappings.

If the 25mm welding cable and tube terminals turn up I will make up and fit the battery cables using the heavy duty crimper I got very cheap off eBay.

Re: Avion rebuild progress

Had an intense couple of weeks on the Avion. Finished it today. See the pics below. Just need to sort out a pushrod tube seal oil leak and repair the bottom of the drivers side mudguard - the car fell off the jack with no wheel on!! Doh... Will remove the gel coat, apply glass tissue to both sides, fill, sand and respray.

Fitted an amp to use my MP3 player and hooked it up to a boom box in the boot - seriously loud.

Rose jointed bonnet hinges let me flip the bonnet onto the scuttle so I no longer need a bonnet prop. Also bonnet can't fall off the prop and get a star crack...

Engine now starts easily - problem was major corrosion in the SU carb due to crappy modern petrol. Unfortunately, there's a leak from the drivers side pushrod tube seal so the head and barrel will have to come off AGAIN...

New number plate bought at Retromobile in February. Totally legal - in France...

I'm loving the colour - Morgan Sports Grey but gloss not satin.

Needs a wash and wax. Whitewalls need a scrub. Some touching in of paint on chassis and running gear maybe.

Suspension and chassis done in Craftsmaster Raddle.

Brooklands screens with ally cowl rather than the usual pillars. I'm very pleased with them.

Re: Avion rebuild progress

MOT obtained today. Job done. On to the Pontiac big block powered 1921 Model T hot rod. Need to get that sorted ASAP.

Re: Avion rebuild progress

That looks fantastic, congratulations on a job beautifully done. I hope that you have many hours of enjoyment out her over the years, (A Pontiac? Talk about from 1 extreme to the other! You realy have been bitten by the CAR BUG).
Again congrat's from Rob A, 1400 J.

Membership No. 1400J

Re: Avion rebuild progress


Other than the white wall tyres and the illegal number plate(s), she's a cracking looking car. You must be very pleased with the result.

Membership No. 1906

Re: Avion rebuild progress

Paul Narramore

Other than the white wall tyres and the illegal number plate(s), she's a cracking looking car. You must be very pleased with the result.

Got blackwalls on the Model T - you have to have whitewalls on one of your vehicles. They are Avon Gangsters - an excellent quality, very hardwearing tyre. Plus I bought 9 very cheap from eBay.

Number plate is legal (anywhere in France). I carry the front and the legal back plate in the boot with some clips. I'm not keen on the standard large rear number plate. I have either cut my legs when wearing shorts or ripped my trousers many times on the edge of the plate when walking around the car. Front number plates last a month or two and either get smashed by one of the very many speed bumps in Chester or cracked from stones or road debris.

BTW, I repaired the smashed driver's side mudguard yesterday - stripped off the crazed gel coat, drilled the split at its root, glass tissue on front and back surfaces, applied bondo mixed with resin and then sanded for ages. I'm painting it now, just popped in between coats.

Over the weekend I will polish the paint again by hand (used a DA polisher originally) using ultrafine Feracle and then put on about 10 coats of wax. The paint should then look about a mile deep.

Re: Avion rebuild progress

That looks like a cracking job. Your mention of the front mudguard drew my attention to it. I would be tempted to cut at least 100mm off them. I had an unfortunate experience with low-edge front guards. I was at Caux-Retro a couple of years back and found myself in a tight spot needing to do a U-turn. I started reversing and turned the wheel to climb over a kerb and the edge of the guard caught between the tyre and the kerb, the motion pulled the guard under the tyre and damaged the support bracket. I kicked the ali back into shape and writhed the mounts back into position and then cut the bottom edges off.
(BTW I like the whitewalls)

Membership No. 1759