Introduction by Rob Mullner; stories and photography by Tony Tiffin, Pete Hylton and Bob Cutting.
Restoring a British car can be a daunting task; we have all heard stories of projects that dragged on and on, draining owners’ enthusiasm and bank account simultaneously.
To make the restoration process easier and more economical Moss Motors launched the Customer Loyalty program to provide enhanced service and attractive pricing to our customers restoring British cars.
With an initial order of just $1500, owners can enroll in the Customer Loyalty program and enjoy expedited technical assistance, personal service from a designated sales representative and a 12% discount on most British parts for 24 months.
Here are entertaining and inspirational stories from our Customer Loyalty program. I hope you will enjoy them and consider the Customer Loyalty program when you decide to tackle your first restoration or next rebuild project. If you have recently completed a project using the Customer Loyalty program and would like to be featured in British Motoring please send details of your project to firstname.lastname@example.org
Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan
By Bob Cutting
After having completed a multiple award winning 1960 TR3A, and restless to start another restoration, I started looking through ads in local papers. I looked at several projects including two Healeys and a Jaguar MK2, but they were either too expensive or in the case of the Jag, too far gone! The next week’s edition of the Buy and Sell press had an ad for a 1956 Austin Healey 100-6 BN4 resto project and the price seemed about right. I phoned to arrange to see it but someone else had already put a hold on it. The money hadn’t actually changed hands so I was asked to leave my phone number just in case. Good thing because the bloke couldn’t come up with the money. My wife Anna and I drove over to look at it… it really was a surprise! The parts were in about 50 boxes and the aluminum shrouds front and back were badly corroded. I think the previous bloke backed out with good reason! Anyway, I managed to get the price down quite a bit and the deal was done.
It turned out to be a very early “Longbridge” built model of which few remain. (This was in September of 2005.) The following Saturday, myself and four friends turned up with a U-Haul and took it all away. The clean up and inventory pretty well started straight away, the first thing was to order a parts catalog from Moss Motors and by the end of the following week, a work plan was in place (I believe in planning your work and working your plan). First thing was to make up the form blocks for the flanges on the shrouds. These were cut from 1” Phenolic, I used .060 5052 aluminum and after cutting away the corroded flanges, I TIG welded the new flanges in place using the fenders as a jig for final alignment.
At this time I also cut off and replaced the complete front and rear sections of the shrouds. While all this was going on, the frame was sent out for bead blasting. All other usable metal parts, suspension components etc., were bead blasted then powder coated. Then I replaced the floors, sills, trunk floor, complete right rear inner wheel well and both rear side inner panels. All this took about four months to complete. Meanwhile the engine was completely rebuilt including fitting hardened exhaust valve seats, reboring .020 oversize and installing the modified rear main crankshaft oilseal. I also ordered the carb reamer from Moss and rebuilt the carbs complete with .010 oversize shafts and bushings. After reassembling everything, I welded in an “anti scuttle shake” reinforcing plate from 1/8” 4130 steel I just happened to have lying around.
It now came time to look around for a body shop—the same company that did my TR3A would undertake the refinishing as long as I didn’t push them, so I gave them the car in pieces in July of 2005 and finally got all the pieces back in May of 2006, beautifully finished in PPG Polyurethane (British Racing Green). Putting the car back together took the following six months during which time Dave Gallagher from Phoenix Upholstery completely redid the upholstery, carpets, dash etc., in Connolly leather. Nisonger Instruments overhauled the gauges. I should add that I do have some background in aircraft restorations, so was not particularly intimidated by the aluminum work and I have my own TIG welder. The car had its first showing at the All British Field Meet in Vancouver on May 19th 2007 where it received the prestigious Best Restoration award.
This project was monumental, involved about 1000 hours of sweat equity but I can’t think of a more satisfying use of my time (well, maybe one!). The project had two hiccups, the first was an OD malfunction, then a mysterious knock which I finally diagnosed as the harmonic balancer (I guess I didn’t tighten it up enough).
Not long after I completed the car, I couldn’t get the OD to engage, all the electrics were functioning, solenoid engaging etc., so it looked like an internal problem. I managed to disassemble the OD unit in the car by taking it apart in two pieces! It ends up that the previous owner had someone rebuild the unit but it was never tested—the problem was that the oil pump plunger had been put in 180 degrees out and it wasn’t touching the cam! Had I known this, I could have repaired it easily by simply removing the oil pump and rotating the plunger. Oh well, that’s the way it goes.
Bob works for Toyota in Richmond, British Columbia, and enjoys entering his Austin-Healey in local car shows, where he usually
takes top honors.