Feb 4th - updated Sportshatch Restoration page
... except that the current cold weather isn't very encouraging. I've done some work on the chassis rail where the front subframe sits, repaired the door pillar and its backing panel, just about the start work on the front panel repairs.
As a guide to how cold it was, I've got a plastic box that I use as a tank for electrolytic rust removal, roughly 2' x 18" x 6" of water, which was a solid block of ice for at least a week at the start of January.
Since the departure of the Sportshatch to warmer climes, I have mostly been practicing welding on the Sportshatch Restoration Project. This is making some progress, with almost all the floor in the passenger compartment, and the things it connects to (inner sills, chassis) now repaired if a little untidily.
Current challenge is to repair the bottom section of the bulkhead on both sides. This was going quite well until I encountered the shape at the bottom outer corner, which is severely testing my origami skills.
Once the basic floor was finished I did take the opportunity to remove the engine and gearbox, so that the remaining floor to tunnel joins could be welded. As the transmission tunnel is usually coated in a mixture of underseal and gearbox oil, this usually catches fire when welded, so had to be left until the box could come out.
A little later than intended, we loaded the Sportshatch onto a trailer at the end of January and took it to a shipping agent in Middleton, just outside Manchester. They will load it carefully into a container, from there it will ship over to Australia at some point. So, there's a little more room in the garage now.
This gives me a bit more room to carry on work on my other Sportshatch, which was recovered from Wales at the start of October. Basically a complete car, this used to be mine some years ago. It's very rusty indeed, and will require attention to almost all of the shell.
As I've had these cars for a while, I've put together quite a stock of spare parts and panels, so the main thing is to get the chassis and floor sorted out, then go from there. Once these are done, it can be jacked up and properly stripped down, something I daren't do for the moment.
Another storming pair of gigs - the Liverpool gig being added after the initial tour was planned, and the traditional Manchester Academy gig just before Christmas.
As a "Greatest Hists" tour to accompany another compilation album that is now postponed or cancelled depending on who you ask, the set list was mainly made up of hit singles, and there's always a lot to choose from. Some songs - for example "No Mercy" - haven't been heard for many years, and it was interesting to hear without the brass section from the original recording. But the old faithfuls in the set were there, as always rounding off with a rousing version of "No More Heroes".
A cracking pair of gigs, as always.
Now, where was I? Yes, the Sportshatch passed it's MOT test at the end of September, and was taxed so that it could be taken to the postponed show at Cholmondeley Castle on the 28th. Although not quite running as well as I'd have liked, it was looking quite well after a quick wash and polish and made it there and back without any problems.
Not long after the show, it's previous owner visited all the way from Australia, a deal was struck and in a few weeks it will be in a container shipping over there. It will certainly be the only Sportshatch in Australia when it gets there, where it will be treated to a full bare-shell restoration.