Last modified 6 August 2001
This section is a bit of an experiment. I am starting with
a rather complicated process that not many restorerers get into...the
replication of sheetmetal parts. However, don't despair. Now that
I am thinking about it, I hope I can provide little photo essays
of the more common problems as I begin to piece together (or take
apart) various Bantams or Austins. Let me know if there are problems
you would like to see covered.
1. Creation of top hood pieces. The
supply of really good Austin and Bantam sheetmetal is dwindling
rapidly. If you don't have it for your car, you have two choices
1) do some rudimentry hammer and dolly work on the old stuff and
then slather on the bondo, 2) build a new part in whole or in
part out of fresh steel.
The hood pieces one is likely to find are often the best of
the lot. I thought the ones I had were okay, but by the time we
tried to fit them up and cover all the whoopees with mud we realized
it would actually just as fast to build a new pair...and sure
a lot more pleasant than sanding away at bondo and breathing the
particulate matter all week. Also the difference between the new
ones and the bondoed ones is really amazing. For one thing they
weigh about half as much, also there is no oil canning, they fit
perfectly with straight seams and the underside looks as good
as the top.
The top hood pieces have two major complexities...a fancy
molding at the bottom that carries on from the body tub, and a
hard to duplicate hinge. No way our skills or equipment were up
to recreating those! However, there's always a silver lining.
On a car that's been out in the weather for decades, the top of
the hood looks like someone peppered it with birdshot given all
the rust pin holes. But usually the molding, having been vertical
to the rain, is in pretty good shape. So, we decided to keep the
molding and the hinge and replace the broad expanse of the hood.
Here's what we did.
2. NEVER THROW ANYTHING AWAY. Like the molding on the hood
sides above, even parts of parts are useful. Maybe you have $1000+
to spend on a NOS set of headlight nacelles...or maybe you ahve
alittle time...Here's a little experiment that I think will turn
out...Saving Bantam headlight nacelles. PART ONE..to be continued.
More sheet metal work. Check it out!
3. Nacelles PART TWO. I steal the
new piece into the old nacelle.
The items that follow are particular questions and answers
that we have fielded or puzzled over during the years this page
has been up and which we think might be of general interest to
restorers. Some are sort of inconclusive or fragmentary, but,
with your knowledge might add up to an answer. LET
US KNOW! I say "we" here in the broadest sense but
I am MUCH IN DEBT here to Norm Booth of the Pacific
Bantam Austin Club. Norm has been tireless in his efforts
to answer questions for serious restorerers new and old alike.
The answers are often edited amalgams of various answers I have
gotten from PBAC members who have been willing to take the time
to share their knowledge. Special thanks then to Lynn James, Bob
Brandon, Elmer Chancellor, and Dick Beagle for their help. Norm
and the others stand as a perfect example of why you should become
a member of one or both of these Clubs if you are restoring or
maintaining a car. Most Austin and Bantam owners are members of
both clubs. All of these questions and answers are between members,
many of whom have had a great deal of experience and accumulated
knowledge. If you show your support by paying the modest 25 dollar
dues you are much more likely to get a complete answer or find
that elusive part you need. Punch the link to the
PBAC above and download an application form and send it in,
either for yourself or someone you know who has an interest in
That being said, there is much that is not known about how
these cars were manufactured and these submissions sometimes are
incomplete or possibly even incorrect. If you have information,
experience or opinions or especially access to an ORIGINAL UNMOLESTED
CAR which could further refine the answers here, please
do not hesitate to let me know and I will correct what we
have or add to it.
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