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1958 Austin A55 Cambridge MK1 Restoration
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colwyn500



Joined: 21 Oct 2012
Posts: 1731
Location: Nairn, Scotland

PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Richard, that is an really brave job you are doing.

I see what you mean about the amount of previous repairs, but that means someone else loved it in the past and at least it's whats kept it alive until it found you.

I just looked through this entire thread for the first time and I am amazed.

By the way, I think it should be a Mark 1a Austin Cambridge because the real first one was in 1936...the Austin Ten Cambridge Saloon!
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Richard H



Joined: 03 Apr 2009
Posts: 2142
Location: Suffolk

PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

colwyn500 wrote:
Richard, that is an really brave job you are doing.

I see what you mean about the amount of previous repairs, but that means someone else loved it in the past and at least it's whats kept it alive until it found you.

I just looked through this entire thread for the first time and I am amazed.

By the way, I think it should be a Mark 1a Austin Cambridge because the real first one was in 1936...the Austin Ten Cambridge Saloon!


Thanks Colwyn. Hopefully it won't be too much longer before the welding is finished now Smile

Well I think last update the rear chassis looked like this. As I have discovered, not only has this car had loads of welding before, but it's all patched/plated over rust, so EVERY bit of previous welding is coming out. You may be interested to know that if two, small patches were added this car could have passed an MOT in 2011 when I took it off the road Shocked The MoT regulations on corrosion are very soft really, as long as the patch is seam welded and not about to drop off it will pass, regardless of the structural strength it offers.



First job was to cut off the old outer sill, then assess the rot.





Yup, pretty crusty in there, no surprise really.

This was a surprise though. That's the top of the wheelarch, behind the back seat. The other side was actually solid here!



Anyway, as the new inner sill hasn't arrived yet I set about replacing the rear floorpan.



As you can see I had to cut past the spring hanger to remove all the plates and grot.



Once that was in, I started to build the chassis leg.





I splashed loads of weld-thru primer inside the leg before welding it up.






Tacked



Seam welded.



And cleaned off with the flap wheel.





I then made up the rear outrigger, and got that welded in.



At this point I had a look inside the car Embarassed



Yep, that's the big hole visible from inside the wheelarch, hmm crusty Rolling Eyes



There was also this..



And this, which is part of the rear inner wing. Again, the other side was a bit better in this area.



Anyway I made a start on welding up the wheelarch before I got cold and called it a day.





Oh yes, here's one of the sleeves of my welding coat Laughing



I also started stripping the engine bay ready for hoiking the engine and 'box out soon. Here's some photos I took for future reference.

















And all the bits I've taken off.



Removed:

Exhaust
Propshaft
Fuel pump
Radiator
Radiator support panel
Engine earth lead
Clutch slave cylinder hose
Temperature gauge sender
Lots of wiring

Still to do:

Oil pressure gauge feed pipe
Column gearchange linkage
Anything else I've forgotten.

Main welding jobs left to do:

Inner/outer sill
Wheelarch
Rear inner wing
Rear spring hanger
Finish front A post.

Very Happy
_________________
1935 Standard Twelve
1953 Austin A40 Somerset
1958 Austin A55 Cambridge
1959 Austin A35
1980 Vauxhall Royale 2.8 auto
1987 Austin Maestro 1.3 L
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Rick
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Apr 2005
Posts: 20494
Location: Cheshire

PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There can't be many people that'd have taken that on, I doth my favourite cap to you sir Smile

RJ
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Rick (OCC Admin)
Various 1920s-1960s - Austin, Morris, Commer, Dodge etc.
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Greg



Joined: 03 Dec 2007
Posts: 445
Location: Dreamland Margate

PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great stuff!
When back on the road, you'll be able to drive the car knowing all the rot has gone and you're in a nice solid vehicle Smile
All the best,
Greg
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Richard H



Joined: 03 Apr 2009
Posts: 2142
Location: Suffolk

PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the kind words Smile

Just a quick update!

Spent most of Sunday scraping underseal, yawn. Actually it was quite therapeutic after the welding, I used an electric paint stripper and a wallpaper scraper and it came off pretty easily really. I also removed the spare wheel carrier and stripped that of underseal, and seam welded the edge of the rear valance under the car.





I think another reason these cars rusted so quickly was because Austin were so stingy with the paint. Most of the underside is only in primer, with a light dusting of body colour towards the edges of the car and a decent coating in the wheelarches, like the guy who was painting simply stuck the spray gun under the car.



Arrrgh! I hate rain Sad



Chopped out the sill at the front and tacked in the new inner sill:



Then I made up the lower parts of the A post and got those welded in. The curved bit at the bottom will hold a captive nut for the lower wing mounting bolt.



Inner half of the A post fabricated and all that was left of the original.





You might notice some of the original steel around where I'm working has a bluish tinge to it. That's a rust converter called Bilt Hamber, Hydrate 80 at work - I recommend it, it's really good!





Now this car has a rare optional sliding steel sunroof, which while a lovely thing to have, I think has contributed to at least some of the extensive rot around the front A posts. There are two steel drain tubes which run down from the sunroof, through the A posts and out of a hole to drain under the wheelarch. Unfortunately, 50 odd years of water running through the mild steel tube had caused it to rust, with the predictable result that most of the water ended up in the A post and outrigger. The one on the passenger side was still serviceable, but this one was badly rotten. I couldn't think of a good way to fix this and needed to get the A post finished, so bodged it with a bit of smaller diameter copper pipe, a load of Araldite and a jubilee clip. Razz









Inside:





All finished! Very Happy



As long as Thursday stays reasonably dry, I'll be tackling the rest of the inner sill then, and might even get the outer tacked in.
_________________
1935 Standard Twelve
1953 Austin A40 Somerset
1958 Austin A55 Cambridge
1959 Austin A35
1980 Vauxhall Royale 2.8 auto
1987 Austin Maestro 1.3 L
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colwyn500



Joined: 21 Oct 2012
Posts: 1731
Location: Nairn, Scotland

PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's looking very solid now. You're going to have an electric bill like mine.
I must look into that rust converter. I spent half the weekend repeatedly laying on phosphoric rust-remover under my little rusty beauty to get shiny metal. I am at my limit now so the last bit needs killing. Where did you get yours? Please don't say online! I need it now...
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Richard H



Joined: 03 Apr 2009
Posts: 2142
Location: Suffolk

PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Online I'm afraid! I got it direct from here: http://www.bilthamber.com/corrosion-treatments/hydrate-80

Not sure if you can get it in the shops, but it's worth a look. Smile
_________________
1935 Standard Twelve
1953 Austin A40 Somerset
1958 Austin A55 Cambridge
1959 Austin A35
1980 Vauxhall Royale 2.8 auto
1987 Austin Maestro 1.3 L
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colwyn500



Joined: 21 Oct 2012
Posts: 1731
Location: Nairn, Scotland

PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers Richard...more expense! but thanks.
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Richard H



Joined: 03 Apr 2009
Posts: 2142
Location: Suffolk

PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And today's update Smile

Inner sill welded in.



Outer sill offered up





And welded in.









I then turned my attention to the rear outer arch, which I stripped back to bare metal to assess the work required. Fortunately it was much better than the other side. The small brazed plate will be removed and repaired properly.





Repairs to where the wheelarch meets the sill.



After cleaning the welds up a bit I gave the front wing a coat of zinc rich primer. Just need to slap a bit of seam sealer in a few places then I can get the top coat on.



I then whipped the last of the wings off and started cutting out yet more rot.








_________________
1935 Standard Twelve
1953 Austin A40 Somerset
1958 Austin A55 Cambridge
1959 Austin A35
1980 Vauxhall Royale 2.8 auto
1987 Austin Maestro 1.3 L
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colwyn500



Joined: 21 Oct 2012
Posts: 1731
Location: Nairn, Scotland

PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Richard, you should have been a sculptor. (in steel)
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Rick
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Apr 2005
Posts: 20494
Location: Cheshire

PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

colwyn500 wrote:
Richard, you should have been a sculptor. (in steel)


I should have bought shares in whatever company's welding wire you're using! Top job.

RJ
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Rick (OCC Admin)
Various 1920s-1960s - Austin, Morris, Commer, Dodge etc.
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Richard H



Joined: 03 Apr 2009
Posts: 2142
Location: Suffolk

PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's my recent progress:









I was pleased with the way this bit came out!



Inner arch repairs:







I stuck a wanted ad on the Cambridge/Oxford Owners Club site asking for a new front valance, as despite being one of only a couple of rust free panels on the whole car, I butchered it trying to get the accident damaged fairing panel off. A member contacted me to say he had a good secondhand one, for a reasonable price. The only problem was it was attached to a complete front end from a pickup his dad scrapped years ago, was I interested?
I must admit I pretty much bit his hand off as although I only needed the valance panel, I'd already replaced the crossmember and chassis legs with home made panels when I was learning to weld, and was never very happy with them.

So!

Off with the old:



And after a few measurements, on with the new Very Happy



The condition of this front end is outstanding. While my original was riddled with rot and plates, this has never had any welding done and doesn't need any either. It has had a small skim of filler in the fairing panel at some stage but it doesn't appear to be hiding any more than a dent. It does need repairs in a few places due to whoever cut it off not being very careful with the angle grinder, but it should be quite straightforward!



Obviously I then had to offer up the new front grille to check the panel gaps Smile It fits like a glove!







Not much structural welding left to do now!
_________________
1935 Standard Twelve
1953 Austin A40 Somerset
1958 Austin A55 Cambridge
1959 Austin A35
1980 Vauxhall Royale 2.8 auto
1987 Austin Maestro 1.3 L
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Richard H



Joined: 03 Apr 2009
Posts: 2142
Location: Suffolk

PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thought I'd update you with the latest progress on the A55 Smile

Finished the rear valance.





Sill and wheelarch all finished and plug welded along the bottom, welds cleaned off with the flap wheel. Outriggers welded to the inner sill.







Completely rebuilt the rear spring hanger, using part of the new inner sill that was left over, that just happened to be exactly the right size! Unfortunately I didn't think to take any pictures until after I'd ground the welds down and seam sealed it. I was very pleased with the way this came out, considering how far gone the original was.





While I was welding the inner wing I noticed part of the boot floor was a little crusty. Someone had slapped a load of underseal all around the inside of the boot, which I suspect hadn't done much to protect it, but it's a pain if you want to weld near underseal, as it catches fire easily and gives off horrible fumes Sad So I took the hot-air stripper to the boot floor and inner wings before welding the patch into the floor. That's it, on the top right.



I spent much of this morning making final preperations to the underside for paint, removing the last bits of underseal, welding any bits I'd missed, seam sealer etc.





I also got the left side of the 'new' front valance welded in.



Lastly I got some more paint on Very Happy





The welding is basically finished now. Just the right hand side of the new valance to seam weld, and later on I plan to cut and re-weld the rear half of the passenger side outer sill as I was never happy with the shape I ended up with. The plan is to get the inside of the car, the boot floor, and the whole underside painted next week.
_________________
1935 Standard Twelve
1953 Austin A40 Somerset
1958 Austin A55 Cambridge
1959 Austin A35
1980 Vauxhall Royale 2.8 auto
1987 Austin Maestro 1.3 L
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Richard H



Joined: 03 Apr 2009
Posts: 2142
Location: Suffolk

PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I've been hard at work on the '55. There's just two small bits of welding left to do inside the engine bay, which I will do once the engine is out for ease of access, and the rear sill step on the passenger side, which I will tackle once the car is back on its wheels. So I think I can say the welding is finished for now!

So I got the brushes out and got the underside all painted with chassis black.











Got the inside of the boot painted as well.





I also won a decent rear screen on Ebay (rare as hens teeth) for 99p, so tomorrow I'm driving to London to collect it. Very Happy
_________________
1935 Standard Twelve
1953 Austin A40 Somerset
1958 Austin A55 Cambridge
1959 Austin A35
1980 Vauxhall Royale 2.8 auto
1987 Austin Maestro 1.3 L
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Roger-hatchy



Joined: 07 Dec 2007
Posts: 2144
Location: Tiptree, Essex

PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great work there RH
I'm intrigued by the rotisserie

You were missed at Vange today, it was very quiet there as it was short notice as the enttrance to the field was taking a long time to dry out.
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