The next job was to set the clutch in place. The new clutch plate came from a long time DLOC member who has only the early type of Daimlers that have the Wilson Pre-select boxes. He landed the disc with some other parts many years ago, it was in a Borg & Beck box the price marked $34.45, he was glad to get rid of it and I was glad to get it. Before I could fit the clutch I needed a clutch plate locating tool. I made this by turning one from a piece of cricket stump on one of those lathe attachments using a drill that Black & Decker used to produce. I have had one tucked away in a corner of my workshop, it did the job fine. The plate was put in place using the tool and the pressure plat bolted on, being sure to use bolts all the same size so as not to upset the balance.

I started to get the gearbox ready to bolt on when I realised I had not installed the new clutch release bearing, that done the gearbox was bolted into place and the starter motor bolted on also. The new gearbox mounts were then attached with the chassis plate. Not too sure if the whole assembly can be introduced into the body with the mounts attached, time will tell.

On all my older cars I have fitted a bypass oil filter, so even though this car will be for sale when it is finished, the one that was on the car is being refitted. For those not familiar with these, a small amount of oil is bled off the main oil line, passed through the filter and piped back into the sump. These have been around for many years, in the early 50’s I fitted a kit put out by Fram to our 1938 Morris 8 Sports. Then sometime in the 60’s a couple of West Auckland blokes designed and produced a model using a “Purex” 2 ply toilet roll for the filter medium. I bought and fitted a kit for the 1963 Singer Vogue we bought in 1967, I still have the fitting instructions. By the time we bought the 1969 Daimler V8 250 over 12 years ago, the manufacturer had closed down so when I did the engine job on that I managed to find one from a wrecker after a lot of chasing.

The operating procedure is as follows, the filter is changed at 1000 miles or sooner, down to 500 miles if only short trips are made, it then takes a pint of oil to top up the sump. The toilet roll absorbs the acids and any moisture from the oil as well as filtering out the sludge, it is amazing just how much sludge is removed in what is a short distance. I always changed my oil at regular intervals but it has been known for a motor to go for over 100.000 mile without an oil change and still have good oil pressure and performance, this when a good bypass filter has been fitted. The fact that these units have not been made for many years means that at present they are about as plentiful as rocking horse poo. I have got 2 to spare if anyone is interested, I would fit one in our newish Rover but there is no room under the bonnet.

I am hoping to get as much of the motor assembly done before it is put into the body so all that is needed is to couple up the necessary leads etc and press the starter. The next part of this is to make new heater pipes, for this I needed to know the position of the heater. I made a shelf to fasten onto the trolley, positioned from measurements off another SP then fabricated out of copper the necessary pipes. When we bought the SP it had a mess of screw fittings that have now been eliminated that is except the ones that had been fitted into the pump assembly. No T hoses, just 2 short hoses to the manifold and 2 to the heater.

The wiper system has been dismantled, cleaned and new grease put in. The old grease was almost non-existent, actually powdery, probably never been touched since new. A check of the speedo and rev-counter cables show these need to be replaced, have been done by Robinson Instrument Services in Sale St. The Bowden cables for the heater, choke and bonnet catch have been checked and lubricated. All the bumper mounts have been painted.

Next to receive attention was the petrol tank, the one out of the old car is obviously not an original, it has been made of steel sheet with welded seams but looks sound all the same. A good scrub on the outside revealed some minor surface rust that was attended to with some rust killer. I then took the gauge mechanism out, firstly to get a look inside, just as well as the pivot pin had seized, soon freed that, had a look inside all seems OK. Put the gauge mechanism back with a new gasket and gave the whole outside a coat of chassis paint.

Next work on the distributor, first I find the wire from the condenser to earth was broken and the other earth wire almost broken as well, have to replaced these. The felt oil wiper the lubricates the cam had disappeared so needed replacing. I cut off the rivet, then got a piece of heavy felt, cut a piece about 40mm long by 8mm wide, smeared both sides of the spring with “Arildite”, folded the felt round the end of the spring, then sewed it on through the old rivet hole. Looks like it will do the job admirably. The distributor has been put back together with new points and condenser, all set up ready to go.

It’s the 18th August 2003 and another red-letter day in the progress of the rebuild. The car is back from the painters and is looking very spectacular, Wright Car Painters in Onehunga have done a really great job. As a record they have taken dozens of digital photos of the whole process, definitely want the car taken over when it is finished to complete the record. The bonnet, boot lid and the two doors have been stored very carefully in our spare bedroom out of harm’s way. We have jacked the car up and given the chassis etc a good wash-down to get all the dust off. A start has been made in preparing the installation of the new wiring loom. I spread it out on a trestle table and with a wiring diagram to hand I am trying to identify what each of the branches are for, labelling each as I go.

As a spell from peering at coloured wires, I have taken off the spare steering idler and installed the steering gear. I had a new grommet for where the column goes through the fire-wall and managed to get this in with a huge struggle, then I had to enlarge the hole to get the column through. After all that nothing aligned up with the dashboard cut-out, so out it all comes. I took the grommet off and the first thing I find is that the hole in the fire-wall is at least 8mm too small for this grommet, also part of the body in the cockpit side fouls the grommet, no wonder I had trouble in getting it in the first time. Some careful work with a rasp to get the hole to size, a trim with the snips and it went in real easy, push the column etc into place, bolt it all up, a job well done.

The grommet specifications have obviously been changed so if grommets of any sort are to be fitted if pays to check that the size matches the hole.

Made another visit to our friendly “Para” shop, sheet rubber to make gaskets for the tail-light surrounds, they cut new gaskets for behind the lens of the tail and indicator lights. I also got some gasket packing for the heater plus something to put under the petrol tank plus some thicker rubber to make the packing that goes between the body and the side lights, the old ones are just too hard now to be used again. I bought some grommets and have found that the ones that have the narrow slot for sheet metal can be adapted for fibre-glass. I clamped the angle grinder in the vice and carefully widened the slot, there seems to be enough meat there to enable this to be done. Para had only one size of grommet for fibre-glass a small one.

Each day there is progress on the installation of the new wiring loom. I must admit I started this with some trepidation, it looked very daunting, but as time progressed things became much clearer. It would have helped to have another car along side to refer to. Some of the things that have helped are, I had the forethought to pull a draw-wire through when I pulled the old loom from the RH side, (I had asked for this part of the loom to be left in place) this made it easy to get the new one into place. When we dismantled the car all those years ago we had left all the fittings such as voltage regulator etc coupled, just unscrewed them all from the body. This left a mess of wires, but along with the wiring diagram helped identify a lot of things.

The new dashboard is now in place, the gauges and switches have been put onto the newly chromed dash insert and most if the wiring coupled to the terminals. The tail lights are also in place with new rubber gaskets.

As a spell from the wiring I decided to put the petrol tank in, problems, it won’t go in, too high to go under the fastening straps by at least 5-6mm. I could have cut a wedge out where the straps go but I have an aversion to working on petrol tanks, can be dangerous so decided to make up a new one that would fit. I worked out the material needed and ordered it from a local sheet- metal shop, 18g or 1mm electro-galvanised iron. I am probable lucky in that I have a small rotary sheer that will cut this heavy sheet, a gas welding plant plus some skills from my very early work experience that enable me to tackle this sort of job. Bending this gauge of metal by hand is very hard but is achievable with time and determination. A heavy iron bar, pieces of wood, clamps, lots grunting and pushing and hammering making lots of noise. I divided the inside into four with three baffles, these and the end pieces were bent on a wooden former. The whole lot was bronze welded including the fittings for attaching the gauge etc. When it was all finished it was pressure tested, this done even though from a visual inspection of the welding I was confident it wouldn’t leak. A coat of paint and I feel a job well done, just like a bought job. The tank is now bolted in place.

The new rubbers for behind the side lights have been shaped, the grinder is very handy for finishing off rubber to shape. A start has been made fitting the side and head lights, one side finished. One of the things I am disappointed about is that there are four parts of the new wiring loom missing, Both sides from the main loom to the head lights, from the loom to the bottom of the steering and the small part to the panel lights for rev-counter and speedo. Fortunately I still have the ones from the old loom. Went to fit the speedo and found the trip meter reset was missing, have taken it into Robinson’s for an overhaul.

Along with finishing the wiring the next big job is to make and fit mountings for the seat belts, will be able to slip the motor into place. Well that enough for now, Editor waiting.