Monday 10 May 2010

Seperated after 45 years together!

Significant headway was made this weekend as the shell was finally removed from the chassis! The night before I was incredibly restless and this was followed in the morning by sweaty palms and butterflies relentlessly dive-bombing my stomach – I guess I was just a little anxious! Oh, I would just like to say a big thank you to my wonderful assistant, Dangerman, who came down to the garage and helped me out for the afternoon (and whose poor yet infectious humour kept me going when things got tense!).

The first task was to reorganise my garage and finish the assembly of the giant saw horses. The picture below shows just how snug the fit is at the back of the garage

Confident that all the pre-flight checks had been done and the front wheels chocked on both sides with wooden wedges, I began jacking up the rear of the car. This had to be done in stages adding pieces of wood at various intervals to effectively ‘shim up’ my little trolley jack. This process was not exactly safe and I kept a good distance from the car at all times. Having a second person around at this point was very reassuring (thanks again Dangerman) and ensures that the car can be monitored from different perspectives for anything precarious!

With another piece of wood added to the top of the jack (gulp!) I was able to achieve the necessary 3 ft clearance under the rear valance to slide the saw horse underneath.

The theory was then to lower the jack and let the combined weight of the chassis and transmission pull itself free of the shell. I lowered the jack with great anticipation and ...nothing happened apart from a slight bit of flexing! I pumped the jack back up to support the weight of the chassis and after probing around the key areas of the car I identified another small patch that had been welded to an area that was previously hidden from view. No problem – a quick bit of cutting later and I was confident that nothing else would hold me back. With a confident smile I lowered the jack again and still NOTHING! I was perplexed – there was nothing visibly stopping the car separating and I hypothesized that the whole thing just need a short sharp jolt to break the 45 year old bond. What happened next was probably the most regrettable decision that I have taken thus far! I pumped up the jack as high as it would go and dropped it quick to shock the car. The only thing this achieved was to stress the body work. In the short video below you can see how the moment of impact caused massive flexing….

Oooouch! Anyway, after a lot of swearing and searching through an ocean of rusty metal flakes with a flat head screwdriver I uncovered the distinct outline of an equally rusty bolt below where the rear seat once sat (which I have circled in the photo's below).

I checked the other side of the car and found the same thing. My heart sank – if only I had found those bloody bolts before resorting to violently abusing my poor car!

With the nuts removed the car came apart without any drama. The video below captures the delightful moment(s) of separation…

Getting the front of the car up onto the saw horse was a lot more straight forward as me and Dangerman were able to lift the shell up between the two of us. I think we were both surprised at just how deceptively light the shell actually is!

Then it was just a case of rolling the chassis out from underneath....

Finally after months of planning and tinkering the rolling chassis was free!

1 comment:

  1. dude, where's the external video of the separation gone?