1960 Aston Martin DB4 S1
Total restoration to ultimate concours specification


 

 
Total restoration to ultimate concours specification. The car will be refinished in its factory livery of Peony Red with Beige hides.

One of only 150 S1 DB4s built, of which fewer than 70 survivors are known to the Aston Martin Owners Club register. This wonderful old car was apparently used sparingly prior to being taken off the road in 1976, causing us to believe that the indicated mileage of 13,530 may be the actual miles.

Our goal with this project is to produce the most thoroughly documented and photographed Aston Martin restoration in history.

Go to history and specifications for DB4/206/R


 



Update report - June 4, 2017
The following sequence of photos show Carlos fabricating a new rear seat back panel, as well as sewing and stuffing the pleats for the rear seat covers.



New seat back board was fabricated
Original ledge was transferred from the factory
panel










Foam pads were glued and sculpted to
the desired shape and contour
Holes closed off with hide, as the original had been










Sewing pleats in new hide using the original
panel as a template
Stuffing pleats with cotton batting, again precisely
as the original covers had been made




A few shots of the DB4 in the main workshop...


































Carlos has now completed the fabrication and installation of your new hide front seat covers.



The front seats now look and feel just like they would have done when first trimmed at Newport Pagnell in 1959





Hector did a great job restoring the slider knobs










The reclining knobs also came out almost as new
Making one of the seat back panels











Close up of the detail work around the
edge of the rear panels






















Seat bases are extremely soft and very comfortable
Finished items are absolutely beautiful




Carlos has now begun the process of trimming your restored seat frames.



We are using the same spec Connolly 3099 Vaumol
hide used at Newport Pagnell in 1959
Original covers had flutes stuffed with cotton batting










We are fabricating the new covers in precisely
the same way they were made originally
Cutting strips of hide for the beading










New covers will be exact replicas of the
original covers
Carlos sewing flutes










Seat back frames are complex construction
Hector took this artistic shot with the actual car
reflected in the back ground!










Reclining mechanism has been rebuilt and works
perfectly
Installing the first new seat base cover











To be continued...





Trial fitting the doors and boot lid with the car resting on its wheels.



Driver's door fits beautifully











Installing the door demonstrates the quality of the
bodywork beneath the paint
This car is bullet straight along its flanks


































The exquisite lines of the DB4 has to be some of
Touring's very best work
Note how razor edge coach line flows along top
edge of rear wing and continues along door










Passenger door now installed
Perfect panel gaps throughout










Installing the boot lid























Note how one panel flows into the next
Looking more like a car every day!




We have been busy installing the front and rear suspension, lights, restored grille, etc. Great to see the car back on its wheels for the first time in a couple of years.




Compressing front coil springs and installing
new Koni shocks











Front shocks and springs, new rotors and
splined hubs installed











Lucas Le Mans headlamps installed











Sitting on its wheels for the first time
in a long time


































Installing the restored grille











Jake fabricated a new stainless steel bonnet
latch plate























New rear springs are an Aston Martin Heritage
product












Rebuilt and restored rear axle secured in place











Gorgeous Borrani wheels with OEM spec
Avon tires








Original chassis and Superleggera plates and new emblem installed at the front of the car





Assembly of the front suspension and brakes underway.

































DB4 suspension components restored, painted, re-bushed and ready for assembly.





















With thanks to The King of Trim in California who did a truly outstanding job restoring our original DB4 grille. The grille has been straightened, repaired, anodized and polished and the finished results are spectacular. I am very happy to recommend the services of The King of Trim for high quality aluminum trim repairs and restoration.









The restored body has now been moved to the mechanical assembly area.

























































A freshly minted DB4 body shell.





















I am delighted to report that we have now painted the main bodyshell Peony Red. Gerardo did a magnificent job, ably assisted by his father, Guillermo. As a little background, Guillermo Lopez used to paint all our CJ restoration cars before he handed over the baton to Gerardo, several years ago. Guillermo is widely respected as one of the most technically gifted painters in the state, often referred to within the paint industry simply as 'Maestro'. He now works as a senior technical adviser to Finish Master, who supply CJ with our Spies Hecker paint and primer products.

After 8 years with Team CJ, Gerardo has now forged his own well deserved reputation as a master painter at the very top of his craft. Nonetheless, when we have the opportunity to have the old Maestro come in and assist, we are always glad to welcome him back!

Enzo Ferrari was often asked which was the best car he ever built. His reply was always that it would be the next car that he builds. The body and paintwork on this car is spectacular. It is, quite simply, the best we have done...so far.




Guillermo Lopez wiping the car down one last
time before Gerardo applied the paint
Two generations, two huge talents










View through the booth window - Gerardo applying
the first of the Peony Red











Several hours later, the car is done











4 coats of Peony Red base and 3 coats of clear
One of the most famous 'faces' in the
automotive world











The body work beneath the paint is flawless







































































Time to paint the doors, bonnet and boot lid




Your car has now been set up in the booth for final paint application!



Car now moved to the paint booth, about to
be masked for final paintwork
It has taken literally thousands of hours of work to
get to this paint















































Watch this space!




Last night I was delighted to receive this photograph from an enthusiast in Huddersfield, England. The photo shows our DB4 on display on the David Brown stand at the Poznan Trade Fair in June 1960. The story behind the car being on display at the Poznan Show is detailed beneath the photo.



Several years ago I received the following letter from the first owner of the DB4, Helmut Mainz, after putting out an appeal in the Yorkshire Post newspaper.

Subject: Your letter to the Yorkshire Post

Re your letter to the Yorkshire Post and the Telegraph & Argus asking for info about a DB4 Aston Martin car which was sold in 1960 by David Brown of Huddersfield to A Mainz & Son of Bradford, of which I was the owner:

Unfortunately the car did not perform to expectations and I did not keep it for long. On the suggestion of David Brown (the then owner of Aston Martin) I drove the car to Poznan in Poland where both David Brown and A Mainz & Son were exhibitors at a trade fair. The car was put on display on the David Brown stand, presumably as light relief from the heavy tractors they were famous for.

My return journey from Poland took me via Berlin, Hanover and Hook van Holland. Between Poznan and Berlin the roads were very poor at that time except for the last 20-30 miles into Berlin which had been the prewar AVVS car racing track. Probably to vent my frustration after miles of Polish cobblestones I put my foot down only to be engulfed after very few minutes in clouds of steam from a blown cylinder head gasket.

I had to nurse the car back to Berlin where I was unable to find a replacement and instead had to wait around for several days for the makers to fly out the part. My upset was the greater because David Brown sought to put the blame on me for my failure to fit an "oil cooler" which they recommended to prospective clients who intended to use their cars at high speeds for sustained periods.

I felt that this should have been a standard fitting on such an expensive car and as a result of their nonchalant attitude I sold the car shortly afterwards.

Helmut Mainz

I subsequently spoke to Helmut Mainz at length on the telephone and he reiterated how disappointed he had been with the car, and in David Brown himself. It turned out that he knew David Brown personally and that it had been David Brown who persuaded him to allow his car to be displayed on the stand at the Poznan Trade Fair in June 1960. He was therefore somewhat annoyed when David Brown, in absolving himself of blame for the mechanical breakdown near Berlin, said that he (Mainz) should have specified the optional oil cooler when he ordered the car, if he was planning on using it for high speed continental cruising!

Apparently the unreliability of the Aston Martin put a strain on the relationship between these two titans of Yorkshire industry. Eventually, after numerous warranty issues, Mr Mainz traded the Aston against a Jaguar Mk II, which he remarked was a much better car...




Helmut Mainz
David Brown




Cad plated brake components.









As we will be painting the DB4 Peony Red in the next few days, I have been busy comparing spray-outs against some original factory Peony Red paint. The only area of original factory applied Peony Red remaining on the car is on the underside of the fiberglass boot trim panel. The paint on this panel undoubtedly dates to 1959, when the car was first painted at the Newport Pagnell factory.

The third and fourth photos in the sequence below show the boot lid trim panel, and me holding a fresh Spies Hecker Peony Red spray-out against the panel
. The second photograph below shows  one of the front wing strakes wearing Peony Red over spray, almost certainly applied July 7, 1961, when the car was "re-cellulosed the same colour" at the factory following an accident.



Aluminum roof panels and stainless steel wing
strakes about to be polished
Peony Red over spray on wing strake can be dated
thanks to factory service records










Fiberglass boot lid trim panel still wears Peony Red
applied at Newport Pagnell in 1959
Comparing Spies Hecker Peony Red spray-out
against original factory paint




Rebuilt tachometer, fuel, temperature, amp and oil pressure gauges.








When this DB4 first came into my care, it was missing the chrome grille that sits inside the air intake on the top of the bonnet. Over the years I have seen two types of grille in the S1 DB4 bonnet - a perforated steel sheet and a slatted version. I wasn't sure which was correct for our car (chassis number 206), so I contacted James Forshaw at Aston Service Dorset. Not for the first time during this project, James came up trumps and gave me definitive information about which grille I should have. See excerpt from the DB4 build book, below.



The first 99 cars had this perforated sheet steel
style of grille in the bonnet air intake
From chassis 201 onwards this slatted style grille
was installed










Definitive proof that our car (# 206) should have the
slatted grille
New grille supplied by Aston Service Dorset will be
adjusted for fit and chrome plated




With all bodywork now complete, the Aston has been moved into the booth for priming.




















Several people have asked me how well the new alloy trim panels replicate the original cross-hatch pattern, and I am pleased to report that Aston Martin Heritage have done a fantastic job. The second photo below shows a comparison between old and new panels. Even under extreme scrutiny, you would be hard pressed to spot any significant difference. Once installed on the car, it would be impossible to identify new versus old trim.




New Aston Martin Heritage panel is an excellent
facsimile of the original



Fabricating new cross-hatch aluminum trim for the door shut panels and boot opening finisher panels. Thankfully the raw sheets are available from Aston Martin Heritage, and Jake has been fabricating and trial fitting the panels as one of his last jobs before handing the car off to Gerardo for painting.



AM Heritage are re-manufacturing the cross-hatch
aluminum trim
Making templates from the originals






















Making the boot closing panels











Trial fitting newly made sill panels
Making the door shut face trim panels



























Restoring the original spare wheel cover...
































Restoring original door and rear quarter light glass, fabricating side filler panels for the boot compartment...



Quarter light glass had several scratches which
thankfully sanded and polished out











We were careful to save the original date coded
Triplex etching
Door glass had multiple scratches, but responded
beautifully to careful sanding and polishing










Boot side filler panel will be replaced
Making a card template from the original piece


































Trial fitting the new panel











Beveling the holes to replicate the original
panel perfectly












Dzus fasteners used to secure panel, per original




Wrapping up the engine rebuild for our DB4 project.
































Final engine assembly underway in the CJ machine shop...




































































The original, matching number David Brown 4 speed transmission has been completely rebuilt and reconditioned. Thanks to Aston Service Dorset for their assistance with this part of the project.




















With the bodywork completed, the car has now been primed with Spies Hecker Raderal sprayable polyester.












































The following sequence of photographs show Carlos trimming the first of the rear passenger compartment side panels, taking great care to replicate precisely the way the panels were first trimmed and assembled at the factory almost 60 years ago. The original AM factory trimmers were highly skilled artisans at the peak of their powers, so it is fun to watch Carlos following in their footsteps, matching them stride for stride, demonstrating some truly spectacular workmanship.




Time to restore and trim the rear passenger
compartment side panels
Top class craftsmanship is evident throughout
our car's sumptuously trimmed interior










View of underside of the double stitched armrest
seam
New hide beading rests between the wheel arch
cover and the armrest










Armrest starting to take shape
Constantly comparing to the original to ensure
identical finished result























Right side panel almost finished




The following sequence of photographs show us priming the outer body panels after preparing the bare aluminum surface with Zinc chromate.



Outer body is first washed down with a Zinc
chromate solution











Car is now sealed in Spies Hecker Epoxy primer























Doors, bonnet and boot lid are installed
prior to blocking












Next time we see the body outside it will be
Peony Red!




I am pleased to report that all the panel replacement has now been completed. In the next few days we will seal the restored body in epoxy primer and begin preparing the car for paint.
































Both new doors have now been skinned and installed...




Driver's door skin laid on top of the door frame












Both new doors now installed










Handles installed
Body restoration is now very close to completion




Jake has been busy fabricating both new doors...




































































































































































Jake has now restored and reassembled the bonnet. The following sequence of photos show him fine tuning the fit..





Preparing to weld the upper skin to lower frame











The two panels are first tack welded together










A continuous bead is then applied around the entire
outer edge of the bonnet
Adjusting the bonnet opening


































After metal finishing, you would never know that
the bonnet is comprised of two separate panels











Bonnet now fits beautifully












Now time to tackle the door fit!




Seat cover fabrication continued...




Original specification Connolly Vaumol 3099
beige hides
Original seats had each pleat stuffed with a
roll of cotton batting










Bulk cotton batting
Cotton muslin is used for backing, exactly as
original










Carlos sewing pleats
The back side of the seat cover










Cotton batting is inserted into each pleat











The result is an extremely soft, luxurious seating
surface
Constantly comparing new covers to the originals
throughout the fabrication process




Carlos has started fabricating your new interior, beginning with the front seat covers.



Laying out one of the 3 Connolly hides that will
go into the new interior











Cutting strips to be used as beading












Plotting out the seat pleating










Stitching a sample section of pleating to compare
against the original
New covers will be an exact replica of the originals





We have now permanently installed both front and rear clips.



Engine bay alloy skin has now been wrapped












With the front end permanently installed, it is
time to turn our attention to the rear clip










Front wing edges are wrapped around hinge
panel flanges
Installing felt insulation to rear Superleggera
framework










Jake gluing the felt tape to SL tubing












Time to install the rear clip











Looking like a car again, with front and rear clips
now permanently installed






















Note how outer panels fits against the insulated
Superleggera tubing (inside boot compartment)
Jake welding up all the Kleco holes





The following sequence of photographs show the front clip being installed for the final time. We have taken great care to isolate the alloy skin from the mild steel structure beneath using multiple layers of epoxy, urethane stone guard, and finally adhesive friction tape. As well as serving as an additional barrier between the alloy and steel panels, the friction tape also helps prevents rattles and squeaks on the road. A heavy duty (1/8" thick) felt tape is wrapped around the Superleggera tubing.

At the time of writing, Jake is currently 'wrapping' the alloy skin, which involves crimping and hammering
the flanges flat and even.




With the Superleggera structure now fully restored,
it is time to install the front and rear clips



























































We will use 1/8" thick felt tape round the
Superleggera tubing
Friction tape acts as an additional barrier between
mild steel sheet metal and aluminum skins










Felt and friction tape also helps eliminate squeaks
and rattles on the road
Sliding the front clip into place for the final time











Jake making sure everything is lining up perfectly






















Preparing to 'wrap' the alloy skin around sheet
metal structure
Multiple layers of epoxy and the friction tape ensure
the alloy does not contact the steel









To be continued...
Engine bay is first area to be wrapped



















Although it is possible to buy new replica chassis plates, it is always nice to re-use the originals if they are still serviceable. In this case, both plates cleaned up very nicely and look fantastic sitting atop fresh new sheet metal. Jake and I went to great lengths to make sure they were in precisely the same locations as they had been when first installed in 1959.



Chassis plates have been installed precisely where
they had been originally
55 years of patina, but still in superb condition




The DB4 chassis repairs have now been completed and the structure now looks just as it would have done 55 years ago - literally as new in every respect. Thanks to advances in materials technology, and various rust proofing precautions we took throughout the restoration process, we like to think that it is actually somewhat better than new. Over the next several days we will be permanently installing the front and rear clips.



3M Rocker Guard being applied to the underside of
the chassis and rear wheel arches











Masking off the cabin floors, which will be left in
red oxide primer, per original
Gerardo applying satin black finish to the chassis











Engine bay also has a textured finish, as it
did when new










Perhaps as close as it is possible to get to a
new DB4 chassis











New front clip will be installed in the next few days
























Inner bulkheads, cabin floors and seat runners
are literally as new





With the chassis repairs now complete, the Superleggera structure is moved to the paint booth for a final application of red oxide primer Inside (inside the cabin) and satin black, prior to the restored body panels being permanently installed.



Paint booth prepped for refinishing the
Superleggera chassis











Joints are sealed prior to applying
Red Oxide primer











Masking off areas that will be satin black











Floors, sills and inner bulkheads are now
literally as new










Priming in progress..






Jake has now completed his fabrication of the rear cowl panel...



Welding the two halves of the panel together
down the center line











Planishing the weld
New panel now virtually complete











One last trial fit







Finalizing shape at rear edge of rocker panels
Rocker panels now welded to front clip























Trial fitting gas tank to ensure filler neck matches
up with filler door in LH quarter panel










Fabricating rear cowl panels












Shaping the right side cowl panel










Trial fitting the new panel











Applying a phosphoric acid based cleaner, followed
by a chromic acid based conditioner
The conditioner creates a gold coating that becomes
part of the alloy skin and promotes primer adhesion










Applying texture to the inner surface of the front clip











Inner surface has now been painted satin black
Not long before front clip is permanently installed




Fabricating and installing a new lower gutter rail for boot opening, fabricating and trial fitting driver's outer rocker panel..


























































Fabricating and trial fitting a new passenger side outer sill (rocker) panel..





















We have had to reconstruct and effectively reposition the rear lamp plinths to make the rear of the car symmetrical, and in order to place the lamps in an evenly spaced, vertical position. It has been a lot of work, but the finished results will be worth the extra effort.




The rear lamp plinths have both been cut out
and will be repositioned











Jake demonstrating how the RH plinth is more
than an inch proud of the LH plinth












Tack welding the RH plinth back in place











Both plinths now evenly positioned











TIG welded seam around RH plinth now
metal finished










LH plinth welded in place











Fabricating new filler panel between LH plinth
and left side of boot opening
Tack welding new filler panel in place










Welded seams viewed from inside the
LH rear wing











Time to assemble the boot lid
Trial fitting boot lid hinges





Steady progress with the DB4 this week..



Trial fitting newly fabricated base panel with
hinge panel
Welding the two panels together










New passenger door frame taking shape #13 E Type coupe being welded in background!











Jake re-attaching boot opening gutter rail
after modifying left rear wing




The following sequence of photographs shows the painstaking process of fabricating a new passenger door from scratch. Obviously the old door (shown in the first few photos) is badly corroded and has to be replaced. As there is effectively no adjustment available once installed, it is crucial that the new door is built in conjunction with the A and B pillars and shut face panels, which in turn must fit perfectly in relation to the front and rear wings, respectively. The process is obviously very involved, and calls for an extremely skilled pair of hands.



Old door badly corroded and will be replaced











Top beam had actually separated from the main
frame at the rear edge























Crucial that the hinges are attached to the new door
frame in precisely the correct location
Card template for forward section of door where
hinges attach (note slots for hinges)










Forward panel fabricated first











Hinges welded in place, sheet metal that will be
enclosed sealed with primer
Trial fitting the loosely assembled forward
section










This image shows the upper hinge welded in place
(seen from inside car with panel in closed position)
And with forward panel in open position










This forward panel must fit perfectly with rear edge
of front wing











Preparing to weld forward hinge panel together
























Double checking the fit










Now time to finalize the position and shape of the
newly fabricated rear shut face panel
























Light plinth and strip of aluminum removed from
top of left rear wing











Lower valance will also be reshaped











Marking out adjustments needed beneath
rear quarter light window










Shaping rear wing on the wheel
Reworking the lower rear valance










Position of rear shut face panel has a bearing on
entire rear clip, especially LH rear wing
Modifying and repositioning LH rear wing, tail
lamp plinth and boot opening gutter rail





















The following sequence of photos show Jake fabricating a new driver's door frame..



Dash panels have been stripped and sealed
in Red Oxide primer
Making new A post shut face panels






















Construction of new door frame starting from the
A post back















































Forward section of driver's door frame taking shape












Lower door frame rail welded to forward section











To be continued...




Jake has been busy reconstructing the top skin of the bonnet, including the air intake...



Fabricating the lower part of the bonnet air intake












Massaging the aluminum on the English wheel










Using the Pullmax machine to create grooves
in air intake lower panel



































Welding the two halves together












Planishing the welded seam











Impossible to tell that this was once two panels,
welded down the center line




Jake has been busy fabricating and installing new outer panels for the bonnet skin...

















































































Unfortunately, the bonnet on our DB4 project was in very poor shape and needs extensive repairs. The following photographs show just how involved the repair process is...



First the support braces were all removed
Damage and holes from old spot welds
will be welded up and refinished











Plugging spot weld holes















































Extending the rear brace


































Trial fitting bonnet hardware to forward brace











Early S1 hinges
Main skin will also need extensive repairs










Air intake is not symmetrical
Bonnet skin fits poorly in new front end











Rear edge is especially bad






















Measuring contour of the right side of the intake Left side of intake does not match right side










Disassembling skin











Removing beading wire from air intake
Beading wire badly corroded











Skin cut in half along factory welded seam



































Almost ready to weld two halves back together




New driver's footwell completed, modifying new pedal bracket...




Trial fitting new footwell panel










Trial fit of footwell viewed from beneath
Original pedal bracket is badly corroded and
will be replaced










Old and new pedal brackets are very slightly
different
Trial fitting new pedal bracket revealed a
slight clearance issue with floor pan










Close up of the clearance issue between new pedal
bracket and footwell
Jake modifying the new bracket to provide
desired clearance










Contour of modified pedal bracket now closely
resembles the original
New bracket now clears driver's footwell










TIG welding new footwell together













One last trial fit
New driver's footwell now an exact replica of
the original panel




The following sequence of photos show Jake fabricating new footwell panels. As you can see, the driver's side is a fairly complex affair...




The passenger side footwell is a simple panel
to make
This brace is spot welded to the underside
of the panel










Weld thru primer being applied to the weld zones











Brace welded in place
Panel fits beautifully in passenger footwell











The driver's side footwell is much more complex






















Plan of driver's footwell looks like something
Leonardo da Vinci drew up!











Jake is fabricating the driver's footwell in
several pieces























Trial fitting the forward (pedal) section
Comparing the new panel with the original











To be continued...




Another example of when new parts are unavailable, they must be made from scratch. The curved contour of the quarter light windows added a degree of difficulty to the fabrication of new B post structures, although Matt has done an outstanding job replicating the original (corroded) items.




Rear quarter light window glass is curved
























Using the originals as a templates, Matt
set about fabricating new B posts















































Plotting the position of the new posts










New item a perfect replica of the original











The new B post secured to the roof
and quarter panel











Time to repeat the process on the right
side of the car












Job done





Cleaning the original data plate and Superleggera plaque, repairing, installing and testing seat runners, trying driver's seat for size...



Original plaques were covered in over spray
Plotting the location of the plaques on the
original front cowl










A thorough cleaning of both plaques worked wonders
Driver's seat was difficult to slide back and forth
because of damage to runners











Seat tracks now perfectly straight










Repaired seat tracks installed












Driver's seat now adjusts beautifully











I couldn't resist trying the driver's seat for size




We have now received three beautiful bull hides from Connolly in England, dyed precisely to match the original color code VM 3099, per the the original Aston Martin build sheet. We have hung the hides on the rail in the trim room where they will be allowed to relax (eliminating any creases or wrinkles) for a couple of months before we start fabricating the new interior.

The new front clip has required a fair amount of modification to make it perfect. Unfortunately the headlamp and marker light openings were not quite right, and the upper surface of the right hand front wing curved a little too aggressively down toward the right hand headlamp, causing the headlamp chrome rim to sit slightly proud above the front wing.

The depth of the sockets for the side and indicator lamps varied by approximately 1/4" from side to side. Left uncorrected, this would have meant the right side marker and indicator lamps would have protruded 1/4" more than their counterparts on the left side. Additionally, the lamps were not centered in the holes pre-cut in the new panel. These things were all relatively minor issues, but in our quest for perfection, they could not be ignored.

Although it was a little difficult to capture the subtle modifications photographically, hopefully you will be able to see what Jake has achieved in the following sequence of images.




VM 3099 known variously as Beige (by Aston Martin)
and Champagne by Connolly
If only 'scratch and sniff' was a possibility with this
photo - the trim room smells absolutely divine










Note how initially the RH headlamp chrome
sat slightly proud (above) the front wing line
Upper bucket mounting plinth was cut away










Jake reshaping the upper/forward contour of the
right hand front wing











Before...
After...










From one side of the car to the other, there was
almost 1/4" difference in depth of lamp sockets
Sockets on left side of the car significantly
deeper than those on the right side






















Lamp assemblies are also not centered
in holes set in the new front clip
Using the original as a guide, we set about making
all lamp sockets the same (correct) depth










We also centered all lamp assemblies












Time to correct the right side..





Fabricating, repairing and trial fitting seat runners, seat rail 'rollers', etc.



Trial fit of bright work, lighting, continued..











Passenger seat runner was broken and
replacements are not available new
Interesting stamping on the bottom of one of the
seat rails










Broken pieces TIG welded together











Preparing to install the new seat rail mounts












Note roller at 'A' - there should also be one at 'B'










Matt machined a new roller from bronze
Duly installed










Testing the operation of Dena's seat
Seat glides forward and back smooth as silk





All sorts of progress in the CJ Coachworks this week!





Tack welding new transition panel to RH wing
Seam then TIG welded











Welds invisible after metal finishing










Installing new fender beading
Finished RH wing transition panel from beneath










Fabricating new seat track runners























Driver's seat rail mounting plinths in need of repair























After fabricating new grill support brackets, trial
fitting the old grill
Looking more like a car every day










Trial fitting new Le Mans headlamp assemblies












Front end of car coming together nicely










Right hand headlamp now fully assembled
Trial fitting hand brake frame with repaired
driver's seat rail mounting plinths





Fabricating new transition panels for the bottom of the front wings where they extend beneath the car.



Making a template based on the original front wing
























Tack welding the new panel in place










The seam is then TIG welded











Welded seam invisible after metal finishing
Beading installed along edge of new panel










Welding the corners up after wrapping the fender
beading
Transition, weld and beading wrap are
now completely invisible











Time to repeat process for the RH wing




Matt has been busy fabricating new A and B shut face panels..
















































































































































































Trial fitting front grill surround, plotting the position of the headlamp buckets..

























































Jake and Matt have been working on a wheel well each over the last few days. I am pleased to report that both rear wells have now been fabricated and welded in place.



Trial fitting and tack welding RR wheel well












Trial fitting LR wheel well






















TIG welding previously tack welded
seamss












Finalizing fit after TIG welding and planishing











Fabricating LR suspension anchor point brace






















RR wheel well virtually completed












Trial fitting RR wheel well










New suspension anchor point brace spot
welded into position
Wurth Body Wax applied to inner sections that will
be enclosed by the new wheel well










Bending and forming lower edges of well











Weld thru primer applied to weld zones on
inner surface of wells











Jake spot welding LR well in place
Matt spot welding RR well in position



























































Applying texture and painting the underside of the chassis and floors..



































































With our sheet meal repairs now almost complete, we are ready to start painting the chassis. Our goal is to have the chassis appear as close in appearance to 'brand new original' as humanly possible. The cabin, including the floors and the front and rear bulkheads, were left in bare red oxide primer at the Newport Pagnell factory. The engine bay and underside of the chassis were originally sprayed with a textured black 'rubberized' undercoating.

Although we have gone to great lengths to restore this chassis to look precisely as it would have when new, we used a modern textured protective coating (3M rocker guard, part # 3M8949) in place of the original rubberized undercoating. We then painted the rocker guard with a satin black single stage urethane paint. We achieved the desired 'satin' look by mixing the paint with an 80% ratio of flatting agent. We believe the finished result perfectly replicates the way the chassis would have looked at the factory, fifty five years ago.
























































































































Welding the newly fabricated battery tray in place











Trial fitting newly fabricated air intake tubes
Inner wheel wells have been removed and new ones
will be fabricated from scratch










All inner (previously boxed in) surfaces have been
cleaned back to bare metal and primed











Final trial fit of LH air intakes























Air intake tube now welded in position
Planishing RH quarter light panel











Fabricating new rear inner wheel wells



























































Interior cabin was left in red oxide primer at
the factory


































Preparing to texture and paint the engine bay












Open (non-welded) joints are seam sealed
prior to painting























Spare wheel hold-down captive nut welded in place










Spare wheel captive nut viewed from beneath
Masking off cabin prior to applying satin black
finish to rest of chassis










Masking off superleggera tubing and areas where
textured finish is not wanted












Applying the textured finish










New stainless steel mesh will be installed
after painting











Note how superleggera tubing is not textured




































Engine bay now every bit as good as new - if
not a little better






















Now ready for the satin black finish
Firewall absolutely as new




Fabricating new air intake tubing and butterfly valves..



























































Welding the side panels to the boot floor












Lead loaded A pillar sealed with red oxide primer










Starting to hammer the new alloy skin over the
top of the lead loaded A pillar











Rear edge of front left wing starting to take shape





Lots of progress in the Team CJ Coachworks this week, plus a shiny new tool kit..



Trial fitting rear superleggera tubing
Note rear edge now welded in place











Central boot lid latch now has to be trial fitted






















Original panel in rough shape
Outer edge of boot latch plinth needs
to be re-made











Trial fitting boot latch










Plotting the location of the latch











Hole cut in rear flange for boot lid release button












Ready to weld boot lid plinth in place










A pillar requires cleaning up and lead loading
before new front skin can be installed











Lead body solder applied












Lead filed to desired shape










Shaped to form perfect base for new
alloy skin












New tool kit ready for the show ground





Unfortunately we are having to rework the new alloy rear clip fairly extensively, including fabricating a new drip rail, reshaping the contour at the peak of the left rear wing, remaking the C-pillars and relocating the gas filler opening. Matt has been busy assembling and trial fitting the new superleggera tubing for the rear of the car, and Jake has been wrapping up the engine bay side panels and installing the new front jacking points.




Old boot lid does not fit the new rear clip very well











Engine bay side panels now spot welded and
riveted in place












We need to fabricate a new drip rail for the
new rear clip






















Trial fitting the new drip rail to the old rear clip











Almost ready to weld the new superleggera
tubing in place












Forward jacking points now welded in place





Lots of progress in the Coachworks this week. We did run into a slight dimensional problem with the new rear clip, although with the hand built nature of these cars, such things are to be expected.




Matt spot welding the new rear chassis legs in place











Trial fitting the new rear edge superleggera tubing
Notice how the tubing precisely follows the contour
of the new boot floor










Preparing to weld short sections of chome-moly
tubing to new rear edge superleggera tubing























Comparing the original rear edge to the newly
fabricated section











Comparing the new and original rear clips
revealed a slight dimensional issue
Demonstrating the differences between the old
and new rear clips



































Marking the new rear clip where it needs to be cut










With the C pillars removed, the lower section
is then trial fitted
Checking fit between boot floor and inner walls of
new rear clip










This photo shows where new aluminum will be
let in and welded
Rear bumper brackets now welded to rear edge
superleggera tubing























Steel platform chassis now almost ready to
receive the forward bodywork






















Underside of boot floor and spare wheel well
now sealed with red oxide primer























Trial fitting the original boot lid highlighted
more dimensional issues with the rear clip
Boot opening does not correspond very well with
the shape of the boot lid










Left rear fender is too flat on top surface - see gap
beneath pen and compare to image on the right
Right rear fender has correct (more pronounced)
high point - note greater gap beneath Sharpie




Fabricating a new battery tray (Matt) and sealing the repaired sections of the platform chassis with red oxide primer...



Preparing to fabricate a new battery tray
Not much of the original left!























New tray now almost complete










Sealing repaired sections of the chassis with red
oxide primer











Seat runner shave been removed and will
be replaced











Red oxide primer applied to all inner box sections











New engine bay side panels also primed before
being welded in place











Weld through primer applied to weld zones of
rear chassis legs
Trial fitting new boot floor side platforms











Jake (assisted by Lance) trimming the bonnet
opening to the desired size





The following photos show Matt fabricating the superleggera structure for the rear wings and boot floor surrounds, as well as the rear bumper mounting brackets and the side and rear platforms that form the foundation for the inner rear wing superleggera framework...




Fabricating new rear chassis leg side panels











Trial fitting the new chassis leg side panels












Forming the largest of the rear superleggera tubes










Forming the side tubes which support the inner
surface of the rear wings




































Inner rear wing superleggera frames
now completed






















Rear bumper brackets were rusty and no
longer serviceable
Fabricating new rear bumper brackets























Demonstrating how the original bracket was
attached to the old superleggera tubing






















Trial fitting the new outer superleggera tubing











New side platform panels now constructed
Trial fitting new side platform panels











Almost ready to weld everything together










View of new structure from beneath the car





The following sequence shows how Matt fabricated new lower bonnet mouth support brackets to replace the corroded originals...



Original support brackets were corroded












Origami, Aston style










Newly formed brackets are first tack welded












Seams are then TIG welded























This is where the new brackets mount










Trial fitting brackets











New brackets now TIG welded into place












Trial fitting alloy front end shows the function of
the new brackets





The following photos show Jake fabricating the superleggera tubing for the bonnet mouth as well as trimming, adjusting and trial fitting the new front end.






































































































































































Time to begin fabricating and installing the new Chome-Moly superleggera tubing..















Bending new chrome-moly superleggera tubing












Trial fitting the front end





The engine block has now been welded, straightened, align honed, machined and restored to 'as new' condition..



Before..
After..
















Fabricating and trial fitting the right hand engine bay side panels and louvers...





With the left side completed, Jake has turned his
attention to the right side











The new RH louver panel supplied was a little
too long











Trimming the length to match the original











Trial fitting new louver panel
























Fabricating closing section for RH louver panel






















Trial fitting the new closing panel
Almost ready to start welding everything together





Fabrication and installation of engine bay side panels, continued...




Louvers now spot welded to new LH side panel











Looking at new panels through what will be
the front grill opening











Rear/side panel will be fabricated from scratch











Making the new rear/side panels
Trial fitting new panels






















Upper left side of engine bay now completely
reconstructed

















Stunning art deco DB horn button adds the finishing touch to your steering wheel restoration..




Finished steering wheel is absolutely beautiful
Stunning art deco DB horn push




Fabricating and installing the new engine bay side panels, complete with ventilation louvers...




Original side panels and louvers were pretty
badly corroded
We begin with card templates























Side panel is a series of contoured panels welded
together


































Trial fitting louvers
Left side starting to take shape




The following sequence of photos show some of the work we are doing to rescue your engine block, which was obviously in very poor shape. Most of the head studs had to be machined out, so we decided to install a complete set of threaded steel inserts to receive the new head studs. It took an immense amount of force to press out the corroded and seized liners, but we eventually managed to separate them from the block. The deck surface of the bock had also been unavoidably damaged separating the once seized cylinder head, so that is being welded up and milled back to a perfectly smooth finish.

The next (engine) update will hopefully show the finished block, as pristine and perfect as new.




Chris had to chart the precise position of all cyl
head stud holes
Steel inserts being installed in deck of block
to receive new head studs











Trial fitting the head - which thankfully slipped
straight into place over the new studs










Removing the sleeves was a major undertaking
Block will now be media blasted and welded


































Block cleaned up nicely in the blasting cabint
This area was damaged during the removal
of the seized cylinder head










Matt building up the block deck with the TIG
Mid-way through the block welding process









To be continued..






Stunning quality steering wheel restoration by Bruce Crawford of hardwoodclassicsltd.com




Original steering wheel beautifully restored











Wood is absolutely gorgeous
Stunning workmanship by Bruce Crawford





Spot welding the new wheel well to the new boot floor..



Boot floor and spare wheel fitted together using
Cleco fasteners
Worm's eye view of the new spare wheel well
and boot floor











Spot welding wheel well and boot floor together





Jake has now finished planishing the TIG welds around seams of the spare wheel well, and the finished result is a thing of beauty..





















The following sequence of photos show Jake TIG welding the seams of the new spare wheel well, then planishing the beads of weld until they are virtually invisible.




























Planishing weld beads
Welded seam is now virtually invisible





It has been fun to watch Jake fabricating the spare wheel well..




Using the English wheel on the new base panel
Trial fitting base to well










The original center spare lock dish in the center of
the base
Spare wheel lock dish viewed from beneath










Starting to fabricate the new spare lock dish















































New spare lock dish spot welded to well base











Assembly is first tack welded together











Seams will eventually be TIG welded











Start of a long TIG session




Spare wheel fabrication, continued..




Beginning to form the curved bottom lip of the
new wheel well












Using a radius gauge to set desired radius























Using the Pullmax to create stiffening bead
precisely as the original























Preparing to weld the seams and the base
to the wheel well wall











TIG welding the join in the wheel well wall










Planishing the TIG weld bead
TIG welded seam is virtually invisible on inner wall
of wheel well after metal finishing









Update in progress..
Likewise the outer wall of the wheel well, where
Jake's weld is barely perceptible













Fabricating the spare wheel well from scratch..




Flat sheet metal in foreground will be shaped
into circular wall of wheel well











Wall section is fabricated in 2 pieces











Trimming the second wall section to size
Matching the 2 halves to create a perfect circle










Trial fitting the 2 wall sections together












Trial fitting the spare in the new wheel well




Fabricating the new boot floor and spare wheel well..



New boot floor and wheel well will be fabricated
in exactly the same way the original was made
Card templates made from the original










Transferring templates to new sheet metal
Jake and Matt working the new panel on the
Pullmax machine











Groove at outer edge of spare wheel well
starting to take shape











This photo shows the contour created by Jake
using the Pullmax










Transferring position of panel stiffening beads from
template to sheet metal












Forming the stiffening beads on the Pullmax























Trial fitting the new boot floor










Beads have been reproduced precisely
as the originals











This relief panel is required for the left rear
suspension mounting bushing























Relief panel first tack welded into position
TIG welding the seam











After metal finishing









Watch this space!
More trial fitting..





We are almost finished reconstructing the rear bulkhead. Jake has been very careful to reproduce the new structure precisely how it was done at Newport Pagnell 55 years ago...





Rust proofing the inner surfaces of the rear
bulkhead support brace










New bushings were machined in the CJ machine
shop
























We replicated precisely the combination of factory
TIG and spot welds throughout


































Next task is to fabricate the new boot floor
and spare wheel well




Jake has been busy with the complicated process of reconstructing the rear chassis legs and the rear bulkhead..













































































































































Newly fabricated bonnet opening and gutter channels starting to take shape..




New engine bay surround clamped in position











New bonnet opening starting to take shape




More progress in the Coachworks...



Clamping together the various sections












Trial fitting and adjusting prior to welding





More fabrication work with the forward bonnet latch panel...

























































Jake has been incredibly noisy this morning, working on the forward bonnet latch panel..





Using the planishing hammer to work the flange










Followed by lots more hammering
Back to the Pullmax to form the second flange










Followed by lots more hammering...
Panel now starting to take shape





Jake fabricating the front bonnet latching panel..



Bonnet aperture side channel panels are now
complete
Next job is to fabricate the new forward bonnet
latching panel











A card template is drawn, then transferred onto
new sheet metal










Basic panel shape is then cut out
Creating the flanges on the Pullmax machine





The following sequence of photographs show Jake starting to fabricate the U shaped channel that forms the bonnet opening. Starting with a flat sheet of steel, he then used a variety of machines to form the slightly curved channel that will eventually be the right hand side of the bonnet aperture.




First the new steel is worked on the wheel
Next Jake moved to the planishing hammer










This machine is LOUD!
The flanges were then stretched to form the requisite
curve












Slight curve is evident in this shot










Checking that the curve of the new panel matches
the contour of the bonnet




The following sequence of photos show Jake fabricating and welding new chrome-moly Superleggera tubing for the lower engine bay..




Chrome-moly tubing is strong and lightweight, making
it an ideal material for the Superleggera framework





















Jake TIG welding the new chrome-moly framework
in place





The following sequence of photos show Jake beginning to reconstruct the rear bulkhead area..





Complicated looking diagram!











Several panels will be fabricated to reconstruct the
rear section of the chassis










Left hand rear side rail will also be fabricated from scratch












Card template is transferred onto new sheet metal











Repair panel starting to take shape











Sections are first tack welded together










Structure then TIG welded along seams











Trial fitting the new panel at rear of car
The new panel will support the vertical section
of the rear bulkhead





It is now time for Jake to tackle the last remaining rusty area of the chassis - the rear bulkhead and boot compartment...

 
Bruce Crawford was kind enough to send me this photo
of the steering wheel restoration getting underway
Jake spot welding the rear floor support bracket in position
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rear superleggera section cut away
Both boot side rails are very rusty
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rear edge of the boot floor is nasty
 
 
 
 
 
 
Spare wheel well and boot floor cut away
Not much left at the rear of the car at this stage!
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rear bulkhead will need significant rust repair
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
New wheel well will be fabricated from scratch

 


Putting the finishing touches to the rear floor brace..

 
 Making the new brackets that fit against the floor brace
 

 
 
 

 

 
The two sides are ready to be welded toegther
 

 
 

 

 
 Jake applies the finishing touches using Matt's beautiful 
old 1930's planishing hammer
It is a shame the new panel will be hidden beneath the floor

 


The following sequence of photos show Jake fabricating two curved, reverse flanged panels, using the Pullmax machine. Panels like this are tricky to make because of the flanged 'sabre' shape, although the Pullmax machine makes the task look much easier than it really is.

 
 First a card emplate is cut using the original corroded panel
 The template is then transferred to new sheet metal

 
 
 

 

 
 Jake forming one of the curved flanges on the Pullmax
 

 
 
 

 

 
 
 This photo shows each stage of the process, from rusty
original to pristine newly fabricated panels

 
 
 

 

 
 The photos don't do justice to Jake's work on these panels
 

 


Progress with the chassis repairs in the Coachworks...

 
Securing the new outer sill to the A shut face panel
Ready to rivet and spot weld the LH engine
side close out panel in position

 

 

 
LH engine side panel now secured
 

 

 

 
 
Jake TIG welding the door sill support brackets in place

 

 

 
   


Engine machine work in progress..

 
Previously seized pistons now removed..
 

 

 

 
Heating the cylinder head prior to another round
of weld repairs
 

 

 

 
Head on end mill to have welds gound down
 

 

 

 
   

 

 

 
Water jackets will be gasket matched and reshaped prior
to the head being surfaced
 

 

 

 
 
   


Installing the new left hand outer sill and left side engine bulkhead..

 
Applying Wurth Body Wax to outer surface of inner sill
Jake spot welding new outer sill panel in place

 

 

 
Hundreds of spot welds secure the outer panel to the inner sill
 

 

 

 
Applying more Body Wax to area about to be enclosed 
by engine side bulkhead panel
TIG welding the new outer sill to the A post hinge panel

 

 

 
 
New engine side bulkhead panel clamped in position
and ready for spot welding

 


A little red oxide primer to close out the week..

 
 
 Floor pan is mostly the original, with only localized
repairs required

 

 

 
Preparing to install LH inner sill
 

 

 

 
Wurth Body Wax sprayed inside box sections that will
be covered when inner sill is installed
 

 

 

 
 
Spot welding inner sill in place (in progress)


Fabricating another jacking point, finishing up left side of engine bay, installing left hand sill panels...

 
 
 Jake has been busy fabricating the left hand rear jacking point
 

 
 
 
 

 

 
 Jacking tube is first tack welded in place
Then TIG welded 

 
 
 
 

 

 
 Remanufactured, precisely the same way it was made 55 years ago
 TIG welding the new jacking point in place

 
 
 
 

 

 
 Transferring a card template to 18 gauge sheet metal to
fabricate LH engine bay side panel
 

 
 
 
 

 

 
 Trial fitting new front and side LH engine bay panels
 

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 Transferring card template to new sheet metal for the
LH A post repair panel

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 Repair panel starting to take shape

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 Trial fitting repair panel at base of LH A pillar

 
 
 
 

 

 
 TIG welding seams of repair panel, after satisfactory
trial fit
 Almost done...

 


Rescuing your badly corroded and damaged cylinder head tested the skills of both the CJ machine shop and the CJ Coachworks, although in the end the repairs really didn't present too many problems.

 
 Cylinder head is badly corroded
#6 combustion chamber has a significant hole in the bowl

 
 
 
 

 

 
 Hole in #6 chamber is going to challenge Jake's welding skills
Water jackets are corroded and have also been damaged
during the removal of the cylinder head

 
 
 
 

 

 
Amazing how a turn in the media blaster makes everything
look so much better
After being heated in the machine shop oven, the head was
delivered to Jake in the Coachworks for weld repairs

 
 
 
 

 

 
 Corroded and damaged water jackets have been ground back
to sound alloy prior to welding
 

 
 
 
 

 

 
 The hole in #6 chamber looks rather ominous at first glance
 Jake filling the hole with progressive beads of TIG

 
 
 
 

 

 
 Half of the hole filled...
 The hole now completely filled, next we built up the area
so the bowl could be re-shaped

 
 
 
 

 

 
 Chamber now ready for re-shaping
 Reconstructing the water jackets, which will be re-shaped 
on the mill at a later date

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 To be continued,,,,

 


Finishing up the left side of the engine bay, repairing rear inner wheel well and rear edge of left hand side floor. Jake is working his way to the rear of the car..

 
 
 Weld zones primed with weld thru primer
 Jake spot welding the panels in place

 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 

 
 Time to address the left hand floors and sill panels
 Lower A post will be replaced

 
 
 

 

 
 Fabricating brackets for beneath the floor boards
 Trial fitting brackets using cleko fasteners

 
 
 

 

 
 Repairing the rear edge of the left hand floor
 

 
 
 

 

 
 Repair panels are TIG welded in place
 

 
 
 

 

 
 
 Job done..

 
 
 

 

 
 
 Fabricating a panel for the side of the left hand footwell

 
 
 

 

 
 Trial fitting and clamping
Tack welding in position 

 
 
 

 

 
 More beautiful TIG welding
 Jake then turned his attention to the LH rear wheel arch

 
 
 

 

 
 Eliminating corrosion behind the wheel arch wall
To be continued... 

 


This week Jake has been busy with chassis and firewall repairs on the left side of the car...

 
   

 

 

 
   

 

 

 
It is fun to watch Jake making all the repair sections
for the chassis
 

 

 

 
I taught Jake everything he knows about TIG welding
Welded seams are invisible after metal finishing

 

 

 
Wurth Body wax is applied on the inner surfaces of
 all new panels
 

 

 

 
   

 

 

 
   

 

 

 
   

 

 

 
 
Left side of engine bay and firewall starting to
look really nice..


Jake has been working his way down the left hand side of the chassis this week..

 
   

 

 

 
   

 

 

 
   

 

 

 
   

 

 

 
   

 

 

 
   

 


Using the plasma cutter to remove the old left hand rocker panel..

 
   
   
   

 


Fabricating and trial fitting new left side engine rails and engine bay finisher panel..

 
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

 
 


Jake has been busy reconstructing the upper left side of the engine bay..
   

 

 

 
   

 

 

 
   

 

 

 
   

 

 

 
   

 

 

 
   

 

 

 
   

 

 

 
   

 

 

 
   

 

 

 
   

 

 

 
   

 

 

 
 
 
   
   
   
   

 
 


Lots of progress since our last update, including the replacement of the right hand door shut face panel, which appeared to be in excellent condition. As the sequence of photos below show, there is method to our madness...

 
A post hinge panel supports now welded in place
 

 

 

 
RH shut face panel appears to be in good shape...
The problem is that it is constructed of 2 panels sandwiched 
together, and the inner surfaces are prone to rusting

 

 

 
From the rear, the shut face panel also appears to be 
perfectly sound
 Trial