Driving a 1954 Austin-Healey 100/4 from Peking to Paris in the June 2019 ERA Rally.

Sunday, 30 September 2018

0068 Roll bar, seats, and lots more

30th September 2018
We keep working while the roll bar takes shape

245 days to go !

Roll bar painted
At the moment progress on Gidget is a bit like watching a duck swim in a fast flowing stream - On the surface there doesn't appear to be much movement, but under the water the legs are paddling like crazy in order to keep moving forwards.   The car is still up at J&H Restorations at Yatala while the complicated roll bar continues to take shape.  The main technical difficulty is that each of the 4 vertical mountings for the roll bar base have to be exactly vertical so that the whole unit can be removed easily - One slightly crooked mounting and it would be difficult to remove. But now that has been done sccessfully, we are nearly finished.
In the meantime I continue to work on other items for which I do not need the car.

Austin A90 Atlantic
Shovel storage on Land Rover
Last weekend I went up to the British Car Day in Brisbane and
apart from a beautiful Aston Martin DBS Zagato which I fell in love with, I explored a couple of items relevant to the Healey - Namely ways to tie down shovels and pick axes on a Land Rover, and also there was an Austin A90 Atlantic there, which was the basic donor vehicle for the first Austin Healey 100/4, so I had a good look at that just out of interest.

New seat with hinged base
The seats are shaping up well.  Andrew tacked up a trial base according to the measurements I had given him, and as he had to go up to Yatala for some other work, I met him up there for a fitting in the car.   He had raised the front  quite considerably, and then fitted hinges at the very front, connected to a base which would bolt to the floor.  With the seat in position I climbed in, and everything seemed perfect.  There was support under my thighs,
Long base on new seat
there was more room between my thighs and the steering wheel, and I was now looking through the windscreen instead of at the top frame.  The long floor bracket can be much shorter, so we will adjust that before final fitting.  And in the meantime Andrew can make up an identical bracket for the other seat now I have removed the runners from it. And there is even a little space under the seats where it should be possible to store some flatter items.

Small gearbox testing unit

While I was up at J&H Restorations, I noticed a small stand with an electirc motor on, and a Healey gearbox fitted which intrigued me.  Obviously a simply way to test gearboxes and make sure they are working properly before they are fitted to a car. Given all the issues that we had with out gearbox, surely something as simple as this is something every gearbox repair shop should have ?

Roll bar in primer
Once the roll bar was fitting properly, it was primed in preparation for a final coat of black.  When fitted to the car, the roof fitted around it well, and we actually had slightly more headroom, even
Adjusting bolt for roof
in the previous seats, so we should be even better off once the new seats are installed.  With the bar fitted, an adjustable bolt was welded into the bottom of the roof support socket so that the height of the roof bar can be raised or lowered slightly if required in order to adjust the overall height and tautness of the roof.

Storage space on rear shroud
Inside the car, with the roll bar in place and the roof up, there is still considerable space behind the seats up on the rear shroud where we are planning to locate a canvas bag containing our tent and camping gear.  We got this idea from Bruce Washington and his 1929 Chrysler while we were in Alice Springs, and this is an excellent place to store bulky but light stuff - Weight forward, and not taking up space in the boot, so easy to quickly access when needed.  Should be able to fit an Austin Healey umbrella up there too, just in case of brief showers when we have the roof down - All we need to do is find an Austin Healey umbrella !!

Rear brace for roll bar
By the end of the week, with the rear support bar bases now in place, the long rearward support bars for the roll bar could be fitted.  This now means all the roll bar construction is completed, and it just needs painting and final fitting. If we can get the seat supports finished this week and fitted, and the windscreen supports made and fitted, we can get the car back home and start on the storage and other items we have to do.
Rear braces in boot

In the meantime I have been moving on to the next phase - Looking to get
quotes for European Insurance as well as shipping back from Europe after we reach Paris.  Insurance for China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Russia is inluded in our entry fees, but we have to arrange our own insurance for Finland onwards through Europe, and for a non European Resident in a non European registered car, Insurance can be quite diffult to obtain, as well as expensive when found - Luckily I have some contacts from my European Adventure in 2016 so I am hoping they will be able to provide us with coverage.  As far as shipping is concerned, we are just getting some indicative quotes so that we can make sure we use the optimum carrier for our shipping back to Australia after the rally.  If we can combine cars in 40 ft containers we may be able to obtain some preferential rates. 

Hopefully by next week we will have the car back and can get on with the many other items we need to be working on.

Rest of the pics are here :-  https://photos.app.goo.gl/mvYcfTV3LFm2Z1hF6

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Ashton & Giles welcome any visitors, support, and comments as we prepare for our Adventure !