I got the Bel Air out of the garage as normal to work on the truck, and left the door open for some fresh air. While i was working away on the truck I kept looking at the bumper on the Bel Air and thinking how much it bugged me. I didn’t like the gaps between it and the body, the fact it was up on one side where the hanger was bent, and the overrider indentations. Apart from that I loved it!. I hit a bit of a snag with the truck which needed a think, so as I went in to make a cuppa, I decided the time had come for the bumper! With it dropped off and on the floor, I set about breaking off the bolts for the hanger from the wing
They turned out to be rusted solid, and even after letting them soak for an hour, I had to snap them off with a long bar. With it off, I hit the crap out of it in the vice until it was roughly the right shape again. With it back on loosely, I balanced the bumper on a jack and pushed it back as far as I could. With a bit of trimming on the brackets, I got it flush against the frame horns. Happy with it’s new position, I took it back off and trimmed the brackets to go over the massive rivet on the horn, then set about cutting out the dent for the overrider. I kept measuring it and putting a straight edge on it as I did it but it’s got a few low patches in it which I reckon will take quite a bit of work to get out. I’ll have to see if it can be filled with braze or similar before chroming, or buy an anvil! I’ve moved the mounting bolt holes 4cm (just over an inch and a half in old money!) further forward, and I’m happy with how it sits now. Will weld the bolts on and fill up the other holes next week. An enjoyable bit of random work.
The hood has been sat at the paintshop waiting to come back, and they rang me yesterday and asked if they could drop it off today. It was due late morning so after I dropped Poppy to school I came home and tidied up a bit so I could put it straight on. I’d bought some heater hose in the week so I pulled the temporary loop off and drained the system out before I fitted it. With it all filled up I started it and let it heat up. No problems, so thats another part done.
When the hood arrived, I bolted it loosely in place to see how badly out it was. The drivers side sat about an inch too high for some strange reason, and after loosening and repositioning it all it still did. I pressed down on the hood corner and it dropped into place. After some investigation, I found the hinge was very badly worn so I’ll have to push the back down when I close it for now. After a bit of shimming, it sat as equally as I could get it so I tightened it all up and took the latch assembly off to see what was up with it. After ten minutes or so of cleaning and oiling, it works perfectly and locks up securely. I also bolted down the bottom of the striker plate which was a nightmare as its behind the intercooler. A quick polish of the chrome trim and the bird and they were ready to re-fit. The bird is pretty bad, but it still looks good.
On Saturday I had a quick tidy up then spun the car over and started working on the passenger side again. Bob came ober to see how it was going, and after chatting about the starter and motor I decided to fire it up again. I wired the MSD in, poured some petrol into the carb, then fired it. A few pops later and a little fire out of the head, and it nearly went. Bit more fue, and it coughed a few times. The starter disengaged like it should, and I called it a day on firing it. Back on the sanding, I ended up doing about 20 or so little patches and a couple of big ones that I was not happy with. It’s funny how much I’ve learnt since I started doing it, and how a lot of it I can do better now. Good practice anyway! I etch primed the bare metal and called it a day. On Sunday, I spent ages filling and sanding before a few small patches of etch and two coats of filler primer. The rebuilt fin seems to be the right shape for the lights too. All going well, and my painting is improving slowly.