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Patio Build

Allen Morris

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I had great difficulty starting this article and was advised by a friend who regularly writes for his club magazine to start by giving the answers to Why, Where and How I undertook my build.

To be honest we all know why we chose to undertake a Pembleton build - It is a great value kit with its vintage looks and with some thought a comparatively easy build. Through its individuality, it attracts attention where ever it goes. We could easily have gone for a high volume kit with a pop on plastic body but playing with aluminium must have appealed to us all. Let's face it a bag of spanners, some sockets, a pop riveter, a jig saw and away you go. I have attended shows like Stoneleigh and Exeter and occasionally heard people say they cannot build a kit because they do not have a garage or somewhere to work. I hope this article will convince anyone who is considering building a kit and has a patio that they can successfully build a kit.

As the title of the article suggests I built my car on the patio (the where). I also painted the car in a tent on the rear lawn. Now I know the thought of working at the mercy of the weather puts off many potential kit owners - it's hot in the summer and cold and wet in the winter but really this is the only difference between using a garage/workshop and the patio. (Note - You do become a bit of a weather watching fanatic). The most important thing is how you store the vehicle when not working on it. Getting it wet will not help if you want it to have a long life. The builder should always remember there are options of portable tent type structures available from a large chain store that sells machines and often offers VAT free days.

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Before I could properly start my build a carport had to be constructed. I know what you are thinking I said it was a patio build. To explain, at the side of my house is a space which allowed the construction of a car port but the dimensions do not allow enough space to work. This begs another question - if space was limited how did I move the kit especially in the early build stage? and it`s probably better if you look at the photograph!

Quite simply I welded an old scaffold tower together and fitted some wheels. My welding skills are poor but the metal stuck together. The frame allowed total movement with me as the horse power and gave a working height so I did not spend a lot of time on my knees or doubled over which as you know plays hell with the old lower back. The kit stayed on the frame until the body was completely

finished and it was time to install the engine and gear box. From this point the car was pushed around on its own wheels. (The frame is now covered over waiting for another build!).

A flat working surface is another important factor to consider. I used two 8x4 sheets of MDF and a couple of old work mates to create a large flat surface which is very important if you decided to cut your panels from sheet aluminium as I did. I cut the aluminium over a couple of beautiful weekends wearing straw hat and lots of sun cream (I must say toe tectors and tee shirt completed the outfit!). The disadvantage here is that at the end of each day you had to dismantle and store the MDF and workmates.

The build (the how) probably did not differ from all the others that have taken place. I cut the body panels from the aluminium sheet using the dress pattern method and folded the metal over pre-made wooden forms then persuaded the panels to fit the chassis and with a little tweaking, filing and pop riveting, Bobs your uncle - body work finished! Car on the floor and in went the engine and gear box. I wish it had been that simple!

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I painted the car in a large tent erected on the rear lawn. The tent was purchased from a large DIY store during a sale (I love a bargain!) and by using cellulose paint I have got a finish which enhances the vintage look of the car. The beauty of cellulose paint is it is very easy to use but make sure the aluminium is well flatted, don`t forget to use an etching primer before applying normal primer and finally the finishing colour. My advice is to use a solid pastel colour and with a little spraying practise and a good polishing a decent finish can be achieved. By the way, I once asked for a quote to paint the kit at a large kit car show and the price given - awesome! - I`m still having palpitations.

I don't wish to rabble on and I have not given a blow by blow account of the build and have chosen just a couple of topics to show how I approached the build. I hope they have not been covered before and I apologise if they have. Everything a builder needs in the way of information to complete a Pembleton build can be found on this web site and I stole a lot of ideas from here. I read the manual supplied with the kit carefully.

If this short article has answered just a couple of prospective builders questions of working outdoors and encourages them to go ahead then I will be thankful.

My advice to all new builders is, try to find someone local who has already completed their car. My mentor was Dave Middleton and I thank him for all the support and friendship he gave to me.

Also seeing his completed Supersport on a regularly basis inspired me and when things got tough he was always at the end of the phone.

If you follow the manual supplied with the kit you will pass the MSVA. I did and passed first time!

P.S All kit builders need support from their nearest and dearest and I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the support of she who must be obeyed and my three daughters who have helped and supported the build all way.

Allan Morris

Pembleton Brooklands #274 Pebbles

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