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The Covering of Avon Flyer Part 1


Alan Percivall

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It had always been the intention of painting the Hopper from when I first picked up the part built kit. Primarily this was because the aluminium panels had been untouched for about 8 years and thus lent themselves to an easier preparation to accept paint than being highly polished but also I liked the idea of a hand painted period look.

On a glorious sunny day a year or so ago whilst walking around the Stoneleigh Kit Car Show, I happened upon a Dunsmore Special with a rear fabric body and was very much taken with the look. Just what I need I thought. The seed had been sown.

Time pressed on and slowly the car was coming together, much slower than I had hoped but nevertheless it was all taking shape. I had spent some time on the painting of the front trying to adhere to the painting course I'd attended with Phil Speight having been advised to do this by Tom Rae. Two coats of etching primer, five undercoats and seven top coats were done followed by flatting and polishing. OK, so it's not the best finish in the world but it does look 'of the period'.

Now for the so-called fabric back. After some searching I found some vinyl with a slightly padded backing that was purported to be weatherproof and also fire retardant. Not overly cheap but not drastically expensive either. I also liked the colour and graining.

Having bought 4 metres of the stuff I now had to actually stick it on the car. Our small group of local Pembletoneers, Dave Parr, Ray Westwood and Graham Johnson and myself, meet more or less every second Wednesday for a pint and a chat and had all agreed to come along when the time was right to attempt the 'vinyling'. On 21st October the day had come and cometh the time cometh the men.

I had cut the vinyl to approximately the correct sizes with enough overlap for the odd slight misalignment and to be able to tuck around the edges to be held by the trim. I had read a couple of articles supplied by Ray and Graham on the best way to tackle the job (one said leave it to the professionals) and bought the correct spray glue as recommended by Dave from his previous tinkerings and speaking with those who know. We all met up and over a cup of tea worked out 'The Plan'. Who did what and who held what and who smoothed it out etc. was decided and so the first panel was offered up

The entire interior was masked off to avoid glue being sprayed unintentionally inside and the surface of the metal wiped down with a tack cloth. Graham then vacuumed the floor as well as he could to try to keep dust, leaves, small animals etc to a minimum and we were set to go.

Dave had been appointed chief glue sprayer and after doing the deed here is the panel stuck on

The white bit sticking out is the taped up side pod light wires. The panel was, as mentioned, oversize and was cut top and front edge to fit neatly. The bottom and rear would be dealt with when I trim the edges.


However no more tea yet until some more vinyl had been applied. Working as a team we proceeded to cover both rear panels and the top back before breaking for lunch.

There was quite a bit of calculation to take into account, as I wanted the vinyl to run over the scuttle and follow the bonnet line down and back at the sides. However with a Cambridge maths and physics graduate on hand (by now my brain had fried) all went very well. Thanks Ray.

So a good day - we celebrated with a beer and I was left a very chuffed man. I now need to push on and complete the trim plus all the odds and ends that seem to be needed to actually finish the project.

Many thanks to Dave, Ray and Graham - what would I do without you guys.

I'll update the progress to EPAG as it happens.

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