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Phil's build report

Where do I start... Firstly, hello! I've been using the forum quite a bit over the last 6 months, so I'm sure that most people reading this will already know (of) me, but for those who don't my name is Philip and I live just outside Beverley – a town which seems to have more than its fair share of 3 wheeler owners!

Anyway, I'd wanted a Pembleton for quite some time, and after selling an MGB GT (which had just plagued me with typical BL unreliability during a recent Scottish holiday) I saw a part build advertised on the forum – in London.

I won't go into chapter and verse about the collection, but to summarise: 13 hours of driving; a 4' x 7' trailer holding a 10'6" car and having to extract it from a 10 year slumber. In truth, what I had acquired from Chris was a good rolling chassis with engine, and he was a fantastic chap – a common theme amongst Pembltoneers which I was about to find out.

So, the abridged version from here to present day goes something like this:

First, I took the whole thing apart! 10 years in a shed (the chassis was purchased 12 years ago) had taken its toll, and everything needed cleaning and painting. It also gave me the opportunity to make some changes, for example the dashboard design. I'd spend forever designing an Austin 7 style dash, which in the end didn't actually work, however I was really happy with the results I had. Top tip was that crackle paint works great if you get enough heat and enough coats of paint – I did this on one of the hottest days so far.

It was around this time that a visit to Duncan's ranch was planned. A ride in his limper undoubtedly spurred me on and my excel spreadsheet for the build was cut down from 18 to 9 months! As I didn't have a build manual (still don't!) it was invaluable to see Duncan's cars and he was able to answer all the questions I had prepared (Thanks Duncan!!).

One area of the build I was looking forward to was the electrics. I bought some of the vintage looking cloth covered wire (it's still the PVC underneath) and set to work over my summer holidays. Advice from the form was the use relays as much as possible and this seemed to make sense. I pulled out what was left of the 2cv setup and started again. Lots of companies (like CBS) offer a very neat looking pre made wiring 'module' but they seem low on relays.

The fuse box was from CBS – split into 3 parts – 6 fused direct lives from the battery, 6 fused switched lives, and 12 earth connections. Hopefully it will make fault finding nice and simple...

Another Duncan idea I'd 'borrowed' was to use a hinged bonnet. I even copied his method; to silver solder a thread onto a section of hinge for the front mounting. The rear mounting is fixed, but the front has a knurled nut underneath which means you can pull the whole bonnet off quickly. I took my bonnet up to Duncan and he kindly split it then folded the edges using his press and guillotine. He was becoming a useful chap to know!

A pre-sva chassis meant I needed some strengthening and somewhere to fit seatbelts. The plumber in the village had been round one night and offered to weld a new support in. He's only 300 yards away and this gave me some motivation to get it ready to drive down and get the work done. Fuel lines went in and electrics connected up. It was moved outside (sounds simple but the cow shed door is 4' and the car is 4'6”). Anyway - it was soon out, if backless... the first run was exhilarating!

Next was the get the back on and get it painted. At this point we were running out of summer and as I was going to use cellulose (and do it in a cow shed) it meant that I had to get a shift on. There were some late nights fitting the back, but eventually it was ready and I keyed it and sprayed in etch primer.

I won't go into the painting process (probably worth an article on its own), but what I will say is that I'm over the moon with the results. There is a huge amount of paint (Landrver Keswick Green) on her/him, and the finish was almost perfect straight from the gun. Brilliant! Sadly I'd not really thought about the bonnet and painted over the hinge, which then cracked once opened. ARGH! It will get a fresh coat of paint next summer now.

I'd been putting off one problem for a while. Chris, the initial builder, had made some miscalculations when fitting a side panel. When I bought the car one panel was fully fitted and one only drilled in a few key places; however I had decided to continue what he has started and fix the alignment after. The problem was basically that the sides were about 2” too high.

The final solution was to create some nice arm rests. I recruited my retired father and within a couple of days he was up at my house with a prototype, which quickly turned into these:

After this was another bit I'd been looking forward to – making the interior. I was working on a budget, and costs went something like this:

I'm happy with the effect - although don't have a clue how to make the wool waterproof?!

I'd really wanted to fit Phil's 19” wheels, and bought some beautiful mudguards from Colin Wilson to suit. However with a house move on the horizon I needed to keep costs low and asked my friend to Powedercoat the 2cv wheels, along with the 'guards as a temporary solution.

The brackets for the guards are in their trial stage. I drilled and tapped the track rod end/hub mounting and have wired them for additional safety. I was a little surprised to see how much they moved on the test run!!

A big moment happened last weekend as I'd built the car in my cow shed and it was time to get it out before the wheels and guards went on. As mentioned previously, the car was already 6" wider than the door and so getting it out was a logistical puzzle! After a morning of work she was out. I fitted the wheels again, then drilled the guards for indicators and put it all together, along with nice lights which Chlöe (my wife) had bought for my birthday last week.

So that brings us up to now. With everything fitted I had permission to use the local private road for a very quick test run.....

Hopefully it will be MSVA ready for my half term in February.



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