Wings – Just listen to what the man said

I’ve had a long tedious day driving up North – to Stafford. Actually it’s not really North from Norfolk, it more like West, North a bit and then a bit more west. I probably should have titled this post ‘Go West’ but try as I might, I just couldn’t weave in the new front wings I’ve just added to the list of new bits I’ve bought with a reference to the Pet Shop Boys. Perhaps someone could help me out of this lyrical impasse?

Anyway – the epic road trip, started off because I had to collect my daughter, Rose from Sheffield and as I’d tracked down some new front wings (sans indicator holes) at ECAS (who are in Stafford) I thought I’d combine the 2 trips into one. Sheffield is not too far from Stafford. I arrived at this conclusion by looking at a map of the UK and figured it would take about an hour or so extra to swing by Stafford on the way to Sheffield. It probably would only take an hour if I had an aeroplane or could drive over the Pennines at 90 miles per hours in the trusty Volvo-saurus….

The wings. The eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted that that my van has front indicators fitted. I had these put on when I bought the van – in the interests of safety, as I reckoned that no-one would see the lone 2 indicators mounted at the rear on the sides of the van body when viewed from the front. Actually this is less of a problem than I thought, as most other motorists are shocked and surprised to see such an old jalopy on the road, which looks like a Citroen 2cv (unusual) to which someone has backed into a garden shed (downright weird) – so they tend to give way regardless of what the indictors are indicating. I therefore don’t need front indicators, they weren’t fitted when the van was built in 1966, so I’m going to re-fit the correct period wings.

I picked up the new wings from ECAS in Stafford, plus a few other essential bits and bobs – and a few parts for Brian – a nice chap who has a very nice 2cv Dolly and swings by the workshop now and again to see how I’m getting on. With all of my stuff and his few bits in the back of the Volvo, there was not going to be a lot of room left for Rose’s accumulated University flotsam and jetsam. Mostly shoes and clothes, some houseplants, some pots and pans, books, a printer, a large suitcase (more shoes?) and ten or so Ikea bags of clothes and bedding, plus a few groceries. It took me 2 hours to drive across the Pennines in the driving rain to Sheffield from Stafford, where we stuffed everything in and headed back to Norwich. Like I said, it was a bit of a mission. I left at 7am and got back to Norwich at about 6pm.

Here’s one of the old wings. It’s really floppy compared with the new panels and as well as being dented and rusty, it has started to spit along the outside edge. I probably could salvage it, but just don’t have the time. Also it has had so many repairs on the inner wing and trailing edge that I think it’s time it went into the skip.

Wafer thin, crusty and split. Tricky to repair

I cleaned up the back of the van, so it’s mostly back to bare metal now and I spent a couple of hours stripping and cleaning the spare wheel panel and petrol tank cover. The tank cover is heavily corroded but still sound, so I think I’ll persevere with it. There are a couple of small holes in the spare wheel cover, which I will repair, but the rest of it is all good steel.

Petrol tank cover – it’s seen better days but there are no holes in it – apart from the one into which one pours petrol, which is supposed to be there
I quite like the hand painted number plate but I think it will have to be stripped back. The black factory primer which coated the rear door pillars came off really easily.

Back to the front wings – ‘Make sure you trial fit them before painting them’ was the parting shot from Roy at ECAS. ‘They are pattern parts, so you might need to adjust the mounting points to get them to fit properly’. Right – so having just removed the body from the chassis for the second time, I’m going to have to put it back together again so that I can fit the wings and make sure that the holes line up with the captive bolts which are welded to the front of the chassis, the sills and the firewall. Brilliant.

‘What are pattern parts?’ – well, these are parts made by manufacturers other than Citroen, using non Citroen tooling. I could buy Citroen tooled wings, but they are £350 each as opposed to £110 for the pattern parts. This is sizeable chunk of extra cash is more than I can afford to lavish on the van, so fettling and fiddling is what I will have to do.

I won’t be fitting the wings for a while as I have ton of other jobs to do beforehand. In the meantime, here’s a quick update from the weekly gathering at the pub (aka the Old Mans Memory Club) last Thursday:

Pete R has lost some weight since he joined the Fat Club, although he did put on a few pounds last week, overall he’s still down so won’t incur the full wrath of the pack leader.

Pete F (the other Pete) has had his peace shattered by the arrival of his daughter and 2 young children, who are residing with him temporarily. I expect this will result in him spending more time at the workshop with me – which is a good thing.

Steve has gout, which despite it’s music hall comedy value, thereby providing a rich seam of Henry V111 related jokes for us to tease him with, is very painful and stopping him from even thinking about starting on any of his car/motorcycle projects, so we all wish him a speedy recovery.

Chris said he was going to turn up this week but didn’t. To be honest, no-one noticed which will amuse him greatly when we tell him (if he ever shows up).

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