This Wheel’s on fire

It’s cold in the workshop, so a hot wheel or two would be very handy. There’s no heating whatsoever, so when it’s 4 degrees outside it’s the same inside – sometimes I think it’s actually colder than it is outside. This is not an ideal working environment because paint won’t dry, filler takes ages to go off and well, as you can imagine, the thought of working in a fridge is frankly quite off putting. Nonetheless, I will persevere. I have some time off work as my contract finished at the end of November and there’s little prospect of getting a new tranche of IT work until the new year, so the workshop has become my new office and the van has taken over from sitting at a desk in a nice warm office, peering at spreadsheets and tooling around with SQL data queries.

I’m nearly ready to put the body back on the chassis, which should happen on Thursday or Friday when I press gang my fellow members of the ‘Old man’s memory club’ to help me lift it back onto the chassis, before we adjourn to the pub. I’m expecting to see both Pete’s and Steve but not Chris, who has been spotted in town (by Steve) but has been too busy with family issues to come down to the pub and chew the cud with the rest of us. This is a shame because last week we had an impromptu music quiz about which sequels were better than the original releases. Pete Fish, armed with Spotify, judged my suggestion; Fun Boy Three’s version of My Lips Are Sealed’ is better than the original version by the ‘Go-Go’s’. But – as Pete was keen to point out, Jane Wiedlin (Go-Go’s) and Terry Hall (Fun Boy Three) were an item at the time both versions were co-written and released, therefore he decreed that my contribution was null and void on account that they were intimately intertwined and therefore were incapable of any independent creativity. Pete then went on to tell us what we should have known about pop sequels and prequels ad-infinitum with many many examples backed up by short clips played on his mobile phone. I’m sure you get the picture.

Back to the real subject of this blog – the mating of chassis and body. In preparation for this milestone, I have fitted some tape to the chassis – for the body to rest on and have punched a load of holes in it where the bolts go through. I popped the dozen or so M7 speed clips in place, so it’s all ready for the big lift.

How hard can it be? As my son George would say; ‘no drama’s’ – except that he is apostrophally challenged so it would have read ‘dramas’, which would me more at home on a Greek restaurant menu.

Wheels – luckily for me, the chap in the unit next door to the workshop is a tyre fitter, so I wheeled the wheels round to him and upon offering some pecuniary enticement, he took the tyres off so that I could prep and paint the wheels. However, whilst driving without due care and attention last year, I clouted a traffic island on my way out of a roundabout and dented both offside wheels rather badly.

I did try and pull out the edge of the rim with some mole grips, hammer and cold chisel but to no avail. These wheels are a lot tougher than they look and frankly I made a total hash of it, so it’s going in the scrap metal skip along with the other one. I did (briefly) think about cutting out a section of rim from the other damaged wheel and welding it it in. However, as I can get brand new Michelin wheels for about £65 each, I might as well just get a new pair and be done with it.

Drivers door – I changed my mind yet again and have decided to use the ‘new’ door I picked up a few months ago on eBay. The outer skin on the old door has parted company from the inner part of the frame. See below

I did manage to get it back in place and gave it a good dressing with the hammer and dolly, but I don’t think it will be long before it pops back off again. There’s only a few millimetres of steel to grip. I suppose I could put a few tacks of weld along it, but this door also needs a repair to the bottom edge – the bit that grips the door seal – and has a very large shallow dent under the door handle. It makes me wonder if all 2CV’s have dented doors, just under the handle and if this is the case, then perhaps it has something to do with the design of the doors…. As it happens, the ‘new’ door also has a dent in the same place, but not so deep, so all in all it’s a better candidate. Here it is with a few skims of filler over the dents, prior to flattening it off. It’s so cold in the workshop (did I mention that it’s cold?) that the filler would not go off, so I had to use the hair dryer to encourage the chemical reaction between the filler and the hardener. It’s not my hair dryer – I don’t have enough hair to warrant owning a hair dryer. I found it in the workshop so there must be someone more hirsute than me using the space – or possibly the workshop used to be a hairdressing salon in a previous life.

The Door Dingers have been busy with this one

Another hour of flatting off with a block and 400 grit wet and dry paper and some more tinkering with filler and I was ready to spray on some primer. This is what they look like now – I expect they will be dry by January…

Not entirely ‘ding’ free but at least they won’t look out of place compared to the rest of the bodywork

It remains to be seen whether the doors will fit into their respective apertures. They didn’t fit properly before I totally rebuilt the front half of the body shell so I’m not expecting it to be an easy job. I’m not looking forward to faffing around with them to be brutally honest but I suppose I’d better try and make them fit before I put the top coat on.

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