It has been far too long since I updated this story and I have forgotten much of the finer detail of what has occurred during the past months of toil so this may be a slightly abbreviated version of events.
Since completing the engine rebuild the engine has been installed in the car, the only difficulty being the lack of a particular mounting bracket that links the gearbox o the chassis. I had what I thought was the correct one but it did not fit. I was then given a second one that very nearly but sadly also ultimately did not fit. Finally I resorted to making one from some steel angle which after several tense welding sessions turned out quite well and connected everything pretty well, sandwiching the shaped rubber shock absorber between it and the gearbox.

Gearbox bracket
Gearbox bracket

The engine now being in the chassis I was able to continue to successfully assemble the previously mentioned springs and axles, closely followed by the stub axles and splined hubs. They looked really nice although I have to confess that the hardest thing by far is avoiding removing all the nice shiny new paint from the components as they go together. It is then impossible to re-spray any chips so I have invested in tins of paint to touch up such damage as it occurs. The wheels had been to James Whieldon near Salisbury Wilts for rebuilding and were now back in their shiny red paint. However, what happened next meant that the wheels did not go on the car and the whole project took an altogether new direction.

engine in chassis
Engine in chassis

The Hillman Owners Club took a stand at the Classic Car Show at the NEC in November 2012 and we arranged for four Aeros to take pride of place. We had a cresta saloon from the Coventry Motor Museum, A streamlined two seater owned by Dr George Bailey, My four seater tourer and a lovely streamlined saloon owned by Dave Hanks.

To cut a long story short, having spent all weekend with the beautiful streamlined saloon I just had to have one and decided there and then to build ADU 101 as such a car, not having much of an idea of exactly how I was to go about it.

Dave Hanks streamlined saloon
Dave Hank’s streamlined saloon

Dave Hanks was very supportive and allowed me unlimited access to his car to take as many measurements and other data as I need. The task being slightly further complicated by my decision not to copy Dave’s car exactly but to try to replicate the original 1932 motor show launch car which differs in some significant ways. This meant that I would have to work from the very few old photographs that exist in the slender archive that I have.

Quite how this decision affected the red wheels I will explain. I had always intended the tourer version to be red. I did not though see the coupe being red and quite quickly decided upon a two tone green scheme, with green or possibly black wheels. I therefore stuck the new red wheels on the green tourer and put the black ones on the project.

I now returned to ADU with renewed vigour to plan out the body shape and begin preparing some drawings to at least give me a guide. I decided to start with a known fixed point, the radiator and bonnet, and work my way backwards tackling windscreen, roof curve and rear wings in sequence.

I will not describe the whole process but suffice it to say progress was slow with a number of false starts while errors – mostly in dimensions and proportions – were corrected. It is always enormously tempting to consider allowing small discrepancies to go but never give in to the temptation, it will lead at the very least to disappointment if not disaster further down the line.

I am a carpenter by training and so was not particularly daunted by the ash framing and so far have enjoyed it very much, so much so that I cannot wait to have a go at another frame very soon. I am on the last leg now with all of the major shapes and curves complete. I am pleased with the shape and am excited by the prospect of having the aluminium skin fitted. I have two options for this element and am shortly going to have to decide who I ask to do the work. Probably the next big challenge foe me will be the doors as they are not only curved in two planes but also contain winding windows and some curved swage lines.

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