Well, things have moved on quite a bit since I last updated. I have continued to carry out improvements to ARW 480 as I find things that bother me. The radiator shell has been a story in itself but others may benefit from its telling.
I could see that the chrome on the radiator shell was wearing through in places and so decided that I would like to take a closer look at it. I removed the shell from the car and took it to Premier Plating for an assessment. They stripped it and gave me the bad news, the shell was as rotten as a pear and in their opinion beyond repair. It did look pretty sorry when stripped of its shiny coating and it was hard to argue with their assessment. I asked around for months but as expected finding a replacement shell would be a hard task and I had to consider all options – I now had a car with no rad shell and no immediate prospect of finding one. To get the car back on the road I decided to fill and paint the shell and refit it, which I did. While I had all feelers out for an old one I thought to myself ‘how hard can it be to make one’ and started off down the route of fabricating one from scratch.
I will not relate the whole tale here but suffice it to say I did make one from brass sheet but after a huge amount of effort over many, many weeks discovered that the grade of brass sheet I had used was making a very hard job extremely hard, not to say impossible – it was the wrong grade for panel forming, too hard. Anyway, after a massive amount of work I did finish it but events overtook me which I will start to tell you about now. Pic: Radshell 1
A gentleman rang me one evening and said, ‘You’ve got an Aero Minx, do you want another one, or two? They are in boxes but come and have a look at them if you’re interested’ Needless to say a couple of days later I was the proud owner of two more, boxed Aeros. Most of the main parts for two cars, including chassis, engines, axles, wheels, some bodywork AND documents were mine.
Also included was one radiator shell, tatty but better than my existing one. A little while later I met another ‘old car nut’ from the village who told me he had just had all of his brightwork re-chromed by a company called S+T Plating in Yate near Bristol. I took the newest radshell down to them, they looked at it and said, yes, we can do something with that. About six weeks later I picked up my fantastic, new shiny rad shell. They had welded it, soldered it, polished it, copper plated it and finally chrome plated it and it is truly magnificent. A brilliant job, beautifully done. About a month later still, the chap I bought the two wrecks from rang and said he had sourced another, better radshell. It was such a nice one that I had the same job done on it by S+T and I suddenly had two ‘as new’ radshells. Funny how things turn out. The lessons I learned making my own shell were incredibly useful and have started me of on making all manner of panels and other items. I am planning to get more into body panel fabrication eventually and have already been on a few courses.