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.

bits 1

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.

radshell 1

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