Building a ‘One Off’*

*DEFINITION:  “One off”  Limited to a single time, something unique or special

One of the annual rites of spring is the appearance of cars which we’ve never seen before, some of them quite nice, and some of them quite nice appearing, only to reveal a veritable shop of horrors underneath.  It would not be off the mark to say that about two thirds of the “restored” cars that pass thru here for the first time are really testimonials to the art of plastic sculpture.  One particularly memorable MGB actually had the rear quarter panels formed in expanding foam insulation with a skim coat of Bondo to provide the final shape, a condition only discovered by the owner after they caught fire !
This isn’t one of them.  Take a closer look here.  This MGA is getting a “one off” rebuild.  In this picture the car is fixtured to the Global Jig frame bench, you can see the measuring equipment above and around it.  While the more common Global Jig application is for collision work, in this case it’s being employed to ensure that all of the sheetmetal on the car is symmetrical.  Any “body man” who tells you he doesn’t need a frame bench to align the structure of your car while it’s under restoration is a fool.  If you still hire him to do the work, that makes you a fool, too.
These panels were hand formed on the “Pullmax” power hammer which you can see to the center right of the post in the last picture.  It’s all butt-welded, not lap jointed.  This kind of work doesn’t come cheap, of course, but even in the short run, neither does the crappy but shiny job from the boys down at the Bondo Shop.
Look familiar ?  It’s the same car, previously a Concours winner in Stowe at the British Invasion, a true dual purpose machine,  (names redacted) are seen here rehanging all the right hand sheetmetal  after an off road excursion on the West Virginia Rally on 2007.  Eventually, this car was retired from competition in favor of  the TR3 profiled in a cover story in the January issue of Hemmings Sports & Exotics.  Go to “In The News” on this website for the link.

Eddie checks his cardboard template against a TR4A froma

Eddie checks his cardboard template against a TR4A frame at East Coast Collision & Restoration. Can you identify the rear sheetmetal of the two marques back against the wall ?

Speaking of creative uses of plastic filler, it was used to replace the left hand frame rail of this TR4A for as far as the eye can see.  This was the least damaged of three newly purchased Independant Rear Suspension Triumphs we had in here in quick succession last year.

The owner of one of those cars originally contacted us about an unusual braking condition whereby the car would pull to the right  under a moderate pedal application and then straighten out.  This turned out to be the left rear trailing arm pulling completely away from the rusted-thru frame and steering the car off the road.  The seller from Connecticut, a long time flipper of British cars claimed never to have looked underneath.  Make sure you look underneath.  Or call us.

Elisha installs window regualtors in a Mk2 Jaguar

Elisha installs window regulators in the doors for this Mk2 Jaguar at East Coast Collision in Mount Holly

Here’s Elisha installing the window regulators in the doors of the Mk2 Jaguar behind him.  Partially visible behind Elisha is the the front structure of another Austin Healey in all its glorious dishabille.

All pictures Taken Tuesday, April 5, except as noted

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