Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Royal Visit

I was blessed with a visit from Peter Bateman yesterday. Peter is kind of J Type royalty in Australia, he's based in Sydney where he is owned by a shiny blue J Type known as "Mr Cholmondley". Peter is somewhat obsessed by J types, which I think is admirable. Peter was visiting Tasmania under the pretext of a birthday present for his wife, but somehow managed to fit in several visits with Tasmanian J type owners. Peter came by for a couple of hours and gave me the benefit of his many years of J Type experience. Unfortunately we really ran out of time, not helped by my two bored youngsters who spent the whole time interrupting and demanding snacks!

She's not pretty is she? I find  t helps to squint a bit and use my imagination.
I particularly liked Peters suggestion of replacing all of the timber sub-structure with steel. Its something I'll be giving a great deal of thought to. The problem with the J type body is that its really just the  top and two sides of a narrow box. The big opening for the rear doors doesn't have a strong stiffening frame around it so the body can literally flop from side to side, like a collapsing box. Its very common for them to go out of square and fatigue cracks in the corners of the roof are endemic. Adding a steel subframe under the floor would enable closing the 4th side of the box in steel, as well as providing a solid foundation for a proper stiffening structure around the rear door opening and at the front. I'm wondering whether I might be able to use it to add  mounts for front seatbelts. I'm a bit paranoid about seatbelts, following a head-on in a Moke several years ago.

Luckily Peter gave me three weeks warning that he was coming. The J type has been pushed into the corner of the shed and buried in household stuff since I brought it home. The rest of the shed was filthy and filled with junk. So I've spent the last three weeks having a massive clean-up and I rolled the van out so that Peter could have a proper look. This meant that I could take some pictures of the whole vehicle, rather than just bits of it. I also took the opportunity to try to get a panoramic photo of the fleet. These are my wheeled projects, there are any number of other unfinished jobs and unstarted projects still waiting. Since the big clean-up. it has been an absolute pleasure to get out into the clean and spacious workshop, but I do have to admit that the Mini has been the one getting the attention.
1951 Morris J Type, 1977 Leyland Moke Californian, 1961 Morris Mini Traveller, 1969 Triumph Trophy 650, 1955 BSA C11G