I'm pleased to report there will be another Lanchester video soon, because today Pat and I finished installing the interior. It did involve getting enough dust and grime in my hair that I looked like I had a bad hair dye line and I ended up hitting my head and getting blisters, so it all went about as well as you might expect. Far from the Mr Chodmondeley Warner experience, working on the Lanchester is much more of a series of suprising adventures that the likes of Sir Digby Chicken Caesar would venture forth on.
Instead of using a separate camera for photos, I'm trying out the screenshot function on the video editing stuff. It makes this part of the update much easier since I can use just the one device and footage and means I have one less thing to forget when actually working on the car.
The first job was refitting the rear door card that we hadn't yet. The video really highlights what this job is like, it involved making a lot of these sorts of faces.
Once all the edge screws were in to hold the door card in place, Pat fitted the wooden capping since he seems to be better at that than I am and we made sure nothing was binding on the door frame. Happily, everything was good so we moved on to the next bit.
Fitting the pull handle was easy, that's just two large screws, fitting the window winder was another matter. As previously mentioned, the window winders almost seem to have too short a post on them meaning it very difficult to get the escutcheon compressed enough (even on the original plywood cards) to get the pin to go in the locating hole that holds everything together. We found it impossible to do solo, instead it usually takes three screwdrivers, a lot of huffing and puffing, and a dash of luck.
The door release handle, by comparison, is a doddle, partly because the post for that is just a bit longer. All the door cards in and the windows etc. tested we could happily draw a line under this part of the renovation. No more flappy door cards. When it comes to replacing the carpet on the bottom, we wont' actually have to remove the door card to do it, there's enough flex in the plywood once the side screws are undone that you can glue and tack the new carpet on pretty much in the same way it was done originally. This is no doubt deliberate since the carpet is the bit that's most likely to need replacement due to wear. On to the dashboard then. We'd already fitted this but did it wrong, so it had to come out again so we could reinstall it correctly. Confusingly, the top rail that looks to be the last thing to go on is actually the first thing because once you fit the main dash board you can't get to the fixings that hold the top rail in place.
Visibility for the four screws that hold the rail in place is poor, opening the fresh air vent did help a bit, with the side effect that any dust and detritus you didn't want in your face got blown straight into it. The screws go through metal brackets on the car's wooden body frame and into the rail itself, the first attempt we misaligned and screwed into thin air. This turned out to be another two person job since I had to see where it was aligned and then Pat had to hold the rail to prevent it from moving until we got a couple of screws located.
You can make out where they're supposed to go in this next picture, spot the silver coloured crosshead screws.
Then it was on to the dashboard itself. This is held in with three screws, one in the centre and one into each A pillar through metal brackets. First though, the glovebox needed to be reattached. We'd had to unscrew this to get the dashboard moved enough to fit the top rail, now it was a case of doing some contortions to get around the various obstacles to put the screws back in. This time we got all of the screws in so the glovebox is a good bit more secure than last time, which was nice. Access is not great.
Everything was then eased into place and the final three screws put in and we could call the dashboard done. Hopefully it will never need to come out again. We can do the wiring without removing the dashboard, access to the relevant bits is actually quite good for what it's worth. Next up, the cables for the choke, starter, and fuel reserve were refitted. The fuel reserve system isn't being reinstated but to save the cable just flopping about it made sense to put it were it belongs. We may repurpose the pull knob for another function in the future, like the hazards or something, for now it's not a worry.
Then it was the turn of the temperature gauge and its fragile capillary line. The wire on the back of the gauge is actually a very fine tube, sealed at both ends, that cannot be removed from the guage or the sender that goes into the water pump. It works so we're happy to reinstall it and it keeps things nicely original.
It's held into the back of the instrument cluster with two stubby little flathead screws, like the rest.
It was nice to finally see the instrument cluster complete again. The speedometer cable was reattached too. We didn't attach the starter cable to the starter because the starter motor needs to come off for a service or repair and to do that it looks like we need to remove the exhaust to get access to at least one of the starter's bolts so that's going to be another fairly involved job.
We also learned that either one of the hose connectors or the non-return valve for the washer pump is leaking a bit. We know it's not the heater matrix as that hasn't been used or disturbed this time, and you can trace the water to the washer pump connections. That one at least is an easy fix using generic parts.
It's wonderful seeing all of these things coming together and we're eager to crack on with the rest as soon as time and weather permits.
Words and pictures time. The video has slightly different content to the written update this time since I do some talking about projects etc which I've mostly covered on the forums already, but if you've a few minutes to spare it's an easy way to get up to speed on the state of play here at Vulgalour Villas. One very small job was cleaning the water stains off the parcel shelf supports, this was in part to see if water was coming in here and causing the stains, and partly to see how well they'd come up. The plastic came up okay, I keep giving it Autoglym vinyl care to 'feed' the plastic and stop it being so dried out, and the water marks are reluctant to return. As it happens, the water marks seem to be caused by water dripping off the tailgate or rain getting in when the tailgate is open, so nothing to worry about.
I'd already identified the key points water is getting in, now to try and seal it up. First job was to pop the rear wheel off so I could see the other side of the pinholes in the arch that were letting water into the car. Water takes very strange routes sometimes, you wouldn't expect it to run down the inside of the wheel arch when the car is parked, but it does, and then creeps into the car with the aid of capillary action. Aside from the usual griminess, the inner arches are in pretty good shape.
There has been a patch let in very nicely to the strut tower a long time ago, absolutely no reason to revisit it aside from perhaps a splash of red paint and/or fresh underseal. I have new rear shocks to fit, I've just been waiting on weather and motivation to get on with it since suspension is another of those jobs I dislike doing. The springs aren't as bad as they look in that shot, a little time with high speed abrasives and squirty paint would see them respectable enough and I may do that when I do the shocks.
Sealing up then. We did the little bit in the boot where there was a hole in the factory seam sealer. I honestly couldn't see it on the outside of the car so just made a best guess where there was a bit of loose underseal, the water must have been taking a pretty odd route and none has got into the car through this spot since sealing it up. I basically looked for where the inner arch was taking the longest to dry out to narrow down where the route might be, combined with some back and forth to figure out where this line is on the inner arch since the boot floor is higher up than the bottom of the rear inner arch.
The pinholes on the inner skin of the floor under the rear carpet I also put some seam sealer on. This wasn't letting water in and I can't see this from outside the car, it appears to be double skinned. So to keep any water from getting stuck in there if the inside of the car gets wet, this seemed a sensible precaution for now.
Up at the top of the repaired rear strut I sealed up the welding that had a tiny little hole. No rust, just a small pinhole that had been missed when the repair was done in the past so this was more a case of finishing a job than an actual repair. This one I could see on the other side of the car when the light was just so and got a blob on the inner arch too.
I then picked off one small area of loose sealant and, since I was all out of underseal to replace it, I used a little bit of seam sealer as an interim measure. I do need to replace this arch once I have the welder up and running so when I do that I'll be tackling the inner arch in full which is why I'm not putting more effort into painting over the seam sealer or dealing with any minor surface rust in here since I'll be doing it later. For now it was a case of arresting any potential deterioration and getting the car as weather tight as possible in the brief moments between rain.
After that it was a check of the interior and leaving it overnight to make sure no more rain was coming in. All of this was done at the end of February and since then I can confirm that the sealed up areas have stayed sealed up, the interior is back in, and it hasn't had any condensation or damp issues since even with all the rain. I'll go into more detail on that side of things once the videos go up, no point jumping the gun on that one just now.
Wheel back on and car back on the ground again. One very clean inner arch showing up all the others.
I will say one thing for this car, the underside is in surprisingly good shape for a car that's been holding onto water inside. There's a couple of areas of bodywork that need attention like the scabby door corners and rear arches, all of which I now have repair pieces for, but it's in far better structural condition than reputation and mileage would suggest.
I'm now about 6 months in to doing regular videos for the car projects, and switching to the fortnightly write ups here. So far (for me) so good, my time management is much improved and the projects are far more under control because I quite literally have to pace myself. It's been good for my mental health, good for the projects, and has removed that itch to acquire something new.
I'm still enjoying making the videos, and I've made some very good new contacts as a result, so I'm not going to be stopping that any time soon. The response to the videos has been positive, insofar as people have found the content useful, which is my primary goal. Get the info out there and you'll get people interested and involved.
The next car video is going to be a Lanchester one. I've actually got more Maestro content than I know what to do with at the moment because the weather meant I couldn't really make any progress on any other project, so there's certainly lots more to come on that front. Princess content is a way off and I'm very much in two minds about posting the next job that's likely to happen on that because people have Opinions about paint and I'm not sure I want to deal with that.
I'm hoping the write ups here are still good for those that don't follow the videos, I know wading through a video for info isn't always practical, and even watching a video isn't always practical. A written update can be dipped in and out of much easier so I've no plans to stop doing either in favour of the other just yet.
Big things to come are getting all the gear for welding. I still need to acquire a new helmet, gauntlets, gas bottle, regulator, grinder (and various discs), tin snips, powerfile, and various paints. That's a big chunk of cash in one go so I've been getting what I can off the list as I go, the welder is operational now bar gas, I just need the safety and cutting gear before I can get stuck in. All the repair panels I need are ready to go too, so there's some big bodywork updates to come on the Maestro later this year. My goal with the Maestro is a clean MoT by December (when it's due) so I want to make sure I tackle every issue I'm aware of before then to stand the best chance.
The welding on the Lanchester, what little there is, will be farmed out. I do not have the confidence at all to weld near the wooden frame of the car, too much room for danger. It doesn't matter for now. As things stand there's one person on the shortlist I trust to do the work, and when it comes to blending in the repairs there's two people I trust could do it. I haven't bothered either with an enquiry because I've no idea when we'll be ready to book the car in for that sort of work, Pat and I both want the Lanchester in a road ready state before we get other people to poke at it. The three main jobs the Lanchester needs is the radiator to be repaired (lockdowns stopped this from happening), the new wiring loom to be fitted (weather shut that one down), and the brakes sorting out. Once those things are done we can look at the first shakedown runs... oh and maybe a new exhaust too.
But wait, there's more! Pat and I moved into this place not long before the world closed so much of the big work we wanted to do couldn't be done. Then some things had to be done at short notice like a couple of fence panels and the garage roof, and then it rained forever. Well now we've got the inside of the house to a liveable condition, the outside needs attention because all of that bad weather has done a number on the ancient fence so funds and time are getting diverted to that now the weather is good again. We've also hired another skip to clear the last of the overgrown shrubs and trees from the garden and the old fence panels and been completely unable to acquire any mortar for rebuilding a decorative wall since everywhere local has apparently run out.
So yeah, lots of stuff going on and happily, it's all under control. The only problem is that we're only two people and there's only so many hours in a day so it just takes a while to get through everything. What we could really do with is a nice combined windfall of time off, work bonuses, good weather, and a bunch of mates to come around and Ground Force the place over a month or so.
Last of all, there's plans for the future. We've finally settled on what's going on with the car space and priced it up. We're not going to DIY the concrete because, quite frankly, paying someone should get it done better and be less stressful. However, we probably will have a go at the matching car ports that will flank the garage once the concrete is done. Putting up an extended garage is a project too far at the moment and while it's something we're planning to do in the future, it can wait. Car ports are far more doable and far more affordable, plus you can use some hooks and tarp with eyelets in to screen the sides off in bad weather and get a moderately comfortable workspace and/or privacy when you don't want the neighbourhood pestering you so that's the plan there. Might not be something that happens until next year, but it's a plan.
TL:DR - everything is in hand. Big plans in motion, big plans to come, not being overwhelmed for once.
How to do the carpet in the Lanchester then. The video above does illustrate this a bit better than I can do with photos and words so if you haven't, please do give that a watch for a bit more clarity on the process. This needn't be an expensive endeavour and indeed, this carpet has cost the sum total of £0 since I already had all of the materials required in house.
Ingredients are a pack of cheap printer paper, a pen, a good pair of shears (for cutting the carpet), a good pair of scissors (for cutting the paper), some sellotape, and a spare carpet set from the Princess. The carpet set I'm using here is temporary, eventually it will be replaced with proper brown wool, for now it's what's to hand and the bright orange doesn't actually look as bad in situ as you might expect.
If you already have a carpet in the car you're doing this job on, it's a bit easier, since then you have a template of sorts. Unfortunately for us, there is no carpet in this car and it didn't come to us with one. We've also been unable to find an off-the-shelf kit of any sort to hint at what shapes are required, so it's been a case of relying on photographs of other cars and clues this car has given us from what is present.
Luckily, the floor of the Lanchester is almost completely flat with the exception of the tunnel down the middle, and the fixings for the front seats. That means you can lay down the printer paper very easily to patchwork a pattern. It's mostly a case of lining up an edge of paper with the edge of a bit of floor, and then using a fingernail and/or pen to mark the edges before using the scissors to trim. Offer up the paper a few times and trim as necessary until each piece is as you want it. Then tape your next piece of paper down to the first and so on until the whole floor is covered.
The floor of the Lanchester isn't actually symmetrical. While the outer edges are mirrored, the front portion of the tunnel isn't, and the rails the seats sit on are also in different locations on each side, something that isn't as obvious when the carpet isn't present. That meant that a different template would be required for each side.
To get around this you can either make two whole templates, or if you're channeling your inner Yorkshireman as I was, cut out the carpet for one side before flipping your paper template and chopping and patching it as required to make it the correct shape for the other side. This means you use a few sheets less paper, a bit less ink, a bit less sellotape and quite a bit less time.
For the driver's side, I disconnected the balljoint from the accelerator pedal so that I could put the carpet over the pedal rather than unbolting the pedal itself. It doesn't make sense to bolt the pedal down over the carpet in this instance, far better to cut a hole in the carpet for the pedal.
When you're repurposing existing materials some compromise is required. The Princess carpet isn't moulded, one of the benefits of a front wheel drive car with a very flat floor, but does have a few cut-outs for various fixings so it was a case of figuring out where best the paper template fitted the carpet. It turned out that it was best to make four separate rugs for the Lanchester, choosing to join them at the crossmember that runs the width of the floors under the front seats. The Princess carpet was long enough in each half that a small overlap was possible too which is better than trying to make the pieces butt up to one another neatly in this instance. Because of how much wider and longer the Princess floor is than the Lanchester floor, there was actually quite a lot of material available and before too long, I had a complete carpet set created.
It's worth noting that the paper template will fit slightly differently to the carpet, this is because of the thickness of the material. So once you fit the carpet you'll likely have to go around the edges, particularly any radiused pieces, and just trim back until a nice fit is acquired. Since the Princess carpet doesn't fray, there was no requirement to bind the edges and it will serve as a very good template for the nice carpet when we get to that point.
The bit I got really lucky with was that the Princess' integral heel mat actually lined up close to perfect with the Lanchester's pedals, making the orange carpet look just a bit more proper than had it been plain. Less so was the central tunnel, something I couldn't use from the centre of the Princess' main carpet. Instead, I built a tunnel section from the two inner sill pieces of carpet which are more flexible, the profiles were similar enough that I could use some duct tape to hold the four pieces together and to the tunnel itself, and wide enough that the main floor carpet could be put over the top of the edges to keep them in place. It's likely the proper carpet will be glued down in one piece instead. We will probably leave the front section of the tunnel uncarpetted (and there wasn't a suitable piece of Princess carpet left to do this part due to the strange shape involved) since there are service points that could do with being accessed and, judging by the condition of the paint, it looks like there may never have actually been a carpet there originally. We haven't yet seen a picture of an LD10 with the original carpet intact to tell us either way what's correct here, only cars with replacement carpets which may of course be non-standard. So we're going with what feels and looks right for this particular car, like we have with other items.
Anyway, here we are with the carpet fully fitted and looking a whole lot better than you might expect. It also cuts down a lot of draughts from the door bottoms and generally makes the car sound, and by extension feel, a bit more refined and finished inside than it did. When we come to doing the wiring under the dashboard this will likely be a lot more pleasant to lie on and much harder to lose the various fixings since there aren't all those little gaps around the floor boards accessible now.
All in all, an okay job really. Once the seats were refitted, you could barely see the carpet anyway so the colour difference really isn't that noticeable. It's also worth noting for the front seats that the brackets that hold the locking pegs in place need the carpet trimming away from the whole of the square base of them otherwise the thickness of the carpet prevents the seat from locking into place as it can't sit down low enough in the sockets.
We have what looks like a very short list of items to attend on the car now. How short this list ends up being in practice is of course a different matter entirely: - Fit new wiring loom - Recondition and refit radiator - Acquire and fit new front engine mount - Refit water pump and fan belt - Adjust brakes - Fit new front and rear screen seals - Fit pedal draught excluder rubbers - Make and fit kick panels, and lower B pillar trim - Replace missing/all door furflex trim - Restore and fit Ekco radio