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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all, just found this forum and already learned a ton of stuff by reading through the threads and posts. Thought that I might begin a build thread for our two cars currently being worked on regularly. Usually Friday and Saturday, weather and schedules permitting.

We have a '55 Hilman Husky and a '58 Austin A35, both being fitted with Ford engines and transmissions. The A35 has a narrowed Ford 8.8 inch going in, the Husky already has a Dana 44 installed. With the trailer snowed in, we can't get out to grab the rest of the running gear, so we're mostly stripping things out and working on the sheet metal for right now. Here are handful of photos of the cars so far, small steps until the weather breaks and Spring gets here.

The Austin as it arrived:




 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
A little work on the smashed in rear quarter. It was much worse than it looks in the photos, but the slide hammer did it's work well. Just a skim of short hair fiberglass away from primer.




A few of shots of both cars tucked into the enclosure being worked on:



 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
More photographs, this time of the body work done to the Husky. This car was a complete rot box, classic Bog Find out of Maine, right down to the "Flintstone" floors and axe cuts through the tops of the fenders. Rockers, lower rear door, fender bottoms, rear quarters, all rotted/gone along with the fender tops, roof and hood. Difficult to believe looking at these "after" photos. I'll post before pics as soon as I find them.









 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
My cousins still live in Roslindale. I'm originally from Southy, moved all around and ended up in Kingston, which is just a handful of miles North of Plymouth Rock. The cars are in Carver, the cranberry capital of everywhere. Probably be working over this weekend or next, ought to have photos of the finished Husky rockers and passenger's side along with the finished up rear quarter on the Austin. Hopefully some nice tight shots of the final install of the Dana 44 in the Husky as well. Came from a Postal Jeep and is a perfect fit! Probably some shots of the gutted Austin engine bay, have to make sure that the Ford will clear the steering links.

Once the heater kicks in and everything warms up, we tend to make pretty good daily progress in spite of the many trips to the Mini-Mart for snacks and beverages . . .
 

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Great platforms. Welcome to the board and thanks for letting us watch your builds.

Mark
 

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Wow, pretty cool projects! The Husky looks great so far, considering it was a rusty start. I love it
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks all for the interest and encouragement, gang ! If it's not obvious in some of the photographs, we're also working on a "walk through" double door split window VW van, and sort of nibbling around an MGA Gasser-style drag car based on this car:

http://mgaguru.com/mgtech/restore/rt309.htm

Or rather these rusty pieces. So far, almost all of the body clips and panels have been repaired and in primer already, frame being reinforced and finished up by a buddy and the Ford 5/0 engine and AOD already done and awaiting installation. If things continue to progress on other areas, I'll begin a separate build thread for it this Spring. Plan is to build it to look like it might have originally been constructed in the 60's, back-date the 5.0 to mimic a 289 that's just been pulled out of a stock sedan and dropped in. Sort of have a little fun with the build as it's obviously well beyond any sort of restoration/resurrection as a stock MGA roadster.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The VW Van is a '63 I believe. I guess that the walk-through style is getting kinda rare now. What started as a slow burner amateur resurrection is turning into a full-on "professional" restoration. As soon as the weather calms down a bit it'll be heading in for media blasting and prime, then panel replacement and so on. In a way, this sort of takes the fun out it now as all of the work will need to be fully documented and of a high quality. I kind of prefer a more hand-made/home-made approach. Much more fun and satisfaction in making it up myself rather than just buying, painting, and bolting it on, you know?

Heading over to the cars tomorrow to work so ought to have some up-date photos soon. Hoping . . . !
 

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I would say they are getting less rare...haha. I see people find new busses everywhere. Dragging them out from old barns, woods, swamps etc... ;)
But they are cool cars. I have had a couple myself, but sold way to cheap around 10 yrs ago. Both this car is worth x10 today.

Lets see some more pics of your projects :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
"I would say they are getting less rare...haha. I see people find new buses everywhere."


Isn't that always just how it goes? Certain popular cars will become rare, begin to increase in value because of it, then everyone drags theirs out of the barn or others go prospecting for them and suddenly there's a ton of them on the market and everyone still demands top dollar for them because they're "rare . . . "
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Managed to get over to where the cars are and got a little work done. Sometimes it's just a visit to look at them and drink coffee, sometimes too cold to work even with the heater cranking, yesterday was a good day.

We began by pulling the rear end out of the Bus, got it all gone right down to an empty torsion bar housing. More cleaning and sand blasting next week for that one.

Spent more time finishing up the driver's side rear quarter on the Austin. With all of the pulling and hammering, then the fiberglass and sanding, we managed to get the final fiberglass all in place and sanded down. Unfortunately it was just too hard to tell if the panel was right. Too many different surfaces and colors to see straight, so a quick dust of filler primer and it was a really nice surprise. Even with just the metal and fiberglass all primed up it looks terrific. Next week a little polyester filler in the pin holes and along the upper swage line to get it perfect at the very end. Considering where this panel began and that I was seriously looking into have a quarter shipped form the UK. I'm thrilled.






Also striped out the rest of the engine bay and did a quick cleaning. The abundance of grease and grime did a terrific job of preserving the metal . . . for the most part. I left some of the lines in place, only because I wasn't sure of the final routing and didn't want to mess around with too much at once. With three cars in the same place, when I remove too much, it gets misplaced or lost entirely. I'm still looking for the rear U-bolt but suspect that they got swept up and tossed out.







A quick measurement; the lower area between the frame rails is 16 inches across, the width between the upper fenders is 28 inches. I picked up a neat little Ford Capri V6 and four speed thinking that a mini-motor might be kind of cool, but it looks like the Mustang 5.0 will almost fit as well. Of course the rear shelf will need to be cut back for the 5.0, but it nice to have the possible option, especially as the 5.0 is all dressed up/back dated in a way to look like a 289.

Did the final fill and sand on the Hillman fenders, but didn't get to the rockers, I'll take photos when those sections are farther along. Funny how everything looks great until you roll the car out into the day light and you find that both fenders look like they were never touched . . .

Anyway, a pretty good five or six hour day. Maybe fit in another one this coming week, maybe two if the weather holds. If it happens, I'll post more photos.
 

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Looks very clean, and plenty of room to fit any V8 in there with some whittling. Here's what I started with on my Austin, and I ended up just cutting it out at the cowl and going flat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
WOW ! Yours is really a drastic change from stock, but SO well done ! ! !

Hopefully, as I work more on the Austin, and my confidence grows, I'd like to try the same modification. A flat firewall and clean engine bay would nice.

Although . . . that sure is a nifty battery indent/pocket and hold-down device. Collectors/restorers must be all over that cool little thing ! ! Almost worth it to save it, once removed, and graft the sheet metal into the forward trunk wall. Batteries usually get moved to the trunk anyway, factory sheet metal like that would be ideal.
 
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